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News for 27 April 2015

All the news for Monday 27 April 2015

Danson double downs Japan in Great Britain win

Alex Danson in action against Japan

Great Britain triumphed on home turf in the Investec Private Banking International overcoming Japan 2-1 in a closely fought encounter at The Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. The visitors took the lead in the 25th minute from the spot as Yukari Yamamoto converted a penalty stroke. However, a second half brace from Alex Danson, with the winner coming just two minutes from time, was enough for Great Britain to secure a victory.

Danny Kerry’s side dominated the opening quarter with Reading team mates Danson and Susie Gilbert looking threatening in attack. Gilbert forced the first penalty corner of the match after linking up smartly with Danson, but the resultant strike from Zoe Shipperley was saved by Sakiyo Asano between the posts.

Against the run of play, Japan took the lead in the 25th minute when they were awarded a penalty stroke following a foot on the line. Yamamoto held her nerve, sending Maddie Hinch the wrong way and converting low to the keeper’s left to give her side a 1-0 lead heading into half time.
Great Britain continued to pile the pressure on the Japanese defence in the third quarter and were rewarded for their persistence in the 42nd minute. A through ball from Helen Richardson-Walsh, who ahead of today’s game was awarded her 250th combined England and Great Britain cap, found Alex Danson in the circle and the number 15 kept her composure to round Asano and sweep home.

The Great Britain forwards continued to threaten in the final quarter with Joie Leigh and Sarah Robertson causing problems in the Japanese circle.  Two minutes from time the hosts found the winner with a well-worked penalty corner routine as Captain Kate Richardson-Walsh’s pass set up a diving Danson to deflect in hers and Great Britain’s second of the match.
After the game, Joie Leigh reflected on Great Britain’s performance and her goal scoring team mate saying:
“Japan are coming off a competitive block of games so they are sharp. We wanted to start a bit quicker than we did so it took us while to get into it, but by the second half we were dominating possession and creating chances. Alex is so reliable and clinical and it’s great to have her in the side - she’s fantastic on and off the pitch.”

Two goal hero Alex Danson spoke to England Hockey after the game. Watch the post match interview below:

Alex Danson 43, 58 (FG, PC)

JAPAN 1 (1)
Yukari Yamamoto 25 (PS)

England Hockey Board Media release

Police, Telkom take top honours


Telkom Orange's Irene Ofula (left) shields the ball from Jane Nzula of Simbarretes during their Vaisakhi Hockey Tournament match at City Park Stadium on April 22, 2015. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO

Kenya Police and Telkom Orange are the 2015 winners Vaisakhi Hockey Tournament men’s and women’s champions after winning their respective finals yesterday at City Park Stadium.

Police were 3-0 winners over Nairobi Simba while Telkom Orange retained the women’s crown after crushing Strathmore Scorpions 4-0. Police’s win saw them reclaim the title they last won in 2013.

Oliver Echenje converted a penalty corner in the 21st minute to give the law enforcers the lead before further goals from Samuel Kibirir and Edmond Makona gave the team a 3-0 half-time lead.

Simba, who beat visitors Ghana Revenue Authority en route to the final, were unable to find a way past the Police defence as their strikers wasted the few opportunities they got.


Police coach Kenneth Kaunda praised his charges for playing according to instruction and converting their chances against a good side. He said the win will give them momentum as the season progresses with both league and continental assignments beckoning.

“We were determined to win the match and we made good use of our chances and that proved the difference in the match. We will build on this win for the remainder of the season,” Kaunda said.

Orange raced to a 3-0 first-half lead with two goals from Jacqueline Jow Wangeci and another goal from Hellen Chemtai saw Strathmore struggle in the first-half. The champions continued to dominate after the breather and added another goal through Audrey Omaido as Orange put their rivals to the sword in a dominant display.

Scorpions’ attack was limited, with Gilly Okumu and former Orange player Margarate Rotich kept out by Orange defence led by skipper Betsy Omalla and Terry Juma. Okumu had Scorpions’ best chance with the game still goalless but failed to connect with Yvonne Wanjiku.

