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News for 17 February 2015

All the news for Tuesday 17 February 2015

India earn hard-fought 1-0 win over Spain

VALENCIA: After the goal-less draw in the previous match, the Indian women's hockey team on Monday beat the hosts 1-0 in the second game.

The matches are in preparation for the FIH World League Round 2, to be held in New Delhi from 7-15 March.

Vandana Katariya netted the lone goal from a field effort in the 38th minute.

The Indian eves made a promising start by giving a neck-to-neck fight to Spain and both the teams made several attempts but unfortunately failed to convert the opportunities into goals.

Just before the first half ended, Spain earned a penalty corner but failed to capitalise on it. While the two teams missed chances to open their scoring, the score stood 0-0 by the end of the first half.

Entering the second half of the game, the two teams looked more confident and displayed a better quality as the girls were in dire need of opening the scoring.

After conceding, Spain tried to assert dominance in the entire session of the game, but India's strong defence stood tall as the eves restricted the opponents from launching into strikes.

The Times of India

Tied Series Against Competitive Argentina leaves USWNT Hungry for Victory

LANCASTER, Pa. – The U.S. Women’s National Team kept the lively crowd's focus fixated on the pitch yet again at the Spooky Nook Sports Dome Arena until the final moments of the third match against Argentina. With three minutes left in the game, Team USA led the scoreboard by 2 goals over Argentina’s scoreless record. The script was rewritten in a matter of seconds with two successful Argentina penalty corners, one being a buzzer-beater finish, to avoid defeat. The match ended in a 2-2 tie.

USA started strong with offensive pressure. Early in the first quarter, the red, white and blue took the ball into Argentine territory where Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.) took a shot on goal, but Las Leonas' goalkeeper, Maria Laura Aldro, dove for the save. The match was scoreless heading to the second quarter.

In the 20th minute, an error from Argentina provided the opportunity for USA to strike again. Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) took control and shot from the top of the circle, finding a hole through the Argentine defense. The score changed to USA 1, Argentina 0. 

A clear from the USA defense provided Jill Witmer (Lancaster, Pa.) room to move down the pitch. She crossed the ball in front of the goal for Gonzalez to rip a reverse chip shot past Aldro, earning her second goal of the night. With 2:55 left in the half, USA’s defense remained solid and did not allow Argentina to score off a corner, keeping the score at USA 2, Argentina 0.

With 5:48 left in the third quarter, Argentina turned up its offensive pressure including a shot from Florencia Habif near the top of USA’s defensive circle. Jackie Briggs (Robesonia, Pa.) blocked her shot and defused a scramble for ball control that followed in front of the cage. USA was unable to prevent Argentina’s Carla Rebecci from scoring off a corner, making the score USA 2, Argentina 1. Rebecci scored again off another corner with only 17 seconds left, to end the game in a tie.

“The game’s not over until it’s over, even if it’s in the final couple of seconds,” said Gonzalez. “You have to learn and realize that you have to be on form for the entire game.”

Aside from international competition, tonight was all about kids. Nine-year-old Kiley Heltzel, a Central Penn Field Hockey athlete inspired the crowd with a patriotic singing of the U.S. National Anthem. In support of the night’s theme, young athletes from the stands ran a victory lap around the Spooky Nook Sports Dome Arena sporting their respective hockey club and school league gear with some of the USWNT players.

USA is hungry for victory in the fourth and final match up vs Argentina on Wednesday, February 18. U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Coach Craig Parnham is eager to create opportunities moving forward.

“That’s what this week is about, giving players opportunity and to expose them against a great team,” said Parnham.” For Wednesday, it is all about continuing to create chances that lead to success.”

Stay tuned to usafieldhockey.com for more series information and to watch matches live!

USFHA media release

Second Match of USMNT Stars and Stripes Series Proves Intense

The U.S. Men's National Team continued with their Stars and Stripes series this afternoon. Today's match was another even contest between Team USA athletes. The score was opened with Alex Cunningham scoring a field goal after some great build up play over the length of the field.

After some clever play around the attacking circle Adam Miller found Tyler Sundeen who quickly turned and fired a shot into the goal during the second quarter.

At the end of the second quarter is was Cunningham again who found the back of the net with a clever one-time backhand shot.

The third and fourth quarters were evenly contested with both teams leaving opportunities on the park.

"I am happy with the way the players are developing confidence in their play," said Head Coach Chris Clements. "It is the attention to details that is essential.  Unnecessary turnovers, taking goal scoring opportunities and a more patient form of attack are the key areas right now. After some productive meetings game three and four should provide some exciting hockey."

USFHA media release

USA Senior Indoor Team and U19 Indoor Team to play in the Big Apple International Invitational

The U.S. Senior Indoor Team will compete in the women's division and the U.S. U19 Team will compete in the university division of the Big Apple International Invitational Indoor Tournament.
Interim USA Senior and U19 indoor head coach Rennie Milne would like to announce the teams that will be compete at the forthcoming Big Apple International Invitational Indoor Tournament during the weekend of 7th and 8th March 2015. 

