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News for 21 January 2015

All the news for Wednesday 21 January 2015

HWL R2 Singapore: Malaysia & Poland maintain winning streak

Quarter-final line-up confirmed as Pool phase ends

(Photo: FIH)

Malaysia and Poland have continued their terrific form at the Hockey World League Round 2 event in Singapore, with both nations making it three wins from three to finish top of their respective Pool tables ahead of Thursday’s quarter-finals.

Malaysia (FIH World Ranking: 12) claimed a third successive Pool A victory beating host nation Singapore (WR: 37). Dazzling attacker Faizal Saari was the star of the show with six goals, moving him to the top of the goal-scorers chart with a tournament tally of nine. Earlier in the day, Oman (WR: 23) battled to a 2-1 win over Ukraine (WR: 24) to seal a second place finish in the Pool.

In Pool B, a trio of penalty corner goals from team captain Pawel Bratkowski helped Poland (WR: 18) to a 5-0 triumph over Bangladesh (WR: 29), a result which took the in-form Europeans onto a maximum nine points. Bratkowski’s treble took his personal goal-scoring tally in Singapore to five, a performance which put him temporarily top of the scorers charts before Faizal’s imperious display against Singapore. Japan (WR: 15) finished second in Pool B thanks to a comprehensive 6-0 win over Mexico (WR: 36), with Genki Mitani netting twice to leave the Pan-Americans at the bottom of the table.

The two Pool winners will face the sides that finished bottom of the other Pool, with Malaysia going head-to-head with Mexico while Poland face host nation Singapore. Japan versus Ukraine and Oman versus Bangladesh completes Thursday’s quarter-final line-up. To see all tournament fixtures and results, please click here.

The three highest finishers in the eight-team men’s tournament, which started on Saturday 17th and concludes on Sunday 25th January, will each be guaranteed a place in the semi-final of the competition, where coveted berths at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are up for grabs. 

You can keep track of all of the action from Singapore on the official tournament microsite.

FIH site

Malaysia 16 Singapore 1

by Jugjet Singh

MALAYSIA justified their top billing by hammering Singapore 16-1 to top Group A in the World League Round Two at the Sengkang Stadium in Singapore yesterday.

Faizal Saari was the toast of the day as he scored six goals to completely blank out the hosts, for the biggest win record against Singapore.

And now, coach Tai Beng Hai's men will play Mexico in the quarter-finals, which should be another walk in the park. Mexico finished last in Group B when they lost all three matches and could only score one goal while they let in 18.

Poland topped Group B and will play Singapore in the quarters, while Japan will meet  Ukraine and Oman play Bangladesh in the other quarter-finals.

Team manager Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad said as the top seeds, ranked 13th in the world, the players did well to top the group.

"This is what we expected form the players and they did not disappoint and kept true to their top billing in the tournament.

"We only conceded two goals ( one more against Ukraine) and had good winning scorelines in all three matches, now we will have to do much better in the knock-out stages and claim the ticket to the World League .Semi-finals by playing in the final," said Nur Azmi.

On Malaysia's match against Mexico: "It should be another win for Malaysia, and I believe we are highly likely to play Japan in the semi-finals and that could be the only difficult match but again, we should win it," said Nur Azmi.

Yesterday, Malaysia went for early goals and won two early penalty corners but Razie Rahim flicked wide to the relief of the home fans.

However, in the fifth minute a penalty stroke was won and Faizal Saari calmly slotted in the lead, which opened the floodgates.

Faizal went on to score five more in the 19th, 25th, 31st, 32nd, 51st; the other goals were scored by Firhan Ashaari (13th, 25th), Razie Rahim (24th,2nd ), Haziq Shamsul (37th, 53rd), Marhan Jalil (42nd), Izwan Firdaus (44th) and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (58th, 59th).

The Singapore consolation was scored by Ian Vanderput in the 33rd minute.

Malaysia have the best chance to win gold in Singapore, and advance to the World League Semi-finals on a confident note.

The WL Semi-finals at either Belgium or Argentina offer tickets to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, a platform where Malaysia last played in Sydney 2000.

For the record, Malaysia finished fifth in the last World League semi-finals and qualified for the 2014 World Cup at the Netherlands

World League Round Two Day 4 Results


                          P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
Malaysia       3   3    0   0  28  2  9
Oman             3   2    0   1  5  10  6
Ukraine          3   1    0   2  4  8  3
Singapore    3   0    0   3  4  21  0

                     P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
Poland       3   3    0   0  14  2  9
Japan         3   2    0   1  13  4  6
B'ladesh    3   1    0   2  7  11  3
Mexico       3   0    0   3  1  18  0


Jan 17:
Group A: Malaysia 5 Ukraine 1, Oman 3 Singapore 2
Group B: Japan 5 Bangladesh 1, Poland 6 Mexico 0.

Jan 18: Group B: Bangladesh 5 Mexico 1, Poland 3 Japan 2.
Jan 19: Group A: Ukraine 2 Singapore 1, Oman 0 Malaysia 7.

