All the news for Saturday 21 March 2015
President Higgins to Attend World League 2 Finals
Hockey Ireland is honored to announce that President Higgins will be attending the finals of Hockey World League 2 on March 22nd at 5pm in the National Hockey Stadium. The women’s national squad were privileged to have met President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin for International Women’s Day and are delighted that President Higgins has accepted our invitation.
Irish Hockey Association media release
The Road to Lee Valley – Semi Finals Weekend
Henley celebrate during their national knockout final
The Road to Lee Valley continues this weekend with competitions hitting the Semi Final stage.
The NOW: Pensions Men’s Cup features last season’s finalists, with holders Cannock coming up against Surbiton and Runners-Up Brooklands MU playing hosts to Reading. Cannock defeated the 2013 champions Surbiton on route to last years final, with the latter hoping to book a second trip to Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre having already qualified for the League Playoff Finals. Reading will be looking for their first Final appearance since they won the competition back in 2009. Brooklands MU are the only side left in the competition not to have won the Cup, having narrowly missed out on Penalty Strokes last season.
Brooklands MU v Reading – 14:30, Brooklands MU HC
Cannock v Surbiton – 14:00, Chase Park
Holders Guernsey will be looking to book a place in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Trophy final for the fourth consecutive year as they welcome Didsbury Northern to the Island on Saturday. Sheffield University Bankers, who were the first ever winners of this competition back in 1992, host Gore Court in the other Semi Final.
Guernsey v Didsbury Northern – 13:00, Guernsey HC (to be played on Saturday)
Sheffield University Bankers v Gore Court – 12:00, Goodwin Sports Centre
The NOW: Pensions Men’s Vase Semi Finals features four teams who will be looking to feature in their first ever final. East Midlands Premier Division leaders Coalville Town host East Midlands Division One leaders Tamworth in a local derby, while Redbridge & Illford will be dreaming of a first final on their door step at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre as they travel to Crawley.
Coalville Town v Tamworth – 12:00, King Edward VII College
Crawley v Redbridge & Illford – 13:00, Hazelwick School
In the Investec Women’s Trophy, 2013 & 2014 champions Henley face a tricky tie away at Newent who are currently third in Premier Division 2a. Newcastle already have their Road to Lee Valley secured, having received a walkover from their game against Lewes.
Newent v Henley – 12:30, Newent Community School
Newcastle v Lewes – Walkover to Newcastle
2012 Champions & 2013 Runners-Up Oxted travel to Hampshire Division One side Aldershot & Farnham in the Investec Women’s Vase Semi Final. The other match, which is being played on 29th March, features Amersham & Chalfont as they travel to Yateley.
Aldershot & Farnham v Oxted – 13:20, Aldershot Army Astro
Yateley v Amersham & Chalfont – 13:00, Wellington College (to be played on Sunday 29 Match)
Semi Final matches are also taking place this weekend in the Men’s 2nd XI Plate, Men’s Masters Over 60’s Cup & Plate, and Investec Women’s Masters Over 35s Cup, Trophy and Shield.
The NOW: Pensions Men’s Masters Over 40’s Cup, Trophy and Shield reach the Quarter Finals this weekend and the draws for the Semi Finals will be made live on twitter on Monday at 1pm. Follow @EnglandHockey and use the hashtag #RoadtoLeeValley to see the draw unfold!
Click HERE to see information on all Knockout Competition matches being played this weekend.
England Hockey Board Media release
Hauke's humble HTHC no longer a dark horse
Tobias Hauke said that winning the Euro Hockey League last year was completely unexpected with Harvestehuder’s primary task solely to reach the KO16.
This time around, they are definitely one of the sides to watch in Bloemendaal following their breathtaking run to the title a year ago. Hauke, though, says their initial plans were much more humble.
“We worked hard in the last few years to qualify for the EHL,” he told the EHL website. “We were very proud to make it and enjoyed every second. Our first goal was to qualify for the KO16. No one spoke about the final or the title!”
They got through with two wins from two, beating Beeston and Cardiff & Met to reach the KO16 and built momentum once they arrived in Eindhoven. En route, they had plenty of close run battles. They managed to beat Uhlenhorst Mulheim by a single goal before a more comfortable KO8 win over Club de Campo.
Against Racing Club de Bruxelles, though, in the FINAL4 was the moment they showed their colours as true contenders. Inspired by a memorable speech from coach Christoph Bechmann at half-time, they came back from 2-1 behind to land a precious 3-2 win.
In the final again, they came back twice from a goal deficit to secure a draw and force penalties, holding their nerve to win the title and become both European indoor and outdoor champions.
“For me, the specific moment I thought we could win was at 1-1 in the final. That was the first time I thought that we can do it.”
