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News for 09 February 2015

All the news for Monday 9 February 2015

Double delight for Dutch in Leipzig

Netherlands men & women take the titles at Indoor Hockey World Cup

The Dutch took the honours at the Indoor World Cup. (Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)

The Netherlands have achieved a dazzling double success at the Indoor Hockey World Cup, with both the men’s and women’s national teams winning the Gold medals in front of a sell-out crowd at the Arena Leipzig in Germany.

The Dutch women took their dramatic style, defeating host nation Germany in a shoot-out in front of a passion-filled audience. A late goal from Claire Verhage cancelled out a lead that Germany held for the majority of a pulsating match, with Netherlands keeper Adinda Alberts making three saves to give the Netherlands the title and break the hearts of the host nation in the process. 

Regarding her team’s shoot-out success, Netherlands shot-stopper Adina Alberts said: “We practiced shoot-outs and watched how the men did it against Germany yesterday. We tried to copy it and it worked for us.”

The Netherlands men took their Gold medal with a stunning 3-2 triumph against Austria. Goals from Bjorn Kellerman, team captain Robert Tigges and Robbert van de Peppel proved to be enough, although two dramatic penalty corner saves from goalkeeper of the tournament Laurens Goedegeburre more than played their part in the success.  The final save sparked wild celebrations from the Dutch players, knowing that they had won their first indoor world title at the expense of their devastated Austrian opponents.

Netherlands captain Robert Tigges was overjoyed with the victory, singling out Goedegeburre for special praise. “Our goalie was amazing throughout the tournament. I still cannot believe that we have won it, I feel like I am living a dream. To win a tournament like this you need to have all of the luck on your side, and that is what we had.” 

Earlier in the day, Czech Republic women took the Bronze medal by defeating Austria in a shoot-out, with Germany’s men delighting the mammoth home crowd with a 13-2 victory over surprise nation Iran.

More information including match highlights, reports, photos and full official tournament info and statistics can be found on our event microsites at the links below.

Event Page Men
Event Page Women

Individual Award Winners
Top Scorer: Denise Admiraal (NED) – 13 goals
Player of the Tournament: Katharina Otte (GER)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Yvonne Frank (GER)
Talent of the Tournament: Anne Schröder (GER)

Top Scorer: Alexander Otte (GER) – 19 goals
Player of the Tournament: Benjamin Stanzl (AUT)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Laurens Goedegebuure (NED)
Talent of the Tournament: Timm Herzbruch (GER)

FIH site

Germany men storm to Bronze in Leipzig

Iran’s incredible tournament comes to an end with a 4th place finish at IWC

Moritz Fürste and his German team won Bronze. (Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)

Germany men recovered from the disappointment of losing Saturday’s semi-final against the Netherlands to beat Iran and grab the Bronze medal at the Indoor Hockey World Cup in Leipzig.  The fans once again turned out in their thousands and were not disappointed as Alexander Otte scored five times to help the hosts to a 13-2 victory.

The Iranians, who in finishing fourth have surpassed all expectations, took an early lead thanks to a superb finish from Hamid Noraniyan, but Germany stormed into a 5-2 lead at the break before slamming home eight times in the second half to seal the medal.

Germany Head Coach Stefan Kermas was pleased with the victory but felt that the tournament was a missed opportunity for his team. “We were capable of winning the World Cup, so the overall result is disappointing for us. Winning the Bronze was the best we could do after losing the semi-final, but we need to consider the lessons learned here. If we had scored one more goal yesterday I am certain that we would have won the Gold today.”

A five-goal haul for Alexander Otte put him at the top of the scoring table ahead of this afternoon’s Gold medal match between the Netherlands and Austria. “The boys played for me so I could increase the number of goals I have scored, but becoming top scorer won’t get me over the big disappointment of not wining the tournament”, said Otte, before commenting about his enjoyment of playing in front of a packed arena. “I have loved the atmosphere here, it has been brilliant signing autographs for the kids.”

FIH site

Chechakova heroics give Czechs Bronze

Czech Republic women win first ever IWC medal with shoot-out victory over Austria

The Czech team celebrate their biggest success at an Indoor World Cup. (Photo: FIH / Stanislas Brochier)

Czech Republic have claimed the bronze medal at the Indoor Hockey World Cup in Leipzig courtesy of a dramatic shoot-out triumph against Austria. 

A tense, hard-fought match finished with the scores locked at 0-0, with the goalkeeper Barbora Chechakova keeping a clean-sheet in the shoot-out to give Czech Republic their first ever Indoor World Cup medal. The shoot-out finished 2-0, with Katerina Lacina and Adela Reinosova getting the crucial goals.

The bronze medal success was clearly a very special moment for a visibly emotional Chris Faust, the man who has had the exhaustive role of coaching both the women’s and men’s Czech teams here in Leipzig. “I’m speechless”, said Faust. “We have worked very hard for four years now and I am so happy for the girls. I want to say a big thanks to all the spectators here in Leipzig.”

Austria’s Julia Busch was sad to miss out on a medal but felt very happy with the team’s displays at the Indoor World Cup. “We knew that it would be a tough game. A shootout is always something for the nerves and the luckier team will win it. Overall we are happy. We can take a lot of positives away from this tournament.”

5-6 classification match

Poland women secured a fifth place finish in Leipzig with a convincing 7-3 victory over Ukraine. Malgorzata Sztybrych scored twice for the Poles to seal the win, with Amelia Katerla, Pauline Okaj, Oriana Walasek, Joanna Hawrot and Marlena Rybacha all on target. The result condemned Ukraine to a 6th place finish at the 2015 Indoor Hockey World Cup.

7-8 classification match

Belarus secured a 7th place finish at the Indoor World Cup by degeating Australia 3-1. The Aussies took an early lead in the match through talented youngster Kyah Gray, an advantage they held until seven minutes into the second period. A double strike from captain Volha Shyntar gave Belarus the lead midway through the second half with Yuliya Kurhanskaya sealing the win three minutes from time.

FIH site

Spichkovskiy strikes twice as Russia take 5th

Sweden defeated in 5-6 match, while Poland take 7th with shoot-out win over Switzerland at IWC

Russia claimed 5th place at IWC after defeating Sweden. (Photo: FIH / Stanislas Brochier)

The 5-8 classification matches at the men’s Indoor Hockey World Cup here in Leipzig took place on Sunday morning, with Russia defeating Sweden to take 5th place and Poland seeing off Switzerland to claim 7th.

