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News for 17 April 2015

All  the news for Friday 17 April 2015

Black Sticks Women clinch semi final spot

Olivia Merry and Jordan Grant celebrate a goal. Photo / Photosport

The Black Sticks Women have secured their spot in the Hawke’s Bay Cup semi finals after an emphatic 4-1 result over India in this evening’s quarter final.

Shaking off a slow start, the Kiwis took control of the game and dominated the second half to ensure themselves a top four finish at the tournament.

Striker Olivia Merry starred with a double, while Petrea Webster and Ella Gunson were also on the scoreboard for New Zealand.

The Black Sticks are booked to play their semi final at 4:30pm on Saturday, where they will meet Korea.

Head coach Mark Hager said it was good to be able to contain the Indians, who were dangerous on the counter attack.

“After going down early it was pleasing our girls fought back and never gave up,” he said.

“I have heart attacks on the sideline sometimes but that’s the way we want to play is up tempo high risk hockey.

:In the second half we created lots of opportunities around the attacking circle and that’s what we need to keep doing going into the weekend’s semi final.”

India made a fast paced start to the opening quarter and earned a penalty quarter inside the first five minutes. Captain Ritu Rani then received the ball on the far post and slipped it in past Amelia Gibson.

The Black Sticks were swift to respond though and after finding a penalty corner of their own, Petrea Webster was able to get a touch on Anita Punt’s flick to level the score at 1-1.

Olivia Merry gave New Zealand their first lead of the game just out from halftime when she got a terrific pass in from Jordan Grant before sweeping into the roof of the net.

Merry then pushed the Kiwis out to a two goal buffer late in the third quarter when a shot at goal went high into the air and bounced into the back of the goal.

The Black Sticks sealed the result in emphatic style with five minutes on the clock when Ella Gunson fired home for her side’s fourth of the night.

Earlier in the day China and Japan played out a goalless game, with China coming out on top 3-1 in the deciding shoot-out to go through. They will meet Australia in the semis, after the Hockeyroos held on for a tight 1-0 result over Argentina to knock them out of top four contention.

For results, standings, ticketing info and live streaming of all games go to www.hockeyfestival.nz

Quarter Final four: USA vs Korea
Fulltime: Korea won 2-1

Quarter Final three: Black Sticks vs India
Fulltime: Black Sticks won 4-1
Black Sticks goal scorers: Olivia Merry (2), Petrea Webster, Ella Gunson
India goal scorer: Ritu Rani

Quarter Final two: Argentina vs Australia
Fulltime: Australia won 1-0
Australia goal scorer: Kathryn Slattery

Quarter Final one: China vs Japan
Fulltime: 0-0
China won shoot-out 3-1

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Indian women suffer defeat to Kiwis in Hawke’s Bay Cup

Indian women’s hockey team lost 1-4 to hosts New Zealand to crash out in the quarterfinals of the Hawke’s Bay Cup in Hastings on Thursday.

It was India who drew the first blood by successfully converting their first penalty corner through skipper Ritu Rani as early as in the sixth minute of the game.

But India’s lead was short-lived as New Zealand equalised in the next minute when Petrea Webster converted their first penalty corner.

The hosts had another penalty corner soon but failed to utilise the opportunity as Indian defence did well to avert the danger.

India played attacking hockey in the second quarter and managed to give a few jittery moments to their opponents but goals eluded them.

Two minutes into the second quarter, India got another penalty corner but wasted the chance.

In the 28th minute, New Zealand managed to break the Indian defence and take a 2-1 lead in the match.

The third quarter was a story of near misses for India as they went all out in search of the equaliser.

But it was New Zealand who extended their lead to 3-1 at the closing stages of the third quarter.

In the 55th minute, New Zealand made it 4-1 in their favour when Ella Gunson scored a fine field goal.

India will next face the loser of the match between USA and Korea in the 5-8 place classification match.

The Hindu

India eves lose 1-4 against New Zealand

NEW DELHI: The New Zealand women's hockey team thrashed India 4-1 in the Hawke's Bay Cup quarterfinal at the Hastings Sports Park on Thursday.

It was India who drew first blood as they successfully converted a penalty corner but the 'Black Sticks' struck back as they went on to score four goals.

Six minutes into the game, India were awarded their first penalty corner and a clever variation helped captain Ritu Rani put the ball into the nets, leaving the hosts stunned.

New Zealand immediately struck back in the very next minute as Petrea Webster successfully slammed the ball into the goal. New Zealand had another chance when they earned a penalty corner but India defended well and averted the danger.

Two minutes into the second quarter, India had a penalty corner which they wasted, eventually proving to be a costly miss. But New Zealand managed to break India's defence in the 28th minute to take the lead 2-1.

The third quarter was a story of attacks and misses as both teams tried to score.

India had a penalty corner in the second quarter which they wasted, eventually proving to be a costly miss. (TOI Photo)

While India was looking to equalise, New Zealand countered by scoring their third goal to finish the third session leading 3-1.

New Zealand added one more in the 55th minute as Ella Gunson scored a field goal to humiliate India.

India will next take on the United States on Saturday in a 5-8 classification playoff match.

New Zealand will take on South Korea while China will face Australia in the two semifinals, also on Saturday.

