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News for 30 January 2015

All the news for Friday 30 January 2015

Belgium come back to tie the series

JONATHAN COOK at Hartleyvale

SA captain and striker Sulette Damons in full flight during the fourth Test against Belgium at Hartleyvale in Cape Town Thursday. Belgium won 3-2 to tie the series 1-1. Photo credit ACTION PIX

It was the strangest of Test matches, the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team looking like champions in the opening 20 minutes to lead 2-0 before Belgium came back to dominate the rest of this fourth encounter of the six-match series at Hartleyvale in Cape Town Thursday night.

The series is now perfectly poised at 1-1 with two Tests to play – on Sunday at midday and at 6.30pm Monday. Tests one and two between these evenly-matched sides were drawn 1-1 and 2-2 respectively with SA clinching the third Test thriller 3-2 on Wednesday.

There are back-to-back men’s matches, also at Hartleyvale, between Belgium and Ireland at 3pm on Saturday and 2pm on Sunday.

In the ninth minute concerted SA pressure led to a second penalty corner and Lisa Deetlefs got off two successive shots before Dirkie Chamberlain picked up the loose ball and coolly flicked high into the net (1-0).

SA’s half-time lead was established in the 19th minute when Nicolene Terblanche’s long ball down the middle rebounded unexpectedly and captain for the day Sulette Damons was on hand to volley home (2-0).

However, that was where SA’s control ended as Belgium’s Jill Boon, captain Lieselotte van Lindt, Barbara Nelen and Anouk Raes began combining to such good effect that they were able to prise open space and with it the time to cause a bagful of problems for the SA defence.

Goalkeeper Hanli Hatting made a series of excellent save and well-timed interventions coming off her line and there were impressive performances in particular by Erin Hunter, Deetlefs and the ever-consistent Terblanche, but SA couldn’t get the ball and when they did the Belgians quickly won it back again.

One minute into the third chukka (31st) Anne-Sophie Weyns netted in fine fashion for the Belgians to pull one back and in the 40th it was primary penalty corner weapon Stephanie de Groof’s time to pick her spot (2-2).

Three minutes from full-time, first-wave penalty corner defender Damons did exceptionally well to block a De Groof strike but the ball fell nicely for the series’ leading goalscorer to rifle a stunning backhand that rocketed high into the net for the Europeans to tie the series.

Investec SA: Hanli Hattingh (GK), Lisa Deetlefs, Erin Hunter, Christine Roos, Nicolene Terblanche, Illse Davids, Shelley Russell, Bernie Coston, Lilian du Plessis, Sulette Damons (capt), Dirkie Chamberlain. Rolling subs: Sanani Mangisa (GK), Nicole Walraven, Demi du Toit, Cornell Botha, Quanita Bobbs, Line Malan, Candice Manuel.
Belgium: Megane Simons (GK), Anne-Sophie Scheemaekere, Aline Fobe, Stephanie de Groof, Anouk Raes, Judith Vandermeiren, Emilie Sinia, Barbara Nelen, Stephanie van den Borre, Jill Boon, Joanne Peeters. Rolling subs: Aisling D’Hooghe (GK), Louise Cavenaile, Emma Pervez, Anne-Sophie Weyns, Manon Simons, Lieselotte van Lindt (capt), Caroline Wagemans.
Umpires: Lyndal Robertson, Wanri Venter.

(All at Hartleyvale)
Friday: Rest day
Saturday - Men: Belgium vs Ireland (3pm)
Sunday - Women: South Africa vs Belgium (12 noon); Men: Belgium vs Ireland (2pm)
Monday – SA vs Belgium (6pm)
Tickets: R30. Gates open an hour before first whistle.

SA Hockey Association media release

Ireland 0-5 Netherlands (Men)

The Green Machine played their final match against the Dutch today in Stellenbosch. The Netherlands, ranked 2nd in the world, got off to the better start but Ireland found their way into the game throughout the first quarter and the teams ended the period 0-0. Ireland’s defence held strong for much of the second quarter but a rapid Dutch counter attack earned Verga a goal. The Dutch built on this pressure and narrowly missed with a penalty corner, but just before the half time whistle blew Van Ass showed great skill along the end line and lifted the ball over the keeper to make it 2-0 at half time.

Ireland came out fighting at the start of the second half and put the Dutch under pressure with a penalty corner that was cleared off the line. Magee and Darling combined to win a long corner but the Dutch defence held strong and cleared the danger. Bruton forced the Dutch keeper into a brilliant save with point blank shot. The third quarter came to a close with a Ireland down to 10 men after Magee was shown a card and a Dutch penalty corner which Havenga fired home to make it 3-0.

The fourth quarter began with the same determination Ireland showed throughout the match and a shot from Watt earned the Green Machine a penalty corner. The Dutch managed to counter from a great save and a fourth goal followed. The drag hit Gormley on the hip, which caused protests from the men in green but the goal stood. The Dutch got a fifth goal shortly after with a great long ball and rasping shot. The game drew to a close with the Dutch down to 10 men after a tackle on Darling earned them a green card.

The team have a rest day tomorrow and will finish their training camp with two tests against World Number 5 Belgium in Saturday and Sunday.

