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News for 02 March 2015

All the news for Monday 2 March 2015

Russia and Ireland pick up their second win in San Diego

World League R2, men – Day 2

Ireland and Russia took control of their respective pools with their second wins of the Hockey World League R2 in San Diego. The USA were the only PAHF team victorious on day 2 of the Hockey World League R2 in San Diego with a large win over Trinidad & Tobago (7-1). Canada fell to Russia in Pool B (1-2) while Chile were surprised by Italy in Pool A (1-2).

Russia vs. Canada: 2-1 (ht: 0-1)

“Sunny California” woke up in pouring rain for day 2 of the World League Round 2 in San Diego. Both Russia and Canada had solid wins on opening day and were looking at comforting their position in Pool B. Canada thought that they had scored in the 2nd minute after creating havoc in the Russian circle, but the umpire had spotted a foul.

Play was balanced but slowed down by the soaked pitch. Dave Carter in the Canadian goal was called early into action and Canada survived a series of penalty-corners, then play turned into an exchange of high balls before Canada managed to arrive close enough to the Russian goal to score, Iain Smythe having the last touch to open the score.

Canada tried to take control of tempo in the second quarter but play was often bogged down on the heavy pitch and both teams had trouble stringing their passes or developing their actions. Canada managed to still a ball from the Russian defense in the dying seconds of the half and force a penalty-corner, but the injection was slow (or slowed down by water…) and the half-time break was reached with only the one-goal lead for the North Americans.

Play opened up in the third quarter with both teams developing more attacking hockey. Canada had some sustained pressure early, however the first real scoring chance was for Russia, earning a penalty-corner after a quick counter-attack but they could not capitalize on the three successive retakes. They were more efficient a few minutes later when Nikolay Komarov surprised the Canadian defense with a quick shot from a messy situation in front of the goal, tying the score before the end of the third quarter.

Russia scored early in the fourth quarter by Alexander Palyanitsa and things suddenly looked bleak for the Canadians. They had a few narrow misses but the Russians had by now retreated into a compact defensive structure and there was little room to manoeuvre close to the circle. Canada besieged the Russian circle for the last ten minutes of the match, but they could not find an opening… until the last minute when they earned a penalty-corner. Their first attempt was wide and the repeat deflected by the runners, so Russia earned their second win of the competition and took the lead of Pool B.

USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago: 7-1 (ht: 0-1)

Just as the day before against Canada, the USA started the match at full tilt, while the Trinidadians seemed to have trouble finding their rhythm in the rainy and cold conditions. The American overwhelmingly dominated the first quarter of the match but had nothing to show on the scoreboard, even after a number of penalty-corners. Andrey Rocke in goal for Trinidad was kept busy but stood tall in the storm.

The American defense was surprised on one of the lone incursion of Trinidad in attacking territory and Shaquille Daniel gave a surprise lead to his team at the end of the first quarter. The goal suddenly changed the dynamics of the match, with the USA seemingly deflated for a while and the Trinidadians emboldened by the lead. The USA scrambled a penalty-corner, could not take advantage of a few numerical advantages for green cards, were unlucky on a number of opportunities and Trinidad & Tobago walked into the half-time break with their precious one-goal lead.

The USA attacked second period with renewed energy and immediately earned a penalty-corner, powered high in goal by William Holt to tie the score. Tempo of play increased a notch and the few spectators braving the rain were kept well entertained. The American missed a chance by a whisker after a spectacular dive at the far post, and it was finally a well-executed penalty-corner by Pat Harris that gave them the lead for the first time in the 38th minute.

Tempers started to heat up on the pitch and the umpires had to distribute a few cards (including four yellows) and there was the feeling that the game could still go either way in the final quarter of the match. It was finally a quick reversed shot by Alex Cunningham that gave a more comfortable 2-goal lead to the USA, immediately followed for good measure by a second penalty-corner goal by William Holt.