The Times of India

Slattery sinks Argentina

Hockeyroos 1-0 win earns semi final place in Hawke's Bay

West Australian youngster Kathryn Slattery's early goal and an improved team performance helped the Hockeyroos to a crucial 1-0 quarter-final victory over Argentina at the Hawke's Bay Cup.
The match between the world number two Hockeyroos and number three Las Leonas was a tight affair in which the Australians enjoyed much the better of the attacking opportunities in the first half before being called upon to defend resolutely as Argentina sought a way back into the contest in the latter stages.
The result sees the Australian women through to Saturday's semi-final against China, who had earlier beaten Japan on a shoot-out.
With the tournament format guaranteeing the Hockeyroos a quarter-final berth irrespective of their early form, Head Coach Adam Commens admitted, "We knew that regardless [of early results] we'd be in the quarter-finals. I was looking forward to meeting Argentina in this tournament. We thought it might be later on in the tournament but we met them just the same and we got the victory."
On his side's form in front of goal, Commens said, "I think it's coming. We've hit the crossbar a couple of times, we've hit the post a few times, we've had a number of balls dragged off the goal line and we've had a few sail past the back post. It's normally somewhere we feel that easily. We haven't done that so far but we're working on it and I feel that in the coming games we'll be able to find the net a little bit easier than we have."
Looking ahead to the semi-final against China, Commens added, "It's going to be interesting. It's the fifth time we've met them in the last two weeks. They're a team that's improved, they've done well. They've got some really good young players with good technical skill, [so] we'll need to be on our game if we're going to get the victory there but I think we're more than capable of doing it. We'll be going for that grand final berth."
Slattery's goal after just four minutes, slotted through the legs of Argentina goalkeeper Belen Succi, was the perfect start for the Hockeyroos and ultimately proved to be the winner.
While Argentina threatened an immediate repost through Carla Rebecchi's surging run, Australia defended well and saw out the first quarter in relative control. Captain Madonna Blyth came closest to extending the advantage with a close range deflection that flew narrowly wide.
In a second quarter performance filled with attacking intent, the Hockeyroos stifled Las Leonas while creating a series of excellent opportunities of their own. Georgia Nanscawen's effort early in the period came back off the crossbar, Brooke Peris forced Succi into a close range save and Georgie Parker's effort flew past the post.
Australia found themselves under renewed pressure following half time, successfully keeping out two Argentine penalty corners. And the pressure intensified in the final 15 minutes as the Hockeyroos were penned in deep in their defensive quarter. Three more penalty corners came and went for the South Americans, who could not find a way through goalkeeper Ashlee Wells and her back line.
Captain Madonna Blyth is set to make her 300th appearance for the Hockeyroos in Saturday's semi-final against China. In doing so she will become only the second woman to represent Australia in 300 matches and closes in further on Nikki Hudson's all-time record of 303 appearances for the Hockeyroos.
The match will take place at 14:30 AEST on Saturday, 18 April, and will be lived streamed through the official tournament website.

Hawke's Bay Cup Quarter Final

Kathryn Slattery 4 (FG)
Hockeyroos Squad
Athlete (Hometown, State) caps/goals
Teneal Attard (Mackay, QLD) 204/10
Madonna Blyth (Brisbane, QLD) 299/66
Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT) 69/2
Kate Jenner (Tamworth, NSW) 113/1
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD) 135/76
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA) 65/6
Georgia Nanscawen (Melbourne, VIC) 153/30
Ashleigh Nelson (Wagin, WA) 173/63
Kathryn Slattery (South Stirling, WA) 13/4
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW) 115/47
Ashlee Wells (Morwell, VIC) 47/0
Used Substitute
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA) 58/5
Kirstin Dwyer (Mackay, QLD) 71/2
Georgina Morgan (Armidale, NSW) 10/0
Georgie Parker (Berri, SA) 75/23
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT) 51/8
Mariah Williams (Parkes, NSW) 12/2
Unused Substitute
Rachael Lynch (Melbourne, VIC) 121/0
Official tournament website - hockeyfestival.nz
Hawke's Bay Cup Quarter Final Results & Fixtures
China 0-0 Japan (China win 3-1 on shoot-out)
Argentina 0-1 Australia
New Zealand v India
USA v Korea
Hawke's Bay Cup Semi Final & Classification Fixtures, 18 April
10:00am AEST: 5-8th - Japan v Argentina
12:15pm AEST: 5-8th - Loser New Zealand/India v Loser USA/Korea
2:30pm AEST: Semi final - China v Australia
4:45pm AEST: Semi final  - Winner New Zealand/India v Winner USA/Korea
Hawke’s Bay Festival, 11-19 April 2015
Saturday 18 April, Semi Finals
Sunday 19 April, Finals and classification matches

Hawke’s Bay Festival Competing Teams and Rankings
Australia (World ranking #2)
Argentina (#3)
New Zealand (#4)
China (#5)
USA (#8)
Korea (#9)
Japan (#10)
India (#13)

Hockey Australia media release

Korea Overcomes Team USA, Sharkey earns 50th Cap

Korea overcomes Team USA in the quarterfinals of the Hawke’s Bay Cup Women’s Hockey tournament in Hastings, New Zealand.

Korea came into the quarterfinal with just one win from their three pool games while the USA had recorded a win, a draw and a loss from their pool matches.

The USA began the match in totally dominant fashion forcing four penalty corners in the first quarter. They were rewarded in the 14th minute when Kelsey Kolojejchick (Larksville, Pa.) beat the Korea keeper from an acute angel on a backhand shot to make it USA 1, KOR 0.

Korea finally found some rhythm in the second quarter and their first goal came when Bomi Kim pushed the ball into the net from close range after US keeper Alesha Widdall (Whitney Point, N.Y.) saved the initial shot on the penalty corner but the USA defenders failed to clear the ball from the goalmouth.

In the 42nd minute Korea broke the deadlock when Seunga Park found the back of the net. The USA mounted attack after attack in the dying minutes of the match but were unable to find the back of the cage.

A milestone was reached as this game marked the 50th cap for Kat Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.). An outstanding achievement for Team USA.

Today is a rest day for Team USA but play will resume Friday at 10:15 P.M. EST against India in the 8 Nations Tournament Semi-finals. ** Watch the game streamed live by clicking here. **

Hawke’s Bay Festival of Hockey

USFHA media release

Semi Finals schedule confirmed at Hawke’s Bay Cup

Following an action packed day of play, the top four have been confirmed to compete in tomorrow’s Hawke’s Bay Cup semi finals.