NETHERLANDS 5 (Verga, Van Ass, Havenga, Van Der Horst, De Wijn)
IRELAND: David Fitzgerald (GK), Mark Ingram (GK), Jonathan Bell, Ronan Gormley, John Jackson, Alan Sothern, Stephen Dowds, Eugene Magee,  Kirk Shimmins, Bruce McCandless, Michael Darling, Paul Gleghorne, Shane O Donoghue ,Neal Glassey, Michael Robson, Jonny Bruton, Michael Watt, Drew Carlisle

Did Not Play: Christopher Cargo, James Lorimer, Peter Caruth, Kyle Good

Saturday January 31st v Belgium - Hartleyvale 15.00 (local)
Sunday February 1st v Belgium - Hartleyvale 14.00 (local)

Irish Hockey Association media release

Budgies push Poland

Self-named Budgies, the men's indoor team, narrowly lose to Poles

With the Australian men’s indoor hockey team in Europe, preparing for the forthcoming Indoor World Cup in Leipzig (4-8 February), Team Manager Brent Deans is providing a series of short updates exclusively for the Hockey Australia website.

The newest diary entry is nearest the top.

During the tournament we’ll have reports and photos from every match (men’s and women’s). For the details of the squad and the tournament fixture card visit our Australian Indoor team page.

You can follow the team on Instragram at @indoorhockeyaus.

29th January: Really crisp morning today, the sun is up but no heat coming from it at all! The day started with the normal walk and stretch, then breakfast, some treatment and then off to the hall for the test match against Poland.

The guys were feeling pretty good after the game against Grunwald and were looking forward to the challenge. Poland have been one of the top four nations at the past three Indoor World Cups, so they have some pedigree.

Once at the hall Anthony led the team meeting outlining the framework the team would play by. Some really positive stuff from the night before was the PC defence and that was highlighted.
The match was capped and as such started with both teams lining up and national anthems played, a really good feeling for all involved. The match was played in front of a small enthusiastic crowd.

The match started at a good tempo and we were able to match and in some cases out play Poland. Both teams were able to create goal opportunities and with nine minutes gone in the first half we gave away an unnecessary PC, which Poland converted. The positive was we continued to play at a high tempo and should have equalised through PC opportunities. Half time 1-0 down but encouraged enough to know we were very much in the game. The second half continued in much the same speed as the first; we were pushing and gained a PC early in the half. Unfortunately the movement broke down and Poland were able to break and score on the counter. We had gone from the verge of equalising to being two goals down. The positive was we still had time and confidence we could gain a result. Our persistence paid off and from another PC we converted to close the gap. The goal gave us a life and within a couple of minutes we were awarded a penalty stroke. Their GK made a great save to keep their one goal advantage, which Poland were able to keep to the final whistle. At the end the guys were both disappointed and pleased that we were able to run Poland so hard. 2-1 defeat the final score.

We had agreed with Poland before the match that we would have a penalty shootout, as the shootout will be used in the World Cup. Wow, the guys did really well and were clinical in converting as well as saving the Polish shots. A good warm-down and as a special treatment our liaison had arranged for students at the University to provide sports massages, which were appreciated.

After lunch the guys had free time which all were looking forward to. Some went to the shops but most just relaxed. Team meeting at 6pm where we reviewed the Polish match. Then out to dinner in the old town, a brisk 15 minutes’ walk with some sleeting snow, but not enough to stop you from walking. Back to the accommodation after a good day. The second match against Poland will be Friday night, so we are expecting a good crowd to come and watch the action.

28th January: The guys were up early and a few were feeling the pace of training at a high level. Quite a busy day today as we had two matches arranged. The first match at the end of training against another visiting team and the second against the Polish Champions Grunwald, so the day was very similar to what we will be doing at the World Cup.

Training was pretty good with the focus being PC defence; lots of discussion and practice. At the end the group felt good about the training and the positions that we were running. A quick change and into a game which showed up a couple of things. We really need to have a good warm-up as part of our game preparation. Our concentration was lacking and we struggled in a number of areas, but a good exercise.

On arriving back to the accommodation we had a team meeting where we looked at areas of improvement for the match in the evening, as we knew this match would be at a good level and would give us an indication of how we were really going. A really good positive meeting, with focus points to work on.

Lunch and rest and some personal time for the guys. Again, we need to practice switching off following one match before going into the next.

The match against Grunwald was late – 20:30 on the pitch with the match starting at 20:45. We had agreed to play 3 x 20min, again putting pressure on the guys to play at a high level for an extended period. Anthony was really pleased with the overall performance. A number of the players really stood up and showed quality. Both teams played well and after 2 x 20 we held a slender 4-3 lead. In the final period, while we did hold the ball for long periods, we needed to score in the final 30 seconds for the match to finish 5-5.

Some tired but pleased boys headed back to the accommodation, all looking forward to playing Poland tomorrow.

27th January: After the monster travel day on the 26th the guys had a bit of a sleep-in. Back into the routine today with a training session in the morning and a match in the evening against the University team, AWZ.

An 8:00am walk and stretch, breakfast, then off to training. The training hall is about 2km from where we are staying so some walked but most took a taxi. The weather isn't the best and with all the GK gear a taxi is a good option.

We had a really good training session with [coach] Anthony [Potter] continuing to work on game scenarios in a short time frame. The guys are enjoying the challenge and are improving each session.

Back to the Ibis for lunch and meetings. The focus of the meeting was discussion on the training and agreeing solutions.A short rest then back to the hall to play the University Club AWZ.

