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News for 22 March 2015

All the news for Sunday 22 March 2015

Final joy for Ireland & Canada in Dublin

Green Army overpower Belarus while Canada pushed all the way by Pan-Am rivals Chile in semi-finals of UDG Healthcare PLC Hockey World League Round 2

(Photo: FIH)

Ireland and Canada overcame the respective semi-final challenges from Belarus and Chile to seal a place in the final of the UDG Healthcare PLC Hockey World League Round 2 event, taking a huge leap forward on the Road to Rio in the process.

Nicola Evans scored twice to help Ireland (FIH World Ranking: 14) to a comfortable 7-0 win over Belarus (WR: 18), a result which put the host nation into the Dublin final and sealed a ticket to the Olympic qualifier phase of the HWL. The Green Army were in irresistible form, with Anna O’Flanagan, Megan Frazer, Naomi Carroll, Emma Smyth and Kathryn Mullan all contributing goals in a thoroughly comprehensive victory for the home favourites.

Canada’s (WR: 22) ticket to the event final and the next phase of the Hockey World League was certainly earned the hard way, winning a fascinating shoot-out against the ever-impressive Chile (WR: 20) after regular time finished with the scores locked at 0-0. Nine goals were scored from twelve attempts in the shoot-out, with Canadian shot-stopper Kaitlyn Williams doing enough to deny Chile’s Sofia Filipek in sudden death to spark jubilant celebrations from the north Americans.

The 5-8 classification matches took place earlier in the day, with Lithuania (WR: 34) defeating higher-ranked Ukraine (WR: 25) 2-0 before Austria (WR: 27) cruised to a 6-0 win over Turkey (WR: 36).

All eight teams will be in action on Sunday (22nd March), with the final day’s play getting underway with Ukraine and Turkey going head-to-head in the 7-8 classification match (0930 local time – UTC/GMT) before Lithuania and Austria take to the field in the battle for 5th place (1200).

Belarus and Chile (1430) will contest the 3-4 classification match, with Belarus knowing that they need the win in order to claim the final ticket to Olympic qualifier stage of the Hockey World League as the highest ranked third place finisher from the Round 2 tournaments.

The showpiece final between Ireland and Canada (1700) is certain to draw a big crowd, and one very special guest will be quietly hoping to see a victory for the Green Army. Michael D Higgins, the President of Ireland, will be amongst the crowd and enjoying the fantastic atmosphere in the National Hockey Stadium at University College Dublin. 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 confirmed their places in the Semi-Finals with a top two finish at the event in Montevideo, being joined in Round 3 by New Delhi finalists India and Poland and Dublin finalists Ireland and Canada.

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 Dublin on the official tournament microsite.

FIH site

Ireland victory earns them spot in Final AND World League 3

Ireland’s women put in a breathtaking first half performance to seal progression to the final phase of the Olympic qualifying process as they beat Belarus 7-0 at the UDG Healthcare World League Round 2 in Belfield.

The win ensures a final berth and, more importantly, sees Ireland finish in the top two of the competition which brings with it a ticket to World League round 3 in June where the Olympic tickets are decided.

This was anticipated to be a close encounter, the last meeting a 3-2 win for Ireland in the 2013 European championships while Belarus beat Ireland in their previous meeting. But this was scarcely a contest as Ireland produced the performance of the campaign when the stakes were highest.

It took just 77 seconds to break the deadlock as Anna O’Flanagan forged a route down the left wing, unlocking the door for Katie Mullan to square for Nikki Evans to tip in.

O’Flanagan extended the lead in the sixth minute when she initially miscontrolled a right wing cross but had the wherewithal to recover the ball. She duly danced in and out of a series of tackles before slipping home past Maryna Navitskaya.

Ireland were producing some beautiful, free-flowing stuff and created two or three open goals that went unconverted. On another day, this might have mattered more but the goals continued to flow.

Naomi Carroll’s shot was blocked on the line by a body allowing Megan Frazer to convert her third penalty stroke of the tie for 3-0 just 13 minutes in.

