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News for 01 March 2015

All the news for Sunday 1 March 2015

Russia, Canada, Ireland and Austria impress on day 1 in San Diego

World League R2, men – Day 1

Yan Huckendubler, PAHF

26 goals were scored on opening day of the World League R2 in San Diego, with Russia scoring six to Trinidad & Tobago, Canada beating the USA 5-2, Ireland overpowering Chile 8-0 and Austria taking the best of Italia 3-1.

Russia vs. Trinidad & Tobago: 6-1 (ht: 4-0)

First match of the World League Round 2 in San Diego started under menacing clouds but without the forecasted rain. Russia quickly forced the first chance of the match by Igor Siniagin, surprising the Trinidadian defense to arrive alone in front of the goal-keeper, but Andrey Rocke stood tall and thwarted the attempt. Trinidad & Tobago defended well two penalty-corners, but Russia maintained their pressure and finally logically scored in the 10th minute by Anton Kornilov.

Russia had a complete grasp on the match and scored two more goals by Igor Siniagin before the end of the first quarter. Trinidad & Tobago could not find a way out of their end and Russia scored a fourth goal by Sergey Spichkovskiy on the follow-up of a penalty-corner, walking into the half-time break with a comfortable 4-goal cushion.

The Russians kept pushing relentlessly and things started to look very bleak for Trinidad & Tobago when Nikolay Yankun scored a superb penalty-corner immediately after the break. The Trinidadians had to play short on a yellow card, but still managed to create their first serious scoring chance on a penalty-corner, deflected in corner by a Russian defender.

Trinidad & Tobago became more entrepreneurial in third period, managing to penetrate the compact Russian midfield and defense. They were rewarded by a penalty-corner, followed by a stroke, and Tariq Marcano did not miss the chance to open the Trinidadian tally.

Russia made the most of their chances and scored one more goal before the end of third quarter. Play was more balanced in the last quarter, but Russia cruised steadily to a large win 6-1 over the Caribbean team. 

Canada vs. USA: 5-2 (ht: 2-1)

After the official opening of the new turf by FIH President Leandro Negre, the two teams were quickly in action. Pat Harris, celebrating his 100th International Cap, surprised the Canadian defense to set up a dangerous situation in the Canadian circle, but the ball was cleared. The Canadians had most of the possession, however the Americans were vigilant in defense and Christopher Rea in the US goal was not in real danger.

USA scored on their first opportunity, a penalty-corner powered in goal by Aki Kaeppeler in the 9th minute. The Canadians increased their pressure and Brenden Bissett finally tied the score from a busy situation in front of the US goal-keeper with a handful of seconds left on the clock in first quarter.

Play was animated between two teams knowing each other well. A decisive circle penetration by Gordon Johnston earned a penalty-corner and Scott Tupper propelled the ball high in goal to give the lead to Canada in the 17th minute. USA had a chance on the next action on a double penalty-corner, but the Canadian defense read well the combinations and managed to clear. Canadian goal-keeper Dave Carter was again called into action on another American penalty-corner late in the period but the Canadian manage to protect their one-goal lead going into half-time.

Canada came back after the break firing on all cylinders and scored two goals in less than one minute by Matthew Sarmento to establish a healthy 3-goal advantage. This surge seemed to take some wind from the American sails and the Canadians controlled play for a while. It was finally Pat Harris who restored some hope for his team, celebrating in style his 100th Cap with a spectacular reverse stick shot in a narrow angle that stunned Dave Carter.

Canada picked up a green card early in the last quarter, giving a chance to the American to be threatening, but the Canadian defense weathered the storm. Matt Guest forced a penalty-corner soon after at the other end and Scott Tupper, in fine form, rebuilt the 3-goal lead for Canada. Both teams received yellow cards and play became very animated in the final minutes, swinging quickly back and forth.

Canada maintained their lead and opened their World League campaign with a solid 5-2 win over an impressive American team. 