Jow finished as the top scorer of the event with six goals. The striker scored four goals in her team’s opening league match against Vikings last week. Orange coach Jos Openda was full of praise for his team but noted that his team was yet to hit top form this season.

Visitors Ghana Revenue Authority finished third after beating Kenyan side Chase Sailors 1-0 in the playoff match. Winners got Sh35,000 each and runners-up Sh15,000.

Daily Nation

It is celebration time as Kenya Police and Telkom Orange lift Viasakhi Hockey tournament titles

By Elizabeth Mburugu

Orange Telkom ladies celebrate after winning the Vaisakhi 2015 Tournament at CityPark. ON 26/04/15 PHOTO; JENIPHER WACHIE

Kenya Police reclaimed the Vaisakhi Hockey title after beating Nairobi Simba 3-0 in the final played yesterday at the City Park Stadium.

Telkom Orange retained the women’s crown after thrashing Strathmore Scorpions 4-0.

Police attacked from the onset but had to wait until the 21st minute when Oliver Echenje converted a penalty corner. Two minutes later, the law enforcers doubled their lead through Samson Kibirir field goal.

The game was effectively over as a contest when Police scored their third goal through Edmond Makona’s shot that beat Simba keeper Ajay Dosaja. Simba tried to get back into the game but were let down by poor finishing as Police stood firm.

It was the law enforcers’ second Vaisakhi title in three seasons after winning the event in 2013. Last year, the club did not defend their crown as Tanzanian outfit Moshi CSSL won the event.


Police coach Kenneth Kaunda told FeverPitch that the club deserved the win after being consistent throughout the event. The tactician said the win will inspire the players as they look to reclaim the league title and also do well in the Africa Club Championships in December.

“We played according to instructions and were rewarded for our hard work and determination. Simba is a good club and to beat them means we are in fine form,” Kaunda said.

In the women’s category, Orange cruised to a first half 3-0 lead with two goals from Kenyan International Jacqueline Jow Wangeci and another goal from veteran Hellen Chemtai with Strathmore totally outplayed in the first half. The champions continued to dominate after half time and added another goal through Audrey Omaido as Orange extended their dominance. 


Scorpions’ attack was limited with Gilly Okumu and former Orange player Margaret Rotich closely monitored by the Orange defence marshaled by skipper Betsy Omalla and Terry Juma. Okumu had Scorpions’ best chance with the game still goalless but just failed to connect with Yvonne Wanjiku.

Jow finished as top scorer of the event with six goals to cap off an impressive competition and a good start this season. The striker scored four goals in her team’s opening league match against Vikings last Sunday.

Orange coach Jos Openda praised his charges saying they deserved the win after a dominant display. He, however, noted that his team was yet to hit top form this season.

“Every game we play is a build up to the Africa Club Championships and we are glad the team is getting positive results as the season progresses,” Openda said.

Visitors Ghana Revenue Authority finished third after beating Kenyan side Chase Sailors 1-0 in the playoff match.

The Standard Online

Investec Women's Knockout: Masters Finals

The Road to Lee Valley reached its conclusion as five Masters titles were up for grabs. Read the reports of an action-packed day, below.

Investec Women’s Masters Over 35s Shield: Redbridge and Ilford 1-3 Telford and Wrekin.

Telford and Wrekin won the Over 35s Shield in a see-saw battle with Redbridge and Ilford. Two goals in quick succession from Lorna Burns turned the match on its head and handed them the win.

In what was an entertaining match both goalkeepers excelled themselves with Amanda Bailey seeing off a series of Redbridge shots whilst Lisa Lory looked accomplished against the threat of Telford’s front line. The first goal came early on as a well worked penalty corner was fired in by Bron Woods to give Redbridge a great start. They were pegged back before the break by a goal from Chez Lane.

The second half was an even affair with both sides pressing hard for the all-important second. With time running out and thoughts turning to a penalty shootout, Burns struck two goals in as many minutes to give her team the match and the title.

Women’s Masters O45s Cup: Sevenoaks 1-1 Cambridge City (5-4 APS)

Sevenoaks held their nerve to win a tense penalty shootout against Cambridge City after the two sides had played out a 1-1 draw in normal time.

