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News for 24 March 2015

All the news for Tuesday 24 March 2015

Women’s HWL Semi-Final line-ups confirmed

Twenty nations will compete at events in Valencia (ESP) and Antwerp (BEL) with the aim of securing one of six tickets to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

(Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek)

Following Ireland’s magnificent victory in the third and final Hockey World League Round 2 event in Dublin on Sunday, FIH is pleased to announce the line-ups for the women’s Hockey World League Semi-Final tournaments which will take place in Spain and Belgium later this year.

The Semi-Final phase really is the business end of the Hockey World League, where the places at the Rio 2016 Olympics are on the table. The Semi-Finals consist of two ten-team events, with the top three finishers at each event winning a ticket to Rio 2016. The seven qualifiers from Round 2 are joined in the Semi-Final phase by hockey’s “big beasts”, with the teams ranked from 1-11 at the time of seeking entries all entering the fray alongside Spain and Belgium, who pre-qualified for the Semi-Finals as tournament hosts.

The Hockey World League Semi-Final in Valencia takes place from 10-21 June 2015 in Spain’s third largest city and features an extraordinary line-up that is sure to draw the crowds. 2014 World Cup Bronze medallists and Champions Trophy winners Argentina will compete alongside USA, Germany, China, Great Britain, South Africa and host nation Spain. They will be joined by Ireland, Canada and Uruguay, who all qualified by achieving top 2 finishes at the Round 2 events and will be looking to continue their impressive form in this crucial Olympic qualifier. 

The FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final will be played in Antwerp, Belgium from 20 June to 5 July as part of a spectacular joint men’s and women’s event. The women’s tournament features reigning World and Olympic champions the Netherlands as well as 2014 World Cup Silver medallists Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Japan and host nation Belgium. The Antwerp tournament will also feature four nations from Round 2, with India, Italy and Poland achieving top 2 finishes in the second phase while Azerbaijan have qualified as the highest ranked of the third placed finishers.

The line-ups for the men’s Hockey World League Semi-Final tournaments in Buenos Aires (ARG) and Antwerp (BEL) were confirmed last week and can be found by clicking here.

FIH site

Kookaburras Sultan Azlan Shah squad announced

The Kookaburras' squad for next month’s 24th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia, has been announced by Hockey Australia. The 18 athlete squad will feature a combination of new and senior players while seeing the return of athletes from injury.

Captain Mark Knowles will return to the international fold to lead the group having battled an ankle injury after winning gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Joel Carroll is also included having missed much of the 2014 season.

Two of the Kookaburras’ most experienced players, Jamie Dwyer and Glenn Turner will return having not played for Australia since the World Cup in June last year. If Dwyer plays in the Azlan Shah’s opening match against Canada, he will become Australia’s outright most capped player with a record of 322 appearances for the Kookaburras, overtaking Jay Stacy’s record of 321.

National development squad goalkeeper Tristan Clemons has received the call-up alongside recently selected senior goalkeeper Leon Hayward. The tournament will be Hayward’s first major international tournament at senior level.

After a pleasing performance at the 2014 Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar, NSW defender Matthew Dawson retains his place in the squad and is joined by fellow youngster Queensland forward Dylan Wotherspoon who missed out on the Champions Trophy through injury.

Speaking about the squad, Kookaburras Head Coach Graham Reid said, “I believe this is a good mixture of athletes selected for the Azlan Shah and it will be great to have a few more of our senior players back on the field after not playing at the Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy.

“This team offers an opportunity for players who have not played for a while to get back into the swing of playing hockey for Australia. The decision to bring Leon Hayward and Tristan Clemons as the Kookaburras’ goalkeepers for the tournament was to give the pair the chance to showcase their talents on an international stage, allowing Andrew Charter and Tyler Lovell the chance to rest.”

With a key focus on building exposure for the athletes at an international level ahead of the Olympic qualifying event, the World League Semi Final tournament in Antwerp in June, Reid added, “We will be getting on top of the new rule changes at this tournament ahead of the World League. This will be our biggest focus for the team, ensuring we get them right. We are trying to refine the team and give as many opportunities to our players as possible in order to find our strongest team for Belgium.

“What I love about the Azlan Shah is that it’s one of the toughest places to play hockey. With high humidity and heat conditions it tests our players both physically and mentally. Our opponents will be tough to play and it will be a great competition to be a part of.”

The Kookaburras have won gold at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup on eight previous occasions, including back-to-back gold in 2004/2005 and 2013/2014.