Ireland vs. Chile: 8-0 (ht: 5-0)

Third match of opening day started under a timid sun and Ireland immediately pressured the Chilean goal. First chance was for Michael Darling with a quick shot well saved by Adrian Henriquez in the Chilean goal. Darling was more successful a few minutes later when he received a ball in front of the empty net for an easy tap-in (5th minute). Chile reacted immediately and forced a penalty-corner but the low shot was deflected by David Harte in the Irish goal.

Play was entertaining, with Ireland having most of the possession. They were rewarded by a second goal in the 12th minute, Conor Harte slotting a well-executed penalty-corner. They used a different combination on their next penalty-corner, scored this time by Alan Sothern and promptly added a fourth goal by Bruce Mccandless. The Chileans were suddenly looking at a very steep uphill battle before even the end of the first quarter of play.

Play was more balanced in the second quarter. Chile had their chance on a series of penalty-corner but the Irish defense was vigilant to keep them at bay. Ireland seemed content to control play but still managed to add a fifth goal in the dying second of the period for what looked like an unsurmountable lead going into the half-time break.

Chile changed goal-keeper in second half to try and stop the hemorrhage, but Alfredo Mella could not prevent Stephen Dowds from adding another goal in the 35th minute. Chile kept trying hard, but they could not penetrate dangerously the dense and well organized Irish midfield and defense. They had a lone chance in third quarter on penalty-corner but Ireland were never seriously worried for their comfortable lead.

With the Chilean defense fading, Ireland added two more goals, first by Kirk Shimmins then by Michael Darling, completing a hat-trick in the 53rd minute. With a final score of 8-0, Ireland certainly impressed for their opening match and seriously staked their claim on the qualification for the next round of the World League.

Austria vs. Italy: 3-1 (ht: 3-0)

The last match of the day started fairly equal, with Italy not hesitating to take initiatives. They held the Austrians at bay during most of the first quarter, but could not prevent them from opening the score by Alexander Bele in the 14th minute. Italy had their lone scoring chance of the period on a penalty-corner, well deflected by Michael Mäntler, then Austria added two powerful penalty-corner goals by Michael Körper in the 19th minute and Dominic Uher in the 30th minute, building a solid lead at the halfway mark.

Italy were rewarded for their perseverance with a superb goal in the opening minute of second half, Giulio Ferrini mystifying the Austrian goal-keeper from close range after a cross from the left, triggering exuberant celebration in the Italian ranks.

Austria had the proceedings well under control but could not untangle themselves from the pressing of the feisty Italians, who kept their structure throughout the match. Francesco Padovani in the Italian goal made a couple of superb saves on penalty-corners, Austria played short on a yellow card for a while and committed some unforced errors, and the score did not evolve until the end, with a deserved but certainly narrower win than expected for Austria.

Schedule for Day 2 (Sunday March 1):
Russia vs. Canada
USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Chile vs. Italy
Austria vs. Ireland

PAHF media release

Pitch Achievements Abound for USMNT, Harris scores on 100th Cap Mark

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - The Men’s Hockey World League Round 2 in Chula Vista, Calif. is melding eight nations together for a six day competition to reach one ultimate goal; earn a way to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. On their home turf, the U.S. Men’s National Field Hockey Team has put in countless hours in the gym and on the pitch with supreme focus to strengthen their position at World League from the first whistle to the last. Before Team USA's opening match commenced, the program celebrated USA midfielder Alex Cunningham's (Bad Kreuznach, Ger.) first international appearance as well as striker Pat Harris' (Moorpark, Calif.) landmark accomplishment of earning his 100th cap, a truly remarkable achievement in the hockey world.

“Pat plays a vital role for us,” said Head Coach Chris Clements. “He brings great experience and leadership to the group. His example today was none other than what we need from him with leading the front and scoring. Today we saw Pat as a veteran and capable player like usual. He is arguably one of the best athletes to wear the jersey.”

A member of Team USA since 2000, Harris shared his thoughts about what propelled him to this level of the sport.

"The best advice I could give younger athletes is to enjoy the game, and if you decide you want to take the game more seriously, do everything you can to learn, progress, and get the most out of what you put in," said Harris. "I would like to thank my parents, family, and my extended hockey family who have supported me over the years, and for their continued to support of my hockey endeavors."