In a final flurry of attacks, the USA added two more goals by Pat Harris (completing a hat-trick) and one by Christian Linney for a final comfortable 7-1 victory that pushes them past Canada on goal difference to stand in second place of Pool B.

Chile vs. Italy: 1-2 (ht: 0-0)

Chile wanted to redeem themselves after their heavy loss to Ireland on opening day and immediately pushed forward. They had a chance on a diving deflection from Sebastián Kapsch but the Italians showed again their solid structure and weathered the storm efficiently. The match was animated and entertaining but first quarter ended scoreless.

Chile had a chance on a penalty-corner earned on the first action of second quarter but it was well defended. Play was enjoyable with chances at both ends but both sides were rushing their last pass, or last control, or shot on goal. Chilean goal-keeper Adrian Henrique and his opposite number Francesco Padovani in the Italian goal were kept busy but efficiently deflected everything coming their way and half-time was reached on a tied 0-0 score.

Chile finally took the lead in the 32nd minute by Martin Rodriguez, pouncing on a ball in the circle and propelling it high in goal from close range. Italy had a chance just after on a penalty-corner but the well positioned shot was not powerful enough to fool the goal-keeper. They however tied the score in the 40th minute by Andrea Corsi, sneaking in front of the Chilean goal-keeper to deflect a loose ball in goal.

The intensity of the match immediately picked up a notch. Both teams threw all their remaining energy in the last quarter, with Italy in finer form in the later stage of the match. Thomas Keenan slotted low a perfectly executed penalty-corner to give Italy the lead for the first time in the match in the 53rd minute, triggering much excitement on the Italian bench.  The Chileans looked disheartened by the turn of events and could never regain enough momentum to come back in match, while Italy were ecstatic with their well-deserved first win of the competition.

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

Both teams impressed on opening day and were looking at staking their claim on the top of pool A, as well as on qualification for the next round of the World League. Tempo was immediately fast, if only because the players wanted to warm up quickly from the cold rain drowning the pitch in San Diego. Both teams were strictly organized and structured, leaving little room for manoeuvering, and goal-keepers were not called much into action in the opening ten minutes.

Ireland were the more entrepreneurial, with Austria mostly defending and trying their chances on counter-attack. The younger Austrians were however playing with the composure of experienced veterans, calmly weathering the Irish attacks, and the Irish midfield seemed progressively at a loss to find options to approach the Austrian circle.

First penalty-corner was for Austria in the 23rd minute. They could not produce anything and Michael Watt scored for Ireland on the immediate swift counter-attack to finally open the scoring. The goal seemed to dampen the spirit of the Austrians and Ireland dominated the end of the period, reaching half-time with a tenuous but precious one-goal lead.

Ireland had a chance to increase their lead on a series of penalty-corner in the opening minute of second period but to no avail. The Irish had taken control of the proceedings but could not conclude the many chances they were creating. They got a little help from their crossbar on an Austrian penalty-corner, the ball bouncing down on the goal-line from a powerful shot before been cleared by the defense, stunned during a split second by the ball trajectory.

Ireland had to play short on a yellow card at the end of third quarter but nevertheless forced a penalty-corner in the 44th minute, well converted by Alan Sothern wrong-footing the Austrian goal-keeper with a low shot. Austria replied with a penalty-corner of their own in the opening minute of the last quarter, reducing the Irish lead to one goal and setting up an intense end of match, with the feeling that the match could still go either way.

Intensity amplified and tempered flared, leading to another Austrian penalty-corner, but David Harte in the Irish goal was up to the task on the high flick. Shane O'Donoghue rebuilt the two-goal cushion for Ireland with an opportunistic goal in the 54th minute and the Irish fans could breathe a little bit easier. Ireland earned their second win of the competition after a hard-fought match and stand alone at the top of Pool A with six points.