In Saturday’s first semi final the Black Sticks Women will go up against Korea at 4:30pm, ahead of the Australia vs China clash at 6:45pm

Both semi finals and the two classification playoffs will be streamed LIVE with full commentary at www.hockeyfestival.nz

To book their place in the semis the Black Sticks defeated India 4-1, Korea edged USA 2-1, Australia beat Argentina 1-0 and China came out on top of a shoot-out against Japan.

For results, standings, ticketing info and live streaming of all games go to www.hockeyfestival.nz

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Blyth reaches 300 games

Captain Madonna Blyth to become only second 300-cap Hockeyroo

by Gené Stephan

Photo by Delly Carr

Madonna Blyth’s inspiration to play for Australia was forged during an era when they Hockeyroos ruled the world.

Under Ric Charlesworth, the women enjoyed a golden era winning consecutive Olympic Games, World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy tournaments.

But by the time the Queenslander forced her way into the team as an 18-year-old in 2004, the rest of the world had caught up and the Hockeyroos were no longer the dominant force it had once been.

Now, after more than a decade in the team and on the eve of her 300th Test, the 29-year-old is looking forward to the Hockeyroos again reclaiming their position as world No.1.

When Blyth takes the field during the eight-nation Hawke’s Bay Festival in New Zealand on Saturday, April 18, she will become only the second Australian woman to reach the 300 Test milestone behind fellow Queenslander Nikki Hudson who retired in 2009 with 303 international caps.

Blyth will also move ahead of some of the game’s biggest names and most respected captains – triple Olympic gold medalist Rechelle Hawkes (279 games) and two-time Olympic gold medalist Trini Powell (252 games).

Incumbent coach Adam Commens believes Blyth’s record speaks for itself even though she has not had the same high profile as some of her predecessors.

“Had Madonna had been part of the Hockeyroos during a different era she would undoubtedly have been recognised as one of the greats of Australian hockey,” Commens said.

“She has been a stalwart of this team and someone that has performed consistently over a long period of time.”

Photo by Masanori Udagawa

Blyth said she rarely dwells on her own achievements and is not motivated by external accolades.

“I don’t think of these numbers too much but when it is a significant milestone like 300 games – you do reflect a little more,” Blyth said.

“When you think of others who have played a huge number of games for Australia, you realise you are about to join a very prestigious list.”

“It is also a good time to reflect on past experiences but also on my duties and responsibilities as captain.”

She said the team is well placed for the future and has continued steady improvement since Commens came on board in 2011.

There are also improvements she can make to add to the team’s overall success.

“I would love to be playing great hockey when the Rio Olympics come along,” Blyth said.

2014 was a breakthrough year for the Hockeyroos improving their world ranking from No.7, when Commens took over, to No.2.

“Winning gold at the Commonwealth Games and silver at the World Cup and Champions Trophy was a tremendous result and one the team had been working towards for a number of years,” Blyth said.

“But for me Olympic gold remains my main motivation – having finished fifth in 2008 and 2012.”

“At this stage I don’t want to put an end date to my career – I am looking towards the next year or 18 months and will reassess my future after that. I will keep going if I continue to play well and still enjoy the game.”

Without significant individual financial inducements on offer in women’s hockey, her motivation has been her passion for the game.

“When you are at the very top of your sport you have to love what you do or else you would never be able to commit to all the hard work.”

Blyth, who played under both Charlesworth and his successor Frank Murray, said the team was ready for change when Commens was appointed as coach.

“He has been a great fit for this group and our recent success is a credit to his approach, drive and passion to guide this team,” she said.

“We are in a position to win an Olympic gold medal – it is just a matter of getting there in the last year that remains.”
Commens said the journey of taking Blyth and the team from seventh in the world to its current ranking of No.2 has been exciting and he has seen progression every year.

“It has been pleasing to see the evolution of the team in that time with the players developing their skills, physical ability and understanding of the game,” he said.

“We have worked hard on our physical ability and creating a style of play that exploits that ability.”

Commens and his support staff have also worked hard to cultivate a pride within the group that has allowed the players to understand their commitment as Hockeyroos.

With results at benchmark international tournaments linked to funding, the players have been able to attain the results than now allows them to train full time.

“Now that we have achieved a higher ranking, the women are rewarded more substantially which has allowed them to train hard and commit to the same level as professional athletes,” Commens said.

2015 will be a big year for the squad with younger players joining the senior group and the team evolving in the lead-up to the Rio Olympics.

“We are now a hunted team rather than the hunters with everybody aiming to knock us off,” Commens said.

“It will be a matter of continually trying to improve to stay ahead of the group.”

The Hockeyroos’ next big target this year will be achieving qualification for the Olympic Games. Their Olympic qualifier, the FIH World League Semi Final in Antwerp, Belgium in June, will pitch them against the likes of New Zealand, Belgium, Poland, and India. A top-three finish in the ten team tournament will seal a place at Rio 2016.


Nikki Hudson (303 appearances, 99 goals)
*Madonna Blyth (299 appearances, 66 goals)
Rechelle Hawkes (279 appearances, 49 goals)
Karen Smith (271 appearances, 48 goals)
Katrina Powell (252 appearances, 141 goals)
Lisa Carruthers (230 appearances, 28 goals)
Louise Dobson (230 appearances, 58 goals)
Angie Lambert (229 appearances, 49 goals)
Alyson Annan (228 appearances, 166 goals)
Melanie Twitt (225 appearances, 4 goals)
*Casey Sablowski [Eastham] (222 appearances, 44 goals)
Alison Peek (222 appearances, 6 goals)
Kate Starre (220 appearances, 14 goals)
Juliet Haslam (220 appearances, 35 goals)
Nicole Arrold (215 appearances, 45 goals)
Megan Rivers (203 appearances, 42 goals)

*current Hockeyroo

Hockey Australia media release

Anita Punt beats odds to reach 200 Black Sticks caps


Anita Punt will play her 199th test for New Zealand on Saturday and her 200th on Sunday. Warwick Smith/Fairfax NZ

As a 6-year-old, Anita Punt hoped her hockey team would be drawn to play on Nelson's sand-based turf so her little legs didn't have to contend with long grass.