Also, a noteworthy milestone, Hockey World League Round 2 marks the first official FIH tournament held on USA Field Hockey’s newly laid, pristine pitch. The immense effort, energy and enthusiasm that was present from the pitch’s infancy to its fruition, was prevalent from an array of generous associations including the Men’s Field Hockey Foundation, the Field Hockey Federation, the United States Olympic Committee and the kind people at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center. To commemorate this accomplishment and honor those who have contributed to the creation of the field, the Field Hockey Foundations' Dave Jackson, Field Hockey Federations' Tom Harris, USA Field Hockey’s Board Chair, Rene Zelkin, Member of the FIH Executive Board, Pam Stuper and the president of our sport’s international federation, the FIH, Leandro Negre cut a ribbon to signify the pitch’s first international tournament.

The USMNT took the pitch against Pan American rivals Canada for the second Pool B game of the first day.  Match action started quick off the midfield line. Team USA’s Moritz Runzi (Boston, Mass.) broke Canada's possession by anticipating and cutting off a pass to redirect play. The ebb and flow of the first quarter continued with the red, white and blue’s Harris shifted into fifth gear and jetted down the pitch on a clear breakaway but the opportunity to strike first was denied by Canadian keeper David Carter.

It wasn’t long until Team USA found a way back to their attacking end. USA's William Holt (Camarillo, Calif.) drove hard with intensity into the circle to land the USA their first corner. A sharp rip from the top of the attacking D from Aki Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Ger.) led to a goal. Canada was fast on their feet to respond before the quarter closed, crossing the goal line and locking the score in a mirrored score. The second quarter began with crisp drag flick from Canada past USA defenders to create a halftime report of USA 1, Canada 2.

A flurry of green cards followed for each team in the second half. Canada kept possession and maneuvered their way down the pitch for solid and successful back-to-back goal action. The match tempo didn’t falter with USA’s attacking line remaining steadfast. Harris didn’t hesitate to layout, extending himself and his hockey stick to direct the ball into the cage for USA’s second and last match goal. Although geared to close the gap, USA was unable to condense Canada’s attack. Canada would find the backboard one more time to finish the game at USA 2, Canada 5.

The U.S. Men’s National Team will continue Hockey World League competition tomorrow at 10:45 a.m. PST against Trinidad & Tobago. Follow @USAFieldHockey on Twitter for live match updates for Team USA and all Hockey World League Round 2 games. #WLR2015 #RoadToRio     

USFHA media release

Canada defeats United States in first match of World League 2

Canadians face Russia Sunday morning in San Diego

Shaheed Devji

The Canadian Men's National Field Hockey Team opened Hockey World League Round 2 with a convincing 5-2 victory over the United States Saturday in Chula Vista, California.

The United States opened the scoring in the ninth minute of play on a goal from Aki Kaeppeler but Canada responded well and just over five minutes later was able to tie the game on a goal from Brendan Bissett with only seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter, Canada was given a penalty corner opportunity and captain Scott Tupper converted on one of his class drag flicks to give Canada the 2-1. That's how the teams went into half time.

In the second half, Canada added to its lead on two back-to-back goals from Matthew Sarmento in the thirty-third and thirty-fourth minutes.

The Untied States got one back in the thirty-ninth minute to make it 4-2, but Tupper added his second of the game - also on penalty corner - in the forty-ninth minute to seal the victory for Canada.

Canada takes on Russia, who also won their first game of the tournament, on Sunday morning at 8:30am.