The University team is a strong young team who were runners-up in the National League so pretty handy opposition. It took us some time to get going, which is something we need to be aware of. AWZ jumped out to a two goal advantage, which was a reward for their speed of play, but once the guys got going we were able to dominate the game. During the game, Anthony was able to introduce some of the changes of play we had been practicing, the final result 9-2.

Out for dinner and rest, similar progam tomorrow.

26th January: Happy Australia Day. Today marked the end of our first training camp in Antwerp. We head to Poznan by train, yes by train – a journey of almost 1000km. From our experience last year with flights and luggage, the train is a good option.

Early start meant a 7:15 taxi into Antwerp in peak traffic and via a crash (not ours) but we all made it in time.

First train Antwerp to Brussels, pretty short journey. We took over the carriage with our luggage.
Second train Brussels to Cologne, two hours - managed to get all our luggage on no problem.
Third train Cologne to Berlin four and a half hours - a good journey apart from the dining car running out of food and change. The guys were a bit hungry.

Fourth train Berlin to Poznan three hours - the train wasn't too busy so the guys spread out.

We arrived in Poznan at 8:30pm and the Polish Federation's liaison person Klaudia was there to meet us and get us to the waiting bus. All good. Arrived at the accommodation, rooms sorted and everyone happy. Rest time training starts again tomorrow. Looks like the weather maybe closing in, lucky we are indoors.

Hockey Australia media release

Williams thriving as Canada’s last and only line of defense

6 Days until 2015 Indoor World Cup

Shaheed Devji

Of any position in any sport, goaltending might just be the one with the most pressure. To be the last line of defense comes with a lot of expectation. To be the only line of defense comes with a lot more.

But for Katy-Jo Williams, who is the only goalkeeper headed to the upcoming Indoor World Cup in Germany with the Canadian Women’s Indoor National Team, the pressure has become commonplace.

The 25 year-old native of Burlington, Ontario has been in a similar situation before.

Last April at the 2014 Pan American Cup in Uruguay, she was also Canada’s only goalie at the tournament, and she performed exceptionally well, leading the Canada to gold and a berth in the 2015 Indoor World Cup.

“I definitely felt the pressure where I was the only goalie,” she recalls. “If you let in a few goals that are bad, you can’t get pulled, there’s no one else there’s only you.”

“I think that it was a lot of pressure but I just accepted the challenge.”

For some, it could be a lot – maybe too much – to deal with it. But KJ has learned to accept it as the norm.

Williams has a history of playing in the pressure-packed position.

From her time playing ice hockey in Burlington, during which every game she played in she was between the pipes, or to her varsity career playing field hockey at the University of Toronto, where she lead the Blues to the OUA (Ontario University Athletics) title in 2011 while accumulating ten shutouts.

But despite all her accolades and pedigree, being counted on so heavily as the team’s only keeper heading to indoor hockey’s biggest stage comes with a roller coaster of emotions.

“I’m so excited to not have to worry about competing with someone else,” she says of being the team’s only goalie at the World Cup. “But at the same time there’s a lot of pressure on me to perform my best.”

But in every instance so far, she’s been able to do just that.

A lot of that comes down to ability. But much of it also comes with confidence, which is something Williams has been able to build through her Women’s Indoor National Team head coach, John D’Souza, who has been guiding her for the better part of a decade since their time together with the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.

“John had so much confidence in me that it made me a better goalie because of it, knowing that your coach is behind you one-hundred percent,” she says.

“The whole coaching staff are so great at giving me the motivation to perform at my best and I think that has played a huge role.”

For the coach, that comfort with his goalie is just as important and the keeper’s comfort with him.

“She wants to win, she competes hard, and she’s extremely athletic,” says D’Souza.

“I think that she’s going to show a lot of people on the world stage that she should be talked about. She is that good.”

Of course, if Canada wants to reach its goal of finishing in the top eight, they will have to have a team firing on all cylinder, not just goalkeeping.

But with Williams as the backstop, they know they’ll have a chance.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Soyez names extended Spanish panel of 24

Spanish national team coach Fred Soyez has named a 24-player panel for a three-day training camp which runs from next Tuesday to Thursdays, working to a specific training plan ahead of their set-up for the World League next June in Argentina.

Twenty players lined out in Alicante last week in a series against France with Roger Padrós, Alvaro Iglesias and Josep and Ramon Romeu, completing the list as they join up with the panel.

The panel features four more Polo players in addition to Padrós – Manel Terrazza, Salvador Piera, Xavi Lleonart and Alex Casasayas. Egara have four participants while Atlétic Terrassa have three representatives.

Elsewhere, they are a large number of Belgian-based players with Royal Daring’s Sergi Enrique, Royal Antwerp’s Miquel Delas, Herakles’ Oriol Bach and KHC Leuven’s Pau Quemada and Ricardo Santana Viera all involved.

Across the border, there are a couple of players hailing from Dutch clubs including Bosco Pérez-Pla from HGC and Gabriel Dabanch from Oranje Zwart.

Euro Hockey League media release

UP Wizards trounce Kalinga Lancers

Uttar Pradesh Wizards players celebrate a goal against Kalinga Lancers in Lucknow on Thursday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt   

Uttar Pradesh Wizards trounced Kalinga Lancers 5-1 to register their first win in the third edition of the Hero Hockey India League (HIL) in Lucknow on Thursday.