Russia, whose title ambitions were ended by surprise nation Iran in the quarter-finals, were 3-1 winners over the Swedes, with Sergey Spichkovskiy scoring twice. Following the game, Russia captain Dmitry Volkov was in reflective mood, stating: “We are very disappointed as it was our goal to play-off for the medals. There was no need to lose the quarter-final against Iran because we were the better team. For the majority of our team it was the last chance to win a medal at an Indoor World Cup, so we are very sad about missing out here.”

Sweden captain Anders Lundqvist was disappointed by the result, but saw a lot of positives in Sweden’s Indoor World Cup Campaign. “It as been a great tournament so we should be happy with our overall performance , and we had many fans coming over here”, said Lundqvist. “We hope our performance was good for Swedish hockey and we hopefully will inspire more people back home to play the game.”

In the 7-8 classification match, triple Indoor World Cup silver medallists Poland ended their tournament on a high with a dramatic shoot-out victory over Switzerland. Poland’s Bartosz Zywiczka netted in the final minute of the game before scoring what proved to be the decisive goal in the shoot-out.

“We could have made more out of this tournament”, said retiring Swiss goalkeeper Dominic Wullschleger. “Today it was a close one again, but I am not worried about the future of this team because they have a lot of potential and they will do very well in the future. I finished my career with a positive feeling. I can look back on three Indoor World Cups, including the first one here in Leipzig 12 years ago.”

FIH site

Aussie women finish eighth

Defeat to Belarus leaves Australian indoor women eighth at World Cup

Reporting by Courtney Beaton

Photo credit: Andrew & Debra Spence / Sydney Indoor Hockey Assoc.

Australia’s women suffered defeat to Belarus in their final match of the 2015 FIH Indoor World Cup, meaning an eighth place finish for the Aussies, who had begun their campaign so brightly with four wins in their opening four matches and qualification to the quarter finals.

The game started with strong end-to-end play, both sides countering whatever the other served up. In the seventh minute Australia was awarded a penalty stroke and young defender Kyah Gray successfully stepped up to score the first goal and give Australia an early lead.

In response, Belarus went on the attack and applied strong offensive pressure but there was little getting passed Emily Riordan who continued who her strong performance in defence. 

Riordan’s efforts were backed by Australia’s keeper, Clare Comerford, who was resilient in the nets saving several of Belarus’ attempts and proved the difference leading into the half-time break.

Australia held strong and several chances went begging for their strikers who were relentless in their pursuit for a goal to lessen the pressure. It was not to be.

In the 27th minute, a yellow card was shown to Makaela Potts for an offensive drill and the subsequent penalty corner was awarded. Belarus’ captain Volha Shyntar unleashed a flick which flew past Australia’s substitute goalkeeper Peta Sutherland.

Moments later Shyntar was on the attack again and intercepted a pass from Shelley Watson to give the Europeans the lead with just under ten minutes to play.

In an attempt to salvage the game, Sutherland was swapped out for Watson as a kicking-back with just five minutes remaining but Belarus were quick to pounce, scoring a field goal just moments later through Yuliya Kurhanskaya to seal the game and seventh place.

For Australia’s women, the result equals the 2011 campaign when the team also finished eighth in Poznan. Australia’s men finished tenth in the men’s competition after losing their playoff to Czech Republic on Saturday, 6-4.

In the women's medal matches, Netherlands beat Germany 1-0 on a shoot-out after a 1-1 draw to win gold, while the Czech Republic beat Austria 2-0 on a shoot-out to win bronze after a 0-0 draw.

In the men's medal matches, Netherlands beat Austria 3-2 to clinch gold and etch for the first time a name other than Germany's on the trophy. The Germans clinched bronze, defeating Iran 13-3.

Women's Match 8 - Australia v Belarus
7th-8th Place Playoff

Kyah Gray 7 (PS)

Volha Shyntar 27, 31 (PC, FG)
Yuliya Kurhanskaya 37 (FG)
Australia finishes eighth

Tournament Classification

1. Netherlands
2. Germany
3. Czech Republic
4. Austria
5. Poland
6. Ukraine
7. Belarus
8. Australia
9. South Africa
10. Canada
11. Belgium
12. Kazahkstan

Hockey Australia media release

SA teams’ best finishes at Indoor Hockey World Cup


Pietermaritzburg Girls' High School product Kara Stella (left) and Carter High School product Tracy Martens celebrate South Africa's 4-2 ninth place victory over Canada at Indoor Hockey World Cup 2015 in Leipzig Arena, Germany Saturday. PHOTO SUPPLIED

THE South Africa teams finished in their best final positions since the inception of the IHWC at Indoor Hockey World Cup 2015 in Leipzig Arena, Germany at the weekend to rocket up the world rankings.

The world number 18 Spar SA women’s team beat Canada 4-2 after the score was 2-2 at half-time to end an historic ninth in the Indoor Hockey World Cup women’s event in Leipzig Arena, Germany on Saturday.

Head coach Lennie Botha and captain Cindy Hack’s SA team punched well above their weight and the national woman’s representatives now move a remarkable nine places up the world ranking list.

Botha, the president of KZN Coastal Hockey Association, has done enormous work within the sport and deserves huge admiration for his efforts.

The SA goals came via a brace apiece by two Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School products Kara Stella and Eloise Walters.

The entire SA women's team was made up of KZN players.

The SA men under captain and Maritzburg College product Dale Isaac and tireless head coach Ryan Hack of Durban were among the mainstays in their team’s success.

The SA men beat Canada 2-1 to end 11th and moved mountains up the world rankings into 11th spot.

The SA men’s goals came from PMB Varsity product Craig Haley and Old Hiltonian Matt Fairweather.

An incredible 11 out of the 12 SA men's players either went to school or university in KZN.

KZN Inland Hockey Association president Gary Carson’s region has long been the heartbeat of the sport in South Africa thanks in part to the tireless efforts of many stalwarts of the game, especially the legendary PMB hockey personality Brian Edwards.

It would appear a sure bet that were KZN to host the 2023 Indoor Hockey World Cup the province would attract crowd support to rival the 12 000-seater Leipzig Arena,

Meanwhile, Holland took the gold medal in the men’s final thanks to a 3-2 triumph against Austria Sunday. The result means that it is a double Dutch success in Leipzig, with men’s success coming hot on the heels of the women’s stunning shoot-out win over host nation Germany.

The Dutch women won the women’s Indoor Hockey World Cup final in dramatic style Sunday, defeating host nation Germany in a shoot-out in front of a passion-filled sell-out crowd in Leipzig.