Jan 20:
Group A: Ukraine 1 Oman 2, Malaysia 16 Singapore 1
Group B: Japan 6 Mexico 0, Bangladesh 0 Poland 5.

Jan 21: REST DAY

Jan 22: Quarter-finals:  Malaysia v Mexico (9am); Japan v Ukraine (3pm); Oman v Bangladesh (5pm); Poland v Singapore (8pm).

Jan 23: Fifth-Eighth
Jan 24: Semi-finals
Jan 25: Final and placing matches.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Malaysia gives another thrashing, this time against Singapore

by Aftar Singh

Faizal Saari (front) scored six in Malaysia's goal fest against Singapore in their 16-1 win in the World Hockey League Round Two in Singapore. - Bernama

SINGAPORE: Faizal Saari has kept to his word so far in the World Hockey League Second Round.

He had promised to keep his temper in check and score in every match.

The Kelantan-born forward delivered in superb style against home team Singapore – finding the net six times to lead Malaysia to a 16-1 win at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium.

Faizal, who was shown the red card in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) last month for abusing an umpire, was on target in the sixth, 17th, 25th, 31st, 32nd and 50th minutes. He has now scored nine goals in three matches.

Mohd Firhan Ashaari (13th and 24th), Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim (23rd, 52nd), Mohd Haziq Samsul (36th, 53rd) and Tengku Ahmad Tajudin (58th, 59th) netted a brace each while Mohd Marhan Mohd Jalil (42nd) and Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin (44th) chipped in with one goal apiece.

Ian Vanderput scored Singapore’s consolation goal in the 33rd minute.

Faizal was delighted to have scored six goals against Singapore.

“I’ve never scored six goals in an international tournament. Today is the best day of my life,” said Faizal.

“It’s good to be back in the national team after being left out of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and Incheon Asian Games last year. I intend to help Malaysia win the tournament and score in every match.”

It was the biggest-ever win for Malaysia against Singapore in an international tournament and the first time that the republic have lost by such an embarrassing margin in their own backyard.

Malaysia have scored a whopping 27 goals and conceded just two in three group matches.

Malaysia, who defeated Ukraine 5-1 and Oman 7-0, top the group with maximum points and will meet Mexico, who finished last in Group B, in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Singapore, who finished last in Group A after losing all their matches, will face Group B winners Poland.

Malaysia’s team manager Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad, while overjoyed with the big win, has preached caution against Mexico.

“We have a day’s break before we take on Mexico and our approach is simple: play well and win.

“We will not take Mexico for granted although they’ve only scored just a goal in three matches,” said Nur Azmi.

Oman finished runners-up in Group A after the Al Hasani brothers combined to see off Ukraine 2-1.

Oman, who ended their group matches with two wins and a defeat, began well by taking a 2-0 lead after just 12 minutes.

Muhammad Al Hasani collected a loose ball in the semi-circle before firing it past goalkeeper Laroslav Hordey in the 10th minute.

Two minutes later, younger Imad Al Hasani made a solo run from the left before slamming home.

Ukraine narrowed the deficit off a penalty corner by Artem Ozerskyi in the 19th minute.

The Star of Malaysia

World number two put five past SA

JONATHAN COOK at Hartleyvale

It was a 5-0 scoreline in the one-off men’s hockey Test between world number 12 South Africa and world number two Holland in the Cape Town Summer Series at a festive Hartleyvale Tuesday, the Dutch running out winners after leading 2-0 at half-time.

Head coach Fabian Gregory’s lads created a number of very good goalscoring opportunities but had nothing tangible on the scoreboard to show for them.

SA retained nine men for this match who played against Austria in Durban just over a week ago. Both sides have five senior players plying their trade in the lucrative Hockey India League.

The rest of the Dutch team are first-choice, while the SA selectors are spreading the net wide as they look to find the ideal 18 players for the World League Round 2 tournament at Hartleyvale from March 7 to 15. This was borne out by the fact that London 2012 and World Cup and Commonwealth Games 2014 midfielder Wade Paton was watching from the grandstand.

The Dutch started well, controlling the ball and moving it all over the park with precision, going 1-0 up in the sixth minute when Glenn Schuurman stole around the right baseline to set up a simple tap-in for Valentin Verga.

Three efforts from the edge of the strike zone plus a penalty corner in the first of the four 15-minute chukkas that make up a modern hockey Test match further underlined head coach Max Caldas’s team’s upper hand.

There were some excellent defensive skills shown the South Africans in this match – Clint Panther’s, Dan Sibbald’s and Daniel Bell’s among them - but the vision and precise play of Holland was going to unlock doors one way or the other.

In the 24th Hofman made the pressure tell when he swept a loose ball firmly into the back board (2-0).

On the cusp of half-time, muscular midfielder Panther drove powerfully towards the strike zone and was brought down heavily but Bell’s PC drag-flick ricocheted off the first wave defender’s stick.