Back then – and through her early teenage years – Punt reckons few would have correctly predicted her hockey path.

Coaches, team-mates and even Punt herself would have been considered out of their minds to pick where the speedy Punt would end up.

On Saturday she plays her 199th test for the Black Sticks. On Sunday she becomes the sixth New Zealand woman to play 200.

"No-one would have thought I'd be here. I certainly didn't," said Punt, speaking from the Hawke's Bay where the Black Sticks have qualified for the semifinals of the eight-team Festival of Hockey.

Punt has developed plenty in her six years in the national side, changing from a shy and quiet striker to a leader, a senior player to which others look up to and a midfielder.

She's still scoring goals for fun and with 75 is just two short of the joint record holders, Katie Glynn and Krystal Forgesson.

She'll join good friend Gemma Flynn (and Kayla Whitelock, Emily Naylor, Suzie Muirhead and Forgesson) in the 200-club on Sunday, but wasn't concerned if she mimicked Flynn and scored in her 200th match.

That was on Tuesday in the Black Sticks' 2-1 win over Korea, Saturday's semifinal opponent.

"I don't really think about scoring goals. It's always nice when it happens, but for me, the win is the main thing; how the team goes. Who scores them isn't as important. As long as we win."
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A win over old rivals Australia on Sunday will be the perfect way to celebrate reaching what Punt calls an unlikely milestone.

But they've got to get there first; a final is a suitable setting for a 200th match, a third-fourth playoff is not.

Punt, of course, is worrying only about Saturday's semifinal against Korea.

Since Punt joined the national side as a result of Mark Hager's new broom and sweeping changes to the side after a poor Beijing Olympics campaign, it's got stronger and stronger.

They're currently ranked fourth in the world and even despite a number of senior players recently retiring or deciding to take a break from the game, Punt is confident the Black Sticks are continuing to improve ahead of next year's Rio Olympics. A medal there is the obvious goal and it's a realistic one, she said.

"It's an exciting group and though it's quite young, with the amount of hockey we play, it's actually becoming quite an experienced group. There's a genuine feeling among the group that we have what it takes."

As Punt did for Flynn on Tuesday, Flynn will lead a presentation for Punt for her milestone match, though there's been a whisper Punt's partner has made a video to celebrate the occasion which could be equal parts nice and embarrassing. It won't be made public if Punt has anything to do with it.

Her proud parents Nicolaas and Adele will be in the crowd this weekend and are at the front of a long list of people she owed thanks, while coach Hager also got a big mention for believing in and pushing her.

Most impressive about Punt is her desire to improve.

She's on the verge of playing 200 tests, will probably become the first New Zealand woman to play 300,  is sure to become the leading New Zealand goal scorer, is considered one of world hockey's best penalty corner exponents and leads her country – but she still believes she's far from the finished product.

"That's always been important to me, never to let myself get complacent. I think it helps me keep pushing myself as hard as I can."

And she's modest.

"I really don't feel up to the standard of Kayla, Krystal and Emily. I've just always wanted to go out there and play the best I can. And to help this team win as many games as possible."


Barnett buoyed by tips from Pontifex

Black Sticks goalkeeper Georgia Barnett has been on form recently and says the advice she has been receiving from one of New Zealand’s best has been invaluable.

Former Black Sticks goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex has played 156 international games, has been to all major tournaments, and understands the pressure that Barnett is under.

“He is so knowledgeable and he understands the situations and what I’m going through, his feedback is fantastic. For one of the games over Easter, while watching the live stream he jotted down a things to work on as the game progressed and then emailed it through to me – that was so helpful,” said Barnett.

Although not in an official role with the team, Pontifex is really enjoying being a mentor and says he hopes the advice he gives adds to the coaching she is already receiving and provides her with some peace of mind.

“I have worked with her over the last few years and I enjoy giving something back. She gives me an idea of what’s bothering and concerning her and then I try and relate it back to my playing days. All keepers face similar issues and problems, and it’s just about giving her some advice.”

Pontifex believes that a goalkeeping mentor earlier on in his playing days would have been helpful.

“I didn’t get support until later in my career. Most coaches would agree that the goalkeeper can have the most impact on the outcome of a game, yet often we are left to our own devises, you need to be quite self-driven and willing to self-learn,” says Pontifex.

Pontifex is no stranger to the Barnett family, with Georgia’s father owning OBO – one of the world’s best manufacturers of goalkeeping gear based in Palmerston North. Sponsored by OBO, Pontifex used to travel up from his home town of Wellington to do some work for the company.

“We have had some one-on-one sessions at the turf, but more recently it’s been the little things that make the difference during a tournament, a text or an email with some tips is a big help,” said Barnett.

Pontifex says it is pleasing to see how well she has been playing.

“Her attitude and her commitment is definitely a strength - that makes up for any weaknesses, if you have the right attitude you can develop and learn. She is very agile and fast around the goal and that’s a real asset for the team,” said Pontifex.

Pontifex is not currently in the National Squad, his last game was at the 2012 London Olympics and since then he has been working full time and has a young family.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Match 1 - Ireland 1-0 Italy
Ireland played Italy tonight in the first of their 3 test series at Mossley Hockey Club a game in which Loreto's Hayley Mulcahy gained her first cap.

The game was scrappy in the first half with little goal mouth action except for 2pcs to Italy which Davis in the Irish goal dealt with. 