Field Hockey Canada media release

WL2 Ireland 8 vs 0 Chile

by Stephen Findlater

Four first quarter goals powered Ireland to a confident 8-0 victory over Chile in their opening World League round two group game in Chula Vista, San Diego.
Mitch Darling got Ireland  off to a flyer when he finished off Mikey Watt’s cross in the fourth minute for the opening goal. Watt hit the post soon after but it did become 2-0 when Conor Harte pounced on a good save by Adrian Henriquez from a corner to rocket in a reverse-stick shot.
Alan Sothern scored the third a minute later from another corner before Bruce McCandless closed out a spectacular first quarter with number four in the 15thminute.
Thereafter, the scoring slowed a little as Chile made some inroads, earning a couple of corners but Darling nabbed his second in the closing seconds of the half to extend the lead to 5-0.
Stephen Dowds got the only goal of the third quarter in the 35th minute. Mikey Watt tipped in the seventh after good work from John Jackson and Darling closed out his hat-trick with seven minutes left with a tap-in.
Chile were denied a consolation goal on the final hooter with a shot that ricocheted off the bar, keeping the Irish clean sheet in tact.
It gave Ireland a strong start to the campaign but they will expect a much tougher tie against Austria in game two, a side from whom a large number recently medalled at the recent indoor World Cup. The two sides meet in Chula Vista at 11.15pm (Irish time) on Sunday.

Pool A:
Ireland 8 (M Darling 3, K Shimmins, A Sothern, C Harte, B McCandless,  S Dowds) - Chile 0
Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, R Gormley, M Watt, C Cargo, P Caruth, K Shimmins, M Darling, P Gleghorne, C Harte, S O’Donoghue
Subs: J Bell, A Sothern, S Dowds, E Magee, D Carlisle, B McCandless
Chile: A Henriquez, J Zarhi, S Richter, I Gajardo, M Rodriguez, A Berczely, S Kapsch, R Valenzuela, V Martin, F Renz, N Renz
Subs: A Mella, J Maldonado, F Fernandez, T Kanegiesser, F Eggers, R Achondo, I Contardo
Irish Hockey Association media release

Ritu Rani to lead Indian eves FIH World League Round 2

NEW DELHI: Midfielder Ritu Rani will lead an 18-member Indian women's hockey team in the FIH World League Round 2 to be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here from March 7 to 15.

Defender Deepika, who has represented India in 138 matches, has been named as the vice-captain.

Apart from India, other participating teams in the eight-nation tournament are Poland, Ghana, Thailand, Malaysia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Singapore.

India are placed in Pool A along side Poland, Ghana and Thailand while Malaysia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Singapore form Pool B.

India will take on Ghana in its opening match on March Speaking on the announcement of the team, Hockey India secretary general Mushtaque Ahmad said, "This team is full of confidence and an urge to win. They proved this during the recent Spain tour where they gave Germany a tough time and beat them 2-1."

Savita, Rajani Etimarpu.

Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Deepika (vice-captain), Namita Toppo, Jaspreet Kaur, Sunita Lakra.

Midfielders: Ritu Rani (captain), Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Lilima Minz, Navjot Kaur, Monika.

Forwards: Rani, Poonam Rani, Anupa Barla, Soundarya Yendala, Amandeep Kaur, Vandana Katariya.

The Times of India

Coach Nasihin hands Nur Aisyah debut in World League hockey

By Aftar Singh

Engineering student Nur Aisyah Yaacob will be making her senior team debut in the Women's World League Round Two in New Delhi from March 7-15.

KUALA LUMPUR: Teenager Nur Aisyah Yaacob is as intelligent as she is talented in hockey.

The 18-year-old midfielder, who was only called up for national training two months ago, managed to impress national coach Mohd Nasihin Nubli and has been picked to make her debut for the Women’s World League Round Two in New Delhi from March 7-15.

Nur Aisyah, who scored 8As and 2Bs in her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations in 2013, is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten) in Putrajaya.

Nasihin believes that Nur Aisyah, whom he desribed as a hard-working player, can marshal the midfield.

“She is also capable of scoring from penalty corners drag flicks ... she’ll live up to my expectations in New Delhi,” said Nasihin.

Nur Aisyah, who was named the best player for her state Malacca in the National Schools Championships (MSSM) in Malacca in 2012, jumped for joy after finding out that she’ll be heading for New Delhi.

“I’m so happy! I want to thank coach Nasihin for having faith in me. This is the biggest break for me in my hockey career ... I won’t let the coach down,” said the former student of Tuanku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) in Johor.

The national women’s team, ranked 21st in the world, have never gone past the World League Round Two but stand a good chance of reaching the semi-final stage as they are seeded second behind favourites and world No. 13 India.

Eight teams will feature in the tournament and the top two teams will qualify for World League Semi-Finals.

