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News for 20 May 2015

All the news for Wednesday 20 May 2015

The Spanish Reformation

Spain is ready to rock the boat in Valencia

Adrian Lock is palpably excited at the prospect of the Hockey World League Semi-Finals taking place in his team’s own backyard. Speaking with less than a month to go before the action begins in Valencia, the Spanish coach says his team has the capability to upset the world rankings.

In Spain’s group are world number three side Argentina, seventh-ranked China, Canada, who are ranked 20, and their opening day opponents, Great Britain, who are ranked at eight. With Spain ranked at 15, Lock says that the game against the north American side is the must win match for Spain. “Obviously, the chances of all the teams go down to the quarter-finals. In a one-off match anything can happen. I think in the group stage, the Canada game is really important which is obviously the must-win game and hopefully we can spring a few extra surprises along the way. I think in general terms, in WL3 events all the teams are strong – we just need to make sure that we perform each day and grow during the competition.

“I think it's great to play the event at home. We know the pitch, we know the conditions and we will have the public on our side. It's a fantastic opportunity to be able to play in front of our friends and families and show that all the hard work has been worthwhile.”

The team is certainly well-prepared for the challenge ahead. During a training block in January and February the team played 13 matches together and, when not with the national team, the players have a well-structured fitness and technical programme that they follow religiously.

Spain has been going through something of a revival since Lock became involved. The Englishman, who played hockey for England U21s and National League side Beeston, became senior coach in 2013, but his involvement stretches back further as he was coach for the U18 and U21 Spanish women’s teams. He says: “The national team has changed enormously in the last year and a bit. Not qualifying for the World Cup allowed us to put in place new structures, coaching and training methods and think more long term. We have changed how we play, our style of training is changing and the girls are infinitely fitter, which at the end of the day is what allows us to compete. Obviously, now we are looking towards qualifying for Rio, but the majority of the group will still be around in Tokyo 2020 as well.”

Lock is hoping that the work he has done with both the younger groups and the senior side is filtering down to the clubs and development sides as well. While he rues the fact that he does not have a huge amount of players to select from, he is optimistic that reform is being implemented across the country. “In some ways, it is a significant disadvantage having so few licenced players to select from,” he says, “But in other ways it is an advantage in that it is easier to implement reform in women's hockey as a whole in Spain and I am sure that we will see those changes bear their fruit in the future.”

FIH site

Final push for Malaysia before Olympic qualifier

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: The national hockey team have stepped up their final tune-up for the World Hockey League Semi-Finals.

The team’s preparations have also been boosted by news that the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) will not restructure the coaching structure.

Tai Beng Hai has been kept as head coach and Australian Neil Hawgood as team consultant. Nor Saiful Zaini is the new assistant coach and Stephen van Huizen the team manager.

The World Hockey League Semi-Finals will be held in Antwerp, Belgium, from June 20-July 5.

Beng Hai said on Tuesday that the final selection will be done a week before the team leave for Brussels.

“We’re still waiting for the departure details but we’re likely to leave on June 14 or 15. We’re also trying to confirm some matches in Brussels, where we hope to play at least three friendlies,” said Beng Hai.

“The training sessions now are focused on making sure the players are well-prepared in every aspect. The training sessions are also intense as we want to be prepared for the pressure-cooker situation in Belgium.”

For the World Hockey League Semi-Finals, Malaysia are in Group B with Belgium, Britain, Ireland and China. Group A comprises Australia, India, France, Pakistan and Poland.

Only the top four teams from each group will advance to the quarter-finals. The top three finishers will qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

There are 25 players in the team and seven will be dropped when Beng Hai names his final squad.

“All the players have reported for training. One player (Mohd Haziq Shamsul) has been given some time off as he has some family matters to attend to,” said Beng Hai, who added that he had held talks with the National Sports Institute (NSI) to see if they can help his team in their preparation.

“We’ll need all the help we can get. It’s not going to be an easy tournament for us ... we have to plan carefully.”

The Star of Malaysia

Green Machine Squad for French Series

The Green Machine will continue their preparation for World League 3 in Antwerp with 2 fixtures against France over the coming weekend in La Touquet and Lille. Craig Fulton’s squad reconvened at a training camp in Dublin last week and are now looking to convert some of that hard work into strong performances and results. The two sides last met in Dublin in February for a 3 match series that ended in one win for both sides and a draw. France are currently ranked 18th in the world and will also be vying for Olympic qualification at World League 3 in Antwerp.