"Both squads are strong in new talent. Players and coaches are looking forward to showcase the programs development over the past year," said Milne. 

Senior Squad Indoor Roster

U19 Indoor Roster

USFHA media release

Great Britain's women see off European rivals Spain

By Andrew Elliott

Danny Kerry hailed the win as 'feisty' and 'physical'. GETTY

GREAT BRITAIN claimed a series win against European rivals Spain as Danny Kerry's side finished with a 2-0 triumph in their final match in Valencia.

The goals came in the third and fourth quarters, as University of Birmingham's Lily Owsley and East Grinstead's Sophie Bray converted chances to seal both the win and the three-match series 2-0.

Kerry said: "It wasn't a pretty game, it was very feisty and physical and I was impressed with our resolve. Lily scored a well-taken individual goal and Sophie finished off a good team move at the back post."

He added: "I'm happy with the strength in depth we are creating and it has been a really valuable trip for the whole squad."

Daily Express

Hero Hockey India League: Wizards & Rays lead the charge

Prestigious tournament set to enter final week – who will take the title?

Uttar Pradesh Wizards (Photo: Hockey India)

The third week of action from the Hero Hockey India League proved to be just as fascinating as the previous two, with Uttar Pradesh Wizards and Ranchi Rays now leading the charge at the top of the league table ahead of the upcoming semi-finals. 

The Wizards had a great week by claiming two victories over Dabang Mumbai, putting them at the top of the league table on goal difference ahead of Ranchi Rays. Netherlands star Bob de Voogd scored twice for the Wizards in a 5-1 triumph away from home on Wednesday (11th Feb) while strikes from Australia’s Tim Deavin, team captain Arjun Halappa and Anup Valmiki proved to be enough for a 3-2 home win on Sunday (15th Feb).

The Rays produced an outstanding performance on Tuesday (10th Feb) to inflict a first defeat of the season on Jaypee Punjab Warriors, who were missing the brilliance of five times FIH Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer. Team captain Ashley Jackson was among the match scorers, although the Rays failed to capitalize on their success by losing 2-0 at Sardar Singh’s Delhi Waveriders on Saturday (14 Feb).

The Warriors, who had dominated the first two weeks of competition play, are currently third in the table but are only one point behind both the Wizards and the Rays with a game in hand. Victories in their upcoming home matches against the Rays and Dabang Mumbai would be enough to seal top spot in the league and set up a semi-final meeting against Sardar Singh’s Delhi Waveriders, who are now certain to finish fourth in the table despite their recent surprise 2-1 defeat at the hands of fifth-placed Kalinga Lancers. Delhi Waveriders and UP Wizards face each other on Wednesday (18 Feb). 

The semi-finals take place on Saturday 21st February, with the first match being played between the teams that finish first and fourth in the league table. That match will be followed by the second semi-final, which features the second and third ranked teams. The third place and title matches will take place on Sunday 22nd February.

You can keep track of all the action from the Hero Hockey India League on the official tournament website and on their Twitter and Facebook social media channels. To see the star-studded squad lists, click the links below.

Dabang Mumbai

Delhi Waveriders

Jaypee Punjab Warriors

Kalinga Lancers

Ranchi Rays

Uttar Pradesh Wizards

FIH site

HHIl 2015: Prize money amazing Rs 5.25 Crores

- Winner: Rs 2.5 Crores
- Runners Up: 1.25 Crores
- Third Place: Rs 75.00 Lakhs

New Delhi: Hockey world's highest prize money of Rs.5.25 Crores is up for grab as the globally popular Hero Hockey India League 2015 nearing finishing line.

Hockey India League today announced the prize money with the knock-out phase coming off this Saturday. Till today, 27 of the 30 pool matches have been completed; 112 goals struck through the blades of 27 players; all the four semifinalists spotted.

The winning team takes home a cheque of Rs 2.5 Crore along with the glittering trophy. The runner up and the team placed third in the League will be awarded Rs 1.25 Crore and Rs 75 Lakh respectively.

HHIL 2015 will also recognize select players who showcase outstanding performance on the field. These individual awards have also been announced. These include Hero Most Valuable Player of the Tournament, Ponty Chadha Upcoming Player of the Tournament, Dhruv Batra Motivator of the Tournament, Airtel Maximum Goals of the Tournament and Star Sports Fair Play award.

The Hero Most Valuable Player of the Tournament will get an award of Rs 25 Lakh, Ponty Chadha Upcoming Player of the Tournament and Dhruv Batra Motivator of the Tournament will be awarded Rs 20 Lakh each and Airtel Maximum Goals of the Tournament for the team will be awarded Rs 10 Lakh. The Star Sports Fair Play winner will receive a trophy for displaying great sporting spirit on ground.

Speaking on the announcement, Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra, Chairman, Hockey India League said “Hockey India League has provided tremendous opportunity to budding players from across the world. The prize money is a token of recognition to motivate the young talent.”