The national team will leave for New Delhi on Tuesday and play a friendly against Poland on Thursday before opening their Group B campaign against Kazakhstan on March 7.

Malaysia’s other matches are against Russia (March 8) and Singapore (March 10).

India are in Group A with Poland, Ghana and Thailand.

The Star of Malaysia

Ministry to probe Kenya Hockey Union over Uruguay fiasco

By Elizabeth Mburugu

The Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) will have to answer to the ministry of Sports for the unfortunate events that befell the women’s national hockey team which participated in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) World League Two — that also served as an Olympic qualifier — in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario told Feverpitch that his ministry will not let KHU get away with it as they had failed the players and the country. “KHU failed the national team and the country at large, we will not let them or any other federation get away with such levels of incompetence.”

Wario noted that it was still hard for him to comprehend how the management of KHU could ignore and take for granted a team that qualified for a tournament of such magnitude. “This was a high profile tournament, it was an Olympic qualifying event, KHU must explain to the ministry why they did not give it the seriousness it deserved.”

He added that the sad events have exposed the rot in hockey and KHU is now under the watchful eye of the ministry and they will involve the Registrar of Sports.

“We will summon them to a meeting next week. We are also following up with the registrar’s office to see if they are registered and have complied with the requirements,” Wario said.

The Standard Online

Wimbledon book their place at the Finals Weekend

Wimbledon's Tejinder Hanspal celebrates his goal against Beeston with teammates Phil Ball and Johnny Kinder, Credit Josh Dixon

Wimbledon confirmed their place in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League Premier Division play-offs as they beat rivals Beeston 3-1 on Saturday.

Two goals from Blake Govers and one from Tejinder Hanspal helped Wimbledon secure their spot in the Finals Weekend, which this year is being staged at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

They are likely to be joined by Beeston after fifth-placed Reading could only manage a 2-2 draw with Hampstead and Westminster, leaving a nine-point gap between fourth and fifth with just three games to play.

At the bottom Canterbury closed to within three points of Southgate after they came from behind to beat Brooklands Manchester University 3-1 with Craig Boyne, Harry Roberts and Wei Adams getting the goals.

Two goals from Andy Piper helped East Grinstead to a 4-2 win over Cannock, which leaves the Staffordshire side looking over their shoulder with just a two-point gap between them and relegation danger.

Surbiton notched up a 6-1 victory over Southgate with Alan Forsyth and Matt Daly grabbing two goals each. Rupert Shipperley and Lewis Prosser were also on target as the league leaders stayed top with a comfortable win.

NOW: Pensions Conference West

Cardiff & Met closed the gap at the top of the NOW: Pensions Conference West table to a point with a 5-1 win over strugglers Barford Tigers.

All five goals came in the first half as James Carson, Matt Pacey, Luke Hawker, Liam Brignull and Jack Pritchard scored to put the game beyond doubt, before Jakub Korytak grabbed a second half consolation for the visitors.

Team Bath Buccaneers dropped points but remain top after drawing 1-1 with Guildford who stay sixth, whilst bottom club Whitchurch lost further ground on the rest with a 5-2 defeat at Cheltenham.

Elsewhere University of Birmingham blew a three-goal lead to draw 4-4 with India Gymkhana.

NOW: Pensions Conference North

Bowdon secured top spot in the NOW: Pensions Conference North with a comfortable 3-0 win over Olton and West Warwicks thanks to two goals from Simon Edgerton and one from Bart Zywiczka.

The result leaves Bowdon with an unassailable ten point lead at the league summit, despite second place Sheffield Hallam racking up an emphatic 7-2 win away at Belper with hat-tricks from Martin Sutherland and Liam Ansell.

Deeside Ramblers came from behind to hammer Leek 6-3, a result which makes them safe from automatic relegation but leaves Leek three points adrift at the bottom.

NOW: Pensions Conference East

Holcombe put nine past Teddington on a day of big scores in the NOW: Pensions Conference East. Nick Catlin helped himself to four goals for the recently-crowned league winners in a 9-1 win.

The result leaves Teddington second bottom after Old Loughtonians moved up a place with a 2-2 draw against Richmond, who stay bottom.

