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News for 16 March 2015

All the news for Monday 16 March 2015

Fantastic France storm to title

Egypt beat South Africa in shoot-out to take third and final qualification berth in Hockey World League Round 3

(Photo: Gavin Withers Photography)

A hat-trick from Gaspard Baumgarten helped France (FIH World Ranking: 18) to a 5-2 victory over China (WR: 28) in the final of the Greenfields Hockey World League Round 2 event in Cape Town.

Baumgarten’s trio of open play efforts came in the middle of goals from team-mates Charles Masson and Hugo Genestet, as the Europeans finished the tournament with an impressive six wins from six matches.  Meng Wei and Ao Yang were on target for China, a team that performed way above expectations by finishing the event ahead of three higher-ranked teams: South Africa (WR: 13), Czech Republic (20) and Egypt (WR: 21).

The tournament success was very much the icing on the cake for France who, like fellow finalists China, had already sealed a safe passage through to the Olympic qualification phase of the Hockey World League by winning their respective semi-finals.

The one remaining ticket to the Hockey World League Semi-Finals was claimed by Egypt, who battled to a shoot-out victory over continental rivals and host nation South Africa in the 3rd place play-off match. Normal time came to an end with the scores locked at 2-2, with Egypt’s Amr Ibrahim drawing his team level in the final minute before the north Africans emerged 3-2 winners in the shoot-out.

The result condemned the home favourites to fourth place and means that they must now rely on success in the African continental championship later this year if they are to realize their dream of competing in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The African Cup for Nations will take place in October, being hosted by Egypt.

Earlier in the day, Switzerland (WR: 38) ended their tournament on a positive note with victory against higher-ranked Czech Republic to take 5th place while Azerbaijan (WR: 31) claimed 7th by defeating Belarus (WR: 35). To see all tournament fixtures and results, please click here.

The three highest finishers in the eight-team men’s tournament, which started on Saturday 7th March and concluded on Sunday 15th March, were each guaranteed a place in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals (Round 3), where places at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are available. 

A total of nine qualification places for the HWL Semi-Finals were available in Round 2, with the top three finishers at each of the tournaments in Singapore (SIN), San Diego (USA) and Cape Town (RSA) all being certain to compete in the next phase.

Malaysia, Poland and Japan all qualified for the HWL Semi-Finals thanks to top three finishes at the event in Singapore (SIN) earlier this year.  They were then joined by Ireland, Austria and Canada at the event in San Diego last week, with France, China and Egypt qualifying from the Cape Town tournament.

To learn more about how the teams progress through the competition in the hope of reaching the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, click here.

You can catch up on all of the action from Cape Town on the official tournament microsite.

Greenfields Hockey World League Round 2 – Men – Cape Town South Africa

Final standings

1: France – Qualified for Semi-Finals of Hockey World League
2: China – Qualified for Semi-Finals of Hockey World League
3: Egypt – Qualified for Semi-Finals of Hockey World League
4: South Africa
5: Switzerland
6: Czech Republic
7: Azerbaijan
8: Belarus

Individual awards

Player of the Tournament: Simon Brisac Martin (FRA)
Top Scorer: Austin Smith (RSA) - 6 goals
Young Player of the Tournament: Li Zecheng (CHN
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Martin Zylbermann (FRA)

FIH site

Shootout heartbreak for SA men’s hockey team

JONATHAN COOK at Hartleyvale

SA striker Julian Hykes takes on Egypt's Karim Atef during the Greenfields World League Round 2 bronze medal match against Egypt at Hartleyvale in Cape Town Sunday. PHOTO ACTION PIX

Egypt beat South Africa 3-2 on penalty shootout after the score was 2-2 at full-time in the playoff for third place in the Greenfields FIH World League Round 2 men’s hockey tournament at Hartleyvale in Cape Town Sunday.

SA, who had a goal disallowed in each half, led 2-1 until two minutes from full-time, when Egypt won a hotly disputed penalty corner, Amr Ibrahim’s drag-flick equaliser flying high into the net.

The ensuing penalty shootout was agonisingly tense and it was the Egyptians who prevailed, the outcome leaving the men in green and gold devastated.

A hat-trick from Gaspard Baumgarten and a goal apiece by Hugo Gestetnet and Charles Masson bettered the strikes of Yang Ao and Wei Meng as France beat China 5-2 in the final.

France, the best-prepared, best-funded nation at WLR2 Cape Town, went through their six tournament matches with a 100% win rate.

A top three finish at Hartleyvale would have qualified SA for the World League Round 3 series, which comprises 16 of the world’s top nations in two events featuring eight teams apiece. The top four finishers from each of the two WLR3 events qualify automatically for Rio.

One Rio 2016 qualification route that is recognised by the International Olympic Committee and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) remains open. The Africa continent championship in Egypt in October will be a must-win for SA.