“Hockey India is committed to promoting the sport amongst hockey lovers. I am happy that the League is moving in the right direction to achieve our multiple objectives of providing a platform for training and recognition to Hockey players,”

Hero Most Valuable Player of the Tournament: Rs 25.00 Lakhs and Trophy

Ponty Chadha Upcoming Player of the Tournament (Individual Award) Rs 20.00 Lakhs and Trophy

Dhruv Batra Motivator of the Tournament (Individual Award) Rs 20.00 Lakhs and Trophy

Airtel Maximum Goals of the Tournament (Team Award) Rs 10.00 Lakhs and Trophy

Star Sports Fair Play (Team Award) Trophy

TOTAL PRIZE POOL: Rs 5.25 Crores

Playoffs Schedule:
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Semifinal 1: 16:30 hrs
Semifinal 2: 19:00 hrs
Sunday, February 22, 2015
Third place: 16:30 hrs
Final: 19:00 hrs
Venue: Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi.


HIL prize money & TV

Hockey India League announces prize money ahead of this weekend's finals

Photo credit: Hockey India League

As cricket’s IPL set new records this week with its 2015 auction, including Yuvraj Singh’s record $3.31 million sale – hockey’s fledgling equivalent, the Hockey India League or HIL, announced its prize money for the 2015 season as the four qualifiers for this weekend’s finals were confirmed.

Eighteen Australians will be involved in the HIL finals, competing for Uttar Pradesh Wizards, Ranchi Rays, Jaypee Punjab Warriors and Delhi Waveriders after Kalinga Lancers and Dabang Mumbai dropped out of contention.

At stake, a top prize of approximately $514,000 for the winners while this season’s runners-up will receive half of that. The third placed team will pick up a cheque for just over $154,000.

In all, 14 members of the 2015 Kookaburras squad have progressed, along with three former Kookaburras and Olympic gold medal winning coach Barry Dancer, who leads the Jaypee Punjab Warriors.

Despite Australia’s contingent being the largest national representation aside from the Indians themselves, only four Aussies have been part of the winning team in the competition’s first two years. Fergus Kavanagh was a winner with the now-defunct Ranchi Rhinos in the inaugural season while compatriots Tristan White, Matt Gohdes and Jason Wilson claimed the title with the Delhi Waveriders last year.

With three regular season matches still to play tonight, tomorrow and on Thursday night the final ladder positions, and therefore the two semi final contests, are still to be confirmed. Fox Sports will broadcast all of the remaining seven matches including the HIL finals.

It’s tight at the top with Uttar Pradesh Wizards and Ranchi Rays locked together on 30 points from their nine matches with the Jaypee Punjab Warriors following closely, one point behind but with a match in hand. Of the four, only Uttar Pradesh Wizards have yet to experience an HIL grand final.

While Kalinga Lancers’ five-man Australian contingent will soon be coming home, they signed off in style on Sunday night with a 2-1 win over 2014 Champions, Delhi Waveriders, with the goals coming from Kookaburras Aran Zalewski and Russell Ford. Dabang Mumbai’s Tim Deavin, Jeremy Hayward and Glenn Turner close against JPW on Thursday night.

Watch the Hockey India League

Free video highlights, goals, top saves and more from every match of the Hockey India League are available on the Star Sports website.

Fox Sports is showing one match live each night in Australia. For the latest schedule check out the Fox Sports TV Guide online.

Visit the official Hockey India League website.

Australians competing in the Hockey India League finals 2015
Member of 2015 Kookaburras squad unless otherwise stated

Delhi Waveriders
Matt Gohdes
Tristan White
Jason Wilson (Kookaburras 2009-2014)

Ranchi Rays
Daniel Beale
Nick Budgeon
Fergus Kavanagh
Tyler Lovell
Trent Mitton

Uttar Pradesh Warriors
George Bazeley (Kookaburras 2009-2014)
Eddie Ockenden

Jaypee Punjab Warriors
Chris Ciriello
Jamie Dwyer
Kieran Govers
Rob Hammond (Kookaburras 2001-2014)
Mark Knowles
Simon Orchard
Jake Whetton
Barry Dancer (coach) (Kookaburras coach 2001-2008) (Kookaburras 1973-1979)

Hockey Australia media release

Punjab Warriors to strive for revenge against Ranchi Rays

MOHALI: Sitting at third position in the Hero Hockey India League table, Punjab Warriors will look to avenge their defeat to second placed Ranchi Rays when the two teams face each in Tuesday's clash at International Hockey Stadium.

In their previous tie in Ranchi, the Rays outplayed the Warriors 2-1. Come Tuesday, the Punjab outfit would be hoping to post a win in front of their home crowd.

With both teams already in the semi-finals, they might try out different strategies by rotating the players and also give reserve players a chance.

Having registered an impressive performance so far in the League, Punjab Warriors are regarded as one of the title contenders in this year's HIL.

What has been working for the team is their coordination on the field, leaving no gaps to counter their strategy. They are giving a tough time to their opponents this season.

Led by Jamie Dwyer, the team looks in great touch in all departments of the game and they would be looking to carry on the form into the Finale.

Similarly, Ranchi Rays have been raising their level in every match. With three wins and two draws, they remained unbeaten in their home ground and are expected to pose a huge challenge to Punjab Warriors tomorrow.