West Herts moved up to third with a crushing 10-3 win over Chichester Priory Park, whilst Oxted put breathing space between themselves and the bottom with a 3-2 win over Brighton and Hove.

Elsewhere Bromley and Beckenham drew 2-2 with Cambridge City.

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, February 28 2015):

NOW: Pensions Men's Premier Division: Beeston 1, Wimbledon 3; Canterbury 3, Brooklands MU 1; East Grinstead 4, Cannock 2; Hampstead and Westminster 2, Reading 2; Surbiton 6, Southgate 1.

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference West: Cardiff & Met 5, Barford Tigers 1; Cheltenham 5, Whitchurch 2; Team Bath Buccaneers 1, Guildford 1; University of Birmingham 4, Indian Gymkhana 4; University of Exeter 2, Fareham 2.

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

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference East: Bromley and Beckenham 2, Cambridge City 2; Holcombe 9, Teddington 1; Old Loughtonians 2, Richmond 2; Oxted 3, Brighton and Hove 2; West Herts 10, Chichester Priory Park 3.

England Hockey Board Media release

Holcombe boost Play-Off hopes

Holcombe celebrate a goal during the 2014-15 season, Credit Andy Smith

Holcombe took a giant step towards the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division play-offs with a 2-1 win at University of Birmingham thanks to two goals from Sarah Robertson.

Alice Sharp pulled one back for Birmingham after Robertson’s goals had given the visitors a comfortable lead, but the defeat puts a major dent in their play-off aspirations.

The victory for Holcombe opens up a four point gap on the chasing pack after Leicester could only manage to draw 1-1 with Bowdon Hightown, for whom Lisa-Emma Crew rescued a point after Liz George had put Leicester in front.

At the other end Beeston were left clinging to their top-flight status by a thread after going down 3-2 at home to Surbiton, with Rebecca Herbert scoring the decisive goal for the league leaders as they warmed up for April’s play-offs at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

Buckingham were beaten 2-1 at home by Clifton to remain anxiously close to the relegation places, with Amie Hone scoring their goal. They stay locked in a battle with Bowdon Hightown to avoid being pulled into the relegation play-off.

Investec Conference West

Slough maintained their five-point lead in the Investec Conference West, but were held to a 1-1 draw by second-placed Swansea City on Saturday.

The Welsh side took the lead through Sophie Clayton from open play after just 12 minutes, but Slough levelled with Amy Turnbull on 26 minutes and the score remained unchanged through the second half.

Third-placed Gloucester City closed the gap on Swansea with a 2-1 win over Cheltenham, while Trojans beat Bristol Firebrands 2-0. Elsewhere, two goals from Mandy Gatherer helped Olton and West Warwicks beat higher-placed Isca University 3-1.

Investec Conference North

Wakefield maintained their three-point lead at the top of the Investec Conference North with a comfortable 4-1 win over Sutton Coldfield.

Sally Walton scored twice for the league leaders who keep Brooklands Poynton at arm’s length, despite Helen Turner helping the team in second to a 1-0 win at the University of Durham.

At the bottom Cannock finally registered their first win of the season to give themselves a fighting chance of avoiding the drop, with Lucy Spencer’s early goal helping them to a 1-0 win at Liverpool Sefton.

Kendal remain mired in relegation trouble after they were beaten 4-2 by Ben Rhydding, whilst Loughborough Students won 1-0 at Whitley Bay and Tynemouth.

Investec Conference East

East Grinstead wrapped up the Investec Conference East title with a dominant 7-0 win over struggling Ipswich. Sophie Bray bagged a hat-trick to confirm her side’s place in the promotion play-offs.

Second place Sevenoaks slipped out of the running for promotion when they lost out 2-1 at St Albans. Ellie Watton and Amy Kee had put the home side ahead, rendering Jet Van Zalen’s strike four minutes from time a consolation.

Horsham remain bottom after they were beaten 6-1 by Wimbledon, but ninth place Bedford failed to take advantage going down 5-1 at Harleston Magpies.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, February 28 2015):

Investec Women's Premier Division: Beeston 2, Surbiton 3; Buckingham 1, Clifton 2; Leicester 1, Bowdon 1; University of Birmingham 1, Holcombe 2.