A late goal from Dutchwoman Claire Verhage cancelled out a lead that Germany held for the majority of a pulsating match for the 1-1 final score in regulation time, with Holland  keeper Adinda Alberts making three saves to seal a second world title for the Dutch.

Holland won the shootout 1-0.

SA Hockey Association media release

Tigges hails goalkeeping heroics in Indoor World Cup

Dutch captain Robert Tigges singled out goalkeeper Laurens Goedegeburre as one of his team’s heroes as their country produced a dazzling double success at the Indoor Hockey World Cup.

Both the men’s and women’s national teams winning the Gold medals in front of a sell-out crowd at the Arena Leipzig in Germany today.

The Netherlands men took their gold medal with a stunning 3-2 triumph against Austria. Goals from Bjorn Kellerman, team captain Robert Tigges and Robbert van de Peppel proved to be enough, although two dramatic penalty corner saves from Goalkeeper of the Tournament Goedegeburre more than played their part in the success.

The final save sparked wild celebrations from the Dutch players, knowing that they had won their first indoor world title at the expense of their devastated Austrian opponents.

Captain Tigges was overjoyed with the victory, singling out Goedegeburre for special praise. “Our goalie was amazing throughout the tournament. I still cannot believe that we have won it, I feel like I am living a dream. To win a tournament like this you need to have all of the luck on your side, and that is what we had.”

Earlier in the competition, the Dutch had eliminated the red-hot favourites Germany in the semi-finals, leaving the hosts to have to settel for bronze with a 13-2 win over Iran.

On the women’s side, the Dutch women took their title in dramatic style, defeating host nation Germany in a shoot-out in front of a passion-filled audience.

A late goal from Claire Verhage cancelled out a lead that Germany held for the majority of a pulsating match, with Netherlands keeper Adinda Alberts making three saves in the shoot-out to give the Netherlands the title and break the hearts of the host nation in the process.

Regarding her team’s shoot-out success, Netherlands shot-stopper Adina Alberts said: “We practiced shoot-outs and watched how the men did it against Germany yesterday. We tried to copy it and it worked for us.”

Euro Hockey League media release

New Zealand women claim hockey series whitewash over Canada

STAR ON SHOW: Anita Punt scored four of New Zealand's five goals today. Heath Johnson/Photosport

The women's Black Sticks have claimed a 3-0 series sweep over Canada after a final-quarter blitz saw the visitors beaten 5-1 in Whangarei today.

Anita Punt scored four times in a stunning display to seal the match while Rachel McCann registered her first international goal.

Following Punt's opening drag flick, the Canadians managed to get back on level terms through Brienne Stairs early in the third quarter, but from then on it was all black on the scoreboard.

McCann put New Zealand ahead with a goal she will remember for the rest of her career, while it was Punt who put in an extra three goals during the final quarter to put the match beyond doubt.

Having already beaten Canada 4-0 and 4-1 earlier in the series, today's result completes the whitewash.

Despite that, national coach Mark Hager has used series to blood newer players, such as McCann and Kirsten Pearce, and says it's been a development experience for them.

"It's been a learning curve for our younger ones and they are getting game time, so hopefully, they get better because of the experience," Hager said.

Star of the show, Punt, said today's display was disappointing.

"We didn't start that great today, whereas yesterday we had a really good first half and then let ourselves down in the second," she said.

"The performance for me on the field I thought was a bit disappointing, I didn't do what I would like to have done, but it's really good to execute the penalty corners. That is something I've been working on and I take pride in the percentage we convert.

"The combinations that we have started to build, especially with the new girls that have come in, we can only get better from here. We haven't actually had a lot of training so far this year, so it is exciting to see the potential the team has."


Ranchi Rays edge past Uttar Pradesh Wizards 1-0

RANCHI: Captain Ashley Jackson struck the winner to help Ranchi Rays beat Uttar Pradesh Wizards by a solitary goal in a Hero Hockey India League match here on Sunday.

Englishman Jackson scored in the 18th minute from a penalty corner to seal the win for the home side and maintain their second spot in the league table.

The first quarter of the match saw a tactical game being played by both sides, trying to have a measure of each other. The UP Wizards kept Ranchi Rays at bay by holding the ball with their passing play. Their ball possession rate touched over 70 per cent in the first quarter.

The pace of the match picked up in the second quarter and both the teams were seen fighting it out to create goal scoring opportunities.

It turned out to be fruitful for the Ranchi Rays when they secured a penalty corner in the 18th minute and Jackson managed to slice in a magnificent goal, beating UP Wizards goalkeeper PR Sreejesh. The visiting side did manage to create a few opportunities, but failed to convert any of them.

The third quarter of the match witnessed a much intense game with the UP Wizards seen striving to level the scores with Ranchi Rays. The Wizards secured their second penalty corner in the match, but failed to convert it.

Ranchi Rays held their ground till the end of the match as their defenders were at their best and thwarted all the attacks coming in from the UP Wizards.

Ranchi Rays head coach Harendra Singh later praised his players for their team work.

"As a team we did a very good job and our defenders performed brilliantly today. I won't say we played extremely well against a competitive team but team-work and a bit of luck won this match for us," he said.

"We are improving with every match and there are areas where we still need to work on. The boys are now very much motivated after this win and we are confident to play even better in upcoming matches," he added.

Jackson said, "I would say we did not play our best game today but there was good team play and we are happy to have won the match. We created many chances but failed to materialise them into goals. We have to work on our weaknesses and improve our game.

The Times of India

Dabang Mumbai defeat Kalinga Lancers 2-1 to notch first win in HIL

MUMBAI: Dabang Mumbai carved out their maiden victory in the Hero Hockey India League when they edged past Kalinga Lancers 2-1 at the Mahindra Stadium here on Sunday.

Mumbai, who had drawn two games and lost three, thus kept their quarter final hopes afloat by moving past the Lancers into the fifth place in the six-team tournament.

For the visitors, it was their sixth defeat in seven games and it resulted in them moving to the bottom of the table, and it would be very difficult for them to recover from this defeat and advance into the semi finals.

Mumbai scored both their goals via penalty corners, through an indirect conversion by Australian defender Jeremy Hayward and through their penalty corner expert Harmanpreet Singh in the 18th and 42rd minutes of the game.

Kalinga scored their goal, a fine effort from the field, through Mohd Amir Khan in the 42nd minute.

The battle between the two outfits did not rise to great heights as far as speed and innovative moves were concerned. It was workmanlike hockey, at best.

The first quarter saw the Lancers gaining the upper hand initially with moves by India international Lalit Upadhyay, but Mumbai defense held fort. Then it was Mumbai who were on the attack to earn two penalty corners which went waste.