Sunday’s bronze medal match provided the typical cut and thrust, hot temper and controversy associated with a derby that is contested by Africa’s arch-rivals. SA dominated much of the game but it wasn’t reflected in the scoreline. Both sets of defenders were called on to make decisive interventions in this end-to-end affair. 

An early Tim Drummond goal was disallowed due to a technical infringement and in the 11th minute a Pierre de Voux square-pass-left found fellow SA striker Julian Hykes, whose shot fired past the post. In the 12th Egypt won a disputed penalty corner and Hamada Atef made no mistake for the opening goal (1-0). Hardly 60 seconds later (13th minute) SA were back on level terms when tournament top goalscorer (six goals), captain Austin Smith, flashed a textbook PC drag-flick high into the net (1-1).

Just 36 seconds from the end of the first of the four 15-minute chukkas that make up an international hockey match, Hykes got off a goal-shot but keeper Mohamed Gamal was up for the challenge.

Four minutes into the second chukka, Mohamed Hasan tested SA keeper Rassie Pieterse and in the 20th Egyptian Ahmed Elnaggar successfully ran down a Smith PC bullet. The first wave defender appeared guilty of breaking early but the protestations were ignored.

In the 24th a Keenan Horne shot on the fly almost realised a spectacular goal and it was perhaps an omen that South Africa were not going to have their day.

Five minutes after half-time - and the scores still one apiece – SA first wave PC defender Pierre de Voux showed immense courage to block a full-blooded shot. Soon after, SA built beautifully around the back and a Dylan Swanepoel one-two with Hykes almost brought a goal.

The crowd erupted in the 51st minute when gutsy striker Natius Malgraff put everything into getting a pass across from the right to De Voux, who made no mistake to put SA 2-1 up, much to the elation of team-mates and the home fans.

Then SA striker Shannon Boucher had a goal disallowed, the ruling being that he had struck the ball from outside the strike zone, although many did not agree.

With time winding down, Egypt threw everything in search of the equaliser and despite some outstanding interventions from the SA defenders and goalkeeper Pieterse, Ibrahim’s match-changing 58th minute PC equaliser came as SA were less than two minutes away from winning bronze.
Rassie Pieterse (GK), Dylan Swanepoel, Austin Smith (capt), Rhett Halkett, Matt Guise-Brown, Clint Panther, Tim Drummond, Pierre de Voux, Natius Malgraff, Keenan Horne, Shannon Boucher. Rolling subs: Gowan Jones (GK), Dan Bell, Robin Jones, Jet Eustice, Dan Sibbald, Taine Paton, Julian Hykes.

Sunday -

Gold medal: France 5 China 2
Bronze medal: Egypt 2 South Africa 2 (Egypt win penalty shootout 3-2)
(5th/6th places) Switzerland 2 Czech Republic 0
(7th/8th places) Azerbaijan 4 Belarus 2;

Saturday - Semi-finals: France 5 Egypt 2; South Africa 0 China 2.
5th/8th cross-pool playoffs: Azerbaijan 2 Czech Republic 8; Belarus 1 Switzerland 5.

SA Hockey Association media release

Hockey men take Olympic knock

Wesley Botton

The SA men’s hockey team’s hopes of competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics took a major knock on Sunday after they settled for fourth place at the World League round two tournament in Cape Town.

The hosts lost 3-2 to Egypt in a penalty shootout after their bronze medal playoff ended in a 2-2 draw. The top three teams qualified for the Olympic qualifiers at the World League semifinals in July.

While South Africa could still secure their place in Rio by winning the African Championships in Egypt in October, this option seemed unlikely.

The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) had previously closed the continental door as part of its “no passengers” approach to the quadrennial Games.

France beat China 5-2 in the final to secure victory with an unbeaten run in Cape Town.

The Citizen

Favourites India emerge triumphant

Poland defeated in event final but join Eves in Olympic Qualifier stage of Hockey World League

(Photo: Akhilesh_Yattri)

India justified their status as pre-tournament favourites by winning the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 event in New Delhi’s Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium courtesy of a 3-1 final victory over Poland.

In a thriiling game, the in-form Poles (FIH World Ranking: 26) gave the top-ranked Indians (WR: 13) a real test with Oriana Walasek cancelling out an early strike from tournament top scorer Vandana Katariya. However, goals from Junior Player of the Tournament Rani Rampal and team captain Ritu Rani gave the Eves a 3-1 triumph over a side that has greatly impressed and will join them in the Olympic qualifier phase of the Hockey World League.

“We are very happy that we won”, said a delighted Ritu Rani immediately after the match. “We played well but I think we could have played better. From here we will concentrate on Round 3 and we should feel confident about our performance here.”