Investec Women's Conference West: Gloucester City 2, Cheltenham 1; Olton & West Warwicks 3, Isca 1; Oxford Hawks 2, Stourport 2; Swansea City 1, Slough 1; Trojans 2, Bristol Firebrands 0.

Investec Women's Conference North: Ben Rhydding 4, Kendal 2; Cannock 1, Liverpool Sefton 0; University of Durham 0, Brooklands Poynton 1; Wakefield 4, Sutton Coldfield 1; Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 0, Loughborough Students 1.

Investec Women's Conference East: Harleston Magpies 5, Bedford 1; Ipswich 0, East Grinstead 7; Maidenhead 0, Chelmsford 0; St. Albans 2, Sevenoaks 1; Wimbledon 6, Horsham 1.

England Hockey Board Media release

Cosyns Daring to dream of EHL progression

Big changes for Daring for the second half of the season but club captain Jof Cosyns is confident his side can continue to rise the ranks after a breathtaking series of improvements in the past five years.

The Molenbeek club were the fairytale story of the Belgian club scene in the last few years, going from the second tier to move up into the the EHL places in the Belgian Honour Division with coach Michel Kinnen overseeing the last three years of their rise.

He stepped away from the coaching role after Daring’s debut in the EHL in Barcelona in October with his 'T2' Gregory Herman taking over.

Cosyns paid tribute to the work Kinnen did with the club and is confident that Herman will bring the club on further.

“Michel helped clearly a lot to bring Daring to this level," he told the EHL website. "He took the team once we moved up to the Honor Division.

“The club did not want to do what it did some years ago when they got promoted: zero points! Therefore, some foreign players were recruited and, within three years, we succeeded to reach the top three and qualify for the EHL while every other newbie to the Honours Division has been relegated back to the first division.

“It is an amazing performance that we have been the only club to do that. We are building on what Michel has done and our T2 assistant coach is now T1. In collaboration with his staff, Gregory is doing a good job to improve the team but also every player.”

Daring started the second of their domestic league with a 2-2 draw with title rivals Waterloo Ducks last Sunday and Cosyns is looking to build on that result after a tricky winter warming-up phase.

“We had a difficult preparation with some absences of our international players, injuries, and bad weather conditions which meant we could not play lots of hockey. Our pitch was flooded the whole week before the Wat Ducks game so we trained quite hard physically but some players need to get their rhythm and hockey level back.

“WatDucks were in the same situation and the game was maybe a bit poor in terms of intensity but the draw reflects well on us. We hope to be able to train a lot more to get back on track."

Looking back at Barcelona, Cosyns says it was an “amazing” experience as they swept to victories over Ireland’s Monkstown and France’s St Germain on their EHL debut.

“This first experience was amazing: for all the players, the staff and the supporters. It is a different atmosphere to the Belgian league. You play games against teams and players you never met. In Barcelona, the opponents were defending a lot and it is something we are not used to play against.

“We knew we could qualify against these two teams and while they were not our best performances, we were mature enough to manage them.”

Daring play English champions Beeston in the KO16 in Bloemendaal in one of the highlights of this phase of the competition.

Euro Hockey League media release

MHC settle for two deputy presidents

By Jugjet Singh

THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) affiliates finally came to a consensus yesterday when it was proposed that two deputy presidents' seats be made available to stop internal squabbling.

At their Council Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, where amendments to the constitution were discussed, the main issue revolved around the deputy president's post as well as the abolishment of the executive council.

Cooler heads prevailed as the executive council will also be retained, as abolishing it would mean a smaller committee to run the administration while the executive council only meet once in four years at their congress.

Now, MHC have to ensure they get a two-thirds majority during EGM in March, to approve the amenements and forward it to the Sports Commissioner as well as the International Hockey Federation (FIH) for endorsement before proceeding with the AGM which is proposed to be held in May.

"The council members decided that two deputy president's posts would be better and also to retain the executive council. Other than that there were only minor strenghtening of our constitution," said MHC deputy president Puan Sri Raja Noora Ashikin.