Speaking about the series Craig Fulton said "Our two tests versus France will form a very important part of our World League 3 preparations, giving us quality match practice and helping with team selection. We are taking a squad of 20 players that has a good balance of both experience and youth"

Fulton’s squad for the matches is as follows:

Ire 20 man Squad to Play France

1.Jonny Bell Lisnagarvey
2.Drew Carlisle Banbridge
3.Peter Caruth Monkstown
4.Chris Cargo Racing
5. Tim Cockram Lisngarvey
6.Stephan Dowds Banbridge
7.David Fitzgerald Monkstown
8.Paul Gleghorne Lisnagarevy
9.Kyle Good Dragons
10.Ronan Gormley Krefeld
11.Conor Harte Racing
12.David Harte Kampong
13.John Jackson Reading
14. Stuart Loughrey Cannock
15.Eugene Magee Banbridge
16.Shane O’Donoghue Dragons
17.Michael Robson Annadale
18.Kirk Shimmins UCD
19.Alan Sothern Racing
20.Micheal Watt Surbiton

Ireland vs France - Saturday 23rd  in La Touquet 6pm (local)
Ireland vs France -Sunday 24th in Lille 2.30pm (local)

Irish Hockey Association media release

Fàbregas retires as Polo's first team keeper

Oriol Fàbregas has retired from top tier hockey with Real Club de Polo Barcelona after 12 years involved with the club’s first team and over a decade as first choice goalkeeper.

He ends his career on a high, recently completing his career with a stunning performance in the Spanish national final against Egara to secure a third successive title.

Fàbregas steps away from the side in order to pursue a new work venture “which is incompatible” with playing in the first team, namely running a new restaurant in the Gràcia district.

Looking back on his career with Polo, Fàbregas has many fond memories of his time with the club: "I started my career in 2004 in a big way, winning the European Cup and the League but, after that, several years of drought came.

“No doubt, the best phase has been the last three years since Carlos Garcia Cuenca took on the coaching.

"it is a shame to go right now but there comes a time when you have to make a decision and it is now.  I'm going happy because we have had ​​an excellent season, the only pity being missing out on the King's Cup on penalties.”

Euro Hockey League media release

England star Ashley Jackson backs David Ames for Great Britain squad

By Graham Wilson

David Ames wants a place in Team GB. BONGARTS

DAVID AMES has the backing of one of England’s best players in Ashley Jackson as he bids to win a place in the Great Britain squad for the Olympic qualifying competition in Antwerp, Belgium, next month.

Beeston’s Ames and Ian Sloan, of league champions Wimbledon, are another big-catch pair of players who have switched from Ireland and after a three-year break finally made their debuts for GB against Argentina in the 1-1 draw at Bisham Abbey on Thursday. That was followed by goal-less draw on Friday.

Jackson, who levelled with a late penalty corner in the first match, looks certain to move from East Grinstead to join his GB captain Barry Middleton at promoted Holcombe, with the cash-rich Kent club also signing Beeston international striker Sam Ward as they push for a league title and Europe next season.

Jackson said of central midfielder Ames: “He is a phenomenal player. He has nothing to prove. He has played for Ireland many times. He is a great addition to the squad.”

He added with a smile: “The idea is to surround myself with the best tacklers, who will win the ball for me, and then I just go on and do my thing.”

Ames said: “Three years has been a long time coming so I am very grateful to have this opportunity. To make my debut was very enjoyable. The lads have been so good to me and made me feel very welcome. Now it is a question of kicking on and putting myself up there for selection for the World League qualifiers.”

GB have to play Ireland in their pool but Ames said: “To be honest I haven’t thought much about that. It is just another game to me. But I still have to be selected first. It is a very competitive group which is how it should be.”

Coach Bobby Crutchley said of the new pair: “They give us more depth which is great. They both played well and I’m really pleased with them. They have trained with us for a while now and both have settled in nicely, so it's great for them to get their first caps.”

Daily Express

Ashley Jackson leaves East Grinstead as Holcombe continue pursuit of star hockey talent

Holcombe recruit Great Britain’s record goalscorer, who admits to ‘tough decision’ in leaving East Grinstead ahead of club’s first foray in top flight hockey
By Rod Gilmour

Ashley Jackson, middle, and Sam Ward, left, have joined the Holcombe ranks

Ashley Jackson, Great Britain’s record goalscorer and one of world hockey’s leading players, will join Kent side Holcombe next season after the 27-year-old announced his departure from East Grinstead.

In football parlance, the high-profile signing is akin to the ‘Ronaldo of hockey’ – as Jackson was dubbed in the build-up to London 2012 – joining Chelsea, with Holcombe attracting a plethora of talent to the Medway thanks to the wealthy backing of David South, the club chairman.

“As hard as this decision has been to make, I have taken the choice to move on and take on a new challenge,” said the midfielder, who spent 12 years at East Grinstead, bar a two-year stint playing at Dutch side HGC.

“I am looking forward to working with team-mates old and new at Holcombe HC, contributing to a new team in the Premier League whilst continuing my development as a player.”

In an interview with The Telegraph in 2013, Jackson stated that “I don’t see myself moving to be honest. They [East Grinstead] have been very good to me.”

However Jackson’s decision to cross counties from Sussex to Kent is likely to prove beneficial; he will join a formidable midfield unit alongside international team-mates Barry Middleton, the Great Britain captain, and Nick Catlin.