Schedule for Day 3 (Tuesday March 3):
Canada vs. Trinidad & Tobago
USA vs. Russia
Ireland vs. Italy
Chile vs. Austria

PAHF media release

Buckets of Rain and Team USA's Attack Saturate the Pitch during World League Round 2

CHULA VISTA, Calif. – On a soggy Sunday, the Men’s Hockey World League Round 2 continued with the U.S. Men’s National Team meeting Trinidad and Tobago for more pool play action.

An attack presence was established from the start, a common theme that held true through the entirety of the 60 minute international match. During the first quarter, a majority of the time was spent inside the USMNT’s offensive end, however, USA goaltender Chris Rea (San Diego, Calif.) was called upon and stepped up with a polished double-stack save to keep the match at zeroes. Trinidad and Tobago maintained a pulse in their attacking side toward the end of the period and in the final minute sent a sharp shot to the cage to change the score USA 0, Trinidad and Tobago 1; their lone goal of the match.

Although aggressive and present in front of the cage, the United States wasn’t able to capitalize until the 31st minute of play when off of a penalty corner William Holt's (Camarillo, Calif.) crisp drag flick zoomed past the opposition’s keeper to equalize the match. From this point on, the replaying sound of the ball slamming into the backboard would occur an astounding six more times for Team USA.

“The shift in play from the first half to the second was a result of just keeping a stronger focus on the outcomes and sticking to the process,” said Head Coach Chris Clements. “Therefore, there was a real determination for our guys to prove how efficient we can be when we execute which we accomplished nicely.”

USA's Aki Kaeppler (Stuttgart, Ger.) utilized a fake shot to throw Trinidad and Tobago off balance. The ball was instead dished to Pat Harris (Moorpark, Calif.) who perfectly placed it into the net. Only his second time sporting the Team USA jersey in an international match, Alex Cunningham (Bad Kreuznach, Ger.) bashed the ball into the cage for another United State's goal – an impressive contribution for a brand new athlete to the squad. 

“You get goosebumps when you’re out there and lined up with your teammates for the national anthem,” said Cunningham. “They're a great bunch of guys who bring you into the group and get everyone fired up. There's good leadership here. It's already like family."

Cunningham moved the spotlight away from himself and gave his goal in honor of a special person.

"I scored for my mom who passed away in October," said Cunningham. "I dedicate this goal to her.”

Quick corner action from Team USA’s forward line resulted in another goal for the red, white and blue courtesy of Holt, his second of the match. Harris kept the scoring frenzy alive by tacking two back-to-back field goals onto the results board in the 51st and 52nd minutes, a hat trick for the match. Christian Linney (San Diego, Calif.) would make the final score of USA 7, Trinidad and Tobago 1 concrete with a heated hit past the goal line.

Yesterday the USMNT’s wasn’t able to prevail over Canada and lost 2-5. The next match for Team USA will take place on Tuesday, March 3 at 10:45 a.m. PST against Russia. Catch live updates on all USMNT matches at Men’s Hockey World League Round 2 by following @USAFieldHockey on Twitter. #HLW2015 #RoadToRio

USFHA media release

Russia slips by Canada 2-1 at Men's World League 2

Canada faces Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday

Shaheed Devji

Russia was able to sneak by Canada 2-1 on Sunday at Hockey World League 2 in Chula Vista, California.

After a convincing victory against the host United States on Saturday, in which both Scott Tupper and Matthew Sarmento scored two goals each, Canada faced the Russians who were coming off their own convincing win, an 6-1 victory over Trinidad and Tobago.

The game was started quietly on a rainy day in California. Russia hoped to be the first to make noise having earned the first penalty corner of the game, but Canada's goalkeeper David Carter, who made his second straight start, turned the ball away.

Shortly after Carter's important save and after a bout of mifield play, Canada's Iain Smythe entered the Russian circle and beat keeper Marat Gafarov to give Canada the 1-0 in the eleventh minute, a lead wihch they carried into half time.

The second half was very similar to the first, with both teams playing a very calculated style in the wet conditions.

In the third quarter, Russia earned another two penalty corners but once again Canada defended well and didn't allow a good opportunity on goal.