Noora Ashikin was pivotal in stopping the MHC from making a mockery of themselves by not adhearing to the regulations of the FIH regarding gender equity.

The FIH as well as the Sports Commissioner's office then rejected earlier amendments made to the constitution, and yesterday was back to first base, in a commical merry-go-round.

"Now we need to go through the motions properly by endorsement at the EGM, getting approval from the FIH as well as Sports Commissioner's office before we hold our AGM," said Raja Noora Ashikin.

Earlier, Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal was the sole nominee for the presdient's post, while Raja Noora Ashikin and Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad were nominated for the sole deputy president's post.

However, with two deputy presidents' inserted into the constitution, Raja Noora Ashikin is likely to have no challengers while Azmi might face a battle at the ballots.

Also, rumours are rife that there will also be a challenger for Subahan this time around.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

All is well in MHC as they agree to put differences aside

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have finally come to a consensus regarding their new constitution – and will move forward to have it approved by the relevant authorities.

The MHC executive council, which met on Saturday, debated on contentious issues in the constitution and managed to agree to the clauses.

MHC deputy president Puan Sri Raja Noora Ashikin Raja Abdullah said after the meeting that they would now move to get the constitution approved within a set time frame.

She said that an extraordinary general meeting will be called on March 22 to seek approval for all the clauses agreed to.

“After the FIH (International Hockey Federation) and the Sports Commissioner have given their approvals, we will hold the AGM,” she explained.

“That (AGM) has been scheduled for May 13. Yesterday, we reviewed the constitution that had been proposed earlier and refined it further so that all the contentious issues have been trashed out.”

Among the issues which plagued the new constitution were that of the deputy president, the delegates who would be allowed to vote and the removal of the executive council.

“It was agreed that there will be two deputy presidents (one of each gender) and that the executive will remain,” said Raja Noora.

“It was also agreed that each affiliate will have two delegates eligible to vote at the Congress. These are the main areas of contention which have now been resolved.”

The two-hour meeting, held at a leading hotel here, was chaired by MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.

Raja Noora said that a draft of the constitution would be given to the FIH for their feedback.

“The timeline to get this done is clear and we will act to ensure that the necessary work is done on time. Once we get the feedback from FIH, we will give each of the affiliate a copy of the constitution so that they are kept in the know regarding its status,” she said.

The MHC’s AGM was due last May but was postponed until the new constitution was approved. It was then set for Jan 13 but the affiliates failed to agree to some of the clauses and the meeting was derailed. The president then suggested a new timeline to get it moving.

The MHC will call for nominations once the EGM agrees to the new constitution. They will need a two-third quorum to approve it.

Raja Noora is confident that the coming meetings will run smoothly since the council had come to an agreement.

The Star of Malaysia

Nur Insafi and SMKDBL are through to Division Two final

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: Penang’s Nur Insafi and SMK Datuk Bentara Laut (SMKDBL) of Johor have qualified for the Division Two final in the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysia Junior Hockey League.

Nur Insafi won the Division Two title in 2009 and this will be their second final appearance. SMKDBL will be playing in their first-ever final.

Four teams from Division Two – Nur Insafi, SMKDBL, BJSS Juniors and IMAS Perlis – have qualified for the knockout stage together with four other teams from Division One.

The four teams from Division One  are champions SSTMI-Thunderbolt, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and PSS-Thunderbolt.

Nur Insafi qualified after securing two wins in the Division Two playoffs. They beat 1MAS-TBSS Tampin 6-1 on Thursday and defeated BJSS Juniors 5-1 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Although they lost, BJSS Juniors still qualified for the knockout stage along with Nur Insafi.

BJSS Juniors will play 1MAS Perlis for third placing.

In the other playoff match, SMKDBL defeated MSN Terengganu 2-0 to book their final berth.

The Division One action concluded with two matches that had no bearing on the outcome of the top-four placings.

Last year’s Division Two champions Politeknik Malaysia defeated BJSS 2-0 at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru while KLSS-KLHC beat SSTMI Juniors 5-3 in another match.

The Star of Malaysia

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