V.R. Raghunath (5th minute) opened the scoring for UP Wizards from a penalty corner, while the other four goals came through field efforts in the last 10 minutes of the game from the sticks of SK Uthappa (53rd), Bob de Voogd (54th), skipper Wouter Jolie (55th) and Jeroen Hertzberger (60th).

For Lancers Russel Ford scored the consolation goal in the 58th minute.

UP Wizards have now climbed to the third spot in the standings with eight points from one win, one loss and one defeat while the Lancers are just below with six points.

It took the Wizards just five minutes to break the deadlock when Raghunath sounded the board with a fierce dragflick past Lancers goalkeeper Andrew Charter from their first penalty corner.

Thereafter both the teams created a number of scoring chances in the second and third quarter, but none could find the final touch.

But the match turned head on in the fourth and final quarter when UP Wizards struck thrice within three minutes to take control of the game.

The Lancers managed to pull one back two minutes from the hooter through Ford but UP Wizards restored their lead in the final minute when Hertzberger flawlessly converted a penalty stroke.

UP Wizards coach Roelant Oltmans was ecstatic after the victory.

“It was really necessary for us to win the match and I am glad that we succeeded in doing so. The team had a new captain in this match that turned out to be fruitful and I will keep rotating the captains in the future matches as well.

This strategy seems to be working for us,” he said.

Lancers coach Jude Felix termed his team’s performance as “disappointing”.

“It was a very disappointing performance. We were in there till the third quarter of the match but the fourth quarter changed the entire game,” he said.

The Hindu

Mark Knowles gets one match suspension

Mark Knowles

Jaypee Punjab Warriors will be without the services of its experienced midfielder Mark Knowles against Delhi Waveriders on Friday after the Australian was handed a one-match suspension for breaching the Hero Hockey India League (HIL) Code of Conduct.

The Disciplinary Committee of HIL on Wednesday night met to discuss the conduct of Knowles during his team’s match against Uttar Pradesh Wizards on Monday and found him guilty of breaching the Code of Conduct.

According to a statement from the organisers, after analysing video and audio recordings of that match the disciplinary committee found Knowles guilty of using abusive language against an opponent player.

The ban means Knowles will miss table toppers Jaypee Punjab Warriors match against defending champions Delhi Waveriders at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi on Friday.

The Hindu

Delhi Waveriders target maiden win

NEW DELHI: Defending champions Delhi Waveriders have made a sedate start to their campaign in the third edition of the Hero Hockey India League (HIL) with back-to-back draws, but they are expecting a change in fortunes when they play their first match on the home turf on Friday.

For that to happen, they will have to come up with a clinical performance against their next rivals, a rampaging Jaypee Punjab Warriors who are the current table toppers with 12 points. Delhi are languishing at the bottom of the table with four points.

Delhi were held by Uttar Pradesh Wizards and Ranchi Rays in their earlier matches, while the Warriors started their campaign with a draw but followed it with impressive wins against Kalinga Lancers and UP Wizards.

Delhi captain Sardar Singh is aware that his side will have to go in with a positive mindset if they have to tame the Warriors. "We are not taking any team lightly but Punjab is playing really well in the tournament," Sardar said. "But we are staying positive and looking to finish the game on a winning note."

Coach Cedric D'Souza said the team is upbeat.

"We are in a better shape and have improved from our previous game. We are ready for tomorrow's match. We will play our natural game, keeping a few strategies in mind. We will give our best."

Warriors, on their part, are confident of maintaining a clean slate in the third edition of the HIL.

"Our performance in the previous matches has been great and we aim to maintain our winning streak," coach Barry Dancer said.

The Times of India

In Haryana, selector, coach, captain rolled into one

Gaurav Kanthwal

Pritam Siwach

Chandigarh - Call it a problem of plenty, arbitrary selection, petty politics or favouritism. A women hockey player may be good enough to play for India or might have attended umpteen conditioning camps with the best in India but if she has to represent Haryana in National Games, she has to get over all the above hurdles to make it to the playing XI.

Jasjeet Kaur, Joydeep, Mandeep and Navneet have played for India. Babita, Manjeet, Deepti and Shilpa have won gold medals in junior Nationals and attended several India camps but they do not qualify to represent the state in the upcoming National Games.

The 18-member squad for Haryana has 13 players from Sonepat itself, all trained by Pritam Siwach. Forty-year-old Siwach, who started as a selector and then became a coach, in all likelihood, will be captaining the side. Her husband, Kuldeep Siwach, will take over as the coach of the team.

The state government gives Rs 3 lakh (gold), Rs 2 lakh (silver) and Rs 1 lakh (bronze) to the medal-winning athletes in the National Games.

The selection trials were conducted in Gurgaon on January 4. Intriguingly, the team was announced on January 28 and the team left for Thiruvananthpuram on the same day. A day later, the two traditional centres of hockey in Haryana, Shahbad and Hisar, are left ruing being sidelined for the selection.

Hisar-based coach Azad Malik said, “There is no doubt that the team has been selected arbitrarily. We were asked to send only five names. None of the five was selected. Even the players who have represented India have not been selected.”

Shahabad coach Baldev Singh said, “How come 13 players from Sonepat have been selected in the same year. It’s strange.”