The Ashley Jackson-led team had world-class players in Barry Middleton, Nick Wilson, Daniel Beale, Birendra Lakra, Mandeep Singh and Manpreet Singh, who have showcased outstanding performances against the top teams in the League.

Punjab Warriors head coach Barry Dancer said his team would have an advantage playing at home.

"In our last encounter with Ranchi Rays, the team showcased a good performance. Tomorrow, we have an advantage of playing at our home-turf. We now have a much stronger defence line and have worked on our penalty corner conversions," said Dancer.

The Times of India

Jolie targets HIL final place

HC Bloemendaal’s Wouter Jolie is confident his Uttar Pradesh Wizards side will reach the final of the Hockey India League having confirmed their place in the playoff phases.

They have done so with a game to spare and he said of his side’s chances: "If I can make a prediction, I think we will get into the final.”

The Wizards had a great week by claiming two victories over Dabang Mumbai, putting them at the top of the league table on goal difference ahead of Ranchi Rays.

Netherlands star Bob de Voogd scored twice for the Wizards in a 5-1 triumph away from home on Wednesday while strikes from Australia’s Tim Deavin, team captain Arjun Halappa and Anup Valmiki proved to be enough for a 3-2 home win on Sunday.

The semi-finals are set to take place on Saturday after Uttar Pradesh complete their group phase with a tie against the Delhi Waveriders.

And Jolie says he is enjoying the competition, saying it is a “fantastic experience” but he says he is also excited about the return of the Dutch Hoofdklasse on Sunday, March 1.

"Right now, I'm in the Indian League but, at the same time, I am keeping up to date with Bloemendaal. I have almost daily contact with our coach and I'm really looking forward to playing in the Dutch league."

Their first match after the winter break is against Push from Breda.

Euro Hockey League media release

Hawgood will have to wait before taking charge of national hockey team

By S. Ramaguru

Australian Neil Hawgood will have to wait after the MHC annual general meeting before assuming the coaching role.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tai Beng Hai and Stephen van Huizen will continue to coach the national hockey team for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh from April 5-12.

Australian Neil Hawgood, who was supposed to take over as national coach on Feb 14, will remain as team consultant.

Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said the new coaching team will only take place after the MHC’s annual general meeting (AGM).

The AGM was supposed to be held last Friday but due to issues with their constitution, the MHC have postponed it. It is now likely to be held in May.

“Neil will remain as a consultant. Beng Hai is the national coach with Stephen as his assistant. We will set up a new coaching team once the new office bearers have been voted in,” said Tengku Abdullah.

Beng Hai was initially brought in by the MHC to take charge of the team for the World League Round Two in Singapore last month. Malaysia emerged champions to make the cut for World League Round Three (Semi-Finals) in Belgium from June 20-July 5. The World League Round Three is a qualifying tournament for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

As for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Malaysia are one of the six participating countries. The others are world champions Australia, New Zealand, India, South Korea and Canada. 

The Star of Malaysia

AGAIN: Faizal playing hide-and-seek with coach

by Jugjet Singh

FAIZAL Saari is back at his worst.

After scoring 12 goals, and being named as the best player in the Singapore World League Round Two Faizal has failed to show up for a single training session, and even coach Tai Beng Hai has no idea where he is.

And this is not the first time the striker has gone Awol from national duty, or been in trouble with the coaching set up. After the World Cup, he was dropped from the Commonwealth as well as Asian Games squad for his erratic bahavior.

"I have not been able to contact Faizal since we returned from Singapore, and yes, he has not attended any training or returned calls made to him," said Beng Hai.

Malaysia are currently playing a series of friendlies against Egypt at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

When contacted Faizal answered his hand phone: "I'm busy and can't talk," was all he said before hanging up.

After Singapore, Faizal did say that he has received an offer to play in Division Two of the German league, but it is only starting in March.

"I have tried contacting Faizal many times, but he did not answer my calls and I do not know where he is or what are his plans. Anyway, we are playing against Egypt today (yesterday) as early preparations for the Azlan Shah Cup said Beng Hai.

Against Egypt Malaysia lost 3-1 and won the second 2-1: "I fielded 11 who did not play in Singapore to give them some playing time ahead of Azlan Shah selections.

"The results against Egypt does not matter, as I test fringe players," said Beng Hai.

Results do not matter but fitness does, as a recent test conducted showed that all the players were at a very low level. Infact, the Malaysian men's fitness level are even even below that of a women's team in a neighbouring country.

When Beng Hai was told about this fact he was surprised.

"Really? A test was conducted after we returned from Singapore but I have yet to see the results, so I can't comment on this issue yet," said Beng Hai.

The Azlan Shah Cup will be held in Ipoh on April 5-12, and Malaysia have world No 1 Australia, India, New Zealand, South Korea and Canada for company.

Malaysia's top assignment this year is the World League Semi-Finals in June which is a qualifier for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Meanwhile, The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) will hold their Council Meeting on March 7, EGM on March 22 and AGM on May 13.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

1MAS Tampin and Perlis raring for action..

by Jugjet Singh

NEW success stories are few and far between in the MHC-Milo-NHC Junior Hockey League, so the progress of two 1Mas teams into the Division Two play-offs have got some excited.