But the Russians kept pressing and in the forty-second minute Nikolay Komarov was finally ablet to beat Carter and tie the game at one.

Despite carrying the play for the majority of the game, Canada surrendered another goal five minutes later when Alexander Palyanitsa put the ball past Carter to give Russia the 2-1 lead.

Canada pressed in the fourth quarter and had opportunities to tie on penalty corners late in the match but were unable to beat the Russian keeper.

With the 2-1 victory Russia moves into first place in Pool B. Canada faces Trinidad and Tobago in its final group-stage match on Tuesday.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Final countdown begins for SA hockey men


SA midfielder Clint Panther's mental and physical toughness came through against Germany.

The South Africa men’s hockey team have been hard at work since February 19 in Cape Town as the group builds towards the World League Round 2 tournament that takes place at Hartleyvale in Cape Town from March 7 to 15.

Aside from the gruelling daily training sessions, as well as the video and tactical discussions, the players arriving in bits and pieces due to university, work, personal and club commitments, have also had to contend with four matches against top-class competition.

The amateur SA players are very much out-of-season while leading professional squads like top Dutch club Rotterdam and the Germany national team players are well into the European season and have been gearing up in Cape Town with full squads ahead of the business end of their seasons back home.

SA only had 17 relatively inexperienced players of their 25-player squad against teams with a full complement of 25 experienced squad players from which to pick their 11 starting players and seven rolling subs.

Variously due to university, work, personal, injury or club commitments SA head coach Fabian Gregory has been missing experienced, key players. They are World Cup, Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games captain Austin Smith – so often the team’s lynchpin and a recent Hockey India League title winner - regular first-choice keeper Rassie Pieterse, midfielder Tim Drummond, defenders Rhett Halkett, Jonty Robinson and Matt Guise-Brown, as well as strikers Taine Paton and Brandon Panther.

Robinson is now out of the reckoning altogether due to his player/coach commitments at top English club Southgate. Brandon Panther and Halkett are injury concerns.

Pieterse arrived at camp Sunday, while Smith, Drummond, and the rest of the fit players arrive Monday.

“The World League from March 7 in Cape Town is our only goal and the two matches each against Rotterdam and [world number three] Germany have never been about the scores,” said Gregory Sunday afternoon. “This camp and those four matches are, among other factors, primarily about our own tactical and technical preparation ahead of March 7 as well as being an important selection phase.”

The coach said that despite the competitiveness selection-wise between the players, they have all worked very hard for each other and for what management are busy implementing.

Those SA players in Cape Town lost 2-0 and 5-2 to Rotterdam, and 4-2 and 13-0 to Germany over the past 10 days. The wheels fell off on Saturday against Germany. The tired SA bunch had to contend with seven fresh German players injected just for this match.

Gregory said Clint Panther, Julian Hykes and Dylan Swanepoel have caught the eye with their fighting qualities.

It’s been a heavy mental and physical load for the players who have been at camp, but among other positives the first three results gave Gregory great heart at the number of goal-scoring opportunities created.

All at Hartleyvale, SA were due to play a training match against China Sunday night, and again at 4pm Monday, before the last practice match versus France at 8pm Tuesday.

Gregory said Sunday’s game was a last chance for players to underline their selection credentials, as he is hoping to play the 18 World League-selected players Monday and Tuesday.

Gregory said the 18 SA players for World League will be officially named within the next day or two.

SA Hockey Association media release

Beeston seal play-off place despite defeat

Surbiton goalscorer Chris Grassick celebrates with Rupert Shipperley and Jonny Gall in their match against Beeston, Credit Josh Dixon

BEESTON secured the final slot in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League Premier Division play-offs, despite a 4-2 home defeat at the hands of Surbiton on Sunday.

Alan Forsyth scored two penalty strokes for the visitors with Rupert Shipperley and Chris Grassick also on target. James Gall and Adam Dixon scored the goals for Beeston.