His side may well have lost their element of surprise and they face once again a tough draw, taking on one of the competition’s most successful sides, Dragons, first up.
“The draw is hard for us. We play directly against a strong team from Belgium so our focus is completely on that game. We have all our players back after the Indoor World Cup and the World League and it is a good feeling to train hard with everyone.”
That includes the Austrian trio of Xaver Husan, Michael Korper and Benjamin Stanzl who were recently in San Diego helping their country qualify for World League round three. Their performances announced them on the world stage as top stars and key components in the HTHC story as Swedish man Johan Bkorjman.
“The boys are key players in our squad. They increased their Level in the last few years with our club and are now there among the very best.”
Euro Hockey League media release
Belgium is Last Chance Saloon
By Jugjet Singh
MALAYSIA will have world champions Australia for company in the World League Semi-finals in Antwerp, Belgium, from June 20 to July 5.
But all is not gloom as Malaysia enter the final hurdle to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, as finishing fifth might just do the trick.
The other teams in Belgium are the hosts, Great Britain, India, Pakistan, Ireland, France, Poland and China.
The World League semi-finals offers three tickets from each of the two tournaments, but there are bound to be double qualifiers and fifth is worth its weight in gold.
India have already qualified for the Olympics as Asian Games champions, while Australia are the favourites to qualify via the Oceania qualifier while Belgium and Great Britain have the European qualifier to play yet.
"It looks like we have a good chance to qualify for the Olympics, as the semi-finalist are surely assured, while finishing fifth might open another door to Brazil," said Malaysian team manager Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad.
Malaysia faced the same script when Johor Baru hosted the World League Semi-finals which was a World Cup qualifier then. The hosts finished fifth, and went on the play in the Netherlands World Cup -- where they finished last without winning a single point.
"We have started early preparations, and the Azlan Shah Cup (April 5-12) will give us a better platform to gauge our strength as Australia will also be in Ipoh. We will also get a chance to spar with India in Ipoh, and they will also be another team to beat in Belgium if we want to play in the semi-finals," said Nur Azmi.
The other WL Semi-finals will be held in Buenos Aires on June 3-14, and World Cup bronze medallists Argentina will be up against Olympic champions Germany, World Cup Silver medallists the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Japan, Canada, Egypt and Austria.
"The Argentina WL Semis looks to have a stronger selection, but then, if we want to play in the Olympics again, we must not fear any team in the world," said Nur Azmi.
For the record, Malaysia last played in the Stdney 2000 Olympics and finished 11th by beating Poland 3-2 with an extra time winner scored by S. Kuhan in the 73rd minute. The other two goals were scored by Mirnawan Nawawi and Nor Saiful Zaini.
Jugjet's World of Field Hockey
National Under-16: Selangor the team to beat
By Jugjet Singh
Malaysian NationalUnder-16 defending champions Selangor are confident of making an impact in the tournament starting Saturday as they have eight players from last year's gold winning side.
The tourament, at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil, will see 13 states in the boys' and 11 states in the girls' section battling for honours.
Selangor will start their campaign tomorrow (Sunday) when they face Terengganu: "We have had a very productive five-day camp to get ready for this tournament and of course we will try and defend our title," said Selangor coach S. Thangeswaran.
Selangor held and Open selection last weekend and about 100 hopefuls turned up at the Ministry of Education pitch in Kuala Lumpur.
"Eight players from last year's team are still eligible to play and we picked some promising players from the Open selection. I believe we can make an impact this year as well," said Thangeswaran.
Selangor beat Kuala Lumpur 2-0 for the title, and the City State has also been busy preparing a side with former national coach K. Dharmaraj giving a helping hand.
In the girls' event, defending champions Penang are the team to beat.
Boys' -- Group A: Selangor, Penang, Perlis, Malacca, Johor, Terengganu; Group B: Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Kelantan, Pahang, Sabah.
Girls': Group A: Penang, Kedah, Perak, Malacca, Johor; Group B: Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu, Sabah.
Saturday: Boys' Group B: Perak v Sabah (4pm, Pitch I), Kedah v Pahang (4pm, Pitch II), Negri v Kelantan (6pm, Pitch II).
Girls' Group B: Negri v Sabah (8am, Pitch I), Pahang v Terengganu (8am, Pitch II).
Jugjet's World of Field Hockey
Seven junior players to train in Holland
By S. Ramaguru
KUALA LUMPUR: Seven players from the National Juniors hockey squad will head to Holland for a specialised training stint.
Three goalkeepers – Mohamed Adi Fazri Abd Rahim, Mohamed Ridzwan Am and Amirul Afiq Agar – will go to Amsterdam to train under goalkeeping coach Martijn Drijer.