For four of the selected athletes - Joel Carroll (100 caps), Mark Knowles (250 caps), Tristan White (50 caps) and Aran Zalewski (50 caps) - the tournament should see them reach key milestones in their international playing careers. 

Following a successful year with World Cup gold, Commonwealth Games gold and Champions Trophy bronze, a number of athletes were not considered for selection as they receive a recovery break after demonstrating solid performances during last year’s tournaments. Those players playing in the Dutch league - Russell Ford, Kieran Govers, Fergus Kavanagh and Matthew Swann - were not available for selection.

Matches for the Kookaburras over the next few months will all lead towards selecting the strongest possible team for the World League Semi Final, with the aim of securing qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro.

The Kookaburras’ opening match of the Sultan Azlan Shah is against Canada at 6:30pm AEST /4:30pm AWST on Sunday 5 April.

For more information on the World League, visit Hockey Australia’s webpage here.

Kookaburras squad for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
Ipoh (MAS), 5-12 April 2015

Name (Hometown/State) Caps/Goals

Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 44/8
Nick Budgeon (Hobart, TAS) 28/12
Joel Carroll (Darwin, NT) 98/2
Tristan Clemons (Ferndale, WA) 10/0
Matthew Dawson (Central Coast, NSW) 10/0
Jamie Dwyer (Rockhampton, QLD) 321/206
Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD) 110/32
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 27/10
Leon Hayward (Darwin, NT) 2/0
Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD) 245/20
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 62/19
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS) 231/58
Glenn Simpson (Melbourne, VIC) 118/21
Glenn Turner (Goulburn, NSW) 112/79
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 78/33
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW) 44/3
Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah, QLD) 4/0
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA) 46/4

Kookaburras’ Sultan Azlan Shah fixtures

Sunday 5 April – Kookaburras v Canada – 6:30pm AEST
Monday 6 April – Kookaburras v Malaysia – 10:30pm AEST
Wednesday 8 April – Kookaburras v Korea – 8:30pm AEST
Thursday 9 April – Kookaburras v New Zealand – 8:30pm AEST
Saturday 11 April – Kookaburras v India– 6:00pm AEST
Sunday 12 April – Final– 10:30pm AEST

Sultan Azlan Shah competing teams

Australia (World ranking #1)
Canada (#14)
Korea (#8)
India (#9)
Malaysia (#12)
New Zealand (#7)

Hockey Australia media release

Indian women's hockey team to play in New Zealand

NEW DELHI: Indian hockey women core probables have set their sights on Hockey World League (HWL) Round 3 as they looked upbeat, confident and excited during their preparatory camp for the upcoming Hawkes Bay Cup in New Zealand.

The team is looking at the New Zealand tour as important as they would be facing almost the same teams that would be taking on at the HWL semifinal.

World hockey governing body, FIH, conducts two HWL semifinal events, with eight teams competing in each. The top three spots in a HWL semifinal will lead to berths in the Olympic Games 2016.

Speaking on the upcoming tour, forward Anupa Barla on Monday said the tour is crucial keeping in mind the all essential World League semifinal coming up.

"The upcoming tour is very important as here the team will be actually tested on the form before playing the all essential World League semifinal. In the last one year the team has worked on coordination, passes, attacks and effectively penetrating the circle.

"We have even worked on our physical stamina and speed and which will prove to be vital for the upcoming Hawkes Bay Cup 2015," she said.

The tour is scheduled to start from April 11 and culminates on April 19. The team is currently pumped up after an unbeaten performance in the just culminated HWL Round 2, where India beat Poland 3-1 in the final to walk into the next round which is scheduled in June.

Hockey India (HI) high performance director Roelant Oltmans said the girls need to keep up their confidence for the upcoming tournament.

"The girls are looking in good form and they have to keep their confidence at the same level for the upcoming tournament, Oltmans said.

He further added that, "The team aims to keep the pressure on the opponents by attacking and breaking the defence chain effectively. They are even working on their penalty corners which will be key to score and outwit the opponents."

The Times of India

Hawkes Cup key to Indian hockey eves preparation for WL semis

NEW DELHI: Brimming with confidence after its unbeaten run in the just-concluded World League Round 2 here, an upbeat Indian women's hockey team was eyeing next month's Hawkes Bay Cup in New Zealand to prepare itself in the best possible manner for the crucial World League Semi-Final to be held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Indian eves, who defeated Poland 3-1 in the summit clash of the World League Round 2, looking at the Hawkes Bay Cup as an important tournament where they would be playing against almost the same teams that would be featuring in World League Semi-Final to be held from June 13-22.