But the hosts, winless in five previous games, shot into the lead three minutes into the second quarter off their third penalty corner award.

Australian World Cup winning member Hayward scooped into the goal from the right when he received the ball off the rival custodian Andrew Charter's pads when he blocked Harmanpreet's penalty corner try.

Stung to the quick by this reversal, the visitors attacked with gusto and succeeded in forcing three short corners in quick succession but all of these were wasted.

Crossing over with a 1-0 advantage, the Mumbai outfit made it 2-0 in the 13th minute of the quarter when Harmanpreet drag-flicked successfully to the left of rival goalie Charter.

The visiting team hit back almost immediately when off a fine move from the left along the byline, Somanna Pradhan squared to Amir Khan lying in wait close to the goal for the latter to deflect the ball in.

Both teams attacked with vigour but the defenses held. Towards the end V S Vinaya and Anup Walmiki muffed clear chances to score but Mumbai came out victors despite these misses after quick moves from the left side of the field by Nick Catlin.

The Times of India

Without Big Names, Hockey Disappoints

By Sandip G

Action from the Services-Karnataka match on Saturday | RAJEEV PRASAD

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Every artist needs a canvas, but a canvas alone doesn’t make an artist. No better example of that is the plight of the national sport in the National Games. The Dhyan Chand Plaza, the first astroturf in the state, cuts a dapper figure. The bounce is even and the surface trampoline quick.

But unfortunately, the quality of the fare has been less than inspiring. There was an inevitable predictability about the mediocrity, with the cream of the hockey fraternity slogging in the Hockey India League. Left for the National Games were a mix of over-the-hill players (those who couldn’t even make it to the throbbing ecosystem of HIL, which has thrown open lucrative avenues for them as support staff, consultants or commentators), fringe players and unheard entities.

Save for former stalwarts Ignace Tirkey and Rajpal Singh. The former was his typically clinical self as Services progressed to the semifinals on the back of his defensive awareness. But Rajpal, as he sometimes is, lost his cool and brandished the stick at the referee, as Haryana blanked Punjab 2-0 to ensure the semifinal berth. The former India skipper is usually calm and gracious, but there have been instances in the past when his temper has frayed. Those who had come to see him roll back his years might have been left petrified. His magic has waned.

But swimmer Richa Mishra did turn back the years, asserting amidst a bevy of up-and-coming challengers that she is still the name to beat with a haul of four gold medals, a silver and a brace of bronze. At 31, she is no longer a spring chicken, and by swimming norms, way past youthful vigour. Add to the narrative, the two-year dope ban (2012-14). To come back and still dominate speaks oodles of her mental strength, for more decorated players have found it difficult to resurrect their careers after serving lengthy bans. No wonder Delhi is still crying foul over her representing Madhya Pradesh.

Meanwhile, Services continued their gold hunt and have opened up a 16-gold lead over Maharashtra, who have usurped Haryana by virtue of more silver medals. Medals in swimming was the difference, as they amassed 11 gold, 16 silver and five bronze whereas Haryana managed only two gold and three silver medals. At this stage, the fight for the top is more or less over. But for the second and third, expect a photo-finish. With athletics coming up, even the hosts would sniff an outside chance.

The New Indian Express

Five-star Monali leads Kewalramani College to hockey semis

NAGPUR: Monali Khevale dazzled for the second day in succession. The prolific scorer slammed all the five goals as Rajkumar Kewalramani College mauled Chandrapur to enter the semifinals of the Harakchand Chopda memorial inter-district hockey tournament, organised by Vidarbha Women Hockey Association, at the Tiger Gap ground on Friday.

Monali, who guided her college team to win over Ambedkar College with a brace on Thursday, continued her brilliant form. The talented forward sounded the board at regular intervals to seal the fate of Chandrapur side.

In another match, PWS College trounced Eagle XI 2-0 to book their place in the last four. Shruti Bagde opened the account in the 15th minute, while Afsana Khan made it 2-0 in the 39th minute.

Saturday's matches (quarterfinals)

Yavatmal vs Bhandara (2 pm), Amravati vs St Ursula at 3.30 p.m.

The Times of India

National Bank and Railways register victories, PIA play drawn game

KARACHI: National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Pakistan Railways won their respective matches in the 5th Customs Quaid-e-Azam Gold Cup Hockey Tournament at the Customs Preventive Service Club & Sports Complex here on Sunday. Star-studded Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had to struggle against Pakistan Steels and their match ended in 2-2 draw. Railways outclassed Pakistan Air Force (PAF) 6-1 while National Bank whipped Karachi 12-2. The Customs Directorate of Sports is organising this tournament in collaboration with the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to spot future talent for the national team.

PIA, comprising Olympians, faced tough resistance from Pakistan Steels in the opening match who brought PIA under pressure scoring a goal in the 2nd minute of the match. It was a fine move initiated by Sultan Ashraf and Rizwan Khan which created a chance for Rizwan to net a field goal. PIA struggled hard to level the score but Pakistan Steels defended their fort effectively. However, Azfar Yaqoob and Ammad Shakeel found a gap in the 20th minute and Rana Sohail availed the pass to level the score. As the match started in the third quarter, Pakistan Steels again struck a goal amid a furious attack launched by their forwards Fayyaz Ahmed and Rizwan. Mohammed Irfan netted a beautiful goal on a pass from Rizwan in the 36th minute. PIA forwards launched a couple of interesting moves but failed to get through the sturdy defense of their opponents. However, Nohaiz Malik got a pass and made a lone effort dodging defenders to level the score in the 44th minute. Kamran Shareef and Kamran MP supervised the match.

Owais’s four goals including a hat-trick guided Railways to stun PAF 6-1 in the second match of the day. PAF took control of the game immediately scoring their lone goal in the 12th minute through their captain Saeed Shah who successfully converted a penalty corner. They maintained their pressure in the second quarter and defended their fort effectively. However, they completely lost their tempo and control afterwards which proved fatal. Railways Owais levelled the score in the 32nd minute. In the 38th minute Mohammed Rizwan scored a field goal. Later Owais scored his second and third for his team. He completed his hat-trick in the 51st minute again scoring a field goal. His fourth goal was netted in the 58th minute. In between Shah Nawaz scored a goal in the 57th minute. Hanifuddin and Shahid Pervaiz supervised the match.