The other four players – penalty corner specialists Syed Muhd Shafiq Syed Cholan, Mohamed Aminuddin Mohd Zain, Mohamed Najmi Farizal Jazlan and Maxhans Christi – will train under Toon Siepman in Den Bosch.
Assistant coaches Mohamed Amin Rahim and Jivan Mohan will accompany the seven for the stint. They will leave for Holland today.
Said National Juniors coach A. Arulselvaraj: “This is the first time we are sending our penalty corner flickers for a special training stint. The stint is for the goalkeepers and penalty corner specialists to learn new techniques. I’m am sure all the seven players will gain from the experience.”
The National Juniors’ big test this year is the Junior Asia Cup in Kuantan in November. The tournament is a qualifier for the 2016 Junior World Cup.
The Star of Malaysia
Up in arms over scheduling of junior hockey competition
By Aftar Singh
KUALA LUMPUR: Kuala Lumpur are crying foul over the cramped fixtures in the 1MAS-MILO National Under-16 hockey tournament, which begins Saturday at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
KL, last year’s runners-up in the boys’ event, will open their Group B campaign against Sabah on Sunday followed by five consecutive matches against Pahang (Monday), Kelantan (Tuesday), Kedah (Wednesday), Perak (Thursday) and Negri Sembilan (Friday).
Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association (KLHA) secretary V. Rajamanickam blasted the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) for making a mockery of the age-group tournament.
“It’s going to be difficult for my players to sustain their fitness level and maintain their form for six straight days of matches. It is ridiculous. To make matters worse, there is no break before the semi-finals (Saturday) and final (Sunday).
“If my team reach the final, they will play eight matches in eight days.
“I am really annoyed with the MHC. They are hosting the tournament just for the sake of fulfilling their duties without thinking about the quality of the game,” said Rajamanickam.
“It’s going to be an exhausting tournament for our players. And for the injured players, there is no time for them to recover as we don’t even have a rest day.
“The MHC are killing the game. The tournament is an important assignment as it is used to select players for the 2020 Project squad in preparation for the 2020 Junior World Cup,” he added.
Defending champions Selangor, who beat KL 2-0 in the final in Kangar last year, are in Group A with Penang, Perlis, Malacca, Johor and Terengganu.
In the girls’ event, defending champions Penang are in Group A with Kedah, Perak, Malacca and Johor. Group B consists of Negri Sembilan, Penang, Selangor, KL, Terengganu and Sabah.
The Star of Malaysia
Malaysia’s former national coach is looking to the future with an ambitious four-year plan
To date, K. Dharmaraj's top coaching moments have been with the Malaysian National Junior Men's team, when he was in charge of the team that won the 2012 Junior Asia Cup to become Asian Junior champions. This is only time to date that a Malaysian team has been Asian champions. Dharma went on to become national coach for the senior Malaysian national men's team but, after leaving that post last year, Dharma is looking to take the national junior team one step further in 2020, by becoming Junior World Cup winners.
Since he finished his coaching contract with the men's senior squad, Dharmaj has been working as a youth development officer, working with grassroots level hockey players and potential internationals across Malaysia.
While much of his work is general hockey coaching with youngsters, Dharma also heads a project, Target2020, which has a very clear target - preparing the national junior team in readiness for the 2020 Junior World Cup.
Dharma enhances his own coaching ability and experience by bringing in former and current internationals to help run coaching clinics across the country. Explaining his role, Dharma says: "With my prior experience in coaching grassroots and children of different age groups, I am able to recognise the requirements needed to develop and promote hockey in my country. To date, I have conducted 18 clinics throughout the different states of Malaysia. In each clinic, there are approximately 200 players, both girls and boys, ranging in age from eight to 16-years-old."
During the course of a coaching clinic, Dharma involves teachers and local coaches in the programme so that they can update and improve their coaching skills. In this way the local teachers and coaches are empowered to continue to develop hockey in the area.
While the coaching clinics introduce and promote hockey to hundreds of young Malaysians, the Target2020 programme has a far more specific ambition. While the programme is still in its early stages, Dharma says that his team of coaches and selectors will be looking to form pools of about 30 players for each age category. The over-riding qualities the players must demonstrate are "dynamism and an openness to competitiveness and progress."
Players who will be invited to attend the Target2020 training camps are talent-spotted through local and area competitions and other tournaments. Dharma says that he is hopeful of producing a high quality team for 2020 where the bulk of the players will be 21-years-old.
"Our target, via this programme, is for both the national junior men's and women's teams to win a medal at the Junior World Cup," says the energetic coach.
Many of the coaching clinics run by Dharma and his team are free for attendees, while others are funded through the National Sports Council as part of its development programme. Target2020 is an initiative funded completely by the National Sports Council.