Three minutes into the third quarter (33rd) Holland established a three-goal cushion through Roel Bovendeert’s neat skills (3-0). SA had an excellent chance in the 36th but Sibbald’s effort was well saved by on-form keeper Sam van der Ven.

Pressing forward with intent, Dylan Swanepoel got in a shot but as the third quarter wound down (45th minute) Holland put together a fluid movement down the right and Thierry Brinkman delivered the far-post touch (4-0).

Bell pulled a certain goal off the line in the 48th and SA broke away to win a PC, the variation seeing Shannon Boucher’s drag-flick blocked by Van der Ven. Two more PC’s followed but the Dutch keeper had their measure, before a spectacular Sibbald backhand flew just wide.

The inability to convert was rubbed in when Holland broke down the right flank in the 55th for Constantijn Jonker to finish off (5-0).

A minute later, yet another South African PC came to nothing, before Natius Malgraff fired on the turn, the ball hitting the crossbar, Taine Paton agonisingly close to profiting from the rebound.

The Investec SA women’s hockey team’s first Test of the CT Summer Series is against Chile at 7pm Thursday. The SA men’s next Test match is at 4pm Sunday against Ireland.

SA Hockey Association media release

Brinkman and Bovendeert on the mark

Thierry Brinkman and Roel Bovendeert both enjoyed a senior international debut to remember as the duo both scored in a 5-0 win over South Africa in Cape Town.

Kampong’s Brinkman – son of  former international Jacques – and Bloemendaal’s Bovendeert have been with Max Caldas’s Netherlands team for a training camp which will see them take on the hosts in four exhibition games while they will also meet Belgium and Ireland on two occasions.

The other goals came from Amsterdam’s Valentin Verga, Bloemendaal’s Rogier Hofman and Kampong’s Constantijn Jonker.

Euro Hockey League media release

Ireland 1-1 Spain (Women)

Ireland drew 1-1 with Spain Valencia earlier this morning to finish the three match series all square.  The 1st quarter ended scoreless with a couple of chances to both sides but defences held strong.  The first PC of the game was to Spain early in the 2nd quarter but Gray comfortably saved the resultant drag flick. Great play by McCay, after 20m, found Duke in the circle but good Spanish defence cleared the danger.  Ireland dominated the remaining stages of the quarter but the teams went in level at half time 0-0.

Spain took the lead in the 3rd quarter with a goal from Maria Tost and Ireland equalised, in the final quarter, with a Nicola Evans intercept and a great reverse stick finish by the UCD striker giving the Spanish keeper no chance.  Congrats to Gillian Pinder on her 50th Cap today.

Irish Coach Smith after the game said ‘It was a hard fought game with Spain in possession for decent periods.  I thought we were robust and competitive without the quality needed to accumulate the attaching pressure.  The positives were that we hung in there to the end to create an opportunity which was well finished.  We also played the majority of the match without Megan meaning we all had to step up in her absence.  A very beneficial 12 days in Valencia”

Ireland 1 (Nikki Evans)

Spain 1 (Maria Tost)

IRELAND: Emma Gray (GK), Stella Davis (GK), Cliodhna Sargent, Emma Smyth, Chloe Brown, Nicola Evans, Shirley McCay, Megan Frazer (Capt), Naomi Carroll, Chloe Watkins, Lizzie Colvin, Nicola Daly, Katie Mullan, Anna O Flanagan, Deirdre Duke, Kate Dillon, Yvonne O Byrne, Emily Beatty

Did not play: Ayeisha McFerran & Emily Beatty
Not available: Hannah Matthews, Aine Connery & Ali Meeke

Irish Hockey Association media release

Hero-Hockey India League: 2015 - Champagne waiting to be uncorked


The ugly rhetoric and the unacceptable polemics in the aftermath of the infamous India-Pakistan clash in the Champions Trophy at Bhubaneswar have passed beyond the rim of history and disintegrated into the oblivion.

The world of hockey waits for the dawn of a new vista for composing a new stanza to the symphony of competitive hockey-the HERO-HIL all set the tone and tenor tomorrow (January 22).

Both in concept and in execution the HERO-HIL is a tribute to the ingenuity and imagination of the men behind the venture. Maybe, a competition in this mould existed during the previous regime headed by KPS Gill as Indian Hockey Premier League (IPHL) but not matching this voltage and vibrancy.

Undeniably, that project went through a metamorphosis. It was redefined, refined and refreshed by Hockey India under Narinder Batra’s stewardship.

Patterned more or less on the formulations of the incredibly successful IPL Cricket, the HIL emerged triumphant in packing hockey to the unimaginable arithmetic of eyeballs across the globe.

What contributed to this idea catching up with the international hockey community, sponsors and small screens across the continent is the element of professionalism attached to the competition.

It is very rare to see in India a hockey event conducted with such a sense of euphoria, éclat at a level of sophistication earning all round accolades.

A good measure of commendation to this state of affairs should undoubtedly go the energetic and enterprising Ms Elena Norman, CEO of HI.

Everyone connected with the tournament-the players, officials, umpires and coaches acknowledge it without a trace of inhibition.