Both sides showed some lovely passing moves in what was an open first half as Pippa Hall in the Cambridge goal was called upon to deny Lisa Boldrini and Sue Acott in quick succession. At the other end Lynn Dawson excelled herself with a fine stop to keep out Cambridge’s attack.

The second half was end to end with both sets of supporters making themselves heard as they tried to inspire their teams to the next goal. With time running out Carolyn Kelly found space in the circle and slotted into the corner to make it 1-1 and send it to a penalty shootout.

The teams could not be separated in the penalty shootout with four efforts each being converted so it went to sudden death. Alison Burd’s effort hit the woodwork leaving Kim Wolff to win it for Sevenoaks, which she duly did.

Investec Women's Masters O35s Trophy: Jersey 1 - 2 Bury St Edmunds

A goal either side of half time was enough to seal victory for Bury St Edmunds in the Investec Women’s Masters O35s Trophy.  Jersey Hockey Club set up a tense final few minutes when they pulled a goal back, but the Suffolk side were able to hold on and secure a 2-1 win.

The first half was a close encounter with neither side creating many clear cut goal scoring opportunities, however, Bury St Edmunds were able to break the deadlock through a well worked penalty corner routine. The ball was slipped to Vic Sandall at the top of the circle who struck the ball low past Laura Besnard in the Jersey goal. Before the break Jersey had a series of penalty corners but the Bury St Edmunds defence stood firm heading into half time.

Bury St Edmunds doubled their lead in the 56th minute from another penalty corner, this time, a powerful strike from Sharon Holton. The Suffolk side continued to threaten with Lynn Whittingstall showing a great turn of pace in attack but she was unable to convert any of her side’s chances.  With three minutes remaining, Jersey halved the deficit with a fantastic individual goal from captain Becky Henwood-Darts, but it was too little too late for the team from the Channel Islands as Bury St Edmunds ran out 2-1 winners.

A delighted captain, Katie Bedford, told England Hockey. “It’s been a really great day and we loved the atmosphere - Jersey were a fantastic opposition and it went right down to the wire. We’ve got a super squad of 16 who have played together for the whole tournament and I’m really thrilled for the girls.”

Investec Women's Masters O45s Plate: Canterbury 6-5 Driffield.

The last game of the weekend served up a feast of goals as Canterbury and Driffield shared 11 between them with the Kent side striking twice late on to come from behind to take the title.

The blue touchpaper was lit early on as Henri Bristowe opened the scoring for Driffield, only for Sue Spight to level it up. Then, Wendy Cameron fired the Polo Farm outfit into the lead with a first half double taking the score to 3-1 before a well worked corner from Driffield gave Zoe Harrison a chance which she duly took.

After the break Driffield came out strong and levelled the scores through Helen Holdsworth before taking a 4-3 lead just four minutes later courtesy of Fiona Tuplin.

Spight grabbed her second of the game to peg the scores back to 4-4 as the teams traded goals almost at will. Helen Hough's goal 12 minutes from time looked like it might be the clincher as Driffield edged into a 5-4 lead but with just two minutes left on the clock, Kate Jain levelled it up once more before Wendy Cameron incredibly completed her hat-trick and gave her side the win.

The defensive coaches will be scratching their heads, but both sides deserve great credit for their "we'll score more than you" attitude. A great game for the fans! 

England Hockey Board Media release

Looking at the bigger picture

By Uthra Ganesan

It was India’s sixth third-place finish in the competition that started in 1983. Having won five titles and a runner-up spot during the period, India is the second most successful team in the Azlan Shah Cup, behind Australia. However, more than the result, it was India’s on-field performance and the improvements it showed through the tournament that proved heartening.

Soon after he took charge of the Indian men’s hockey team in March, Paul van Ass said that his target was not to go for a medal every time India played, but to look at the bigger picture and concentrate on the growth of the team. Following India’s bronze medal-winning performance at the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia recently, the Dutch coach is not only pleasantly surprised but also convinced that the Indian team is on the right track.

It was India’s sixth third-place finish in the competition that started in 1983. Having won five titles and a runner-up spot during the period, India is the second most successful team in the Azlan Shah Cup, behind Australia. However, more than the result, it was India’s on-field performance and the improvements it showed through the tournament that proved heartening.