NBP maintained their supremacy throughout in the third match of the day against Karachi. Soon after the start of the match NBP broke the defense of the local team. They launched frequent attacks and scored conveniently. Mubasher Ali scored three goals on penalty corners in the 23rd, 30th and 47th minutes respectively. Atiq Arshad scored two goals in the 5th and 59th minutes. Arsalan Qadir netted two goals in the 14th and 32nd minutes while Touseeq Arshad scored two goals in the 43rd and 55th minutes. Amir Ali (6th minute), Dilbar Hassan (10th minute) and Ali Hassan (15th minute) scored a goal apiece. Karachi’s Alley Hassan played brilliantly and scored his team’s first goal on a penalty corner in the 36th minute. Fareed Mansoor who brilliantly dived to deflect the cross coming from the left-out into the goal in the 49th minute to score the second goal for Karachi. Atif Malik and Munawar supervised the match.

Today’s matches:

Customs vs Police.

The Nation

NBP thrash Karachi 12-2

KARACHI: Mubashir Ali’s hat-trick guided NBP to a huge 12-2 victory over Karachi on the second day of the 5th Customs Quaid-e-Azam Gold Cup Hockey Tournament, while Pakistan Railways defeated PAF at the Customs Preventive Service Club and Sports Complex on Sunday.

Ali scored three goals from penalty corners, along with Atiq Arshad, Arsalan Qadir and Touseeq Arshad scoring twice each, while Amir Ali, Dilbar Hussain and Ali Hassan also got on the score sheet with one each  to their name. Hassan Ali and Fareed Mansoor were the two players to score for Karachi.

In another match, Owais scored four goals to guide Railways to a 6-1 victory over PAF. Muhammed Rizwan and Shah Nawaz scored the other two goals for Railway, while Saeed Shah was the only scorer for PAF.

In the last match, a strong PIA team faced tough resistance from an unfancied Pakistan Steel side as the match ended 2-2 after a highly competitive encounter.

The Express Tribune

East Grinstead and Surbiton draw

Surbiton’s Alan Forsyth evades East Grinstead goalkeeper Patrick Smith, Credit www.hockeyimages.co.uk

THE top two sides in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League Premier Division played out a thrilling 3-3 draw as Surbiton hosted East Grinstead on Saturday.

East Grinstead got the upper hand early on with Simon Faulkner crashing home and Mark Pearn doubling the lead on 33 minutes.

Alan Forsyth pulled one back for Surbiton on the stroke of half time and Matt Daly made it 2-2 just after the restart.

Daly looked to have won the game and sent Surbiton top when he tucked away his second with only three minutes remaining but David Condon popped up to level the scores for East Grinstead in the dying seconds.

Wimbledon were comfortable winners away from home, beating Brooklands Manchester University 4-1. Ali Brogdon got the visitors off to a perfect start, scoring inside the first minute before doubling the lead just seven minutes later.

Paul Spies scored twice as Beeston kept in touch with the top two sides with a 2-1 victory over Southgate.

Rick Gay scored a consolation goal for Southgate in the second half and they remain one point above the relegation places.

There was only one game played in the league on Sunday with Canterbury remaining rooted to the foot of the table after losing 2-1 to Hampstead and Westminster. Matthew Botha scored a brace for the victors.

NOW: Pensions Men’s Cup

NOW: Pensions Premier Division side Brooklands Manchester University narrowly avoided an upset in the quarter-final of the cup on Sunday, beating Conference East Side Chichester Priory Park 5-4 in a shootout.

Chichester were quickest out of the blocks and raced into a 3-0 lead by the break with a brace from Martin Gough adding to Richard Blakesley’s ninth-minute opener.

But a Peter Flanagan double, followed by an Aidan Khares stroke six minutes from time levelled the scores and they went on to dispatch their plucky opponents.

Surbiton and Beeston are second and third respectively in the NOW: Pensions Premier Division and with just three points between them, many expected a close tie in the cup. It proved to be the case and as the final whistle blew, the score stood at 2-2. The shootout went to sudden death and it was Alan Forsyth, who scored both of Surbiton’s goals in normal time, who hit the winning shot.

Reading who ensured a safe passage into the semi-finals after a narrow 1-0 win at Southgate. Jack Whelan’s first half strike was the only difference between the sides as Reading, fifth in the NOW: Pensions Premier Division standings, secured a last-four berth.

Cannock survived a scare at home to Conference North side Sheffield Hallam, before eventually sealing a 3-1 win. Sheffield went ahead through James Gunthorpe’s 11th minute goal and held on to their lead until just before half-time, when Cannock’s Nick Bandurak restored parity. Tom Morris then gave the hosts a 2-1 lead before Mark Daniel’s late strike made sure of the result.

NOW: Pensions Conference West

Cardiff and Met took an overnight lead in the NOW: Pensions Conference West after securing a 1-0 victory over Guildford courtesy of a James Carson strike.

Team Bath Buccaneers moved back to the top of the table on Sunday with a 3-1 defeat of Cheltenham and Cardiff’s game against University of Exeter was postponed.

Shakeel Abbasi hit a hat-trick as Barford Tigers beat Whitchurch 3-0 and Indian Gymkhana played out a 3-3 draw with Guildford. University of Birmingham and Fareham also drew, the game ending 2-2. Daniel Sampey scored both of Fareham’s goals to earn them a point.

NOW: Pensions Conference North

There was just one game on Saturday in the NOW: Pensions Conference North on Saturday and it was a tasty South Yorkshire derby between Sheffield Hallam and Doncaster.

It was Doncaster that came away with bragging rights as a Joe Morrison double helped them to a 4-1 win over their rivals.

On the Sunday, Luke Taylor and Kevin Ross both scored hat-tricks as Loughborough Students beat Deeside Ramblers 7-3.

Greg Moorhouse also scored three as Wakefield beat Belper 6-1 and Olton and West Warwicks beat University of Durham 4-2. Bowdon still lead the league and ran out 4-0 winners against Leek.

NOW: Pensions Conference East

Holcombe smashed ten goals past Chichester Priory Park in their 10-1 Conference East victory on Saturday, with James Kitcherside hitting four of them while Stefan Vehrle-Smith added two.

Bromley and Beckenham got the better of Brighton and Hove with a single James Batten proving to be enough to take a 1-0 win.

On Sunday, Old Loughtonians aided their survival hopes as they came from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw at West Herts.

Robbert Schenk scored twice as Oxted overcame Richmond 3-2, while Teddington moved off the bottom of the table after an entertaining 3-3 draw with Cambridge City.

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, February 7 2015):

NOW: Pensions Men's Premier Division: Beeston 2, Southgate 1; Cannock 0, Reading 0; Brooklands Manchester Univ 1, Wimbledon 4; Surbiton 3, East Grinstead 3.