Division One, as predicted turned out to be another Thunderbolts success story as they are virtually assured of the League title, while the Milo Cup also looks to be theirs for the taking.

And if the former Bandar Penawar Sports School, now named Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) play to form, this season would see them win the double for the fourth consecutive year.

UniKL and Petaling Jaya City Council (PJCC) will again play the bridesmaid, and the Best Man at Thunderbolts party.

However, development sides 1MAS TBSS Tampin and 1MAS Perlis are out to measure themselves with teams from other regions in the Division Two, playoffs which starts on Feb 26.

Both are hoping to finish in the top-two bracket, in order to play in the Milo Cup, where they will compete against the top four from Division One.

The six teams from Division Two have qualified for the play-off are Nurinsafi-PHA, 1Mas TBSS Tampin, MSNT-THT, 1 MAS Perlis, BJSS Juniors, SMKDBL Johor HA.

Teams from Perlis (Y), Penang (X), Terengganu (Y), Kuala Lumpur (X), Johor (Y) and Negri Sembilan (X) have been placed in two groups of X and Y and they will play all their matches in Kuala Lumpur.

The top two teams from Group X and Y will then join the top 4 teams of Division One for the overall Milo Cup knockout stage which will be played on a home and away basis. The final is on March 15.

For 1MAS Perlis, it is their first time venturing out of the Northern region group: "Our players 16 and 17-year-olds, and I'm proud and satisfied that the team is finally coming good since being together for the last three years," said team manager Badrisham Che Yob.

"We were close to qualifying for the Division Two playoffs for the last two years but were knocked out on goal difference.

"I told the boys that since we are in the second round, let's go one step better. The boys are looking confident and the exposure will be great."

1MAS TBSS Tampin team manager M. Vivekananda said the play-offs provides a chance to gauge his players better. They play Nurinsafi-Penang Hockey on Feb 26.

"The earlier round felt like a district tournament as we only played Southern teams. The playoff allows us to measure ourselves against teams from the North and East Coast," he said.

"The first match will be tough. Our team is made up of schoolboys while there are some seasoned players in Nur Insafi, who were doing great in the Northern region."

The four Division One teams for the Milo Cup are champions-elect SSTMI Thunderbolts, UniKL, PJCC and SSP-MSP-Thunderbolt.

UniKL and PJCC go head-on on Feb 27 in a winner take-all battle for second spot in the league.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Scottish umpire Irene Clelland retires from international umpiring

Scottish umpire Irene Clelland, centre, at FIH Indoor World Cup earlier this month. Photo Credit: EHF

Scottish umpire Irene Clelland has decided to hang up her whistle as an international umpire following the FIH Indoor World Cup this month.

Commenting on her decision to retire as an umpire, Clelland said, “I’ve been umpiring internationally for over 15 years and during the past few years I’ve stopped enjoying it as much as I used to. I always said when I stopped enjoying it I should stop and now just feels like the right time.

“World level tournaments can be over two weeks long and it just feels like too much time for me to be away. If I continued to persevere and accept appointments I would be taking the place of an umpire who really wanted to be there and I think that's unfair to everyone involved.”

Since her and wife Dino Willox moved to Australia in 2011, they have both incurred significant expenses and investment of time travelling to appointed tournaments in Europe, a cost that according to Clelland is not sustainable.

With a record of umpired 54 indoor international matches and 66 outdoor international matches, Clelland is one of Scotland’s most decorated officials and recalls a number of career highlights over the last 15 years, “I umpired the Germany v Netherlands in 2005, which was their first meeting since the Olympic final in 2004, where Germany won. It was my first time umpiring each team and it was a pretty special experience”, said Clelland.

“Being put on the list for the Road to London/Hague/Rio, umpiring at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the 2009 Junior World Cup and the 2013 Euro Nations, where I umpired the final.

“Two indoor World Cups and achieving 50 indoor caps has also been a highlight. It’s very difficult to achieve this in indoor and I’ve been lucky to have been afforded this opportunity. The EHF were particularly supportive of me, publishing a story on their website during the indoor World Cup.”

“In the 2011 Champions Challenge I was privileged to be part of two special games. I was reserve when the South African Olympic umpire Marelize De Klerk reached 200 senior international games and I was umpiring South Africa v USA when Peitie Coetzee, the South African player, broke the world record for the number of international goals scored, taking her tally to 221 goals.”

Her favourite moment in hockey, however, was one close to her heart, “Without question it was the tournament Euro Nations in 2013. I umpired the final and the game had everything in it, including a video referral in the last few minutes following a goal which brought England level with Germany.

“My wife Dino [Willox] was the video umpire in that game which made it even more special. During the tournament I also was lucky enough to umpire a game with Dino. I might be wrong but I’m fairly sure we are the first married couple to umpire together at an international tournament.