Reading’s slim hopes of grabbing the final berth in the play-offs at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London went up in smoke as relegation-threatened Canterbury pulled off the shock of the day, beating them 9-1.

Harry Roberts and Craig Boyne were Canterbury’s heroes, both scoring hat-tricks. Despite the win, they are still second from bottom.

East Grinstead were another team firing on all cylinders and they shot to the top with a 9-0 defeat of Brooklands Manchester University. David Condon, Simon Faulkner, Andrew Piper and Wesley Jackson all scored twice. They lead the league on goals scored, being equal with Surbiton on both points and goal difference.

Cannock pulled further away from the relegation battle with a 3-2 win over Wimbledon. Peter Jackson, who had earlier missed a penalty stroke, scored the winner in the dying seconds.

Hampstead and Westminster’s vital game against Southgate had to be abandoned after 24 minutes due to an injury to a match official.

NOW: Pensions Conference West

Cardiff and Met leapt to the top of the top of the NOW: Pensions Conference West after taking full advantage of a shock defeat for Team Bath Buccaneers.

Bath had not lost all season and were beating Barford Tigers 3-2 at the break after Tim Davenport scored twice in the opening four minutes.

Davenport completed his hat-trick in the second half but Tigers equalised before Shakeel Abbasi made it 5-4.

Cardiff beat Fareham 3-1 with Luke Hawker, Mathew Pacey and Mark Whatling all on target. University of Birmingham beat Whitchurch 2-0 and Guildford won 3-0 against Cheltenham. University of Exeter took a 3-2 victory over Indian Gymkhana.

NOW: Pensions Conference North

Sheffield Hallam scored seven goals for the second day running with a 7-1 defeat of Deeside Ramblers on the Sunday. Will Hearne led the scoring with a double. Despite the defeat, Deeside are now safe from the drop.

Bowdon were also big winners, beating Doncaster 5-0. Simon Egerton hit a brace and it could have been more but David Egerton missed a penalty stroke.

Ed James scored a hat-trick in Olton and West Warwicks’ 6-2 defeat of Belper and Adam Clark also scored three in Loughborough Students’ 5-1 win over Wakefield. Leek came from 2-0 down to beat University of Durham 3-2.

Leek and Belper now have two games left to decide who faces automatic relegation or relegation play-offs with both teams too far adrift of eighth-placed Deeside Ramblers.

NOW: Pensions Conference East

Teddington’s relegation fears deepened with a 9-2 loss at home to Oxted. Chris Porter and Dafydd Charles scored two each and Robbert Schenk hit three.

It’s tight at the bottom of the division with five teams caught up in a fight against the drop. Brighton edged closer to safety with a 2-1 win over West Herts and Chichester Priory Park lost 4-2 to Richmond, who now climb out of the bottom two.

Old Loughtonians slip to second from bottom after losing 3-2 to Bromley and Beckenham.

Holcombe continued their unbeaten season, prevailing 2-1 against Cambridge City. Dan Coultas and Stefan Vehrle-Smith scored their goals.

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, March 1 2015):

NOW: Pensions Men's Premier Division: Beeston 2, Surbiton 4; East Grinstead 9, Brooklands Manchester University 0; Wimbledon 2, Cannock 3; Canterbury 9, Reading 1; Southgate v Hampstead and Westminster abandoned.

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference West: Guildford 3, Cheltenham 0; Barford Tigers 5, Team Bath Buccaneers 4; Whitchurch 0, University of Birmingham 2; Fareham 1, Cardiff and Met 3; Indian Gymkhana 2, University of Exeter 3.

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference North: Olton and West Warwicks 6, Belper 2; Sheffield Hallam 7, Deeside Ramblers 1; Doncaster 0, Bowdon 5; Leek 3, University of Durham 2; Loughborough Students 5, Wakefield 1.

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference East: Bromley and Beckenham 3, Old Loughtonians 2; Brighton and Hove 2, West Herts 1; Richmond 4, Chichester Priory Park 2; Cambridge City 1, Holcombe 2; Teddington 2, Oxted 9.