Quite predictably, there was a hint of skepticism at the start, whether the League could sustain itself financially, especially in the high level of payment for the purchase of players by the bidders.

At that point it was impossible to imagine that hockey players-all icons-could command a generous fee even in their own country.

The dollars in the cash box were NOT astronomical as they are in soccer, golf, cricket and tennis. Yet they were substantial, far more than what celebrity player commanded from their clubs in Europe, Asia and South America.

Without a shadow of a doubt the opening of doors for hockey players to auctioning their proficiency to the highest bidder in thousands of dollars injected a rare measure of vibrancy to the sport.

Admittedly, the Clubs in Europe, especially in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, France and England, had paved the way for top players to moving into the well-organized league tournaments.

Jorge Lombe, acclaimed as the author of the ‘drag flick’ from Argentina became a phenomenon in the Dutch league as did the shining and shooting stars from Australia led by that inimitable Jaime Dwyer.

A lot of Indians and Pakistanis made hay profiting from their presence in European leagues. Jude Felix, Dharaj Pillay, Gundeep Kumar, Gagan Ajit Singh, come readily to the mind as does the gold medal winner in 1964 Olympics, Mohinder Lal, who migrated to become part and parcel of the Spanish folklore.

But rarely had one imagined then that a day would come for the marvelous practitioners of the art, aesthetics and adeptness would make a beeline to India a search of glorious pastures and financial rewards.

Look at the galaxy of stars from Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, England, Argentina, South Africa, and Malaysia as you glance through the composition of the teams in the fray for the 2015 edition.

And what more, take a glance at the coaches-Roelent Oltmans, Barry Dancer, Valentine Altenburg, and Harendra Singh, recently elevated as a High Performance Coach by the FIH.

It is true there was a filament of crisis when two teams-Mumbai and Ranchi-pulled out. But the prompt damage control by HI brought in their replacements, the Ranchi Franchise roping in the national cricketing icon, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

As another chapter of HIL becomes a reality tomorrow it is difficult to refrain from being impacted by the fret and fever of speculation of what is in store for the innumerable Indian aficionados and those following the combats on their TV screens.

Fasten your seat belts and ready for a take off!!

Fieldhockey.com exclusive

HIL 2015 all set to commence with a glittering ceremony

NEW DELHI: The most-awaited hockey league in the world - the Hero Hockey India League 2015 is all set to begin with a dazzling opening ceremony at the illustrious Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar on 22nd January 2015.

The 3rd edition of the League will start with a high intensity clash between home team Kalinga Lancers and last season's semifinalists Ranchi HIL Team, among the hockey-crazy fans of Odisha. It will be an out of the ordinary chance to witness who manages to score the initial point of the Hero HIL 2015 and takes an early lead in the points table.

After the thriving past seasons of the League, young talents of both Kalinga Lancers and Ranchi Rays are perfectly groomed-up and ready as a spirited side with the abilities to stun any mighty team. In this season, the Ranchi Rays are entirely focussed on winning the most number of matches with the objective to reach the finals. On the other side, Kalinga Lancers, who finished at the bottom of the table in their debut season, are now in a much better shape with a perfect team of settled as well as young talents. The Lancers have previously stunned the Ranchi HHIL Team by 4-1 at their home-turf last season and will now aim to be the victor of as many games as they can.

Led by the very experienced Indian skipper Sardar Singh, defending champions Delhi Waveriders will start their campaign against Uttar Pradesh Wizards on 23 January 2015 at Lucknow. Studded with celebrated players such as Simon Child, Matt Gohdes, Pirmin Blaak along with India's top players such as Rupinder Pal Singh, Gurbaj Singh and Danish Mujtaba, the Delhi-based HHIL team is the top contender for the title and looks forward to win back-to-back championships, retaining it for their team. On the other hand, VR Raghunath-led UP Wizards will step-on their home turf with a single objective of starting the League on a winning note. The two-time semi-finalists have to break their jinx of losing knock-out matches to finish on peak of the table, reaching the semis and eventually the final.

Jaypee Punjab Warriors will commence their battle against Dabang Mumbai in their first match on 23 January 2015 at Mahindra Hockey Stadium in Mumbai. Jamie Dwyer-led Jaypee Punjab Warriors is aiming to finish the unfinished job of last season and are determined to clinch the 2015 Hero HIL title. With top players such as Jaap Stockman, Mark Knowles, Sandeep Singh and SV Sunil in their line-up, Jaypee Punjab Warriors are among the favourites of the League. On the other side, Dabang Mumbai may not have many big names but they have a side with very talented and spirited players who have been training vigorously under a new management. Considered as the dark horses of this edition of the league, the newly assembled team is ready to take everyone by surprise.

Speaking on the league, chairman, Dr. Narinder Batra said, "after the first two successful seasons, the best players from world over are all geared up this time too as we hope for a much more competitive and exciting League ahead. With new teams and fresh players joining us in this edition, I am sure this League will be a huge accomplishment and fruitfully serve the purpose of escalating the game of hockey to a new pinnacle. On behalf of the Hero Hockey India League, I wish very good luck to all the teams and look ahead to some spectacular performances in the coming weeks."