Hockey Haryana general secretary Sunil Malik accused Baldev of habitually playing politics over team selections. “It is his habit of cribbing every time his say is ignored. The team has been selected purely on merit.”

It does not help when the state government and the sports department have been increasing cash rewards as populist measures but failing to monitor sports associations’ activities.

The three-member committee constituted by IOA to sponsor participation of Haryana teams under the banner of IOA has also drawn flak for being a mute spectator and let the arbitrary selections happen. Malik said, “There is no point in having new sports policies when you don’t improve the implementation process. Sports Minister Anil Vij should have intervened.”

The Tribune

MJHL: Thunderbolts-PJCC thriller

By Jugjet Singh

JUNIOR Hockey League (JHL) table toppers Thunderbolts and Petaling Jaya City Council (PJCC) face-off in a thriller to claim the early Division One favourites tag at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil Friday.

Thunderbolts, the three-time consecutive double champions from Johor, have been knocking goals past their opponents with ease but coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman did not want to take matters lightly, as he has yet to watch PJCC in action.

"It is difficult to judge your opponents without watching them play. If we do that, they could surprise us, so we must be cautious," he said.

"Both teams have the early momentum so I believe it will be a tight affair as they have a few good players on their side. As for my team, everyone is fit and ready for more action," said Wan Roslan.

Thunderbolts thumped their juniors 5-0 in the JHL curtain-raiser before hammering promoted side Politeknik Malaysia 7-2 last Sunday.

PJCC have beaten Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) 3-0 and Thunderbolts Juniors 4-1.

Firdaus Omar is the toast of Thunderbolts as he converted three penalty corners in each match to take his tally to six, leaving Wan Roslan rooting for more from him.

"Yes, we are banking on him to score again as he is among the core players in the squad and is also in the Project 2016. He is doing well now and I hope to see him continue his run," said Wan Roslan.

In other Division One matches, UniKL, who have also won their opening two matches, take on BJSS while Thunderbolts Juniors play Olak PKT Tigers in Temerloh.

FRIDAY: Division One: Thunderbolts v Olak PKDT Tigers (Temerloh, 4.45pm); PJCC v Thunderbolts (NHS I, 4.45pm); UniKL v BJSS (NHS II, 4.45pm).

Division Two: Group A: 1MAS Perak v KLSS (Azlan Shah, 4.45pm)
SM Sains Raja Tun Azlan Shah v MSNT-PHT - (Azlan Shah, 6.45pm).

Group B: 1MAS Perlis v ISMO PHA (Kuala Perlis, 4.45pm); MSSD Larut Matang v MSS Kedah (Kuala Kangsar, 4.45pm).

Group C: 1MAS Malacca v 1MAS TBSS Tampin (Malacca, 4.45pm), SMK Tun Hussein v SMKDBL PHJ (Batu Pahat, 4.45pm)

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Firdaus proving to be a key player for Thunderbolt in junior hockey league

By S. Ramaguru

Mohamed Firdaus Omar has scored six goals in two matches thus far in the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League.

KUALA LUMPUR: Mohamed Firdaus Omar is the player of the moment in the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League (MJHL).

With two consecutive hat-tricks in two matches, he is already seen as a potential top goal-poacher.

And for defending double champions SSTMI-Thunderbolt it is certainly welcomed news. The Division One club are now hoping that the Perak-born player can maintain his scoring spree and help them retain the league and overall titles.

Firdaus scored all the goals from penalty corner set-pieces.

The lanky defender came to the attention of the national selectors last year and was selected for the Project 2016 (national juniors) team.

And Firdaus not only wants to play in the national juniors regularly but also hopes to emulate his idol, top penalty corner flicker and the national team captain Mohamed Razie Rahim.

“Yes, Mohamed Razie is one of my hockey idols. The other is my uncle (Zaharin Zakaria) who has played for the national junior and senior team,” he said.

“I know there will be pressure on me but I will continue to play my normal game. I just want to help the team retain their titles and I am not looking for individual honours,” he said.

This will be his third and last year in the MJHL as he will be overaged for the next edition.

Firdaus has been representing SSTMI-Thunderbolt since making his MJHL debut in 2013. He has also turned out for the national Under-16 team in 2011 and 2012.

“I also played in the Sultan of Johor Cup last year and hope to play in the senior team one day. For now I will focus on helping my team in the MJHL before joining the Project 2016 squad who have an important assignment (Junior Asia Cup) later this year,” he added.

SSTMI-Thunderbolt have two matches this weekend. They play MBPJ on Friday and KLSS-KLHC on Saturday.

The Star of Malaysia

League leaders to do battle royale in junior hockey league

By S. Ramaguru

Mohd Farhan Danial Zulzairin (in red) of MBPJ dribbling past BJSS players in their opening match of the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League. MBPJ won 3-0. – CHAN TAK KONG/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Two unbeaten Division One teams will do battle to gain the upper hand in the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League title run-up.

Table toppers SSTMI Thunderbolts and Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), with six points each, won both their matches last weekend. And they are seen as potential title contenders at this stage.

Both teams currently share the top spot with UniKL.

MBPJ team manager Zainal Abidin said double champions SSTMI are a big threat to any team as they have a strong line-up.

“But what impressed me most is their ability to knock in the goals from penalty corners. Our backline must be spot on to deny them any penalty corner attempts. If we can achieve that I believe we have an even chance of winning,” he said.