England Hockey Board Media release

Clifton Ladies keep season’s best intact after A&E drama as Canterbury fight for survival

By Rod Gilmour

On song: Clifton's Joie Leigh, middle, in action against Buckingham Photo: www.chrishobsonphotos.co.uk

Clifton travel to Surbiton this weekend for a much-anticipated top-of-the-table clash both bruised and battered, but West Country pride intact.

Last week saw four Clifton players taken to A&E after their Investec Cup win over rivals Gloucester. Steve Rixon, their coach, was then laid low with illness, but returned to oversee his side defeat hosts Buckingham 2-1 to keep their title challenge alive.

Clifton, who have lost just once this season, are edging ever nearer towards their best ever finish in the National League and are already assured of a play-off place at Lee Valley next month.

Joie Leigh, back in the GB squad after a productive season, and Emily Kirkham scored in the space of four minutes before the break, though Amie Hone’s goal made for a jittery second-half.

“We had to match their desire and intensity as they had more to play for,” admitted Rixon.

“We had a disruptive week, with a double broken thumb, but we will keep on fighting.”

A brace from Sarah Robertson gave Holcombe a crucial 2-1 win at University of Birmingham.

The Kent side’s victory opened up a four-point gap to fifth after Leicester could only draw 1-1 with Bowdon Hightown.

Beeston’s slender hopes of securing top flight status took another blow as Surbiton won 3-2 at home, the league’s top scorer, Rebecca Herbert, proving the match-winner.

Net gains: Wimbledon secured play-off spot as Beeston, in yellow, lost twice in 24 hours (JOSH DIXON)

Hockey’s six-pointer, the double header weekend, gave Canterbury a lifeline after two pivotal wins in 24 hours in the men’s top flight.

Canterbury first closed to within three points of Southgate at the bottom after coming from behind to beat Brooklands Manchester University 3-1 on Saturday.

On Sunday, they turned on the style in superb fashion, hitting nine past injury-ravaged Reading.

Craig Boyne and Harry Roberts both blasted hat-tricks as Canterbury’s 9-1 win then left them above Southgate on goal difference. Southgate’s match with Hampstead & Westminster was abandoned due to an injury to the umpire.

“We have left it late and knew we had to pull something out of the bag,” said David Stevens, Canterbury’s manager. “It clicked for us today. We were very fluent and got hold of possession early.”

Canterbury play leaders East Grinstead this weekend before a last day showdown with Southgate.

It could not be tighter at the top too, with East Grinstead and Surbiton also level on goal difference. The Sussex side won 9-1 against Brooklands, while Surbiton edged past Beeston 4-2, the latter suffering two defeats over the weekend.

Meanwhile Cannock scored a crucial 3-2 win away at Wimbledon to edge away from relegation trouble. Peter Jackson scored in the dying seconds as Cannock came from 2-1 down.

The Telegraph

World Hockey needs to tighten player safety or face more serious injuries, says East Grinstead manager

East Grinstead manager calls for better governance on equipment protection after witnessing two near misses
By Rod Gilmour

In the thick of it: FIH need to tighten rules on protective equipment, says East Grinstread manager Photo: ADY KERRY

World Hockey needs to take a firm grip on improving player safety or face increasing serious injuries - possibly fatal - in the sport.

That’s the view of Matt Jones, East Grinstead’s manager, who has already witnessed two potentially career-threatening injuries this season and has called on the International Hockey Federation to tighten rules on protective equipment and stem the problem.

“The FIH need to be a lot more descriptive and direct in terms of governance over protection. They need to be more definitive,” said Jones.

“There is potential for a very serious injury. Players are getting bigger and stronger and the ball is going faster so protective equipment has to follow in line.”

Jones said the tragic death of cricketer Phillip Hughes, who died in November, begged the question that “even as rare it may be, accidents can happen so can they be prevented?”