Ireland dominated the 2nd half scoring from their first PC with Shirley McCay's initial shot saved and Dillon rebound was touched over the line by Daly in the 45m to end the 3rd quarter with the slender lead. 

In the final quarter Ireland had to withstand some robust Italian challenges and were awarded a further PC in the 53m which was mis-trapped but the resulting dangerous Italian counter came to nothing.

Irish coach Smith said after the game "Great to be back with the team after the World League 2 success. I thought that we were a bit slow out of the blocks in the first half but started to put together some good passages over the 3rd and 4th quarter. Plenty of improvement will be needed to progress on Saturday because Italy are a quality team and that will take the game to us"

Match 2 Ireland v Italy Saturday 18 April 14.00 Ulster University, Jordanstown
Match 3 Ireland v Italy Sunday 19 April 14.00 Ulster University, Jordanstown

IRELAND 1 (Nicola Daly)

Stella Davis (GK), Michelle Harvey, Cliodhna Sargent, Emma Smyth, Chloe Brown, Shirley McCay, Megan Frazer, Naomi Carroll, Hayley Mulcahy, Ayeisha McFerran (C), Lizzie Colvin, Nicola Daly, Hannah Matthews, Deirdre Duke, Kate Dillon, Ali Meeke, Yvonne O Byrne, Emily Beatty
Natalia Leonoir, Celina Traverso, Marta De Guiro, Constanza Aguirre, Valentina Braconi, Macarena Ronsisvalli, Eugenia Garaffo, Dalila Mirabella, Martina Chirico (GK), Giulia Galligani, Elisabetta Pacella, Maria Mercedes Socino, Martina Lecchini, Chiara Tiddi, Aldana Lovagnini, Agata Wybieralska, Giuliana Ruggieri, Marcela Casale.
Umpires: Kim Collins & Christine Reid

Irish Hockey Association media release

Junior Scots fight back to hold England to a draw

Scotland U21 Men came back from two goals down to draw with England in the first of two international matches at Lilleshall last night.

The Scots fielded a young side, including first appearances at U21 level for Phillip Bryans, Elliot Sandison, Fabian Goldie, and Jock Breckenridge.

The players held their own through the first two quarters and matched everything that came their way from the hosts, taking them into half time at 0 – 0.

England came our strong in the third quarter scoring two goals in the 40th and 46th minute to give them the lead, both goals coming from open play.

The Scottish corner defence was solid, applying what they had practiced in the morning and with James Carrie pulling off some excellent saves. This forced England to try some options which again the Scots kept out with Jock Breckenridge standing in the way of the slip.

Early in the third quarter the ex-Kelburne forward pairing of Ed Greaves and Jack McKenzie linked up, running right through the English defence. On the run, Greaves played a perfect through ball to McKenzie who rounded the final defender bouncing the ball and smashed it past the keeper bringing the Scots back into the match at 2-1.

Jack McKenzie

With one minute to go Fergus Sandison picked the ball up in a crowdedcircle and with some close skill managed to win a corner on the 69th minute.

Scotland worked an option off the top slipping the ball left to U21 GB Internationalist Hamish Imrie who flicked the ball into the side netting to secure the draw for the team.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Searching for heroes

Who will make their mark at the HWL Semi Finals? We look at four players who might just hold the key to success

We take a look at some of the players likely to be the ‘key players’ at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals.

The heat will certainly be on for the teams competing in Buenos Aires. Argentina will go into the competition with the weight of expectation on their shoulders as the passionate home crowds will be hoping Los Leones can emulate the success of the women. 2015 FIH Rising Star of the Year, Gonzalo Peillat will find himself very much centre stage. This was the player of whom team mate Lucas Vila said during the 2014 Hockey World Cup, “We try to get a penalty corner, because we know Gonzalo will convert it.” That level of expectation is enough to make the shoulders of most men sag, but Peillat proves time and again that he is more than capable of handling the pressure as his goal tally in the blue and white strip continues to mount.

China will arrive in Valencia knowing that they have to perform well. They lost out on Olympic qualification through the Asian Games when they were defeated by Korea in the final, so this is their second bite at the cherry. In the team for Valencia is a player who has rediscovered her scoring touch, most recently in the Hawkes Bay tournament in New Zealand - Mengyu Wang. The 23-year-old has a fearsome penalty corner strike and can pounce on rebounds and loose balls with a predatory sharpness.

Another team that consistently threatens to win, but has yet to finish on a podium in a major competition, is New Zealand women. Ranked fourth in the world, regularly appearing in the quarter and semi-final stages of competitions, the feisty, speedy and skilful Black Sticks team has yet to deliver the results that Mark Hager and his players so desperately want. At the 2014 World Cup, they finished fifth and six months later at the Champions Trophy they finished fourth. The epitome of the Black sticks team is their captain and penalty corner striker Anita Punt. With more than 70 international goals to her name and approaching her 200th cap, the mid-fielder is able to turn games around with her speed, vision and thunderous drag flick.

The final player in this selection of key players is the Great Britain captain, Barry Middleton. With 229 caps for England and a further 110 caps for Great Britain, the midfielder is a huge influence on his team, whose tricky runs up the pitch and willingness to play his part defensively, make him an integral part of the England and GB set-up. In Antwerp, Middleton and his team will need to turn good form in warm-up games into meaningful results on the pitch. The team has dropped one place in the world rankings, but will be confident that they go to Belgium as one of the stronger teams in the group. The GB squad is another team that has been through a period of transition, but is now showing a strength and depth that will make them real contenders in the HWL Semi-Finals.

FIH site

Malaysia's WL Semis fixtures drawn in heaven..