Poland’s fantastic contribution to the tournament was recognised in the individual awards, with team captain Marlena Rybacha being named Player of the Tournament while Marta Kucharska was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament.

Malaysia emerged victorious in the battle for 3rd place with a 3-0 victory over Thailand. Norazlin Sumantri opened the scoring in the 11th minute before the brilliant Fazilla Sylvester Silin, unquestionably one of the stars of the tournament, bagged two penalty corners to put the result beyond all doubt.

Earlier in the day, Russia ended their tournament on a high with a comprehensive win against Kazakhstan to take 5th place while Ghana claimed 7th with a narrow triumph over Singapore. To see all tournament fixtures and results, please click here.

In the women’s Hockey World League, a total of seven qualification places for the HWL Semi-Finals are available from the Round 2 events in Montevideo (URU), New Delhi (IND) and Dublin (IRL).  The reason for seven rather nine qualifiers is because both Spain and Belgium, two nations ranked between 12-19 at the time of seeking entries, are hosting Semi-Final tournaments later this year and have therefore already qualified.

The top two finishers from Montevideo, New Delhi and Dublin are certain to qualify for the Semi-Finals, being joined by the highest ranked of the third placed finishers from those three events.  Italy and Uruguay recently confirmed their places in the Semi-Finals with a top two finish at the event in Montevideo, and are now joined by India and Poland. Azerbaijan are currently the highest ranked of the third place finishers, although they will need to wait for the completion of the HWL Round 2 event in Dublin before knowing if they have made the cut. To learn more about how the teams progress through the competition in the hope of reaching the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, click here.

You can keep track of the tournament in New Delhi on the official tournament microsite.

Hero Hockey World League Round 2 – Women – New Delhi, India

Final standings

1: India – Qualified for Semi-Finals of Hockey World League
2: Poland – Qualified for Semi-Finals of Hockey World League
3: Malaysia
4: Thailand
5: Russia
6: Kazakhstan
7: Ghana
8: Singapore

Individual awards

Player of the Tournament: Marlena Rybacha (POL)
Top Scorer: Vandana Katariya (IND) - 11 goals
Young Player of the Tournament: Rani Rampal (IND)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Marta Kucharska (POL)

FIH site

Indian women win World Hockey League Round 2

Uthra Ganesan

Members of the victorious Indian team in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

Befitting its stature, the final of the Hero women’s Hockey World League Round 2 here on Sunday was the best match of the tournament, and India won 3-1 against Poland at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

The teams were evenly matched in every department, making it a well-fought and fast-paced contest. While India began aggressively, a confident Poland gradually kept increasing its attacks with well co-ordinated short passes to storm past the Indian defence.

Vandana Katariya finally broke the deadlock in the 15th minute after several close chances were missed. Poland struck back immediately on resumption in the second quarter, Oriana Walasek deflecting home off the team’s first penalty corner. India earned four, but could not convert any.

Rani was the Indian team’s lynchpin, creating most of the chances, earning penalty corners and scoring a brilliant goal from an acute angle on the backline in the 44th minute.

Making a comeback a dislocated shoulder put her out of action for six months, Rani proved her worth with some sharp, accurate passes. Her goal was the impetus India needed at a time when Poland was increasingly threatening to go ahead.

There were some tense moments for India when Poland earned its fifth penalty corner two minutes from time, but it was saved. A minute later, Ritu Rani scored India’s third goal after being put through by Poonam Rani from just outside the circle.

The results: Final: India 3 (Vandana Katariya, Rani, Ritu Rani) bt Poland 1 (Oriana Walasek).

Play-offs: 3-4: Malaysia 3 (Fazilla Sylvester Silin 2, Norazlin Sumantri) bt Thailand 0; 5-6: Russia 9 (Ksenia Shamina 4, Kristina Shumilina 2, Daria Vasileva 2, Marina Fedorova) bt Kazakhstan 0; 7-8: Ghana 2 (Linda Sasu, Elizabeth Opoku) bt Singapore 1 (Ivy Chan).

The Hindu

India survives Polish scare to win R2 title at home

K. Arumugam

Indian girls survived a ever-threatening Polish scare to emerge winners at home in the Hockey World League Round 2 with a flattering 3-1 score. The winners were given Rs.1 lac to each player by Hockey India.

It was only second time after 2014 Olympic Qualifer for men, National Anthem of India was heard as the winners.

Despite wasting numerous chances in the fist quarter, India went up by a solitary goals when just a few seconds left in the clock with a stunner of shot from women-inform Vandana Kataria, her eleventh goal

A rout was expected, but a minute after first quarter, Poland converted its first penalty corner to level the match 1-1. Orina Walasek was the scorer in the elaborate indirect effort.