“I know results are important, but they are only part of the process. My main target would be to continue the growth curve. I would be looking to make the chain stronger — the defence and the counter-attacks — but the most important concern would be to ensure the players remain cool under pressure,” van Ass had said soon after taking the reins of the team.

India started its campaign in the Azlan Shah Cup with a draw against Korea, but then the team faltered against New Zealand and Malaysia, losing control of the proceedings in the final five minutes. The defeats led to a lot of criticism back home — the players were blamed for everything, from losing focus to running out of steam towards the end.

India responded with a hard-fought victory against Canada, and then stunned World champion Australia 4-2, riding on a hat-trick from Nikkin Thimmaiah, before holding its nerves in the shootout against Korea to win the bronze medal. Even though there are areas that still need to improve, van Ass’s emphasis on staying calm under pressure seems to be working with the Indian team.

“There were ups and downs, and we accepted our mistakes. The coach did not put any pressure on us and handled our defeats with a cool head. He made sure we improved with every match,” Thimmaiah said on returning home from Malaysia.

To be fair, the event was more a chance for the new coach to know and assess his wards in competition play than a test of his abilities. Since van Ass has not spent much time with the team, he, understandably, did not make many changes to the structure that is already in place. The next big tournament, the World League semifinals in June, would be the main test for van Ass.

Through the Azlan Shah Cup, the Indian team proved its ability to bounce back from defeats. Van Ass, while accepting the significance of the outcome, also insisted that irrespective of the results, the team’s performance in the first two games was satisfactory.

Being the only side so far to have qualified for the Rio Olympics, India has the advantage of trying and testing its combinations in big and small tournaments. However, certain issues remain that need to be addressed urgently.

P. R. Sreejesh, no doubt, is a world-class goalkeeper, but he needs to be handled properly.

The players being groomed as his backup, Harjot Singh and Sushant Tirkey, hardly get playing time during competitions. Playing non-stop for more than a year now, Sreejesh needs to be rested and used carefully to avoid a burnout or, worse, an injury ahead of the Olympics.

India’s defence remains weak, and van Ass has marked it out as one of his key areas of concern. He agreed India needs to ensure that it does not slack until the final whistle, but was quick to add that no one person can be held responsible. “It is a total effort from the entire unit; we need to get our positions better,” he said.

There is also the need to work on the team’s finishing. The forward line is the youngest in the team, and despite being in the right positions, the players fail to convert opportunities into goals. And despite having two supremely talented penalty corner experts on the field at any given time, India’s conversion rate is abysmally low.

In terms of participation of top-ranked teams, the Azlan Shah Cup ranks quite high. Traditionally being the first international tournament in a calendar year, the event has the advantage of seeing most of the Asian and Oceania teams participating. However, the tournament is often considered a testing ground for bigger challenges ahead. But that is not to say that the participating nations send their second-string teams or the importance of India’s bronze medal-winning performance must be ignored. With at least one major ranking tournament scheduled every year, the Azlan Shah Cup is an ideal ground to check the match-fitness of the experienced seniors and the talent and temperament of the juniors. Most sides in the tournament, including India, had a fair mix of both.

Youngsters such as Jasjit Singh Kular, Mandeep Singh and Chinglensana impressed van Ass with their maturity, while the seniors improved as the tournament progressed.

“I watch this team and find them very skilful; they proved it against Australia. This is a very capable team. They can give a tough time to any opponent on a given day,” van Ass said.


Adaptive Hockey

Sarah Juggins, for PAHF

The growth in provision of sporting opportunities for those with disabilities in recent years has been phenomenal. From the first official Paralympic Games in 1960, where 400 athletes from 40 countries took part, to the 2008 Beijing Olympics where 4,200 participants from 148 countries were in action. Four years later, at London 2012, this had increased again with athletes representing 164 countries taking part in 503 medal matches. 

While the Paralympics has grown exponentially in the past 50 years, and other sporting opportunities for disabled athletes – such as the forthcoming Para Pan Am Games in Toronto and the 2014 Invictus Games in London – have attracted wide participation and interest, hockey has not proven to be a sport that has been simple to adapt so that people with disabilities can play. While ice-hockey has an established and popular adapted version with sled hockey, the majority of field hockey-playing nations has yet to grasp the mettle and make hockey for people with disabilities truly accessible.