Shirley McCay then created goals four and five with two delicious crosses. The former was turned in by Carroll for her fifth goal of the tournament while Emma Smyth slapped in the next first time after a lovely left wing attack.

The second half followed the same pattern with Ireland dominating the play with some sweet interchanges. Mullan smashed home a rebound for the sixth before Evans completed the rout in the 48th minute with the pick of the bunch, a rocket off her backhand to the roof of the net.

It means Ireland contest the final at 5pm in Belfield on Sunday.

Captain Megan Frazer, one the tournament’s stand out players thus far, said afterwards: “It’s always nice to come out like that in a high pressure game, a great performance. We’re through to World League 3 and that’s what we wanted from this week and a have a final to come.

“We had spoken about picking up the speed and intensity throughout the tournament and hit the nail on the head. It’s something we will look to carry on tomorrow and further on in the future. It’s a great platform to build on.”

The conviction of the performance is a far cry from 2013 when Ireland struggled against the same opposition, showing how far the side have come since then. Frazer added that her side were confident in their own methods.

“We obviously have some history with them but we did this in a really professional manner. You can carry baggage against teams like that but we nipped that in the bud, gave them nothing and got a clean sheet. It was a great performance.

“We all knew it was a high pressure game and have played in them before. It’s a testament to the girls who kept their composure and kept it simple. Our passing rate, speed of play and our basics were on point. It’s something we are building up to.

She also paid tribute to another big crowd at Belfield.

“They have been phenomenal. Every time we come out, the stands are full even when the Six Nations rugby match was on. It is an honour to perform when everyone supports us like that and we really appreciate it.”

Following Sunday’s final, Ireland will find out where the next phase of the World League sends them with Valencia looking the most likely venue.

UDG Healthcare World League Round 2

Ireland 7 (N Evans 2, A O’Flanagan, M Frazer, N Carroll, E Smyth, K Mullan) Belarus 0

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

Belarus: M Navitskaya, H Zabrotskaya, U Kasabutskaya, M Halinouskaya, M Pakhanava, H Lupach, S Bahushevich, N Silitskaya, N Syrayezhka, K Papkova, R Batura
Subs: L Nestsiarovich, K Syddykaya, N Shitsin, P Papelskaya, H Tsabrova, D Belavusava, V Mikanovich

Irish Hockey Association media release

Canada wins World League 2 semifinal in shootout to earn spot in Olympic qualifier

Canada and Ireland play in WL2 final at 10am PT/1pm ET on Sunday

Shaheed Devji

The Canadian Women's National Field Hockey team defeated Chile 5-4 in a shootout to move on to the World League 2 final and earn a spot in World League 3, a 2016 Olympic qualifier to be played in Valencia, Spain in June.

As the two Pan-American rivals were playing not only for a spot in the final but for a spot at the World League Semi-Finals in June, the game was a tight defensive affair on Saturday morning in Dublin, Ireland.

"It was pretty back and forth with most of the play being in the middle of the pitch" says Canadian goalkeeper Kaitlyn Williams, who later in the match would play hero. "Whenever we play Chile it ends up being a battle to the last minute and tonight was no exception. "

In the first half, the tackles were tough and the defensive shapes were disciplined. Through the first two quarters, neither team was able to break through offensively and the game remained scoreless at half-time.

It was much of the same throughout the second half with both teams battling hard for chances.

Late in the match, the tournament's top goal scorer, Daniela Caram, found herself in a scoring position but Williams, who heading into Saturday's match had only surrendered four goals in four matches, was equal to the challenge and made the save.

The game headed to a shootout where the teams traded goals in the first, second, and third rounds, before Canada's Abigail Raye was in a must-score position on the fifth and final shot. Raye converted to match Chile's goal and the shootout went into sudden death shots.

"Going into the shootout I was a little nervous but we have spent a lot of time practicing for a shoot out situation so I knew we had it in us," adds Williams.

Canada shot first and chose its 2014 top goal scorer, Brienne Stairs, to lead the way.

Stairs, who already scored once in the previous shootout rounds, was able to score again to give Canada the upper hand. It was then up to Chile's Carolina Garcia to score to extend the match, but Williams once again made a crucial save.