East Grinstead have endured two such instances this season, both indoor and outdoors. The first came in the Euro Hockey League against Kampong in Barcelona when Simon Faulkner took a blow to the side of the head whilst wearing a mask for a penalty corner.

“He was very fortunate in that the side of the mask took the brunt, it came flying off and he had a nasty wound to his ear.” said Jones. “At the point he turned his head, the ball could have hit him below the ear and onto the neck.

“Unless you are a goalkeeper, it’s human nature that you turn your head when a projectile is coming at you quickly.”

In the early stages of the Premier Indoor League, Glenn Kirkham then received a blow to the forehead, above the line where the protection finishes on a current mark.

It is nearly three years since the death of Lizzie Hawker, the talented young Australian who suffered fatal injuries when a ball deflected into her head, though players, says Jones, are still aware of the dangers but “largely get on with it”.

“They are comfortable in their reactions,” he said, “but it is important that they don’t get comfortable in that they feel they are getting enough protection to not worry about getting hit.”

Simon Faulkner remonstrates with umpire after injury (Frank Uijlenbroek)

Ian Taylor, the former England goalkeeper who was renowned as one of the best stoppers in the game, pioneered protection prior to the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. In order to keep up with the changing landscape of hockey, he began to wear ice hockey equipment. Previously, he would have been just as happy defending with little to no protection.

“Players safety should be paramount,” he says today. “It should be either optional or mandatory. If we were to go down the mandatory rule, it will not help the attractiveness of the game.”

However, at grass roots and school level, Jones believes there should be a directive for appropriate headgear to be made mandatory for outfield players standing on the line for penalty corners.

In the Midland School League, for example, rules are in place for compulsory protective wear. Repton School adhere to this policy, but for for non-league games it is only recommended by staff.

Martin Jones, director of hockey at Repton, said: “Some pupils say that the masks affect their vision, meaning the likelihood of getting hit elsewhere on the body might be increased, and so we would welcome the slackening of rules to allow other masks to be used. If we are aware that teams have good drag-flickers or short corner strikers, we insist on our line players wearing masks.”

Jones added that he would like masks to be made mandatory “for players defending near to the goal, so long as the visibility offered by the masks was improved.”

An FIH Spokesperson told Telegraph Sport that hockey’s rules, including those relating to protective equipment, are subject to constant review.

A current protective face mask

“The nature of hockey as a free-flowing and dynamic sport means striking a balance between the protection of the wearer of equipment and those around them who they may come into contact with,” a spokesperson said.

“Whilst no competitive sport of this nature can be totally risk free, the way the game is evolving, along with improvements to sticks and surfaces, means that this is an area under ongoing scrutiny to ensure that the rules of the sport provide the appropriate framework for the playing of hockey."

Why the rule needs tightening

In December, the FIH published an update to its latest Rules of Hockey. In its media release, the FIH's two sentence directive on player safety was printed below changes to a free hit and the re-start:

“Other rule changes to help improve player safety have also been made, including the rules governing the wearing of face masks to defend penalty corners which have been amended to increase player safety. A wider range of masks, including metal grill masks, will now be allowed to be used.”

The Telegraph

As easy as drinking Milo for Thunderbolts

DIVISION One Champions SSTMI Thunderbolts received a smooth Milo Cup draw yesterday, and should cruise into the final of the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League.

For, they will play Division Two outfit 1Mas Perlis in the quarter-finals, and in the semis are highly touted to meet their counterpart SSP-MSP-Thunderbolts.

The other half of the draw will see a battle between UniKL Young Guns and Petaling Jaya City Council (PJCC) who are expected to clash at the sem-finals stage.

In the quarter-finals, UniKL will play Nur Insafi-Penang HA while PJCC meet SMKDBL Johor HA.

UniKL Young Guns team manager Mohamed Faiz Isa said finishings econd in the League was not what they wanted, so they will try to make amends in the Milo Cup.