By Jugjet Singh

THE World League Semi-finals fixtures are so kind to Malaysia, that it would be quite difficult not to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

For, only a total mess up the first two easier matches in Antwerp, Belgium, from June 20 to July 5 will see Malaysia sit out of the Olympics which they last played in Sydney 2000.

The heavens must have been smiling on coach Tai Beng Hai and his men as they play China first on June 21, and after a three-day break they play Ireland on June 25 and wins in both these matches might just see them play against Pakistan or India in the cross-over quarter-finals.

Yes they have a three day break after playing China, ranked 31 in the world. Malaysia, for the record, are 12th in the World, while Ireland are 14th.

Beng Hai's men will play the two toughest matches in their Group at the tail end.. as hosts Belgium are on June 26, and Great Britain on June 28.

And for early preparations, the team will will head for Belgium on May 28 to play a series of friendly matches.

Team manager Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad said matches have been lined up with Belgium and Germany, as well as club sides in their last Tour before the WL Semifinals.

Malaysia finished last in the Azlan Shah Cup, but there were glimmers of hope as they did not get thrashed by teams ranked much higher than them.

They beat India (ninth) and Canada (15th) 3-2 and 4-1 respectively, and lost narrowly against Australia (number one) 3-2, champions New Zealand (seventh) 4-2 and drew 4-4 with Canada before losing out 3-1 in the fifth-sixth penalty shoot-out.

"Considering the close margins at the Azlan Shah Cup, our preparations for the WL Semi-finals need to focus on our defense and midfield, and so the friendly matches against Belgium and Germany will be very crucial for our aim to qualify for the Olympics," said Nur Azmi.

For the record, the last time Malaysia played Belgium was at the World Cup and and score was an unflattering 6-2.

Malaysia are in Group B of the World League Semi-finals in Antwerp from June 20-July 5. The other rivals are hosts Belgium, Great Britain, Ireland and China.

In Group A are Australia, India, Pakistan, Poland and France.

With today marking 64 days more to the WL Semi-finals, the national team will be back in training after finishing last in Ipoh.

"We also plan to be in Belgium at least two weeks ahead of the Olympic Qualifier, and there could be more matches then. But this tour but me taken seriously as it could be our final chance to play with world class teams in a friendly, before we feel the might of their brunt in the qualifier. The defenders need to learn how to minimise their mistakes, as world class teams don't give you too many chances to score, and they are also clinical when attacking," said Nur Azmi.

On his personal feeling: "I believe we have the players who can take us into the Olympics after missing it for 16 years, so they should not be disheartened with the Azlan Shah Cup scores, and learn from their mistakes instead."

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Racing lead way in French Top Six

The playoff places in the French league will be finalised this weekend with CA Montrouge and Le Touquet battling to complete the final four with Racing Club de France, Lille and St Germain already confirmed.

Racing lead the way thanks to their double victory last weekend, beating Lille 2-1 on Saturday. Simon Martin-Brisac opened the scoring with a deflection to Francois Scheefer’s ball into the circle early in the second half.

Chris Peters-Deutz made it two from a corner and while Lille got one back, Racing held on in the face of a last minute corner with Corentin Saunier making a key save.

RCF followed up with a 4-1 win over Le Touquet on Sunday with Olivier Sanchez, Simon Martin-Brisac and Jules Francotte playing their part in building a 3-0 lead. Peters-Deutz added another early in the second half en route to ensuring a semi-final place on home turf.

They sit five points clear of next opponents St Germain to conclude the Top Six phase of the season on Sunday. Lille will meet bottom placed Wattignies. The winner of Montrouge and Le Touquet will complete the playoff places.

Euro Hockey League media release

It's the final countdown

Surbiton lift the title in 2014

This weekend we reach the thrilling finale of the Investec Women’s Hockey League season as promotion to next season’s Premier Division is up for grabs, as well as the title itself. The Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre plays host to the playoff weekend for the first time as two action packed days decide who will be celebrating and who will be going back to the drawing board for another shot next season.

The first round of the promotion playoffs took place at Cannock Hockey Club at the end of March where supporters of all four clubs were treated to some spectacular action.

In the first match, a superb hat-trick from Slough’s Dilly Newton gave her side the perfect start as they swept aside Wakefield 3-0.
The other game went right down to the wire with Buckingham, fighting for their Premier Division survival racing into a three-goal lead against East Grinstead. The lead then went to 4-1 before a late flurry from the Sussex side, ultimately wasn’t enough as Buckingham took a 4-3 win.  

The first round of games this Saturday starts at 10am when East Grinstead take on Slough. The team from Saint Hill know that if they are to keep their promotion hopes alive, a win is all that will do, whilst Slough, winners in week one of the playoffs could put themselves in the Premier Division with a win and other results going their way. It is all to play for with both sides needing the three points for different reasons.

The other clash, set to start at 12 noon, Buckingham, winners in week one take on Wakefield. With the situation mirroring the first playoff game, it could be win or bust for Wakefield, whilst Buckingham can ensure a peaceful night’s sleep on Saturday evening with a win all but securing their Premier Division status for another season.

The Sunday will then pit Slough against Buckingham and East Grinstead against Wakefield in the final round of games.

Attention then switches to the battle for the title as our first Championship Playoff semi-final takes place between Surbiton and Reading.

Surbiton have enjoyed a terrific season, remaining undefeated during the league campaign and topping the table in the process. Reading have rather snuck into the playoffs through the back door, with a last day win over Leicester propelling them into the final place. With as many as nine Great Britain players likely to be on show, this should be a compelling battle for a place in the final.

The last game of the day is between Canterbury and Clifton. Both sides have had stellar season with the Polo Farm outfit pushing Surbiton right up until the final weeks of the season, whilst Clifton have played some terrific hockey on their way to third place in the league. With these two sides battling it out in last year’s semi-final, a game in which Canterbury ran out winners, there is a little bit of extra spice with Clifton looking for revenge. It should be a superb game.