The Times of India

Free entry for HIL spectators in Lucknow

Uttar Pradesh Wizards on Tuesday announced that entry will be free for spectators for the Hockey India League (HIL) matches to be held in Lucknow.

The home matches of the Wizards will be held at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.

“This year, by making entry free for all sports lovers, we intend to promote the game and provide an opportunity to all sports enthusiasts to come and cheer for their favourite team at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, Sports College, Kursi Road, Lucknow,” said Abhijit Sarkar, director, Sahara Adventures Sports Limited, which owns the team.

HIL starts on Jan 22 in Bhubaneshwar when home team Kalinga Lancers take on Ranchi Rays while the first match here will take place on Jan 23 when the Warriors face defending champions Delhi Waveriders.

The Hindu

National call-up is my motivation: Sandeep Singh

Adit Ganguly

A horrific accident in 2006 that left him on a wheelchair for two years, and then being sidelined by the national selectors, finishing with 11 goals in each of the two seasons of the Hockey India League (HIL) yet not emerging triumphs. It hasn't been easy for former India captain Sandeep Singh.

With the third edition of HIL three days away, the Punjab Warriors drag-flicker is once again hopeful that this year both his wishes will come true — making a comeback to the national side and his side going all the way in the league.

Singh knows that his focus has to be on the challenge ahead. Despite finishing as the top-scorer in the tournament for two years straight, the 28-year old says that it'll take much more than his goals if he hopes to make a return to the Indian team.

"That's the motivation I have for this year's edition. What's it going to take for me to play for India again? I still hope of playing for the national team. The first two seasons are past now. No one will remember the goals I have scored if I don't do anything this time," said Singh, who finished runners-up with Punjab last season after an agonising 1-3 loss in the penalty shootout.

Preparations have been in full swing in Chandigarh and the full back is all praise for coach Barry Dancer and the mood inside the Warriors camp.

"It's so cold here," he told dna from Chandigarh over phone. "We wanted to start as soon as possible and can't wait to hit the ground running.

"The final last year was heartbreaking. We discussed our performances in the shootout and that has been seen in the training. Barry Dancer wasted no time in getting straight to the areas that needed to be worked upon. It's been more or less the same time with the same mix of Australians, Argentinians and Jaap Stockman from The Netherlands. So, the bonding is already there," said Singh.

The drag-flicker may have been away from the national side for the past three years but he's kept a close eye on VR Raghunath and Rupinder Singh, India's preferred choices when it comes to penalty corners.

"Penalty corners are a weapon in today's game. Raghunath and Rupinder are young and will only learn as they play more. But I'm just two years older than Raghunath, so I'm not going anywhere. That's why I can't wait for the season to start," said Singh, who was part of the Indian team that won silver in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Singh's not only recovered from the injury in 2006, when he was accidentally shot in a train, but also made a stunning comeback and established himself in the Indian team.

Besides, a good performance at the HIL and a return to the national team, Singh also hopes that a movie based on his life sees the light of the day.

"The movie is very much in the pipeline. It will take time but I hope move closer to finalising the cast and other details," said Singh, a DSP in the Haryana police. He may want a movie on his life, but he left it for the future when asked what kind of ending would he want the movie to have. "Sab aaj hi puch loge? (Will you ask me everything today)," said Singh with a laugh.


The Inside Track: Hockey 5s Women's Final

Bowdon Hightown Hockey 5s Huddle 2015

Bowdon Hightown and East Grinstead have seen off the rest of the competition to reach the Women's Hockey 5s Final at The SSE Arena, Wembley this weekend. It promises to be a spectacular day of hockey for fans and players alike. We spoke to Tina Cullen and JoJo Davis ahead of their Wembley showdown.   

Tina Cullen, Bowdon Hightown:

On beating Canterbury and getting to Wembley:
“Semi-finals are always really tough as there’s so much to gain but also so much to lose. We’re really pleased to get to Wembley and we hope we can give a better account of ourselves than last year. The girls are really delighted to have made the final.”

On Bowdon’s key players:
"Amy Tennant was brilliant. She saved three certain goals in the first half and then at the end she kept us in it. She’s played superbly this year but that was her best performance. Canterbury said she was awesome."

On Bowdon's strengths:
"We have good penalty corners. Sally Walton is great on those and I think we scored 2 from 3 in the semi-finals. Our defensive work with Michelle Liptrot, Sally, Sian French and Lisa Crewe is excellent too. We play good indoor hockey and are a strong unit."

On the upcoming final:
"We’ve got to focus on the here and now and put last year behind us. We want to give a good account of ourselves because we don’t feel we did ourselves justice last year, but we just have to go out and do our best and see where that leaves us.”