“Off the pitch there have been so many moments. I have made lifetime friendships with people from all over the world and travelled to cities (and countries) I would never have seen without hockey.”

The hockey world hasn’t seen the last of Irene Clelland though, with the possibility of umpire management and video umpiring in the pipeline, “I’m going to take six months away from umpiring domestically to see if I miss it. If I do I’ll continue to umpire in the Brisbane league. I'm been appointed to the U15's Australian National outdoor tournament in April as an Umpires Manager, that will help me decide if I enjoy that aspect of the game.

I do want to continue to contribute to the sport as it has given me so many life opportunities but I’m undecided yet about how I do this. Until I decide I might relax for a while and plan my first family holiday in, eh... yes, plan my first family holiday!”

Of course, there are many individuals back home she wishes to thank for their support, “Janice MacDonald & Aileen Ross who were the main supports early on and throughout my development in my career.

“Norrie Urquhart, Ged Curran and Martin Madden who have been ongoing support during and in between international tournaments, and most recently Jan Hadfield, in Brisbane who has continued to mentor me since my move to Australia.

“I also want to thank Sarah Wilson - her outdoor career is going from strength to strength and she is a very exceptional talent - She withdrew from the Indoor World Cup due to outdoor commitments and as a reserve, I was called up and this allowed me to achieve my 50th Indoor cap and retire with my friends around me.”

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Surbiton women eye 'Invincibles' year as Wimbledon’s ambitions realised under coach Ben Marsden

By Rod Gilmour

On the mark: Georgie Twigg celebrates her goal as Surbiton eye unbeaten season Photo: CHRIS HOBSON

Surbiton's peerless form both indoors and out has left the champions staring at the possibility of becoming hockey's 'Invincibles'.

They continued their unbeaten form with a 3-1 win at Buckingham on Saturday to stay ahead of in-form Clifton.

Georgie Twigg forced home from a penalty corner in the first-half as Julia King added a second after the break.

Zoe Shipperley pulled one back for Buckingham before Sandra Frankland killed the game off 13 minutes from time, ending a neat build-up switch and a tap-in.

"It would be a bonus to go undefeated," said Sarah Haycroft, the Surbiton skipper, whose side also finished the indoor season unbeaten. "But we want to take our form into Europe [at Easter weekend]."

"We have great strength in depth and young players throwing themselves in when internationals are away."

Clifton's 2-1 win over Leicester, with goals from Els Mansell and Zoe Leach, kept up the pressure on Surbiton.

Reading are only behind Holcombe – who beat Beeston 4-1 – on goal difference thanks to a 3-0 defeat of Bowdon Hightown and strikes from Georgie Blackwood, Elizabeth Hunt and Helen Richardson-Walsh.

The latter was returning to club hockey for the first time since November 2013 after a lengthy injury lay-off. She still has intentions of returning to the international fold.

Canterbury, chasing the top two, edged out University of Birmingham 2-0 with goals in either half from Susannah Townsend and Anna Bake.

“It feels good to be home, I play my best hockey when I'm happy,” said Townsend.

“It's good to get the three points and it keeps momentum going. We're in a good position to push forward now and book our place at Finals’ Weekends at Lee Valley.”

In the Men's NOW: Pensions premier division, Wimbledon coach Ben Marsden set his side a tough ask two years’ ago when they arrived in hockey’s top flight.

The plan was to stay up in the first year and fight for a top four spot thereafter. After a thrilling 5-4 win at Canterbury yesterday, they are close to cementing the latter.

Where to start? Well, the second-half garnered seven goals while Craig Boyne’s 62nd minute goal for Canterbury set up a nervy finish. In the last minute, the hosts had four corners on full-time but corner specialist Kwan Browne was kept at bay brilliantly by GB goalkeeper, James Bailey.

Ambition: Wimbledon's Henry Weir on the attack (PETER SAVAGE)

Ben Hawes, the Wimbledon captain, said: "We said the first two games back after the Christmas break would be vital and picking up six points puts us in a great place to book a spot at Finals’ Weekend in April.

“Ben's plan was an ambitious one, but we've now got the talent in the team to make it a reality."

Elsewhere, Surbiton went above East Grinstead with a 5-0 thrashing of Cannock, Nick Cooper and Matt Daly both bagging braces.

Brooklands Manchester University picked up a valuable three points at Reading, with a 2-1 win. Defeat left Reading 10 points off a play-off spot in fifth.

Meanwhile, Beeston edged to a 1-0 win over Hampstead and Westminster with Stuart Pilgrim’s 23rd minute goal consolidating third place.

The Telegraph

Clubhouse: The Inside Track

David Beckett shoots for goal against Southgate

Surbiton went to the top of the NOW: Pensions Men's Premier Division with a 5-0 win over Cannock this past weekend. In the Investec Women's Premier Division, Holcombe's win over Beeston moved them to the head of the queue of clubs battling for the last playoff spot. We spoke to Great Britain duo David Beckett and Maddie Hinch to find out about their teams' season so far.

David Beckett, Surbiton:

On the season so far:
"Our aim at the start of the year was to push for those top four places and hopefully to win the league. It was a real target for us and it’s nice to be there at the moment. The last five games are going to be hard. We need to keep going and fight to hang on to top spot."