Thereafter, with clinical precision in passing and constructing moves, Poland belied its world ranking, which is 13 runks below India's 13.

Poland in fact got four more penalty corners, but were rusty on the count.

India suffered a major setback when its livewire forward Vandana Kataria got injured after colliding with goalie Donika Nowicka, leaving the game once for all.

Even as the Polish girs were taking charge of the field proceedings, India turned the tide in the 44th minute when captain Rani Ramphal gently tapped in a perfect parallel from right side backline by her captain Ritu Rani.

Top Scorer of the Tournament: Vandana Katariya, India
Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Marta Kucharska, Poland
Junior Player of Tournament: Rani, India


Indian eves beat Poland 3-1 in final

Indian players celebrate a goal against Poland during the Hockey World League final in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI

New Delhi - Putting up a dominating show, India scored in three of the four quarters to outplay Poland 3-1 in the final and clinch the FIH World Hockey League Round 2 here today.

Vandana Kataria (15th minute) put India ahead by scoring a field goal in the dying minutes of the opening quarter. The Polish girls struck back immediately at the start of the second period as Oriana Walasek converted a penalty corner.

The third period remained goalless for long before Rani put the hosts ahead again with her field goal in the 44th minute. India skipper Ritu Rani, making her 200th international appearance, found the net in the 59th minute to seal the title for her side.

“In the first quarter we played astounding. The way Rani scored her goal was brilliant and not everyday someone scores a goal like that. We had pressure on us in the third quarter but we came back strong. The team has a very good understanding on the field and they did a great job today,” High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans said. 

Ritu Rani said: “We are very happy we won. We played well but we should have played better. From here we will concentrate on Round 3.”

Earlier, Malaysia overpowered Thailand 3-0 to seal third place, Russia thrashed Kazakhstan 9-0 to secure fifth spot and Ghana outwitted Singapore 2-1 to avoid the wooden spoon.

The Tribune

Indian women beat Poland to win Hockey World League Round 2

NEW DELHI: Putting up a dominating show, India scored in three of the four quarters to outplay Poland 3-1 in the final and clinch the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 at Major Dhyan Chan stadium, here on Sunday.

Vandana Kataria (15th minute) had put India ahead by scoring a field goal in the dying minute of the opening quarter.

The Polish girls struck back immediately at the start of the second period as Oriana Walasek struck level in the 17th minute by converting a penalty corner.

The third period remained goalless for long before Rani put the hosts ahead again with her field goal in the 44th minute.

India skipper Ritu Rani then celebrated her 200th International appearance by finding the net in the 59th minute to seal the title for her side.

Meanwhile in the classification matches, Malaysia overpowered Thailand 3-0 to seal third place, Russia thrashed Kazakhstan 9-0 to secure fifth spot and Ghana outwitted Singapore 2-1 to avoid the wooden spoon.

The Times of India

Malaysia ends World Hockey League campaign in third

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia beat Thailand 3-0 to finish third in the World Hockey League Round Two at the Major Dhyand Chand National Stadium in New Delhi.

The Malaysians, who lost out for a place in Round Three after going down 1-0 to Poland on Saturday, managed to up their game and secure an easy win with goals by Norazlin Sumantri (11th minute) and Fazilla Slyvester Siling (29th, 49th).

So far, four teams have confirmed their places in Round Three (semi-finals) – Italy, Uruguay, Poland and India.

The Star of Malaysia

Ritu Rani completes 200 matches for India

NEW DELHI: Ritu Rani achieved a memorable milestone in her hockey career by appearing in her 200th international match while leading the Indian women team against Poland in the finals of Hero FIH Hockey World League Round 2 at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Sunday.

Excited on her achievement, Ritu Rani, said, "I am honoured to have been able to give my contribution to Indian hockey. It's a great feeling and I hope to continue adding more to the sport with full zest and determination. I hope our efforts encourage more young girls to take up hockey."

Congratulating Ritu Rani on her astounding performance, Secretary General Hockey India Mr. Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad said, "Hockey India takes utmost pride in congratulating Ritu Rani on the accomplishment of 200 international caps. I wish her all the best for the next round and hope to see more of similar high quality performances from her in future."

The 23-year old Ritu is another talented hockey player to emerge from the Shahbad stable, Haryana. From scoring goals for her side from the upfront to controlling midfield, she does it all with sheer perfection.

The Times of India

HI announces cash reward of Rs 1 lakh for Indian women's hockey players

NEW DELHI: Following a strong win over Poland in the final of the Hero FIH Hockey World League Round 2 (Women) here on Sunday, Hockey India announced a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh for each player of the winning Indian team.

The 3-1 win over Poland also saw India making a clean sweep in the tournament by winning each of the six matches played over the last week.

Apart from announcing Rs.1 lakh each to the Indian players, HI also awarded the support staff with a cash prize of Rs 50,000 each.