Apart from India and hosts New Zealand, the other participating nations in the Hawkes Bay Cup, to be held from April 11 to 19, are world no. 2 Australia, Argentina, China, USA, Korea and Japan.

"The upcoming tour is very important as here we will be tested before playing the all essential World League Semi-Final," forward Anupa Barla said during their preparatory camp which started at the Major Dhyan Chand National here on Sunday.

"In the last one year the team has worked on coordination, passes, attacks and circle penetration. We have even worked on our physical stamina and speed and it will prove to be vital in the upcoming Hawkes Bay Cup."

Indian hockey's High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans added: "The girls are looking in good form and they have to keep their confidence at the same level for the upcoming tournament."

The Times of India

Dragons move into Belgian playoff places

Dragons shaded their derby with Antwerp 2-1 in a tough battle as the EHL closes in for the Brasschaat club, fighting back from a goal down to win for the ninth time this season.

Bas van Valburg put Antwert in front before goals from Felix Denayer from a penalty corner and another from Irishman Kyle Good swapped the lead around.

Speaking to Hockey Belgium, Jeffrey Thys said: "It was not a great hockey game but, first and foremost, we got the result that allows us to go back level with Leopold in fourth. We will continue to work hard in these last few games to hold on to a playoff place."

Leuven confirmed their place in the playoffs after a thrilling 6-4 win over Oree. Leuven welcomed back their three French internationals but had it far from their own way.

Pau Quemada made it 2-0 after seven minutes Oree were back level at half-time with Facundo Callioni among the scorers. Tom Degroote scored twice, countered by one from Philippe Simar to see Leuven lead 4-3. Degroote got his third but Oree were still in the hunt when Marco Moretto got his side’s fourth goal.

Degroote, though, marked his personal fourth goal and Leuven’s sixth with three minutes to go to land the victory.

Waterloo Ducks remain in second thanks to their 4-2 win over Racing Club de Bruxelles with Nicolas Vandiest, Charles Masson, John-John Dohmen and Gilles Jacob all scoring.

Daring, though, were left frustrated as their game with Beerschot was postponed due to a damaged pitch.

Euro Hockey League media release

Reading claw their way up the table following return of Richardson-Walsh

By Graham Wilson

Helen Richardson-Walsh's return has spurred on Reading's season. GETTY

HELEN RICHARDSON-WALSH scored a tap-in goal and laid on a third for Reading in a 3-1 win over Leicester to take their top four place in the Investec League play-offs at the Olympic Park on April 18-19.

Reading took the final spot on the last day of the season after Holcombe’s team of internationals could not break through in a goal-less draw against unbeaten leaders Surbiton.

Richardson-Walsh has been slowly recovering from serious back injury and since her return last month, Reading have clawed their way up the table.

She said: “It’s fantastic for us to make the play-offs after what has been a difficult season for the team with players missing throughout. Finishing fourth, which is the highest we've been all season, shows the persistence from all involved and a belief that if it was mathematically possible, we would still make it. After our win we were waiting for the Holcombe result to come in on twitter, and fortunately for us it went our way.”

The London Olympian added: "The last year has been one of great uncertainty, so for me it has just been brilliant to be involved, but I'm really looking forward to playing in a big game once more, especially as it will be at Lee Valley. Surbiton are unbeaten this season so it will be a tough ask but we're all looking forward to the challenge.

"I've been back on the pitch, gradually building things up for two months now, and so far my back has coped with the demands. I'm still maintaining a high strength programme, with a view to upping my speed work over the coming weeks and, hopefully, my body will continue to adapt positively."

Leicester had gone ahead through a Liz George goal in the sixth minute, but Reading bounced back with goals from Susie Gilbert, then Richardson-Walsh and Sarah Jones.

 University of Birmingham's play-off hopes  were also dashed but they put four past Buckingham, who go into the relegation play-offs. Jo Turnbull, Faye Curran, Olivia Chilton and Anna Toman were the Birmingham scorers .

Bowdon Hightown have a lot to be thankful for their young star Holly Hunt, who scored both goals as they stayed in the top flight after a 2-2 draw against relegated Beeston.