On playing against his former club:
"It was strange. It was the first time I’ve played them since I left. I had to do a double take and make sure I was passing to the right team! It was nice to see some old friends I haven’t seen for a while and to catch up after, but it was a very strange experience. They’ve got a different coach so a few things have changed from when I was there last year, so I didn’t have any inside information, we just looked at us and how we wanted to perform."

On his return from injury:
"I've been out for three and half months injured. It's been frustrating because I didn't get a chance to get going this season.. It’s great to get back on the pitch and to be able to compete again. I just want to contribute to Surbiton and making sure the team reaches our targets for the season."

On potential European qualification:
"The main thing is to top the league and get that European place. We want to be the No1 side in the playoffs but also the guys last year were bitterly disappointed having qualified for Europe only for England to lose a place. There is definitely an emphasis on making sure we get that first spot and then we want to win the playoffs, that’s the big one."

On who will make it to the league finals:
"It’s really close between the top four but you can’t rule out Reading either. Wimbledon are closing in on us from fourth so it could be interesting who finishes where. All it takes is a good run from someone which could change everything."

On Surbiton's chances of winning the whole thing:
"You have to be confident. We had a lot new players at the start of the season but we’ve gelled well as the campaign’s gone on. We want to qualify first and then obviously we’d back ourselves to win it as I’m sure all the other teams back themselves, too."

Maddie Hinch takes a drink

Maddie Hinch, Holcombe:

On Holcombe's performance this weekend:
"It was a much improved display. We’ve been a bit ropey of late and we were on a run of four consecutive losses going into that game so it was important for us to get points on the board.
We decided to take the tactics out of it a little and go with a “just play” mentality. We just wanted to get people on the ball and enjoy ourselves. We managed to take some of our chances which helped. Beeston gave us a good game, but we were pleased to get the win and we now have some big games coming up."

On the balance between club and international hockey:
"Some of the girls didn’t have as much running in the legs this weekend having played the tests against Spain last week, but that's no excuse. We’re a big club in terms of numbers and depth and we’re international players so that’s something you learn to cope with. We have the players who can step in and that was no different this week."

On their recent losing run:
"Before Christmas we had some losses and we went to Bowdon Hightown last week with high hopes despite that. It’s a difficult place to go, they are fighting for every point and they have some exceptional forwards. We had enough chances to win that game too, but they took their chances and we didn’t and that’s how it happens sometimes."

On the team's ambitions for the season:
"We didn’t really talk about playoffs to start off with. We wanted to see how we stacked up first. We had a decent start which made us think a little about it but you have a dip in form every year, which we have. We want to be up there competing and you never know what can happen in the final games.

We have to remember that we were only promoted last year. People expect us, with the players we have to be up there but we have to play as a team and learn as a group. For now we need to take each game as it comes and if we get fourth spot it’s a bonus but it’s not at the forefront of our minds."

On the pressure on the squad:
"You hear a lot of people talk about the squad we have and that can put pressure on your shoulders but we’re used to it now. We have realised it takes time to gel as a team and adjust to this level. Look at Surbiton. They took some time adjust but they are one of the top teams now, we hope to get there one day but it might take us some time."

England Hockey Board Media release

Cairns Juniors Hockey Cup: Mota Singh school distributes prize money

“This is a good beginning, and I hope our boys pick up the threads and improve further,” said the beaming Mrs. Jyoti Aurora, Principal, SS Mota Singh Senior Secondary Model School, Janakpuri, New Delhi the other day.

“I thank Oil Major Cairn for providing such an excellent opportunity for our boys to play on synthetic turf for about a week, and the silver we won is a bonus”, the Delhi’s well-know educationist said.

The acclaimed principal was speaking on the glory of her team collecting biggest ever cash prize of Rs.50,000 for winning silver at the inaugural Cairns Juniors Hockey Cup 2015.

“The boys enjoyed the ambience the tournament very well. We gave our best and are happy to emerge with silver. We are further looking forward to next year’s edition. Boys are confident of doing even better next time”, said Gularia, Sports-in-charge of the sports conscious school. He himself was present to encourage his boys during the entire duration of the tournament.

SS Mota Singh, always a traditional hockey power in the Delhi Schools hockey circuit, won its both matches in the pool to reach the semifinals where it met in form team Modern School, Barakhamba Road. Modern School have won four major titles this year and was billed to come out clean in the knock-out. But it was not to be.

Mota Singh’s forwardline showed its glimpses of fighting spirit and won the semifinals 3-1 to lock horns with ever-improving GBSSS, J Block, Saket in the final.

Though the match ended 0-0 at regulation time, Saket emerged the champions of the Cairns Juniors Cup in the Juniors category.

Very thoughtfully, the organizers framed a prize money policy by which the total prize money of Rs.51,000 was divided equally among 16 players and two officials (Coach and Manager).

The principal and the management of the school were so grateful that they organized the event to present the cheques in front of hundreds of their school wards during specially convened assembly.