In addition, the two Individual award winners - Vandana Katariya, the top scorer and Rani, the junior player of the tournament (best player under the age of 21) will receive a separate cash prize of Rs 1 lakh each for their brilliant individual performances.

Secretary General Hockey India Mr. Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad said, "The team played wonderfully and I am immensely happy and proud at the same time. We are announcing the prize money to encourage the young talents so that they keep up their momentum and continue performing likewise in times to come. I take this opportunity to congratulate each one involved in this win and wish the team all the best for the future."

The Times of India

Hockey India remembers 1975 World Cup winning team

NEW DELHI: Forty years back on March 15, 1975, the Indian men's hockey team accomplished a historic feat by beating Pakistan 2-1 in the World Cup final to earn the title of champions. Remembering the occasion and achievement, Hockey India (HI) congratulated the team.

Led by captain Ajit Pal Singh, the team left no stone unturned to ensure that they got the Cup home from Kuala Lumpur. They were placed in Group B of the tournament with West Germany, Australia, England, Argentina and Ghana.

By virtue of three wins, one loss and one draw, India advanced to the semifinals to play home team Malaysia where they won 3-2. They had a close contest against Pakistan in the final and it was Ashok Kumar's all- important winning goal that gave India the title.

"After 40 years, I still feel proud of the moment when we earned the title of champions. I would like to congratulate each member of the winning squad and would like thank them that they made this day possible for every Indian. It is this feat which gives us the motivation that we can repeat history and win the title again," HI president Narinder Batra said.

The team comprised of Ajit Pal, Ashok, Mohd. Aslam Sher Khan, Harcharan Singh, Leslie Fernandez, Varinder Singh, Ashok Diwan, Michael Kindo, B.P. Govinda, H.J.S. Chimni, V.J. Phillips, Onkar Singh, Kaliah P.E., Surjit Singh, Shivaji Pawar and Mohinder Singh.

The 1975 World Cup was the third edition of the tournament. India won bronze in the first edition in 1971, silver in 1973 and went one better the next time. Since then, India have never been able to reach the last four of the tournament.

The Times of India

Ireland beat Canada 2-1 in front of electric crowd at Belfield

Set piece goals from Aine Connery and Kate Dillon saw Ireland make it two wins from two at the UDG Healthcare World League Round 2 in Belfield, seeing off Canada 2-1 in front of packed house.

It continues their confident start to the tournament, which forms part of the Olympic qualifying process, as they head Pool A after two rounds of matches.

After a blistering opening, creating three gilt-edged chances, Ireland did have to survive an early scare when Karli Johansen’s corner shot bounced on to Cliodhna Sargent’s foot on the line.

It led to a penalty stroke. Emma Gray, however, produced a spectacular diving save to deny Sara McManus from the spot.

Canada finished the first quarter the stronger but Ireland soon rediscovered their early control with a high tempo display. They hit the front in the 22nd minute when Chloe Watkins’ excellent incision down the right wing drew a penalty corner which was superbly executed; Cliodhna Sargent applied the pace for Aine Connery to redirect into the roof of the goal.

From there, Ireland were the much more composed but Canada appeared to have a lock on the Irish set piece corner variations, stopping the danger at source on several occasions.

Goalkeeper Kaitlynn Williams dealt with another barrage of shots to ensure that plenty of tension remained in the match, making fine saves from Megan Frazer and Gillian Pinder, keeping the it 1-0 going into the closing stages.

Kate Dillon eventually looked to have sealed the deal with a little over five minutes remaining from Ireland’s sixth penalty corner, bundling home after Shirley McCay’s shot ricocheted this way and that.

Thea Culley, though, made things interesting with two minutes left when she tipped in a clever Canadian corner move, reducing the deficit. But they could not muster another attack of note and Ireland held on for the win.

The result means Ireland head their group after two matches – having beaten Ukraine 5-0 on Saturday – and will top the group on Tuesday if they draw or beat Turkey.

Speaking afterwards, coach Darren Smith said: “I thought we probably had the run of the match. If we had of taken one of three earlier chances, it might have relaxed us and we could have played more naturally. It got a little bit tight and tough after that, which we expected, but its nice to have three more points and still have room to improve.”

UDG Healthcare World League Round 2

Ireland 2 (A Connery, K Dillon) Canada 1 (T Culley)

Ireland: E Gray, C Sargent, S McCay, M Frazer, H Matthews, G Pinder, E Smyth, N Daly, A O’Flanagan, K Mullan, N Evans
Subs: N Carrroll, C Watkins, A Connery, L Colvin, A McFerran, K Dillon, A Meeke

Canada: K Williams, K Gillis, D Hennig, T Culley, H Haughn, K Johansen, A Raye, N Sourisseau, S McManus, M Secco, B Stairs
Subs: H Stewart, A Woodcroft, S Johnston, S Norlander, A Thicke, R Beale, B Frisch

Ireland's next match is on St Patrick's Day at 14:45 against Turkey so come along and support the green army on their Road To Rio!