East Grinstead captain JoJo Davis congratulates scorer Sophie Bray, credit www.hockeyimages.co.uk

JoJo Davis, East Grinstead,
On getting to Wembley:
“Pleased is an understatement. We’re ecstatic. It’s been a bit up and down across the two weekends and we were disappointed to lose a couple of games, but after the first weekend we were two points up on where we were last year and we’d beaten the likes of Canterbury and Reading which shows how far we’ve come.”

On their chances in the Final:
“We fancy ourselves in the final we’re quietly confident in our abilities. We’re a squad and we don’t depend on one or two players we are a unit and we rotate the players regularly and it’s a squad performance that we thrive on.”

England Hockey Board Media release

The Inside Track: Men's Hockey 5s Semi-Finals

Sevenoaks Coach Richard Payne sets out his master plan

East Grinstead are going for a magnificent seventh title in a row, whilst Canterbury and Reading will be out for revenge having lost out to the Sussex side in two of the recent finals. Sevenoaks are in the semi-finals for the first time and will relish their trip to Wembley. Find out what the captains think of their team's chances. 

Niall Stott, East Grinstead.
On getting to Wembley:
“The first weekend was key for us winning five out of five and putting ourselves top of the league going into the second weekend of matches. Our aim for the season was to go undefeated so it was really disappointing to lose quite heavily to Holcombe, but we’ve finished top of the table again and look forward to semi final clash against rivals Reading at Wembley.” 

Their main strength as a team:
“We all really enjoy indoor and take it very seriously and I think that shows given the titles we’ve won over recent years. We play very much as a team not as individuals and our work ethic and understanding of the indoor game as a group is really strong.”

On being the defending champions and going for their seventh consecutive title:
”It’s the right amount of pressure, we want to keep winning the title for as long as we can. We set the record last year [six consecutive indoor titles] and that’s absolutely our aim again for 2015.”

Chris Barker, Sevenoaks.
On getting to Wembley:
“We came in fairly optimistic after a good season last time round where we missed out on Wembley by goal difference. We made a good start the first weekend which gave us a good platform after doing well against some of the bigger sides. The boys have done fantastically well and got to Wembley this time which we’re delighted about.”

On the difference between finishing fifth in 2014 and qualifying in third place for Wembley this year:
“We’ve brought in an extra player in Dominic Bowden who has been great for us. He’s scored goals added some composure and made a real difference adding to what we already had. Our strength comes from our coach, Richard Payne. We’re very tactically switched on and that all comes from him. We really buy into what he’s trying to get us to do and it makes a big difference having him there.”
Tom Richford, Canterbury.
On Canterbury’s performances:
“We’ve performed well in places, but we know we haven’t performed at the level we’re capable of. When we play to the best of our ability we’re arguably the best indoor team in the league so we think we’ve got every chance of doing really well at Wembley.”

Strength as a team:
“Definitely going forward, we’ve got four or five very strong attacking players and we know we can create goal scoring opportunities from any opening.”

Chris Newman, Reading.
On the changes in the team this season:
“We weren’t entirely sure how the league would pan out for us this year given the changes in the team from last season, but I’ve been really pleasantly surprised with the way that the younger guys have stepped up to the challenge and we’ve got better and better across the two weekends.”

Strength as a team:
“We haven’t managed to score as many goals last year, but we set the foundations of being really disciplined and staying strong in defence from the very start of the league and I think that’s been the key to us getting to Wembley again.”

England Hockey Board Media release

Beeston threejoice junior success

Cannock boys U18 indoors winners 2015

It was a great weekend for Beeston who highlighted the strength of thier junior set up in taking the honours in three out of the four Junior Indoor Club championships. They enjoyed success in the Boys & Girls U16 finals as well as the Girls U18s. Cannock were the other winners in the Boys U18 competition

The Beeston Boys’ U16s raced through their pool games with four wins out of four including a 5-3 defeat of nearest rivals Marlow. Elsewhere Ben Rhydding, Plymouth Marjons and newcomers Norwich Dragons all won one game each.  In the other Pool, Wycombe came out on top with 10 points. Their only dropped points were against Taunton Vale. Cannock were second having lost to Wycombe and drawn with Bradford. Losses against the top two meant Old Loughtonians ended third.

The semi finals saw two local derbies. In the first Wycombe and Marlow played out a 2-2 draw which Wycombe took on strokes. A battle between regular opponents at all levels, Beeston and Cannock, saw the Nottinghamshire side run out 6-3 winners. Wycombe however were no match for the Beeston boys in the final. James Sookias gave them the lead in the first minute and further goals from Josh Pavis and Victor Haebel made it 3-0 at the break. In the second period Pavis got his second, his brother Ollie also got in on the act, Ollie Rogerson scored twice and Haebel reached his hat trick as Beeston racked up 8 goals before Harry Bennett netted a consolation in the last minute.  The 8-1 win meant Beeston had gone one better than last year when they finished runners-up.