Second-placed Canterbury came back from two goals down to beat third-placed Clifton 3-2. Jo Leigh and Claire Thomas scored for Clifton but Sarah Kerly, Grace Balsdon and then Jen Wilson scored the winner to set the teams up for the Olympic Park title finale.

Daily Express

Pahang boys whip KL 4-0

NATIONAL Under-16 Boys' silver medallists Kuala Lumpur were whipped 4-0 by Pahang at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil Monday.

KL, who had edged Sabah 4-2 in their first match, went crashing to a hat-trick of penalty corners executed by Muhammad Idris in the 35th, 44th and 54th minutes. The other Pahang goal was scored by Nazrey Din off a field attempt in the 18th minute.

RESULTS: Boys' Group A: Penang 1 Malacca 3, Terengganu 2 Perlis 2, Selangor x Johor x; Group B: Kuala Lumpur 0 Pahang 4, Kedah 5 Negri Sembilan 5, Perak x Kelantan x.

Girls' Group A: Penang 7 Johor 2, Kedah 3 Malacca 2; Group B: Pahang 1 Kuala Lumpur 4, Sabah 0 Selangor 2.

TUESDAY: Boys' Group A: Perlis v Selangor (4pm, Pitch I), Malacca v Johor (6pm, Pitch II), Terengganu v Penang (8pm, Pitch II); Group B: Perak v Negri Sembilan (4pm, Pitch II), Kuala Lumpur v Kelantan (6pm, Pitch I), Pahang v Sabah (8pm, Pitch I).

Girls' Group A: Perak v Penang (7.30am, Pitch I), Malacca v Johor (7.30am, Pitch II); Group B: Sabah v Pahang (9.30am, Pitch I), Kuala Lumpur v Terengganu (9.30am, Pitch II).

Note: All matches at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Pahang motor on in U-16 hockey league

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: Pahang are looking unstoppable.

The east coast side stormed to their third win in as many days after beating former champions Kuala Lumpur 4-0 in a Group B match in the MHC-Milo Under-16 hockey championships at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Monday.

But team manager Wan Mazlan Wan Isa said they will not take it easy.

“We have a good side and the boys are playing to their full potential. But we need to take every team seriously and make sure we do not make too many mistakes,” he said.

Pahang penalty corner specialist Mohd Idris can’t seem to stop scoring either, scoring his second hat-trick of the tournament in the win over KL. His goals – in the 35th, 44th and 54th minutes – took his tournament tally to eight.

Mohd Narez Din had earlier put Pahang 1-0 up in the 18th minute.

In another Group B match, Terengganu and Perlis drew 2-2.

Terengganu got their goals through Mohd Amer Aiman and Syarman Mat Tee while Mohd Azril and Mohd Rani replied for Perlis.

In a Group A match, Malacca came back from a goal down to beat Penang 3-1.

Penang led with a Nur Azif Mohd goal in the 11th minute before Mohd Nur Asysaf struck a brace for Malacca in the 29th and 50th minutes.

Adam Aiman Mamat then added the third goal for Malacca in the 58th minute.

In another Group A match, Kedah and Negri Sembilan shared the honours in a 10-goal thriller after the teams drew 5-5.

In the girls’ category, Kuala Lumpur and Kedah continued with their winning ways.

Kedah defeated Malacca 3-2 in Group A while KL thumped Pahang 4-1 in Group B

The Star of Malaysia

Troubled Faizal giving MHC the run-around

By S. Ramaguru

Malaysian forward Faizal Saari makes a goal attempt during the World Hockey League Round Two match against Japan in Singapore in January. - Filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: Nothing is straight-forward when it comes to dealing with national hockey forward Faizal Saari.

The prolific goal-getter was supposed to attend national team training on Monday morning.

Instead, it was learnt that he was in Hong Kong to feature for SSSC in the Premier Division there – without obtaining a release letter from the national governing body.

Then, out of the blue, he turned up for the national team’s evening training session.

MHC secretary Datuk Mohd Johari Abdul Aziz admitted on Monday that he was shocked to learn that Faizal had played in the Hong Kong league on Sunday despite agreeing to turn up for training.

“He had some issues ... we told him that the matter can be sorted out once he starts attending training. It apparently has to do with some bonus payment, but I’ve told him that it will be looked into and he agreed to join the team today (yesterday),” said Johari, who met the player in Kota Baru recently.

But Faizal, it is learnt, has insisted that his bonus payment be paid first.