Tickets to the dramatic conclusion of the Investec Women’s Hockey League are now on sale. This showpiece event has relocated to Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the fantastic new venue of our international fixtures.

The Investec Finals weekend will see England’s top women’s clubs compete for glory in the showpiece finale to the domestic leagues. Also on display will be the promotion tournaments where 9th place in the Premier Division battles it out against the winners of the three regional Conferences for two spots in the Premier Division for 2015/16. For full details, click here.

Advance tickets cost from £17.50 for adults and just £5 for U18s. Weekend tickets are also available from £22.50 for adults and £8 for U18s.

England Hockey Board Media release

WA & QLD crowned U18 champs

WA & QLD named 2015 Australian Champions

Western Australia [men] and Queensland [women] finished atop of Tasmania [men] and Victoria Blue [women] in the 2015 Australian Championships finals held in Adelaide and Melbourne on Thursday.

A double from Liam Flynn and one from Coby Green, helped Western Australia to a close 3-2 win over Tasmania. Jack Welch’s goal in the 24th minute and Tasmania’s captain Benjamin Austin’s goal in the third quarter, couldn't get Tasmania over the line on the final siren.

In the bronze medal match, hosts Victoria Blue beat Western Australia, 6-3, thanks to goals from Ben Rennie, Daniel McBride, Patrick Coates, Ryan Parry [2] and Samuel Poppenbeek.

In the women’s competition, goals from Ainslee Deeth, Layla Eleison, Katie Wollstein and Tiana Barrett helped Queensland to a 4-0 victory over Victoria Blue.

In the women’s bronze medal match, Western Australia finished off their match against New South Wales State, 2-0. Goals from Taylor Collard in the 25th minute and Shanea Tonkin at the 33rd minute mark, gave Western Australia the lead after the halftime break over New South Wales State.

To view Hockey Australia's online results portal, click here.

Final standings - U18 Men's Australian Championships
1. WA (Champions)
2. TAS (Silver)
3. VIC Blue (Bronze)
4. QLD
5. NSW State
6. ACT
7. NSW Blue
8. SA
9. VIC White
10. NT

Final standings - U18 Women's Australian Championships
1. QLD (Champions)
2. VIC Blue (Silver)
3. WA (Bronze)
4. NSW State
5. ACT
6. TAS
7. NT
8. NSW Blue
9. SA
10. VIC White

Hockey Australia media release

Players meeting with PM can help regain lost glory: Shahnaz

Mohsin Ali

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan hockey team head coach and manager Shahnaz Sheikh has urged Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif to meet with hockey players and officials which can prove helpful in regaining lost hockey glory.

Talking to The Nation, Shahnaz said: “The meeting of hockey players and officials with the prime minister is very essential as the meeting and incentives by PM will not only boost players’ morale but also encourage them to help the country regain lost hockey glory.”

He said he was completely in dark and hoped the federation would be in touch on this issue.
“But I request the prime minister to spare some time before Olympic qualifiers and meet with the team and officials to boost their morale for the Olympic qualifiers.”

The former Olympian demanded the Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) ministry and the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) to order lying down of fresh astro-turf on Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium (NBHS) on immediate basis.

“We love to conduct camp at Islamabad as we get over the moon facilities there along with meal and accommodation.

Assistant director hostels Malik Imtiaz Hussain takes extraordinary care of players and officials, but the poor state of astro-turf forced us to shift the camp to Lahore, as injury ratio was alarming.

We can't afford such amount of injuries keeping in mind some high profile events, including four-nation hockey championship in Hobart, Australia, five-match test series against Korea and the Olympic qualifiers.

We time and again requested PSB DG Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera to start serious efforts on astro-turf or else forget about thinking even ordinary results.”

To a query regarding facilities being provided to the players in the Sports Board Punjab (SBP), Shahnaz said: “The facilities here are normal, but there is absolutely no comparison between what we get in Islamabad and here in the SBP.

We are shifting the players to Heritage Hotel on Thursday night, as there are number of issues being faced by them here.

We have to provide best accommodation and food to players as they are getting nothing else from the federation due to tight financial situation of the PHF.

The players are just playing for sheer love of the country so we want to ensure at least better place where they may live with peace of mind.”

Shahnaz requested the IPC minister and the PSB to order immediate release of Rs 2 million pending with PSB Rs 1 million of Asian Games and Rs 1 million of Champions Trophy.

Although it is a very meager amount yet at least it can provide some relief to the players.

Now after a lapse of almost eight months since Asian Games and four months since Champions Trophy, I think already too much time has been wasted.

I hope action will be taken and the amount will be released not later than May.

As players should be given some cash incentives before the Olympic qualifiers as it will put a new lease of life in them and play a decisive role in helping them earn a place for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

When asked about long absent duo of Rashid Mehmood and Rizwan Senior, Shahnaz replied: “They are still playing league in Europe and will join the team in the Olympic qualifiers.

They will miss 4-nation hockey championship in Australia and 5-match series against Korea.

Though we will miss their services during these two events, but we have enough depth and all the other players are capable enough to deliver for the country.”

About the actual status of the special grant, Shahnaz said: “I heard the grant will be released shortly.

We are more focused on playing quality hockey and produce results. It is up to the federation to arrange funds and look after the players.”

The Nation

NBP thump Railways 4-0 to launch junior hockey title defence in style

Anwar Zuberi

KARACHI: Fancied National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) opened their title defence campaign on a winning note while handing a crushing 4-0 defeat to Railways in the pool ‘A’ match of the 34th National Junior (under-20) Hockey Championship which commenced at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium on Thursday.

Earlier, Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) outplayed Punjab B 9-1 while Army and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa shared points after a 3-3 stalemate.