Beeston U16 boys winners 2015

It was a similar story in the Girls U16 competition where Beeston converted silver to gold thanks to a fine team performance. They finished top in a tight pool with three wins and a draw in four matches. Ipswich, who they beat 8-3, pipped Isca for second place on goal difference thanks to a 5-0 win over the Devon rivals.   Pool A was dominated by current outdoor champions Surbiton who won all four games with a record of 24 goals for and just 1 against in over an hour and a half of hockey. Leicester ended with three wins out of four including a vital 5-3 win over Harleston that meant they would end as runners up.

The semis saw conclusive wins for the Pool winners with Surbiton beating Ipswich 4-1 and Beeston securing a 6-2 win over Leicester. The final promised to be a tight affair and by half time neither defence had been breached. Beeston captain Mimi  Tarrant gave her team the lead on 14 minutes but Issy Petter equalised three minutes later. However Tarrant provide to be the Bees heroine netting her second with just two minutes to go and this time there was no way back for Surbiton. 

Beeston U16 Indoors 2015   

At Whitgift School Beeston’s U18 girls won through a tight pool with 4 victories but only 10 goals scored. This included wins by a one goal margin over East Grinstead and Kendal. In their battle for the runners up spot a 2-1 win for EG over the Cumbrian girls took them into the semi finals.    The other pool was also keenly contested but with more goals scored. Surbiton finished top with four wins out of four, five points clear of Bowdon. The fine line between finishing top or bottom was highlighted by  Stourport finishing last with two draws and two defeats by just a one goal margin.

In the semis Bowdon made Beeston fight all the way for a place in the final before Bees ran out 2-1 winners.  South rivals East Grinstead and Surbiton couldn’t be separated in normal time with the game ending 1-1. EG then reached the final after a strokes.

The final was a repeat of 2014. Beeston took an early lead thanks to a cool close range finish from Natalie Mansfield and the lead was soon doubled as Erica Sanders powered home a corner. Mansfield made it 3-0 just before half time thanks to a fine solo effort. Although EG pulled a goal back through Megan Batchelor they were unable to make further headway and Beeston took advantage of them playing without a keeper for Sanders to secure the title and a -1 win,

Beeston Girls U18 Indoor winners 2015

Beeston’s only area of non-domination was at the Boys U18 finals at Cocks Moors Woods where they did not qualify and Cannock and Stourport carried the Midlands flag.

Holders Canterbury topped Pool A with four wins out of four but below them things were very tight with Bowdon qualifying on just six points and a -7 goal difference after heavy losses to Canterbury and Old Loughtonians,  However Loughts, Stourport and Ashmoor all took points off each other to end up out of the top two. Bury St Edmunds topped Pool B despite a loss against Cannock in the first game of the day. They went on to win their next three games whilst  Cannock were held by Preston and Surbiton to finish a point behind them.

The form book went out of the window for the semis as the two runners up both proved victorious.  Cannock  beating Canterbury 4-3 and Bowdon edging past Bury 3-2. The final however was a more one sided affair with Cannock running out 5-1 winners . Callum Swinnerton-Ions and Callum Stacey gave Cannock a 2-0 interval lead and two more goals in a minute from Swinnerton-Ions and Reece Jecketts doubled their advantage. Harry Christopher pulled a goal back for Bowdon but Cannock had the final say with a last minute fifth from Louie Morris     

England Hockey Board Media release

Appoint an Indian coach for national hockey team: Nobbs

MUMBAI: Former India hockey coach Michael Nobbs said it was perhaps a good time to appoint a home grown product to take up the national coach's job ahead of the Rio Olympic Games, for which the squad has already qualified.

"I wouldn't worry about the coaches -- they come and go. The real key are the players. Hockey India is doing a great job. Why not put an Indian coach for the job? You have 18 months to go. You are the first team to qualify for the Olympics. Why not give someone from India a chance," the Australian told reporters on Tuesday.

Nobbs, who is on a visit to India on behalf of Australian company Grassman that produces wet and dry artificial hockey turfs, however felt Hockey India was unlikely to pay heed to his suggestion.

Naming a few who he thought could do the coaching job well, Nobbs said: "You have Cedric D'souza, M K Kaushik, Harendra Singh and Jude Felix and I am sure there are many more. Harendra is now an FIH (recognized) coach. It is just my suggestion to select an Indian coach but they (HI) are not going to accept it. They will go with a foreign coach. That's okay as well. You have to be optimistic and go forward."

Nobbs, who coached the country before his compatriot Terry Walsh took over, was happy with the progress made by the Indian men's hockey team since his departure and predicted it will ascend the medal rostrum at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

"I have been really pleased with its progress. Every single kid that I picked after the Olympics is in the team. It is a young experienced team and you are getting better. By the 2020 Olympics, I bet that India will win a medal.

"HI has really pushed the kids since the past three-four years. After the next Olympics, these kids will come in or at least put pressure on the existing players, so in the following Olympics you will have seriously good players like Manpreet Singh," he said.

Nobbs, India coach from June 2011 till July 2013, did not seem too concerned about former coach Walsh's departure after a tiff with HI president Narinder Batra.