Irish Hockey Association media release

Canada comes up short against host Irish at Women's World League 2

Canada faces Ukraine in final pool-stage match on Tuesday

Shaheed Devji

In a meeting of the two undefeated teams in Pool A, host nation Ireland pleased the home fans with a 2-1 victory over Canada Sunday at Women’s World League Round 2 in Dublin, Ireland.

Both teams were coming off 5-0 victories to open the tournament on Saturday and were looking for a second consecutive victory, which would put the winner in a good position to finish first in Pool A.

With the boisterous Irish crowd behind them, Ireland picked up the match’s first good scoring opportunity as, on a quick counter, Canada found itself outnumbered in the circle. A point-black shot from the baseline was stopped calmly by Kaitlyn Williams, and the game was still scoreless.

Ireland’s attack continued just moments later, with the first penalty corner of the game going the way of the Irish the second minute.

Cliodhna Sargent lined up for the shot and found Anna O’Flanagan’s stick for the deflection, which sent the ball just over the bar.

Canada weathered the early pressure from Ireland and looked like a better team throughout the remainder of the quarter.

In the ninth minute, Holly Stewart picked up a loose ball in the Irish circle, tried to outwait the keeper and sneak it under the pads but keeper Emma Gray was able to come up with the sliding pad save.

Canada received another golden opportunity just minutes later when Sara McManus was given a penalty stroke.

McManus was looking to make it two matches in a row with a penalty stroke goal but Gray made a miraculous diving save to her left to keep the game at nil-nil.

Ireland was much improved in the second quarter. Constant time spent in the Canadian end resulted in a penalty corner in the twenty-third minute.

The powerful hit from Sargent was this time deflected past Canadian goalkeeper Kaitlyn Williams into the top corner. Aine Connery’s goal gave Ireland the 1-0 advantage.

Late second half, on another Irish penalty corner, Williams made a quick reaction save to turn the ball away and keep the Irish lead at one at half-time.

In the second half, Canada had a chance to level the match in the thirty-sixth minute. An interception in midfield made its way to Brienne Stairs, who scored twice in Canada’s 5-0 victory over Turkey on Saturday, but Stairs’ reverse shot was sent just wide of the Irish goal.

Canada did a job staying on its front foot trying to win the ball away from the Irish and a put it into the area. But despite the attempts, Ireland’s defensive shape was too strong as it was able to maintain the 1-0 lead through the end of the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Ireland continued to defend well but also pressed for an insurance marker.

In the fifty-sixth minute they were rewarded. After the first shot on a penalty corner was stopped by Williams, Kate Dillon found herself on the goalmouth with the ball at her feet. Dillon knocked in the rebound to make it 2-0 Ireland.

Canada did not go down without a fight, however, as in the fifty-eighth minute on a penalty corner, veteran Thea Culley slid to her knees to deflect a ball past Gray and give Canada its first goal of the game.

Down one goal with only minutes remaining, Canada pulled its keeper for the extra attacker but couldn’t force the ball into a scoring area and Ireland went on to the victory.

With the win, Ireland takes over sole possession of first place in Pool A with six points. Canada sits in second with three points, with Ukraine and Turkey rounding out the bottom two.

All teams move on to quarterfinal round, the top team in each pool earning the right to play the bottom team from the other.

Canada will face Ukraine in its final pool-stage match on March 17 at 10am PST / 1pm EST.

The top two finishers at World League 2 gain an entry into World League Round 3 in Spain in June, where the top teams will earn a spot at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Venezuela’s National teams on route to Pan-American Challenge in Chiclayo, Peru

Venezuelan Hockey Federation

Venezuelan men’s and women’s National Teams visited Argentina to prepare for their participation in the Pan American Challenge in Chiclayo, Peru in October 2015.

Both Teams held practice sessions in Argentina on their road to this important tournament.

32 athletes with their coaches and technical staff played a number of matches in Buenos Aires against local teams including Club Italiano and the traditional San Fernando Club.

PAHF President Alberto “Coco” Budeisky visited the teams during one of their training sessions, in a hot afternoon and discussed with Zuleika Seijas, President of the Venezuelan Hockey Federation,  athletes and technical staff their special needs.

PAHF media release

Southgate relegated from Premier Division

Canterbury celebrating their second goal against Southgate. Credit: Simon Parker.

SOUTHGATE were relegated from the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League Premier Division after losing out to rivals Canterbury on the final day of the season.