Zainal added that they will again depend on teamwork to get the three points.

“But it is not going to be easy. The only thing I can safely say at this moment is that all our players are well-rested and ready for action.”

SSTMI coach Wan Mohamed Roslan remains cautious despite their good start.

“I think there is still a long way to go. It is good that we are scoring goals and not wasting chances. But we are not playing to our full potential yet. So we must be careful when playing against stronger teams,” he added.

“Both teams have good momentum right now so it will be a tight affair.”

SSTMI-Thunderbolt thumped their juniors 5-0 on the opening day before defeating last year’s Division Two champions Politeknik Malaysia 7-2 while MBPJ defeated BJSS 3-0 and Pahang SS-Thunderbolt 4-1.

In other Division One matches, UniKL will play BJSS on Friday followed by Politeknik Malaysia the next day.

The Star of Malaysia

Selangor's Subahan nominated for Malaysian hockey supremo seat

By S. Ramaguru

Selangor Hockey Association (SHA) president Datuk Subahan Kamal was nominated to run for Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) presidency.

KUALA LUMPUR: Selangor Hockey Association (SHA) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal is the first candidate to throw in the challenge to be the next head of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC).

He was nominated to run for the presidency by the SHA at their council meeting on Wednesday.

Incumbent MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has declined to seek re-election when the MHC hold their Congress on Feb 13.

Also up for grabs are the post of deputy president and vice-presidents (seven).

The SHA also nominated one of their vice-presidents Dr S. Shamala for the MHC vice-president post.

SHA secretary P. Kugneson said they have for the moment only nominated their own officials for the various positions in the MHC.

“But we have given the president the mandate to pick other candidates whom he deemed fit to contest. We will send in the nominations to the MHC in the next few days,” he said.

Nominations will close on Monday at 12pm while candidates have until Feb 9 to decide if they want to contest.

It will be interesting to note that the deputy president’s post will be a much sought-after position.

Incumbent Raja Puan Sri Noora Ashikin Raja Abdullah of Perak is expected to face a stiff challenge from the male candidates after the constitution was amended to allow both genders to contest the post.

Each of the 16 affiliates will have two votes each while incumbent office-bearers will not be allowed to vote under the new constitution.

The Star of Malaysia

PHF urges PM to have mercy on national game

Mohsin Ali

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) officials and team management have urged Prime Minister to have some mercy on the national game and release special grant soon to gear up hockey which is back on track and capable of winning laurels for the country.

They said this during a grand reception hosted by National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) here at a local hotel on late Wednesday night to honour Pakistan hockey team, which won silver medals in the Asian Games as well as Champions Trophy. PHF president Chaudhry Akhtar Rasool, secretary Rana Mujahid, chief selector Islahuddin Siddiqui, head coach Shahnaz Sheikh, national team players, former Olympians, Army Sports Directorate secretary Col Bodla, Pakistan Disabled Sports Association (PDSA) chairman Sheikh Abdul Waheed, secretary Nasir Mehmood Chaudhry, Col Junaid along with other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, PHF president Akhtar Rasool said: “We have already missed high-profile events and there is every possibility we can miss Olympic qualifiers as well, if bail-out package is not released by next month.”

He congratulated the players, chief selector and head coach for exceptional performances despite crunch financial situation. “I fully realise how difficult it is for the players to play for the country without getting incentives. If all the stakeholders perform their duties accordingly and work as a unit, there will be no issue and things will run in the right direction, but for that, all of us including the prime minister have to work with sincerity, dedication and have to understand the ground realities.”

“I request the PM, who is also PHF patron, to save the national game as any further delay in release of grant will end Pakistan hockey golden era. We are working day and night for the national cause, but I am very disappointed due to no meeting with the PM yet which is the dire need of the hour. Sheer frustration is creeping in the players and the federation with each passing day, if clear-cut policy is not adopted, I fear, all our past achievements will only be recognised in history books,” he added.

The PHF chief announced Umra package for entire Champions Trophy-bound squad. “The team and officials will depart for performing Umra by February 23, as for going on religious journey, one doesn't need funds or money, only thing required is invitation from the holy place.”

Sharing his views, PHF secretary Rana Mujahid said: “Hats off to coach, chief selector and players for producing excellent results, but they were only playing on grounds while all the related work was responsibility of PHF president and mine. We have worked tirelessly to arrange funds, as all are fully aware of the fact that we don't have any means of generating funds so we have no option but to look at government in this regard. Other federations have hundreds of employees, but the PHF has the lowest work force as we have only 35 and have to look after hockey stadium as well. No one can even think about running the federation affairs in such limited strength.

“We request the PM, IPC Minister and secretary and PSB Director General to get the draft signed which is lying on the PM's table for more than one year. Rs 500 million is not more than a meager amount for government, but it means a lot for the federation. We can completely change fortunes of the national game, if grant is released. We have decided to immediately restore school, college and university level hockey events, and camps will start very soon in this regard. We have a number of plans, and our efforts are already bearing fruit, but this cannot be possible without funds. I hope the PM will not waste further time and the grant for the PHF will be released soon,” Rana added.

Sharing his views, chief selector Islahuddin said: “We have played our part in selecting a formidable squad after traveling from one end of the country to another, conducting trials of more than 600 players, but now the next task is to provide these players maximum opportunities so they may win laurels for the country. Without playing in international events, how it can be possible for coach to improve international rankings? We need funds on war footings to get our hockey back on track.”