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference West: Guildford 0, Cardiff and Met 1.

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference North: Sheffield Hallam 1, Doncaster 4.

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference East: Holcombe 10, Chichester Priory Park 1.

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, February 8 2015):

NOW: Pensions Men's Premier Division: Canterbury 1, Hampstead and Westminster 2.

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference West: University of Birmingham 2, Fareham 2; Cardiff and Met P, University of Exeter P; Barford Tigers 3, Whitchurch 0; Team Bath Buccaneers 3, Cheltenham 1; Indian Gymkhana 3, Guildford 3.

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference North: Olton and West Warwicks 4, University of Durham 2; Deeside Ramblers 3, Loughborough Students 7; Belper 1, Wakefield 6; Bowdon 4, Leek 0.

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference East: Richmond 2, Oxted 3; Cambridge City 3, Teddington 3; West Herts 2, Old Loughtonians 2.

NOW: Pensions Men's Cup, Quarter Finals: Cannock 3, Sheffield Hallam 1; Chichester Priory Park 3, Brooklands Manchester University 3 (Brooklands MU win 5-4 on penalties); Southgate 0, Reading 1; Surbiton 2, Beeston 2 (Surbiton won 4-3 on penalties).

England Hockey Board Media release

Germany international Paul Spies inspires Beeston as Southgate left cold
By Rod Gilmour

Weekly sight: Matt Daly double helped Surbiton in thrilling draw against East Grinstead Photo: MATT HENDERSON

Graham Griffiths, the Beeston manager, believes the league is “still there for the taking” after a hard-fought 2-0 win over Southgate on their winter break return.

A brace in open play from Paul Spies, the promising German under-18 hockey international, proved enough for the third-placed side.

But with Beeston creating no short corners throughout, the defending champions, without GB forward Sam Ward, were forced on the back foot and were indebted to Scotland's Jamie Cachia for a fine display in goal.

Griffiths praised Southgate’s “vastly-improved” side afterwards, who kept themselves in the game thanks to Rick Gay’s second-half strike from a penalty corner.

Southgate remain one point above relegation, however they look a different side since the league’s resumption after beating East Grinstead 3-2 last weekend.

Beeston kept in touch with the top two sides, East Grinstead and Surbiton, who contested a thrilling 3-3 draw on Saturday.

A Matt Daly double – he remains the league’s top scorer with 19 - looked to have taken Surbiton top before David Condon scored a last-minute equaliser.

East Grinstead are still without Ashley Jackson, who is currently leading Ranchi Rays to second place in the third edition of the Hockey India League.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon were comfortable winners away from home, beating Brooklands Manchester University 4-1.

In the Investec women’s top flight, Surbiton remain the only unbeaten side with a 2-1 win over Leicester.

Clifton remained on Surbiton’s heels as Claire Thomas and two from Dawn Mitchell-Williams handed the Bristol side a 3-0 win over troubled Beeston, who have just one point.

Bowdon Hightown scored a significant win – 4-2 – over star-studded side Holcombe. Stalwart Tina Cullen bagged a brace, so too Holcombe’s Nicola White.

Kate Richardson-Walsh lifted Reading back into contention for a play-off spot as her double ousted University of Birmingham.

The GB captain, back playing after taking time away from hockey following Glasgow 2014, scored two penalty corner goals as Reading kept to within two points of fourth spot.

The Telegraph

Reading's Kate Richardson-Walsh back to business combining GB hockey captaincy with City role

Internship at consultancy firm Ernst & Young gives GB captain flexible path as life after hockey looms

By Rod Gilmour

Leading on two fronts: Kate Richardson-Walsh will use skills with City firm Ernst & Young Photo: ADY KERRY

Kate Richardson-Walsh, the Great Britain women’s captain, says that her City consultancy role has given her more flexibility as she looks to life after hockey.

The 34-year-old captain had said she would retire after the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but an enforced break and time abroad has rekindled her ambition to lead GB towards Rio 2016.

She has also been given renewed focus thanks to a part-time business development role with Ernst & Young, having started a one-day per week internship in November.

The consultancy firm have links with Athlete Career Transition, set up by retired Welsh rugby union brothers, Andy and Steve Moore.

“It is only sensible to think about progression,” said Richardson-Walsh, who returned to full-time training at Bisham Abbey in January.

“I felt it was what I needed as I have only concentrated on hockey up until this point and want to translate my leadership and teaming skills to the corporate world.”

She will continue to lead on the field too as GB embarks on an action-packed year. Having missed the Champions Trophy in November, where senior members took on captain’s responsibilities, Richardson-Walsh will be at the helm for the Olympic qualifiers in May and the EuroHockey Championships at Lee Valley in August.

At the weekend, she helped Reading to a 2-0 win over a well-organised University of Birmingham side.

The victory kept Reading two points adrift of a fourth-place play-off spot, a position currently held by Birmingham.

“We’ve had a turbulent season in terms of results, but we’ve built momentum and are now a much better side,” said Richardson-Walsh.

The Netherlands achieved double success at the Indoor Hockey World Cup in Leipzig on Sunday, a tournament where England failed to qualify.

Both men’s and women’s national teams won in front of a sell-out crowd; the Dutch women taking gold after a shoot out win over Germany, while the men's side beat Austria 3-2.

Andy Smith, the former Surrey cricketer, has been named Hockey Australia's new high performance director.

The 45-year-old Englishman replaces Trish Heberle after working as Hockey Australia's men's high performance programme operations manager for the last six years.

Meanwhile, NOW: Pensions has announced that it will end its sponsorship of the men's game with England Hockey in April.

The Telegraph

West & East District experience indoor success

West District and East District were the winners of the Scottish U18 Boys and Girls Indoor Inter-District events at the Bells Sports Centre in Perth.

In the U18 Boys competition, a last minute winning penalty stroke from Chris McFadden for West District was the crucial factor in his side winning the event.

A 4-3 win over East added to a 5-2 win over North and a 4-4 draw against Midland ensured they finished top of the pool.

Midland were runners-up with a win and two draws.

In the U18 Girls competition, East's 100% record with four wins from their four matches ensured their success. A hat-trick from Laura Swanson against West District proved vital for her side's triumph.

Midland finished runners-up after a 8-4 win over North, including a fantastic five goals from Emily Dark.