Two goals in a span of seven minutes enabled the bankers to conjure up an emphatic victory over Railways who put up considerable resistance in the first two quarters. The bankers broke their thirst when Shan Irshad drew blood in the dying moments of first quarter. The second quarter failed to produce any goal and the teams changed ends with bankers enjoying 1-0 lead at half time.

Atiq consolidated his team’s position by slamming second goal in the 31st minute. Mubashir Ali made it 3-0 by converting a penalty corner while Amir Ali sealed the fate in 52nd minute.

Three-goal Ilyas Ahmed (14th, 20th, 40th) and a brace by Adeel Latif (7th, 49th) enabled SSGC overwhelm Punjab “B” in the pool “B” encounter. Saran Bin Qamar, M. Rizwan, Shahnaz and Zeeshan shared one goal apiece for the winnin outfit. Punjab could manage to found the net once through Usman Farooq in the 15th minute.

Army fought back from 2-3 down to hold Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to a 3-all draw in the pool “D” match played in the morning.

The soldiers had a brisk start when Shan Ali opened their account in the seventh minute. However, the lead was short-lived as opponents drew level through Saeedullah in the 18th minute. The soldiers again surged 2-1 through Irfanullah in the 44th minute only to concede two goals. Captain Zahidullah brought the teams on even terms by scoring off penalty corner in 51st minute while Amjad Rehman added the third two minutes later. Shan did the needful for soldiers when he converted team’s second PC in the 55th minute that brought the teams on even terms.

Meanwhile, the organisers have revised the draws after Gilgit Baltistan team arrived here on Wednesday night raising the number of teams from 12 to 13.

Friday’s fixtures:

PIA v Punjab “B” at 8am; Wapda v Pak Board at 10am; Balochistan v Railways at 3pm; Sindh v Gilgit Baltistan at 5pm.


PHF expels seven over-age players

KARACHI: A scrutiny committee of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on Thursday disqualified seven players from taking part in the ongoing 34th National Junior Under-20 Hockey Championship for being over-age. A spokesman for the PHF said facial scrutiny of the participant teams was done by the PHF committee at Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium before their opening matches and seven were found over age. After scrutiny, two players each from Pakistan Army and Pakistan WAPDA and one each of defending champions National Bank of Pakistan, Punjab ‘B and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were disallowed to take part in the championship.

The Daily Times

Telkom Orange target successful title defence

Telkom Orange players display the African Hockey Club Championship title at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport upon their arrival from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe on December 1, 2014. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |

African hockey club and domestic league champions Telkom Orange are aiming for another successful year on both the local and continental front.

With a Sh15.5 million sponsorship on board, Orange get their league title defence campaign against Vikings on Sunday as they chase a record breaking 18th title this season.

The champions saw-off arch-rivals Strathmore Scorpions 3-2 on penalties to retain the gong last season and club coach Jos Openda is expecting another close contest this year especially with the reintroduction of the home and away format.

Orange have been uncharacteristically silent on the transfer market unlike some of their rivals but Openda has said he will rely on the team’s second tier team, the Telkom Youngsters, to feed the main club.

“We have a strong squad already and on top of it we are also nurturing new ones whom we believe can make it into the first team and help us as we focus on retaining both our titles,” Openda said.

Orange have lost forward Margaret Rotich to Strathmore but the tactician believes the team will not be short of goals this season.

“Our success last season was not by fluke and we want to dominate the league and also in Africa. Our greatest weapon is discipline and hard work, we will have to work twice as hard if we want to win because other teams are training hard to topple us,” the tactician said.


The 2014 SOYA Coach of the Year believes his team will face a greater challenge at the African Club Championship where the African queens will be aiming for an unprecedented eighth crown in Egypt later this year.

Orange beat Bulawayo Athletics Club 4-0 in the final played in Zimbabwe last year to stretch their titles to seven, a feat that saw them win the Team of the Year Award at the SOYA awards and Openda named the best coach.

“We have not started preparations for the continental event but we have information that other teams are already up and running. This means that it will be an uphill task for us if we want to win the title again," he told Nation Sport.

Daily Nation

Coach: Telkom face uphill task in title defence


Telkom Orange headcoach Jos Openda reacts during a past match at City Park Stadium. Telkom start their domestic title defence on Sunday against Vikings. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Continental and domestic hockey champions Telkom Orange are aiming for another successful year when they start their campaign to retain the Kenya Hockey Union women’s league title this weekend.

Enjoying a Sh15.5 million sponsorship, Orange start their league title campaign against Vikings on Sunday as they chase a record-breaking 18th title this season.

The champions saw off arch-rivals Strathmore Scorpions 3-2 on penalties to retain the gong last season and club coach Jos Openda is expecting another close contest this year, especially with the reintroduction of the home and away format of playing.


Orange have been uncharacteristically silent on the transfer market unlike some of their rivals but Openda has said he will rely on the team’s second tier team, the Telkom Youngsters, to feed the main club.

“We have a strong squad already and we are also nurturing new players who can make it to the first team and help us as we focus on retaining both our titles,” Openda said yesterday. Orange have lost forward Margaret Rotich to Strathmore but the tactician believes the team will not be short of goals this season.

“Our success last season was not a fluke and we want to dominate the league and also in Africa. Our greatest weapon is discipline and hard work, we will have to work twice as hard if we want to win because other teams are training hard to topple us,” the tactician said.

The coach of the year at last year’s Sports Personality of the Year Awards believes his team faces a greater challenge at the continental front where the African queens will be eyeing an unprecedented eighth crown in Egypt later this year.

Orange beat Bulawayo Athletics Club 4-0 in the final played in Zimbabwe last year to stretch their titles to seven, a feat that saw them win the Team of the Year Award at the Cas Openda emerged the best coach.

“We have not started preparations for the continental event but we have information that other teams are already up and running. This means that it will be an uphill task for us if we want to win the title again, “he told Daily Nation Sport.

Daily Nation

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