The positive benefits that can emerge from offering people with disabilities a competitive event are numerous. Donna B Bernhardt, writing in Recreation for the Disabled Child, says: “The constant development of more competitive events for an enlarging pool of disabled athletes is a very positive symbol for the world of disabled athletics. The disabled are discovering the same physical, emotional and mental benefits from sport as able-bodied competitors. They not only serve as a positive factor for competitors but perhaps more importantly, increase public awareness. Outstanding athletic performance is understood by everyone.”

At this year’s Para Pan Am Games there will be 16 sports, including wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, goal ball and football. With most of the major team sports represented, it seems hockey might be missing an opportunity to appeal to a wider audience and increase participation at all levels and abilities.

But, across the globe there are stirrings and it seems that in pockets, the world of hockey is waking up to disability sport and the enormous good it can do. Here are a few examples of ground-breaking projects that could act as a catalyst for hockey clubs and federations elsewhere to implement hockey into disability sport.

One such project in the Netherlands offers people with disabilities the chance to train for and compete in two national tournaments a year. ‘G’ and ‘LG’ hockey is a project that aims to provide hockey playing opportunities for people who are disabled but not wheelchair dependent. “G’ category players have learning disabilities, while LG is a physical disability. The project began back in the 1990s, when Zoetermeer club began a G-hockey activity and Breda started a LG-hockey group. The KNHB, which governs Dutch hockey, supported the activities and made it part of its national strategy to integrate hockey players with disabilities into the Dutch club structure.

In the Netherlands, with approximately 100 clubs now offering G-hockey and more than 12 clubs hosting LG-hockey, there is now a structure in place that gives people with disabilities the chance to participate in a range of competitions, from friendly club-based activities to one of the national competitions that are arranged by the KNHB. The target age group for the activities is 6-18 y, but increasingly adults are also participating. The KNHB is also working on activities for people in wheelchairs.

The G and LG activities take place on a regular pitch or an indoor hall. If it is on an outdoor pitch, then a quarter of the pitch is used as the playing area. Teams of six compete and, while the players follow the regular rules of outdoor hockey, there are some adaptations within the game. For example, players with severe physical disabilities get ‘special status’ which means they are allowed to take 10 steps without being tackled in their own half and five steps in the opposition’s half. If one team is winning by more than three goals then they must pass three times before taking a shot at goal. Other adaptations can be introduced depending on the severity of the disabilities and the disparities in ability within the group.

The KNHB advises national associations who are considering promoting hockey for people with disabilities to: “Only adapt what needs to be adapted, try to keep your adapted activity as close to the original game as possible.”

Meanwhile, an initiative that started in England as part of the 2012 legacy is quickly gaining momentum. Flyerz Hockey is England’s project that introduces hockey to people with disabilities. The word Flyerz was invented by a group of clubs because the players prefer it to the term ‘disability’ hockey. Beverley Blackburn is the Adult Participation Manager for England Hockey and she explains further. “The word ‘Flyerz’ felt like something the clubs and players bought into so we have adopted it as a term and have continued to grow it as a brand. Flyerz has subsequently started to become recognized as a way to refer to disability hockey by the FIH and European Hockey Federation.”

The Flyerz Hockey program is in its earliest stages, with about 12-15 clubs involved, and currently focuses on people with learning disabilities. Blackburn stresses that this is not the sole focus, but where most interest lies at the moment. There will be a Flyerz Festival of Hockey this summer in the UK, running in conjunction with the EuroHockey Championships - Europe’s continental qualifier.

Wendy Russell is a coach at Brighton and Hove Hockey Club in England. Three years ago she set up a club for hearing impaired players. It is now a thriving activity under the Flyerz banner, with 17 regular players. Here are her tips for other clubs or associations looking to do something similar.