K. Arumugam, Event Executive and also Founder and CEO of Hockey Citizen Group, which runs the unique One Thousand Hockey Legs Program, was present on the occasion. This NGO organized the tournament successfully from 15th to 21st January at the centrally placed Shivaji Stadium, New Delhi.

It was Oil Major Cairns’ first major hockey initiative in the Delhi NCR Region.

The prize money of Rs.2.3 lacs is the highest for any inter-school tournaments in the Delhi NCR region.

About Mota Singh Sr. Sec. Model School

S. S.Mota Singh Model School was established in 1976 in Narang Colony, by founder Chairman, Sardar Prithipal Singh Bhasin, a visionary. The school is boused in a magnificient building with a huge playground and other facilities in A-4C Block, Janakpuri, New Delhi in July 1981 where at present till date it stands as a great temple of learning.

This school carries the legacy of a renowned school, S.S.Mota Singh Khalsa Higher Secondary School in Nila in Pakistan by Sardar Mota Singh Ji. It was in 1916 that the foundation of the school in Nila was laid, because It was of Sardar Mota Singh ji’s spirit of service, firm determination and unlimited love for education, this school became famous far and wide. The deserving students from economically weaker sections were provided free books, stationary and other requisites. The service rendered by this school between 1916 to 1947 cannot be described in words. In order to implement the noble task of reestablishing the school left in Pakistan, S.S.Mota Singh (Nila) Charitable Trust was formed and it was registered in December 1975 in Delhi.


Andrea’s story – handing over hockey sticks to the underprivileged kids of Garh Himmat Singh

Sushil Reddy

Andrea with the boys

Initiated in 2010, Hockey Village India (HVI) is an ambititous project aimed at empowering the underprivileged rural children of India through sports and education. Founder Andrea Thumshirn, former national level German hockey player. started this non-profit institution with the beautiful idea of teaching hockey as a free time afternoon activity to kids in a small village called Garh Himmat Singh in Rajasthan. A

Journey from Germany to Garh Himmat Singh

Andrea started playing hockey from the age of six and she was always a passionate supporter of the game. When she was 14, she started coaching the local girl’s team. Soon after, she moved to Berlin and started her own career in hockey. She was playing in the first division in Germany but had to retire on account of bad health.

Andrea came to India for the first time in 1998 and fell in love with the country and its people. She then started a business here – a travel agency which organizes vacations to India and other Asian countries. One day, Andrea’s business partner Dilip took her to his ancestral village Garh Himmat Singh located in the eastern part of Rajasthan – half way between Agra and Jaipur. The minute Andrea stepped in Garh Himmat Singh, she was mesmerized by its serene. It was as if time had stood still. She experienced great hospitality which made her feel right at home. While exploring the village, Andrea was shocked to see the pathetic school conditions, uninterested students and a high drop-out rate. Students sitting on classroom floors, scarcity of teachers concerned Andrea and she wanted to help in any way she could.

In 2009, Andrea came back to India with a mixed hockey team from Germany and they stopped in the village for lunch. From money that had been donated, they had bought carpets for the girls’ school, sweaters to help them brave the cold winters, furniture and also uniforms for those who couldn’t afford them. Andrea wanted to give these kids a real childhood and a vision for the future since she believes that a balance of sports and good education are proven techniques for a better life. She immediately thought of building a hockey ground in the village. During her next visit, she grew very fond of Dilip’s cousin brother, Chandu. When she pitched to him her idea about starting hockey for kids, he immediately offered her the ground in front of his ancestral fort. Andrea and Chandu soon ordered a roller to flatten the surface and make the ground more even. A donated second hand astro turf and enthusiastic volunteers eager to teach the kids have helped keep the spirit of HVI alive. Trained children have also started competing in state hockey tournaments to gain experience.

Overcoming challenges

Initially, the conservative nature of the villagers was the major challenge before Andrea. They had never heard of hockey. However, the scene has changed tremendously due to her continuous efforts and now everyone in the village encourages kids to play the game. The villagers have accepted Andrea as one of them which has made things better for this ambitious project. Funding remains a major challenge since Hockey Village India is currently registered as an NGO and runs on generous donations and volunteer help. HVI

Current scenario and future plans

With the project running successfully in Garh Himmat Singh, HVI is planning to set up more hockey villages all over India, especially in areas where there is a huge percentage of child labor. With the kids eager to learn, the number of hockey villages in India has grown to five. Besides quality education, HVI aims to set up its own Hockey Village league so that children from all hockey villages can compete against each other and improve their skills. On the astro turf in Jatwara, the second hockey village, just 8 km from Garh Himmat Singh, plans are to set up the Hockey Village India Academy where the best players will be recruited and provided with boarding facilities and international standard coaching. Current major focus of HVI is to find a corporate partner who will be employing these bright children later on. Funding remains a major challenge. HVI is always on the lookout for volunteers and funds to keep this project alive. The future is bright for the kids thanks to the ever inspiring Andrea Thumshirn. Anyone interested and inspired by the HVI story can be a part of it.

Website http://www.hockeyvillageindia.com

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