Sharing his views, head coach Shahnaz Sheikh attributed green shirts performance to their dedication, hunger and sheer will to excel at the top. “No one could imagine what I had to face in India, hostile media, aggressive people and rude Indian Hockey Federation officials made me sick for their defeat in the semifinals and they were at our backs till we lost the final of the Champions Trophy from Germany. It is my challenge, if the final is replayed at any given venue except India, we could beat Germany by at least 2 or 3 goals margin.

“We had missed a number of high-profile events, until PM releases special grant. The PSB Director General should at least issue directives of handing over the cash incentives to players as per government criteria of finishing on podium in Asian Games and Champions. It could at least inflict some sigh of relief on players and management. I am not part of any institution, I also deserve incentives who would announce incentives for me, I deserve better treatment,” he added.

Meanwhile, NBP handed over Rs 250,000 cheques to seven national team players and NBP coach Abu Zarr representing the bankers. Players include Arsalan Qadir, Ali Shan, Amjed Ali, Kashif Shah, Rizwan Junior, Tauseeq Ahmed and Dilbar Hussain.

The PHF president urged other departments whom players were representing to announce cash incentives for other players as well. “We have written to their respective departments and hopefully, they will also get the awards very soon.”

It is pertinent to mention here that the sources inside Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) have confirmed to this scribe that the PSB had sent a summary to the PM House Thursday requesting to release bailout package by mid February or else Pakistan team could not participate in the Olympic qualifiers. An inside source in the PSB had confirmed that summary had been sent on urgent basis and it is hoped bailout package would be approved very soon he refuse to disclose the amount of the package.

The Nation

Men’s National Junior Squad

25 young athletes selected for 2015 men's National Junior Squad

Hockey Australia has announced its men’s National Junior Squad for 2015. The National Junior Squad will provide development opportunities for the 25 selected athletes to refine their hockey abilities in the build-up towards the 2016 Junior World Cup in India.

The primary focus of the National Junior Squad is to ensure that there is a progressively increasing level of depth within men’s hockey to ensure a sustainable future for the Australian men’s senior squad for years to come.

The National Junior Squad has a shifting priority based on the date of the next Junior World Cup. In the two years preceding the Junior World Cup, the focus is on an under 21 age group, while during the rest of the cycle, the National Junior Squad supports athletes at an under 23 age group. As such, in preparation for the 2016 Junior World Cup, athletes born in 1994 or later are eligible for selection in 2015, and athletes born in 1995 or later are eligible for selection for selection in 2016.

Athletes have been assessed across the past year at Under 18 and Under 21 Australian Championships, the Australian Hockey League, the Youth Olympic Games, Sultan of Johor Cup and in a series of National Junior camps across the year, including the Youth Development Camp on the Gold Coast in December.

In discussing the selection of the National Junior Squad, Hockey Australia’s National Talent Pathway Manager Michael Crooks said, “The selection of the 2015 National Junior Squad has been a long and detailed process, and the national selectors are very happy with the squad that has been put forward to Hockey Australia. With this targeted group of athletes embedded within Hockey Australia’s development and National Training Centre programs, we are confident that we have the nucleus of a strong team heading into the Junior World Cup in 2016, then transitioning into the senior national program in the years ahead.”

The men’s FIH Junior World Cup will take place in India from 1-11 December 2016.

2015 Hockey Australia Men's National Junior Squad
(Listed alphabetically by surname)
Athlete (Hometown, State)
Matthew Bird (Coolbellup, WA)
Scott Boyde (Chandler, QLD)
Jonathan Bretherton (Brighton, VIC)
Joshua Bretherton (Brighton, VIC)
Oliver Crane (Casuarina, NSW)
James Day (Trace, ACT)
Isaac Farmilo (Tamworth, NSW)
Stephen Gale (Bulleen, VIC)
Frazer Gerrard (Cottesloe, WA)
Kyle Gildea (Carrara, QLD)
Ross Hall (Attadale, WA)
Casey Hammond (Bundoora, VIC)
Jack Hayes (Albion Park, NSW)
Max Hendry (Camberwell, VIC)
Benjamin Hooppell (Parkville, VIC)
Timothy Howard (Wakerley, QLD)
Bradley Hughes (Goonellabah, NSW)
Maxwell Hughes (Lake Heights, NSW)
Samuel Liles (Tamworth, NSW)
Alec Rasmussen (Stirling, WA)
Marshall Roberts (Crawley, WA)
Andrew Scanlon (Werribee, VIC)
Joshua Simmonds (Ringwood North, VIC)
Nathanael Stewart (Narellan, NSW)
Ashley Thomas (Baulkam Hills, NSW)

Hockey Australia media release

High Performance Director appointed

Andy Smith replaces Trish Heberle as Hockey Australia HPD

Andy Smith has been appointed as Hockey Australia’s new High Performance Director, replacing Trish Heberle, who left the role in November 2014.

Smith, a former county cricketer with Surrey CCC in England, has spent the last six years working as Operations Manager for Hockey Australia’s men’s High Performance Program, part of the behind-the-scenes team that has helped the Kookaburras to an Olympic bronze medal, two World Cup gold medals and two Commonwealth Games crowns.