“I don’t understand his stand and what really he wants. I went to Kota Baru and met with him recently. We have given him many chances but, if he does not want to toe the line, then there is nothing we can do. By not having a release letter (to play in HK), he has breached MHC’s discipline,” added Johari.

The problem with Faizal began soon after the World Hockey League Round Two ended in Singapore in January. The forward claimed that the MHC did not pay the players their match-winning bonuses as promised.

And he had stayed away from training since.

Malaysia, who have qualified for the World League Semi-Finals, are preparing for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, which will be held in Ipoh from April 5-12.

It looks like Malaysia can now fully focus on preparing for the World League Semi-Finals now that their top hitman is back in training.

But then again, nothing is as it seems with Faizal.

The Star of Malaysia

Something smells rotten

By Jugjet Singh

SOMETHING is very wrong with the grassroot development of hockey.

Schools, states, clubs and 1Mas development programmes have failed to unearth even a single Sikh, Chinese or Indian to represent Malaysia in the 2016 Junior World Cup which will be held in New Delhi.

Yes, the only good news when the April training squad of Project 2016 was released yesterday by team manager Mirnawan Nawawi was Sabah-born Maxhans Christi.

The other 24 players were all Malay.

And the ongoing National Under-16 tournament is no better, as even though 13 states are competing and there are a total of 234 players, there is only one Sikh boy playing for Kuala Lumpur and six Indian boys -- three from Negri Sembilan, two from Kedah and one from Perak.

In the Girls' Under-16 where 11 states are competing, there are only four Indian girls -- two from Kedah, and one each from Pahang and Selangor.

The Chinese are nowhere to be seen, while Sabah has 18 boys and 18 girls competing.

Former national coach K. Dharmaraj, who is attached with the National Sports Council now, is the main scout for the Under-16 tournament where he plans to select 30 to 35 players and form Project 2020.

This will be the start-up to Dharmaraj's personal dream of winning the Junior World Cup in 2020, after he and his charges claimed the fourth spot in the 2013 New Delhi World Cup.

Coming back to the Project 2016 which will play at the Kuantan Junior Asia Cup in November, which is a Junior World Cup qualifier, Mirnawan said there are no excellent players of other races coming out of the current development programme.

Mirnawan, who has played with a multi-racial team in World Cups as well as the Olympics, said he would like to see other races coming out of the woodwork, but it is too late for the next World Cup.

"I would love to see all the races representing Malaysia like a decade ago, but at the moment, not many non Malays play hockey. Even at the ongoing Under-16 one can count the number of non-Malays with one hand.

"My wish is that in Project 2020, we need to develop more excellent players from the other race group. Curently, from the 25 playuers in training in Project 2016, only Maxhans is the odd one out."

Six new players were added to the Project 2016 after the conclusion of the Junior Hockey League, and the scouts could not even find one Sikh, Indian or Chinese from the 30 teams, comprising a total of 540 players, which competed in the two JHL divisions.

Something is really wrong with the development of the sport in the country.

Clubs like UniKL Young Guns are doing the right thing by having open training sessions every weekend where everybody is invited to join in, and even those who can hardly hold hockey sticks properly are coached with patience by former and current national players.

But something must be very wrong at the schools as well as the 1Mas programme at the state levels, which has funding to the millions, when they can't even produce one Chinese to replace the late Chua Boon Huat.

Baljit Singh is the last Sikh, while S. Kumar is the last Indian standing at the senior level, and going by current form, there will be none in the 2016 Junior World Cup, while 15-year-old Pavandip Singh Gurdip will most likely be the only non-Malay in the 2020 Junior World Cup as he has shown form in the ongoing National Under-16.

Something is very wrong at the grassroot as suddenly, non-Malays are no longer interested in a sport which they used to excel in, at World Cups and Olympics.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Edinburgh University plan hockey alumni re-union

Edinburgh University have announced plans to stage an alumi hockey reunion at Peffermill on 23 & 24 May this year.

As well as a weekend full of hockey activity, the alumi is also organising a series of events, including a formal dinner, ceilidh, auction and social gatherings.

The alumi hopes that this will be a great opportunity to reacquaint yourselves with old friends, coaches and hockey club habits.

Organiser Gordon Cox said, "There will be a hockey tournament to play or watch at Peffermill on the 23rd May.   That evening there will be a fundraising dinner and ceilidh at the Sheraton.  We expect 350 old hockey players to come back."

More information can be found on the Edinburgh University Sports Alumi website or by contacting the Univerisity via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

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