  • Talk to your target group and get to know them and their needs on an individual basis.
    Know what is already out there with regards to the sports available and communication needs and methods.
    Know what your goal is and keep this in sight.
    Be realistic; working with target groups is hard work but very rewarding. It may take time and effort to establish your sessions.
    Make sure you have a clear exit routes and support for players attending your sessions if they wish to continue playing regularly.
    Provide your coaches with support so that they feel confident to deliver to players with disabilities.
    Utilize coaches or volunteers that are experienced in this field, or know where advice and support can be gained to help the target group access the sport.

Finally, adapted hockey is making its mark in the motorized form. While ice hockey has become renowned for sled hockey, the recent Electric Wheelchair Hockey World Cup that took place in Germany in 2014 indicates that field hockey has finally found a game that matches the speed and daring of its colder cousin.

While Europe leads the way in this sport – where the players can use electric wheelchairs to cover the basketball-court sized area – both Canada and USA have thriving wheelchair hockey clubs and the USA has a national federation for Electric Wheelchair Hockey.

However, adaptive hockey in its many forms lies largely unexplored in the remainder of the Pan American countries and it is in Europe that adaptive hockey is beginning to really take off. In just a few months the Para Pan Am Games will be underway and thousands of athletes with disabilities will have the chance to participate and excel in a range of 16 sports. Is it time that the hockey community started to consider how our sport can get on board in the future?

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

TPG backs Hockeyroos, Kookaburras

Singapore-based The Project Group becomes major partner of national teams

Hockey Australia today welcomed Singapore-based The Project Group (TPG) as a Major Partner in support of the Australian national teams, the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras. 

TPG is a project management and cost management consultancy group with offices in Singapore, Jakarta, Cambodia, Thailand and Sydney.

As part of the two-year arrangement, the TPG logo will appear on the playing uniform of both teams and Australian athletes stand to benefit directly through a generous medal incentive scheme. The Kookaburras and Hockeyroos will each hold a training camp in Singapore during the term.

TPG managing director Paul Lim joined Hockey Australia Chief Executive Cam Vale at the Hockey Australia High Performance Unit at Curtin University in Perth to sign the two-year deal.

A former goalkeeper with the Singapore national team, Lim grew up in Brisbane.

“The Project Group decided to partner with Hockey Australia as we see benefits on two fronts," said Lim.

“Firstly, we recently opened our office in Sydney and were looking to find a way to expose our brand to the Australian community. Australia is such a sport loving nation and there is no better way to market our presence through the sporting realm.

“Secondly, hockey is a personal passion of mine. I am trying to develop the profile of the sport in Singapore. Having gone through the hockey system in Australia and reaping a lot of valuable knowledge, I decided to set up something similar in Singapore; not just the system but also to expose top hockey stars as mentors and coaches to the future generations in Singapore.

“To the general public in Singapore, the likes of Jamie Dwyer, Mark Knowles, Emily Smith, Georgie Parker, Rachael Lynch and Jane Claxton were merely hockey stars that they watch on TV or online. This partnership with the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos endeavours to give the local hockey players access to these hockey stars so as to inspire them to be better hockey players.” 

Hockey Australia chief executive Cam Vale praised the role that some of Australia’s athletes played in making the deal a reality.

"Great credit must go to our athletes, a number of whom helped initiate our dialogue with Paul and The Project Group, and whose involvement with Paul’s TPG Academy in Singapore is the perfect advert for Australian hockey," said Vale.

“It’s fitting that the agreement means our athletes can benefit financially through the medal incentive scheme if our teams are successful in Rio. Their professionalism and their dedication to their country and to hockey is often undervalued outside of our sport.

“I’m also pleased that the agreement covers both our men’s and women’s programs equally, which is representative of the gender-balanced sport that we have and our desire to be a sporting leader in gender equality.

“In a challenging commercial environment this partnership represents a terrific demonstration of faith in what we’re doing with Australian hockey and it is particularly pleasing to be aligned so strongly with an international company from Asia.”
About TPG
TPG International (TPG) is an acclaimed project management and cost management consultancy firm, focused on the property and construction industry. It offers an extensive range of services that encompass the whole project cycle, from inception to completion. It has offices in Singapore, Jakarta, Cambodia, Thailand and Sydney. Visit theprojectgroup.com.sg.

Hockey Australia media release

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