"After we lost to Thudnerbolts (4-2) in the League my players were a little down, but are slowly getting back their confidence. We lost the League title narrowly, so now we will try and make amends by snatching the Milo Cup," said Faiz.

Not wanting to underestimate their quarter-finals opponents Nur Insafi-Penang HA, Faiz said experience will be their best friend in the knock-out.

"We are not underestimating the capabilities of Nur Insafi who have proven to be an improving side judging from the results in the Division Two knock-outs.

"Only that, we have an experienced outfit, and hopefully they don't make it difficult for themselves in the two leg quarters," said Faiz.

Thunderbolts team manager Adam Izamry was all smiles after 1Mas Perlis picked their number for the quarters: "Yes, it looks like our half of the quarters draw is much more easier than the other half where PJCC and UniKL will most probably advance to the semis.

"It looks like we will be waiting for which-ever team that reaches the final from the other half," said a confident Adam.

It is no fools talk, as Adam and coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman have the best juniors in the country as they go for their fourth consecutive JHL double.

MILO CUP quarter-finals (first leg): March 6: SSTMI Thunderbolts v 1Mas Perlis; March 8: 1Mas Perlis v SSTMI Thunderbolts (Both legs at Nationsal Stadium Bukit Jalil).

March 6: SSP-MSp-Thunderbolts v Bukit Jalil SS Juniors (Temerloh); March 8: Bukit Jalil SS Juniors v SSP-MSp-Thunderbolts (Ministry of Education).

March 6: Petaling Jaya City Council v SMKDBL PH Johor (National Stadium); March 8: SMKDBL PH Johor v Petaling Jaya City Council (Batu Pahat).

March 6: UniKL Young Guns v Nur Insafi-Penang HA (National Stadium); March 8: Nur Insafi-Penang HA v UniKL Young Guns (Sungai Petani).

RESULTS: Division Two: Final -- Nur Insafi-Penang HA 3 SMKDBL PHJ 2; Third-Fourth: BJSS Juniors 4 1Mas Perlis 3.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Nur Insafi claim Division Two title in junior hockey league

By S. Ramaguru

Nur Insafi defeated SMK Datuk Bentara Luar of Johor (SMKDBL) 3-2 in the final at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil. - BRIAN MOH / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Nur Insafi won the Division Two title in the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysia Junior Hockey League when they defeated SMK Datuk Bentara Luar of Johor (SMKDBL) 3-2 in the final at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

The Penangites picked up RM6,500 while SMKDBL received RM5,000.

Nur Insafi fell behind twice in the game but managed to bounce back and scored the winner seven minutes from time. It was their second Division Two title since 2009.

SMKDL took the lead as early as the sixth minute when Mohamed Ramadan Ariffin scored from a penalty corner set-piece.

In the 39th minute, Nur Insafi drew level with a penalty stroke conversion through Mohamed Faiz Kahar.

But SMKDBL regained the lead with Mohamed Fitri Jasni scoring another penalty corner goal in the 47th minute.

Nur Insafi fought back and in the 61st minute equalised through a field attempt by Norrahul Hrsikesa.

Their continued push forward paid off two minutes later when Mohamed Azim Illias scored after a solo run into the D.

Both teams have qualified for Division One next year.

BJSS Juniors took third place when they defeated 1MAS Perlis 4-3.

Meanwhile, defending champions SSTMI Thunderbolt will play 1MAS Perlis in the quarter-finals for the MJHL overall title (Milo Cup).

The champions were drawn in the top half with Pahang SS Thunderbolt who will meet BJSS Juniors in the last eight.

In the bottom half the seeded teams are Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and MBPJ. UniKl will play Nur Insafi while the PJ side will take on SMKDBL.

UniKL team manger Mohamed Faiz Isa said after the draw that the Division Two sides should not be taken lightly.

“We are disappointed that we lost out in Division One. But we are hoping for a better run in the knockout stage.”

The first leg will be played on March 6 followed by the return leg on March 8

The Star of Malaysia

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