He has previously worked as Program Manager/Coordinator for the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS) and as a project manager in the development department of the Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA). Prior to emigrating to Australia from England, Smith worked for the England and Wales Cricket Board in its International Team and First Class Cricket Operations departments.

Hockey Australia Chief Executive Cam Vale said, “Andy’s appointment concludes an extensive recruitment process that attracted a lot of interest and some excellent candidates. I’m looking forward to working with Andy in his new role as we continue to strive for our vision of consistent Australian team performance and team success at our benchmark events, keeping our men’s and women’s teams – the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos – at the forefront of world hockey and developing the talent of the future.”

Smith will take up his new role on 2 February.

Hockey Australia media release

FIH talk to the newly-crowned 2014 Goalkeeper of the Year Joyce Sombroek

(Photo: FIH)

What does it mean to you being voted Goalkeeper of the Year?
I’m extremely happy and I feel very honoured, especially considering all the other great goalkeepers that were nominated for this title. It’s the first time that I have received an individual award, which makes this particularly special for me.

Do you feel you have performed differently this season, or is it simply a case that things have fallen into place for you this year?
I’ve been working hard over the last few years to keep on improving year on year. The last couple of seasons already went well, but in 2014 and especially during the World Cup, everything came together. Not only did we play our best hockey but it was also unique that we only conceded one goal.

(FIH: This goal was conceded when Joyce had been substituted, meaning Joyce actually conceded no goals the entire tournament.)

Have you approached training differently this year?
I wouldn’t say that I fundamentally changed my training regime in 2014. I always train hard and I aim to work on every aspect of the game. My focus was on hockey, yet I still managed to find some time for medicine study.

Has a change in coach changed the way you and your team play?
Definitely, every coach has his own style and I try to learn from all of my coaches. Max (Caldas) helped us to be the best we could be at the Olympics in 2012 and the World Cup in 2014. Currently we’re working with Sjoerd (Marijne), who brings some fresh ideas and will help us to get to the next level.

What do you feel are the strengths in your game?
I think that my key strengths are good reflexes, being athletic and flexible and reading the game. But one aspect in particular, which I think is really important as a goalkeeper, is the mental aspect of the game.

And what do you feel you still need to work on?
I’m always trying to improve my technique together with my goalie trainers Bart van Gaalen and Simon Zijp. Another thing that I’m further developing are my coaching skills.

With Jaap Stockmann winning the men’s award, do the Netherlands have a winning formula for producing great goalkeepers?
The importance of having a good goalkeeper is being more recognised. As a result, many clubs are giving goalkeepers specific training and attention from an early age.

Tell us about your partnership with your defence
Like every other aspect in hockey, defending the goal is a team effort. My teammates are very determined to gain ball possession and then do what we also love: play some fast combinations and score. I’m lucky to have so many great players standing in front of me and I believe that one of our most important qualities is the fact that we’re such a strong team.

What do the next few months hold for the Dutch national squad?
In 2015 there will be two important tournaments, the Hockey World League and the European Championships, and we’ll be very eager to win these tournaments.

FIH site

From the Desk of an Intern

Throughout the year, USA Field Hockey offers opportunities to college students and graduates to gain professional growth within the Olympic movement. Our internships permit those qualified to add extra special lines to their resume that include add hands-on experience on national and international levels.

Our three 2015 spring communications interns are revved up and ready to tackle the semester by presenting fresh ideas that have the potential and power to morph into real campaigns and projects.

Check out why Missy, Karley and Sarah applied as a USA Field Hockey intern and what they aspire to learn! Visit usafieldhockey.com for similar opportunities.

“In the past, I have focused on a variety of media platforms. USA Field Hockey will allow me to focus on one team and create amazing experiences with them. Interacting with the players and having the chance to interview them would be great practice for the future. Observing athletes off the field is something not many people have the chance to accomplish. I hope to learn more about the industry itself and how to interact with other teams as competition begins. Also, I want to participate in more social media campaigns through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram that I hope to apply to my career in the future. “ - Missy Cameron

“I am also looking forward to informing the local community about upcoming events and generating buzz about the team. I’m hoping to help document and share the efforts the team makes to volunteer in the community. It will be interesting to work from Elizabethtown and Lancaster and be under the direction of the communications team in Colorado. I think that this will be another way that I can develop my skills as a communicator by receiving direction and working independently as well as with other interns over the semester. I couldn't ask for a better opportunity and I’m honored to be a part of USA Field Hockey.”- Karley Ice

“I was thrilled to have been told about the internship with USA Field Hockey. This role has afforded me to work with two other interns to help promote Team USA on their way to the 2016 Summer Olympics.  I now also have the opportunity to shadow a photographer at the U.S. Women’s Field Hockey Team vs Argentina series to see what I can do better.  What I really want to get out of this internship is to become a better photographer and to be better at working with others in support of the team. “ - Sarah Pietrowski

USFHA media release

RIP Trevor Lorimer

It is with great sadness we learned this morning of the death of Trevor Lorimer. Trevor was a great supporter of Irish Hockey and held the role of Irish U16 Boys Manager for a number of years. 

 Our deepest sympathy to his wife Ann-Maree and their children Kathryn, James & Claire and all the members of Mossley Hockey Club.

Funeral arrangements as follows:

Monday, 2nd February at 1.00pm

Kilbride Presbyterian Church, Moyra Road, Doagh, Ballyclare

Irish Hockey Association media release

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