"You got a really good bunch of young kids with 100 odd Test matches. Very few coaches are going to make this team a million per cent better. I don't think a coach will make them world beaters. You won't win a gold medal in the next (2016 Rio) Olympics regardless of who coaches it.

"But you will get better and better and as everyone has said it is the process and its working pretty well. There will be new coaches and he will do good because the team is doing better," said Nobbs.

He also felt that the new format in hockey, in which the game is divided into four quarters of 15 minutes each as opposed to the traditional 70-minute one split into two halves, seems to have levelled the playing field a bit between top notch teams like Australia and struggling ones like India.

"In a 70-minute game, you do your substitution based on every 5-6 minutes, so you rotate your players through. Australia and all the other top 10 teams have equal players.

"In India's case that (new format) could be a really good thing. It could level up the field where fitness is not the most paramount thing unlike the old one where you can put pressure on the team for 70 minutes and they can make mistakes due to sheer exhaustion.

"I am not 100 per cent sure (about the suitability of the format). It's made for television. Let's give it 6-9 months and it will work for India."

He, however, ruled out any chance of him applying for the coach's job again.

"It nearly killed me last time. I would rather sit on the sidelines along with you people. It's a young person's game and you need a young coach."

The Times of India

Finals of the inaugural Cairn Juniors Hockey cup to be played today at the Shivaji Stadium

The Trophies at stake.

New Delhi - SS Mota Singh will take on GBSSS, Saket J Block and GBSSS, Khanpur will fight it out with VCS Agriculture, Khera Kheri in the finals of the inaugural Cairn Juniors Hockey cup 2015 in the Junior (U-17) and Sub Junior (U-14) categories respectively.

In the first Juniors semifinal SS Mota Singh, Janakpuri took on Modern School, Barakhamba Road in which the boys from SS Mota Singh made a remarkable comeback to beat Modern School 3-1. Modern School took the lead in the 10th minute through a goal from Captain Keshav Kanodia and maintained the lead till the 46th minute when Deep from SS Mota School scored the equalizer. He scored another goal in the very next minute to give SS Mota the lead. Naveen scored the third for SS Mota to clinch the game. SS Mota will take on GBSSS, Saket J Block in the finals tomorrow. GBSSS Saket, J Block beat GBSSS, Mahrauli 2-0. The boys from Saket dominated the proceedings and in end was an easy victory for them. Pawn and Sonu scored a goal apiece for Saket.

In the first semi-final of the Sub Junior category, VCS Agriculture, Khera Kheri completed a comprehensive victory over SBV, Ashok Nagar 2-0. Mohit and Kunal scored scored one goal each for VCS. They will take on GBSSS, Khanpur in the final who beat Yogi Arvind SBV, Ambedkar Nagar 1-0 in a closely contested match. Suraj Kumar scored the winning goal for the GBSSS, Khanpur.

Finals Fixture:

Sub Junior (Under 14)

15:00 hrs GBSSS, Khanpur VS VCS Agriculture, Khera Kheri

Junior (Under 17)

16.00 hrs SS Mota Singh VS GBSSS, Saket J Block


FIH win the ‘International Creative Organisation Award’

FIH awarded the ‘International Creative Organisation Award’ at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award ceremony

(Photo: MBRA)

FIH was awarded the ‘International Creative Organisation Award’ at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award ceremony in Dubai last week.

The prestigious Awards which were attended by FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather and FIH President Leandro Negre, are the first of their kind to be devoted entirely to creativity in sport.  FIH was recognised for its efforts in putting on the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands. 

Both the men’s and women’s tournaments were played simultaneously, and there was also a masters, youth and beach hockey tournament, all coming together in a festival of celebration of the sport. Innovative coverage on television, online and social media ensured that the tournament was the most followed and successful in history.   

Highlights included:

•    Over 260,000 people attended the tournaments
•    120 hours of coverage was streamed in 190 countries
•    550,000 fans joined in on Facebook, meaning hockey is the third most followed Olympic sport on Facebook

On receiving the Award, Leandro said: “The International Creative Organisation Award is an incredible achievement. It recognizes the hard work and commitment of the hockey world to create innovative and exciting entertainment events which is key to FIH’s ambition – a global game that inspires the next generation. 

I am honoured and immensely proud to accept this Award and I would like to express my thanks to everyone involved in the organization of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award. ”

The event was held over two days and the day before the Award ceremony at a forum, Kelly presented the FIH ambition, goals and strategy before going on to explain how the 2014 Rabobank World Cup exemplified achieving these.  His presentation was well-received by the audience who were intrigued by the inclusivity of the events that made up the 2014 Rabobank World Cup which included people of all ages taking part, with a 50:50 gender balance.

A lively and interactive Q&A session followed with the audience, who were particularly interested in hockey 5s and its potential in the UAE as it is such an accessible sport to all.

Concluding the visit, Kelly and Leandro also met with the UAE Hockey Federation to discuss further growth and promotion of hockey in the region.  Discussions included the implementation of a five-a-side hockey pitch in Dubai and use of a potential facility for hockey in Dubai.

FIH site

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