Canterbury - who escape automatic relegation – won 2-1 with goals coming from Wei Adams and Francesco Montoya. At 2-0 down, Darren Cheesman pulled one back for Southgate but it was too late to avoid the drop.

24 hours earlier, Southgate had to settle for a goalless draw against Hampstead and Westminster – themselves threatened with relegation.

For their part, Canterbury must now face play-offs against the champions of the three NOW: Pensions Conferences to preserve their top flight status.

Despite losing their final game 6-3 to Surbiton, Brooklands Manchester University survived, finishing eighth in the league, a point above Canterbury.

They needed a win to guarantee safety and battled well but couldn’t match the team sitting second in the table.

Alan Forsyth led the scoring with a hat-trick for Surbiton, who will head into the play-offs at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

After taking a point from Saturday’s draw with Southgate, Hampstead and Westminster also drew with play-off bound Wimbledon as Will Naylor scored in a game that ended 1-1. The two points are enough to ensure they finish in seventh.

East Grinstead top the table after beating Reading 4-1 courtesy of a hat-trick from Chris Griffiths.

Sam Ward was also a hat-trick hero as play-off bound Beeston beat Cannock 3-1.

NOW: Pensions Conference West

Team Bath Buccaneers were dramatically crowned champions of the NOW: Pensions Conference West after beating Whitchurch 4-0, while previous leaders Cardiff and Met lost.

There was a brace from Tim Davenport along with goals from Eugene Malthouse and Pavraj Lochab for Team Bath.

At the start of the day it looked to be Cardiff and Met who were to take top spot with a much better goal difference and just needed to beat sixth-placed Cheltenham to clinch the title.

But late goals from Peter Duffy and Tom Cole saw Cheltenham win 4-2 and destroy Cardiff’s hopes.

University of Birmingham enjoyed a strong finish, beating Barford Tigers 7-1. Josh Kelly scored a hat-trick in a result which sees Barford resigned to relegation play-offs. Indian Gymkhana survive the drop despite losing 4-2 to Fareham and Guildford were 4-1 winners against University of Exeter.

NOW: Pensions Conference North

Mike Shaw hit a brace as Bowdon ended their NOW: Pensions Conference North as unbeaten champions with a 4-1 defeat of relegated Belper.

Second-placed Sheffield Hallam signed off in style, beating Wakefield 7-3 with Liam Ansell finding the target twice.

University of Durham couldn’t find a way past Doncaster as they lost 3-2. Joe Morrison scored a hat-trick for the visitors.

Leek were already confirmed as relegation play-off candidates and ended with a 1-1 draw against Loughborough Students. Olton and West Warwicks beat Deeside Ramblers 3-1 with goals from Muhammed Irfan, Tom Mallett and Ed James.

NOW: Pensions Conference East

The bottom two both won their final games but still couldn’t climb out of trouble in the NOW: Pensions Conference East.

Old Loughtonians are relegated despite beating third-placed Cambridge City 3-1, and Teddington must go through the relegation play-offs despite beating second-placed Bromley and Beckenham 3-2

Richmond, who could also have finished bottom of the league, beat Brighton and Hove 3-1.

Holcombe will go into promotion play-offs in a confident mood having gone through the season unbeaten, and they overcame West Herts 8-4 with Gareth Andrew hitting three goals. There was also plenty of action in the game between Oxted and Chichester Priory Park with Oxted running out 9-4 winners.

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 14 2015):

NOW: Pensions Men's Premier Division: Southgate 0, Hampstead and Westminster 0.

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, March 15 2015):

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

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference West: Cheltenham 4, Cardiff and Met 2; Guildford 4, University of Exeter 1; Indian Gymkhana 2, Fareham 4; University of Birmingham 7, Barford Tigers 1; Whitchurch 0, Team Bath Buccaneers 4.

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

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference East: Brighton and Hove 1, Richmond 3; Bromley and Beckenham 2, Teddington 3; Cambridge City 1, Old Loughtonians 3; Oxted 9, Chichester Priory Park 4; West Herts 4, Holcombe 8.

England Hockey Board Media release

Bromac Kelburne land 11th straight league title

Picture credit: Raymond Robertson

Bromac Kelburne continued their incredible run in the Scottish national league with an 11th straight success, getting the win they needed in stunning fashion.

The Paisley men beat Inverleith 15-0 to stay seven points ahead of the chasing Grange with two rounds of matches to go.

Lee Morton was the star man in what was their fifth double figures win of the outdoor season to date, showing their dominance in the division once again.

Morton scored five times as did Ross McIntyre while Douglas Simpson – in his debut season with the club – scored a hat trick while Michael Bremner and Ben Rennie were also on the mark.

It means they will be Scotland’s number one representative in Europe next season and will be hopeful of returning to the EHL when the final tallies are done in late May after the conclusion of the EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy.