U18 Girls Inter-District Results & Final Standings

South (Sophie Aitchison 1’, Jennie Robson 6’ 30’) 3-5 Midland (Katie Stott 15’, Charlotte Watson 16’ 21’, Abbie Lindsay 25’ 26’)
West (Carla MacNiven 13’, 27’, Millie Steiger 20’ 30’) 4-2 North (Linda Nixon 17’ 24’)
South (Sophie Aitchison 10’) 1-6 East (Laura Swanson 1’ 2’ 18’ 23’, Lorna Cruickshank 24’, Mhairi McGregor 26’)
West (Carla MacNiven 1’, Millie Steiger 2’ 13’) 3-5 Midland (Charlotte Watson 4’ 19’ 22’, Emily Dark 7’ 22’)
North (Linda Nixon 4’, Lauren Watson 6’ 19’, Lyndsey Davidson 28’, Emma Lambert 29’) 5-2 South (Morven Cawthorn 8’, Sophie Aitchison 19’)
East (Robin Robeson 8’, Laura Swanson 8’ 8’ 16’ 17’, McKenzie Bell 9’) 6-2 Midland (Charlotte Watson 2’, Katie Stott 25’)
West (Millie Steiger 4’ 4’ 30’, Emma Reid 13’, Catriona Booth 16’, Carla MacNiven 18’) 6-2 South (Sophie Aitchison 1’, Jennie Robson 24’)
East (Robin Robeson 1’, McKenzie Bell 4’, Lorna Cruickshank 21’, Emma Tennant 23’) 4-0 North
U18 Boys Inter-District Results

East (Patrick Christie 9’ 10’, Guy Rowson 30’) 3-3 Midland (Callum White 5’, Jamie Golden 12’, Cameron Golden 19’)

West (Fabian Goldie 2’ 23’, Luke Cranney 9’, Rob Harwood 20’, 4-4 Midland (Finlay Wright 3’, Callum White 19’, Hamish Galt 25’, Elliot Sandison 27’)

East (Graeme Miller 9’ 16’, Patrick Christie 13’ 14’, Ben Wilkie 27’, James Gray 29’) 6-4 North (Andrew Webb 6’ 19’ 21’, Robbie Wallis 19’)

West (Dean Baber 6’, Chris McFadden 10’ 20’, Fraser Ward 20’, Luke Cranney 27’) 5-2 North (Hamish Robson 6’, Andrew Webb 30’)

East (Graeme Miller 4’, Ryan McCurry 11’, Patrick Christie 15’) 3-4 West (Luke Cranney 6’, Alan Johnston 9’, Dean Baber 13’, Chris McFadden 30’)

Midland (Cameron Golden 1’ 14’, Finlay Wright 5’ 30’, Sam Owen-Hughes 10’, Elliot Sandison 21’ 27’, Callum White 29’) 9-1 North (Paul Watson 26’)
U18 Boys Final Standings

1. West
2. Midland
3. East
4. North

U18 Girls Inter-District Results

South (Sophie Aitchison 1’, Jennie Robson 6’ 30’) 3-5 Midland (Katie Stott 15’, Charlotte Watson 16’ 21’, Abbie Lindsay 25’ 26’)

West (Carla MacNiven 13’, 27’, Millie Steiger 20’ 30’) 4-2 North (Linda Nixon 17’ 24’)

South (Sophie Aitchison 10’) 1-6 East (Laura Swanson 1’ 2’ 18’ 23’, Lorna Cruickshank 24’, Mhairi McGregor 26’)

West (Carla MacNiven 1’, Millie Steiger 2’ 13’) 3-5 Midland (Charlotte Watson 4’ 19’ 22’, Emily Dark 7’ 22’)

North (Linda Nixon 4’, Lauren Watson 6’ 19’, Lyndsey Davidson 28’, Emma Lambert 29’) 5-2 South (Morven Cawthorn 8’, Sophie Aitchison 19’)

East (Robin Robeson 8’, Laura Swanson 8’ 8’ 16’ 17’, McKenzie Bell 9’) 6-2 Midland (Charlotte Watson 2’, Katie Stott 25’)

West (Millie Steiger 4’ 4’ 30’, Emma Reid 13’, Catriona Booth 16’, Carla MacNiven 18’) 6-2 South (Sophie Aitchison 1’, Jennie Robson 24’)

East (Robin Robeson 1’, McKenzie Bell 4’, Lorna Cruickshank 21’, Emma Tennant 23’) 4-0 North

East (Laura Swanson 10’ 24’ 27’) 3-2 West (Mille Steiger 6’ 7’)

Midland (Abbie Lindsey 8’, Charlotte Watson 9’ 29’, Emily Dark 15’ 22’ 25’ 26’ 28’ 8-4 North (Alex Morrison 1’, Lyndsey Davidson 5’, Lauren Watson 20’, Katrina Harrin 27’)
U18 Girls Final Standings

1. East
2. Midland
3. West
4. North
5. South

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Khalsa to Play SSSC in Premier League Decider

Hong Kong—Premier Division Hockey

By Bill Cox

SSSC-A (in orange and black strip) defending against Khalsa-A in the final of the Guru Nanak Tournament on Nov 30, 2014. (Bill Cox/Epoch Times)

HONG KONG—Khalsa-A will play Singh Sabha Sports Club (SSSC-A) in a decider for the Hong Kong Hockey Association Premier Division 2014-2015 title when they meet for their final league match of the season at King’s Park tomorrow, Sunday Feb 8.

This follows a mid-week decision by the Men’s Committee that Punjab-A has to forfeit wins in their last 2 completed games because of a Bye Law infringement – the matches concerned are last week’s fixture against Khalsa-A and the one the previous week against Valley-A with revised scores of 0-3.

Punjab-A previously shown to be on 38-points and 1-point ahead of both Khalsa-A and SSSC-A have now dropped in the newly released standings table to 32-points and out of range of winning the division.

The revised standings table loaded to the Hong Kong Hockey Association website shows Khalsa-A and SSSC-A both on 40-points but with Khalsa-A ahead on goal difference.

This also adds a bit more interest to match between HKFC-A and Valley-A at Sports Road as Valley-A are now just 2-points below HKFC-A in the standings.

The Epoch Times

Thunderbolts losing their script

By Jugjet Singh

DEFENDING champions SSTMI Thunderbolts stayed on course to retaining their MHC-MILO-NSC Junior Hockey League Division One title when they beat OLAK PKT Tigers 4-1 at the National Hockey Stadium yesterday.

However the three points were still not enough to lift them above current league leaders UniKL Young Guns whom they will face next week as they continue to trail them by two points.

After an unconvincing display yesterday, Thunderbolts coach Wan  Roslan Wan Rahman said: "I'm very disappointed with today's performance, as the players looked lost and this is not a good sign as we have a big match next week against UniKL."