"I just tried to be as patient as I could and stay on my feet as long as possible," says Williams "I can't even describe how happy I was when I realized we were going to World League 3. I think our celebration speaks for itself."

The save not only led Canada to the semifinal win and a spot in the tournament final against Ireland on Sunday morning, but with the win Canada also moves on to the World League Semi-Finals (also known as World League 3) in June, where they will aim to finish in the top three to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The World League Round 2 final between Canada and Ireland takes place Sunday at 10am PT/1pm ET. The match will be live streamed at the following link: : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paHrv0NVMHo

Field Hockey Canada media release

Reading snatch play-off spot

Helen Richardson celebrates with Susie Gilbert after scoring the second goal of the game. Credit: RSK Ghowry.

READING secured the final play-off place in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division as they beat Leicester 3-1 on Saturday.

They climbed above Holcombe who could only draw 0-0 with leaders Surbiton, and will go forward to the Finals Weekend which is being staged on April 18-19 at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

Reading fell behind to a Liz George goal in the sixth minute, but they bounced back with goals from Susie Gilbert, Helen Richardson-Walsh and Sarah Jones.

Elsewhere, Buckingham must face the relegation play-offs after losing 4-0 to the University of Birmingham whose goals came from Jo Turnbull, Faye Curran, Olivia Chilton and Anna Toman.

Bowdon Hightown live to fight another season in the top flight after a 2-2 draw against relegated Beeston. Holly Hunt was their main threat, notching both of their goals.

In the other game of the day, second-placed Canterbury beat third-placed Clifton 3-2 with goals from Sarah Kerly, Grace Balsdon and Jen Wilson.

Clifton were two goals up early in the game with Joanna Leigh and Claire Thomas hitting the target, but they couldn’t hold on.

Investec Conference West

With all of the crucial matters in the Investec Conference West already decided, it came down to playing for pride on the final day.

Swansea City pulled off the biggest win of the day with a crushing 6-0 win over Isca University. Natalie Blyth and Abi Welsford both hit braces for the team that finish second.

Bristol Firebrands will play in the relegation play-offs and they ended their league campaign with a 4-0 defeat to champions Slough. Nora Ilkei scored twice.

Relegated Cheltenham lost 3-2 to Oxford Hawks, while Gloucester City drew 2-2 with Stourport and Trojans’ game against Olton and West Warwicks also finished all square at 1-1.

Investec Conference North

Cannock were confirmed as the team to be automatically relegated from the Investec Conference North, losing to Loughborough Students 1-0. Rachel Malcolm scored the only goal.

Liverpool Sefton made sure that they get a chance of staying in the division by securing a 0-0 draw with second-placed Brooklands Poynton.

Champions Wakefield took and impressive 5-1 win against Kendal with Cat Horn and Sally Walton both on target twice.

An Emma McCabe hat-trick saw Sutton Coldfield edge out Ben Rhydding in a thrilling 4-3 win and in the other game, Whitley Bay and Tynemouth drew 1-1 with University of Durham.

Investec Conference East

Horsham managed to steer clear of automatic relegation from the Investec Conference East with their 1-0 win over Chelmsford enough to lift them off the bottom. Fran Crossley was their hero, slamming home from a penalty corner on 40 minutes.

It is Bedford who go down after losing 2-1 to Maidenhead. Horsham will take part in relegation play-offs.

Champions East Grinstead ended their league on a sour note, losing 2-1 to Wimbledon. Lauren Seaman and Olivia Martineau scored for the winning side, spoiling East Grinstead’s unbeaten record.

Cathy Gilliat-Smith hit two goals in Sevenoaks’ 3-1 win over Ipswich and Harleston Magpies drew 1-1 with St Albans.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 21 2015):

Investec Women's Premier Division: Reading 3, Leicester 1; Beeston 2, Bowdon Hightown 2; Surbiton 0, Holcombe 0; Canterbury 3, Clifton 2; University of Birmingham 4, Buckingham 0.

Investec Women's Conference West: Slough 4, Bristol Firebrands 0; Swansea City 6, Isca University 0; Gloucester City 2, Stourport 2; Trojans 1, Olton and West Warwicks 1; Oxford Hawks 3, Cheltenham 2.