Euro Hockey League media release

Atlètic win Copa del Rey for 16th time

Atlètic Terrassa claimed the 98th Copa del Rey in Spain when they won a penalty shoot-out against Real Club de Polo in this afternoon’s final.

Polo had made it into the final late on Saturday evening thanks to a Borja Llorens goal late on against FC Junior, claiming a thrilling 3-2 win.

And they carried that momentum into the final with the early momentum, winning four corners but could not convert. In the second quarter, their pressure paid off with a goal from Casasayas following a good move from Pepe Borrell.

It awoke Atlètic who started to enjoy more of the play and Marc Salles tied the game in the 30th minute.

The second half was similarly even with Carlos García Cuenca’s Polo side showing a couple of signs of faitgue while Roger Pallarols’ team went up a gear.

Marc Bolto had a couple of good chances but Uri Fábegras in goal, and the lack of precision from the attacker, meant the title was decided before the penalty shoot out.

The tie was poised at 2-2 in the shoot-out going into the final round and Salles scored to give his side the victory, their 16th in the competition’s history.

Euro Hockey League media release

Its Thunderbolts again

By Jugjet Singh

SSTMI Thunderbolts lifted their fourth consecutive MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey Legue double when they edged UniKL Young Guns 4-1 in a penalty shoot-out at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

Tied at 0-0 after regulation time ended, SSTMI showed maturity in the shoot-out with steady nerves to lift the Milo Cup but shared the combined prize money of RM25,000 for champions and RM15,000 for runenrs-up with the University side.

In the bronze playoff, Petaling Jaya City Council beat SSP-MSP Thunderbolts 3-1. The PJCC goals were scored by Haikal Zamri (4th)  Faid Farhad (16th) and Faiq Razin (69th). The SSP-MSP goal scorer was Haziq Fawwaz (26th).

PJCC received RM12,000 while SSP-MSP RM10,000.

"We are of course happy to win our fourth consecutive JHL double but it was not easy this time around as UniKL put up a great fight and only that we were better in the penalty shoot-out. My players deserve credit for giving their all," said SSTMI Thunderbolts coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman.

SSTMI have the best players in the country and some of them have been together for the past five years: "There are many quality players who shone this season in many other teams as well and the gap is slowly closing down on us. But I see this as a positive outcome as the country will benefit in the long run with a bigger pool of players," said Wan Roslan.

As for UniKL coach I. Vickneswaran, there was no shame in defeat.

"When I took charge of this team in January, the players were a motley crew which came from all obver the country, and I am proud of them because they managed to click together and share the prize money with SSTMI.

"I see this as a big achievement for my players, as many of them will have a brighter future in hockey if they continue playing like this," said Vickneswaran.

AWARDS: Most Outstanding Player (Chua Boon Huat Trophy): Maxhans Christie (UniKL, RM1,500); Fairplay: MSSD Larut Matang and Selama (RM4,000); Player-of-the-Final: Adi Fazri (uniKL, RM1,500); Best Goalkeeper: Syafifuddin Zain (SSTMI Thunderbolts, RM1500); Top-Scorer: Najme Ahmad 19 goals(Ismo-PHA, Division Two). 

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Thunderbolt down UniKL through penalty shootout in Milo Cup final

By S. Ramaguru

SSTMI-Thunderbolt needed a penalty shootout to beat UniKL to clinch their fourth succesive Milo Cup. - M AZHAR / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: It was hard work, but in the end SSTMI-Thunderbolt prevailed to capture their fourth straight double in the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysia Junior Hockey League.

The Division One champions needed a penalty shootout to lift the overall title (Milo Cup). They beat Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) 4-1 in the shootout after both teams were tied 0-0 in regulation time.

Nik Mohd Amin, Mohd Zulhanizan, Kuqman Nul Hakim and Danial Asyraf scored for SSTMI-Thunderbolt in the shootout while Mohd Norikhwan and Maxhans Christi missed.

Only Norsyafiq Sumantri managed to score for UniKL.

SSTMI-Thunderbolt team manager Adam Izamry Idrus was happy with his players despite needing a shootout to settle the affair.

“We controlled the match but were not able to convert our chances. We have to give credit to UniKL for putting up a tough fight,” he said.

It was the sixth consecutive meeting between the two teams in the final since 2010. UniKL won the overall title that year but SSTMI-Thunderbolt have held the upperhand since.

Earlier, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) took third place after defeating Pahang SS-Thunderbolt 3-1 in the classification match.                                                                .

Goals by Mohd Haikal Zamri, Mohd Faid Farhadh and Faiq Razin Zariq were enough to give them a convincing win over Pahang, whose lone goal came from Mohd Haziq  Fawwaz.

The Star of Malaysia

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