Shello Silverius put the defending champions ahead in the 12th minute with a field goal before Ammirul Hafiz doubled their lead eight minutes later from a penalty corner.

The second half saw a very sloppy game from both sides, but Thunderbolts managed to squeeze in a third through Luqman Hakim in the 47th minute. Olak pulled one back in the 61st minute through Sheimyrul Azreel, but Thunderbolts swept home their fourth goal of the evening in the 65th minute when Danial Asyraf was on target.

To add misery, Thunderbolts Nik Aiman was flashed a yellow card in the final minute of the match and will miss the crucial clash against UniKL next Friday.

RESULTS -- Division One: OLAK PKT Tigers 1 SSTMI Thunderbolts 4.

Division Two: Group A -- MSNT-PHT 2 1MAS Perak 0.

Group B: 1MAS Perlis 11 MSSD Larut Matang 0, MSS Kedah 2 Nurinsafi-Penang HA 3.

Group C: 1MAS TBSS Tampin 2 SMKDBL 1.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Thunderbolt win to go top of Junior hockey league

By S. Ramaguru

SSTMI Thunderbolts's Mohd Amirul Hamizan Azahar tries to pass two Olak PPT Tigers players during the MJHL in Bukit Jalil on Sunday. Thunderbolt won 4-1. - RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/ The STAR

KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions SSTMI-Thunderbolt moved to the top of the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysia Junior Hockey League’s Division One after a convincing 4-1 win over Olak-PKT Tigers at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

SSTMI have 16 points from six matches, one more than second-placed Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) who have a match in hand as they had a rest day on Sunday.

Both teams will clash on Friday and it will likely decide the league title. Third-placed MBPJ, on 13 points after five matches, are also in the mix and they also have a match against UniKL the following weekend.

SSTMI were expected to win against Olak, but they failed to impress.

SSTMI team manager Adam Izamry Idrus said they played poorly and well below their usual standard.

“We wasted a lot of goalscoring chances. It’s certainly a cause for worry. There is no consistency in our play and the players were not focused at all,” he said.

“We need to buck up against UniKL on Friday. We must make sure the players do not repeat the mistakes and take the chances that come their way. Otherwise, we will have trouble in retaining the title,” added Adam.

Shello Silverius put SSTMI ahead in the 12th minute with a field goal. Mohd Ammirul Hafiz Rashid then doubled the lead in the 20th minute off a penalty corner.

In the second half, Mohamed Luqman Hakim managed to add a third goal for SSTMI in the 47th minute.

Olak, however, pulled a goal back in the 61st minute through Mohd Sheimyrul Azreel from a penalty corner. But Thunderbolt had the final say with a fourth goal in the 65th minute through Danial Asyraf Abdul Ghani.

The bad news for SSTMI is that Nik Mohd Aiman Nik Rozemi will not be available to play against UniKL after being flashed a last-minute yellow card.

The Star of Malaysia

MHC enlarge training squad to form back-up team

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have picked another 16 players to join the men’s national training squad.

With the inclusion, there are now 40 players in the squad following the withdrawal of five players – Mohamed Noor Faeez Ibrahim, Mohamed Syamin Yusof, B. Namasivayam, Mohamed Izzat Rahim and Amirol Zainol.

National coach Tai Beng Hai said the 16 players were called up based on their performances in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

“Our proposal is to set up a development team so that we have a larger pool of national players to choose from. We were supposed to meet with the National Sports Council (NSC) to discuss this proposal. The meeting, however, was postponed. We will wait for it to take place before any implementation is done,” added Beng Hai.

All the 40 players are now undergoing tests with the National Sports Institute (NSI). The tests will end on Tuesday.

After that, the team will play at least five friendly matches with Egypt. The Egyptians will arrive on Tuesday to prepare for their World Hockey League Round Two tournament in Cape Town, South Africa, from March 7-15.

“These five matches will help us identify the second rung of players and also help us with the proposal to form a development squad,” said Beng Hai.

Beng Hai is expected to continue as coach until the MHC make a firm decision on the position of consultant Neil Hawgood. The Australian is tipped to take over as coach after Feb 14.

The team are preparing for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh in April. The team’s main target this year is the World Hockey League Semi-Finals, an Olympic qualifying tournament, in Belgium in June.

The Star of Malaysia

England and Great Britain Hockey suffer blow as principal sponsor NOW: Pensions pulls out

By Liam Morgan

Adam Dixon scored one of England's goals as they won bronze at last year's Commonwealth Games with a win on penalties over New Zealand ©Getty Images

NOW: Pensions has pulled out of its sponsorship deal with England and Great Britain Hockey ©NOW:PensionsEngland and Great Britain Hockey have announced principal partner NOW: Pensions has decided to end its sponsorship deal just 18 months before the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Its sponsorship of the men's international teams will cease next month, while their deal as the main sponsor of the Men's Hockey League and Cup will come to an end in May.

The news represents a blow to the sport in Great Britain ahead of London hosting the 2015 EuroHockey Championships in August.

England Hockey and Great Britain Hockey are now on the search for a new main sponsor.

"Our relationship-orientated, can-do approach ensures we deliver positive outcomes for our partners and I'd like to thank NOW: Pensions for its hard work, helping to raise the profile of the sport over the past two years," England and GB Hockey chief executive Sally Munday said.

"Eighteen months out from a Summer Olympics, this is a perfect time to be associated with our sport."

The agreement, which was signed two years ago, covered shirt sponsorship, Olympic athlete endorsement and PR opportunities among other benefits.

NOW: Pensions chief executive Morten Nilsson feels his company has reaped the benefits from the deal but that they had other priorities moving forward.

"Over the past two years, our business has completely transformed," he said.

"Our relationship with England and GB Hockey has been integral in helping us achieve this growth and the partnership has delivered all that we hoped it would and more.

"But, as the auto enrolment market gathers pace, our focus has to be on delivering the best possible service to our clients and our core business is taking priority.

"We wish England and GB Hockey the very best for the future and will continue to keenly follow the continued success of the men's team."

England's men claimed bronze and the women silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year, while Britain's women also achieved bronze at the London 2012 Olympics.

"Our partnership with NOW: Pensions has helped raise the profile of the national team, supporting our success at both domestic and international tournaments," England and GB Hockey men's head coach Bobby Crutchley added.

"As we look towards Rio 2016, a great opportunity now exists for a new sponsor to become part of our team, working alongside us on what promises to be an exciting journey."

Inside the Games

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