Investec Women's Conference North: Brooklands Poynton 0, Liverpool Sefton 0; Kendal 1, Wakefield 5; Loughborough Students 1, Cannock 0; Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 1, University of Durham 1; Ben Rhydding 3, Sutton Coldfield 4.

Investec Women's Conference East: Ipswich 1, Sevenoaks 3; Horsham 1, Chelmsford 0; Harleston Magpies 1, St Albans 1; Wimbledon 2, East Grinstead 1; Bedford 1, Maidenhead 2.

England Hockey Board Media release

Polo and Rot Weiss "most even KO16 tie" - Lleonart

Named player of the tournament at last weekend’s Copa del Rey, Xavi Lleonart is keen to carry his personal form into the Euro Hockey League KO16 when his Real Club de Polo take on Rot Weiss Koln.

Lleonart reckons the tie is, on paper, “the most equal game of the whole KO16” but believes that Polo’s performances in 2014 will be a source of confidence.

Last year, they eliminated Reading with a strong 4-2 victory before drawing 0-0 with Oranje Zwart before bowing out in a shoot-out.

Since then, they have just a couple of changes with Alex Fabregas out an Pepe Borrell now incorporated into their panel, Lleonart told the EHL website they are in good shape.

“We believe our team is very competitive so we trust in ourselves to go quite far in this EHL edition,” he said.

“Last year, we started to reach the same level of the other top teams across Europe, especially in the tie against the Hoofdklasse’s champions at their home.

“Thanks to that experience we have confidence that, if we play correctly, we can beat any team but it would be a huge mistake to not recognise level of competition of our rivals.”

Looking specifically at Rot Weiss, the Spanish star adds: “They are such an experienced team. They have a balance along with players who stand out as good attackers.

“We will focus on maximizing our strengths to win and get to the KO8 but, personally, I think this is going to be the most even game in the whole KO16.”

Euro Hockey League media release

Selection trials conducted for Azlan Shah

Tazeen Qureshy

With less than a fortnight to go for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia Hockey India conducted selection trials of 32 players on Friday in the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi.

Selectors AB Subbaiah and RP Singh, along with Harbinder Singh and Roelant Oltmans were present in the morning when the selection trials were held at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.

Since that day Delhi Hockey State Selection were also held on the other turfs, and the boys and girls were expected wait for the Play Field No.2 was to be free after PNB Training Session, all them came to Playfield No.3 and witnessed Indian team trials, which were really seen worthy.

This will be Paul van Ass’ first assignment after taking over as the coach of the Indian men’s hockey team. Keeping it in mind, Hockey India is most likely to send a full-strength team for the six-nation event. Earlier in 2013, the last time India had participated in the tournament, India had sent a development team and rested the seniors.

“It is Paul’s first assignment after taking over as the coach of the Indian team. So, most likely we will send a full-strength team for the Azlan Shah. The senior players will also be included,” said high performance director Roelant Oltmans after the training session Thursday.

However, for coach Van Ass, more than the Azlan Shah, his first medium term target is the World League scheduled in December this year. “Azlan Shah Cup will help us fine tune the team and test the players but the World League in December will give us aclarity on where we stand as a medal contender for the Rio Olympics.”


ONGC rally to beat FCI 2-1 to win All India Public Sector hockey tournament

NEW DELHI: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) fought back hard as they rallied to beat Food Corporation of India (FCI) 2-1 in the final to win the All India Public Sector hockey tournament played at the Shivaji Stadium on Saturday.

Manish Rana gave FCI lead in the 41st minute but Preetinder Singh of ONGC restored parity making the scoreline 1-1 with a fine field goal in the 58th minute.

Both the teams fought hard in search of a winner but it was ONGC's Tyron Periera who scored the winning goal in the 64th minute to seal the title in his team's favour.

Sumit Singh of FCI has been named as the man of the tournament while Janma Majhi of SAIL was awarded with the most emerging player of the tournament.

The tournament was organised and hosted by the Air India Sports Promotion Board as Air India has always been sportingly flown high in the promotion of sports.

The Times of India

Imran to lead Vidarbha hockey team at Senior Nationals

Suhas Nayse

NAGPUR: Imran Sheikh will lead the Vidarbha squad in the 5th Senior National Hockey Championship, organized by Hockey India, slated to be held at Pune from April 6 to 20. The team was selected after the trials held here at the VHA ground recently.

All the selected players have been asked to report at the VHA ground at 4.30 pm on Saturday and meet VHA joint secretary Pramod Jain (9404086279).

Vidarbha hockey team

Imran Sheikh (captain), Chandan Singh, Shrikant Kalakoti, Asif Rahim, Simerpreet Saini, Rahul Kalakoti (all Nagpur), Mohd Ahfaz, Anique Sabir, Tausif Baig, Aakil Khan, Sohel Khan, Amir Khan, Mohd Ayaz, Shaibaz Sheikh (all Amravati), Akil Khan, Shakir Khan, Akbar Khan (all Jalgaon), Bhushan Khanorkar (Chandrapur).

Stand-byes: Pankaj Umap, Abhijeet K Fulsunge, Rahim Sayyed, Akash Kanojia, Ankush Thakur, Mohsin Sheikh. Coach: Kunal Patil; Manager: HCV Rocque.

The Times of India

Malaysian  National Under-16: Perak edge Sabah 3-1

PERAK beat Sabah 3-1 in Group B of the Boys' National Under-16 tournament at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil Saturday.

Defending champions Selangor, in Group A, open their campaign against Terengganu today.

RESULTS: Boys' Group B: Perak 3 Sabah 1, Kedah 1 Pahang 7, Negri 2 Kelantan 0.

Girls' Group B: Negri 1 Sabah 1, Pahang 1 Terengganu 6.

SUNDAY: Boys' Group A: Selangor v Terengganu (4pm, Picth II), Penang v Johor (4pm, Pitch II), Perlis v Malacca (8pm, Pitch II).

Group B: Perak v Pahang (4pm, Pitch I), Kuala Lumpur v Sabah (6pm, Picth I), Kedah v Kelantan (8pm, Pitch I).

Girls' Group A: Kedah v Johor (7.30am, Pitch I), Perak v Malacca (7.30am, Pitch II); Group B: Selangor v Kuala Lumpur (9.30am, Pitch I), Negri Sembilan v Terengganu (9.30am, Pitch I).

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Pahang rout Kedah in opening U-16 hockey match

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: Mohamed Idris was the hero as his hat-trick propelled Pahang to a 7-1 win over Kedah on the opening day of the MHC-Milo Under-16 hockey championships.

Mohamed Idris started the rout with his 14th minute opener in the Group B match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday. He added two more goals in the 36th and 55th minutes. Makmurmasuha Faisal (17th), Mohamed Akmal Hakim (33rd), Mohamed Kamil (52nd) and Mohamed Ridhwan (54th) contributed the other goals.

Kedah’s lone strike came through Mohamed Hazzim Amin in the 66th minute.

Kedah coach Shahzan Amir Azmi said they had no answer to Pahang’s fast-paced game.

“Pahang were better and more experienced than us. We have a young side with most of our players just 13 years old. It’s a learning curve for them. I am sure the experience will be good for them when we play next year,” added Shahzan.

Perak, who finished third last year, also got off to a flying start in Group B by beating Sabah 3-1.

Mohamed Azrai Aizad gave Perak the lead after only three minutes with a field goal. But they had to wait until the 34th minute to double the tally through Mohamed Hazim. Mohamed Azwan Hazim completed the scoring in the 56th minute.

Sabah rallied and managed to score a consolation goal through Mohamed Saifuddin Azli in the 70th minute.

Mohamed Azwan, however, suffered a hamstring injury and the penalty corner specialist is a doubtful starter for Sunday’s clash with Pahang.

Said Perak team manager Mohamed Nizam Mohamed Hashim: “Mohamed Azwan is a crucial player in the team and we need his services. We will check his injury and make a last-minute decision on whether to field him against Pahang.”

The Star of Malaysia

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