Jackson’s stock has risen to such a degree that he is also likely to command a significant bid at the next Hockey India League (HIL) auction after his three-year deal with the Ranchi Rays ended this year. In February, he finished top-scorer in the third edition, captaining MS Dhoni’s franchise to a second title in three years.

“We have made a definite decision to sign Great Britain players. It’s an investment into England Hockey and we have no budget for overseas players,” said South, who has attracted criticism from other clubs who have questioned Holcombe’s “sustainability”, given that the domestic league is essentially still an amateur one.

Meanwhile, East Grinstead chairman Simon Longhurst told the East Grinstead Courier of Jackson's depature: "I don't think he should have any gripes about how he pursues the next phase of his career.

Ashley Jackson has proved a revelation in the Hockey India League

"He is an exciting talent and the most important thing for British hockey is that he is staying in the country.

"He is remaining at the top level and I respect his thought process, because he really does think deeply about his career."

The announcement yesterday that Sam Ward, the highly-rated GB forward, will also play for Holcombe next season, means that South has now recruited 13 GB internationals to the club across the men’s and women’s sides.

Both teams will play in the top flight together for the first time next season after the men’s side finished top of Conference East, mustering 110 goals in 18 unbeaten games.

South added that Jackson would be a “huge fillip” to the club, while the signings of Ward, Nick Bandurak and George Lillie, from Cannock and Loughborough respectively, would replace a quartet of players leaving Holcombe.

Asked how the club would cope when it came to international tournaments during the season, South told Telegraph Sport: “We have to take the rough with the smooth, but it does give an opportunity for others.

“The other sides will lose players too and we won’t be the only club who suffers when there are internationals.”

Meanwhile, the GB women’s squad for the Olympic qualifiers in Valencia next month is expected to be announced this week.

The Telegraph

Leading Scottish clubs set for European competitions

Three of Scotland's leading men's and women's clubs are set to compete on the European stage this weekend with the European Hockey Federation having scheduled its EuroHockey Club competitions for 22-25 May.

Grange will feature in the Men's EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy being hosted by Irish side Three Rock Rovers in Dublin.

Colin Clarke's side will face Three Rock Rovers (IRL), SC Stroitel Brest (BLR) and HC OKS-SHVSM Vinnnitsa (UKR) in Pool B, while Pool A is made up of Whitchurch HC (WAL), Atasport (AZE), S.G. Amsicora (ITA) and SK Slavia Praha (CZE).

A strong finishing position for the Stags will be their target.

Please visit the EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy website for more information.

Milne Craig Clydesdale Western will travel to Vienna to compete in the Women's EuroHockey Club Challenge I event, while Grove Menzieshill are bound for France to take part in the EuroHockey Club Challenge II event in Merignac.

The Glasgow side have been drawn in Pool A of the Challenge I competition and will play KHC Dragons (BEL), SG Amsicora ASD (ITA) and Swansea City LHC (WAL). The other clubs include HC Ritm-Azot Grodno (BLR), HCU Catania (ITA), SK Slavia Praha (CZE) and SV Arminen (AUT).

Please visit the EuroHockey Club Challenge I website for more information.

Grove Menzieshill will need to overcome Gintra Strekte Uni (LTU) and Highway HC (TUR) in Pool A if they want to progress to the latter stages of the Challenge II event.

Pool B includes Sport Athletique Merignacais (FRA), HC Rotweiss Wettingen (SUI), Lille Metropole HC (FRA) and HC Olten (SUI).

Please visit the EuroHockey Club Challenge II website for more information.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Dundee Wanderers celebrate European host status and 80th anniversary

Dundee Wanderers have cause to celebrate after it was announced by the European Hockey Federation last week that they have won the rights to host the EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Trophy in 2016, with teams coming from England, Belgium, Turkey, France, Switzerland, Croatia and Denmark

This is a boost for Wanderers and Midland District as it is nearly 20 years since a European Club event was in Dundee. Menzieshill men hosted a similar event about 18 years ago and more recently the hosted one in Perth a Bells while in 1996 Grove ladies hosted the 5th European Cup Winners Cup at Gussie Park
The Wanderers hope to hold the event at DISC in February but the venue has yet to be confirmed

Teams will travel to Scotland from England, Belgium, Turkey, France, Switzerland, Croatia and Denmark to play in the indoor competition, with Wanderers hoping that home advantage will given them a boost in their attempts to reach the Club Champions Cup.

This is a boost for Wanderers and Midland District as it is nearly 20 years since a European Club event was in Dundee. Grove Menzieshill men hosted a similar event about 18 years ago and more recently they hosted one in Perth at Bells, while in 1996 Grove Menzieshill women hosted the 5th European Cup Winners Cup at Gussie Park.

The Wanderers hope to hold the event at DISC in February 2016, but the venue has yet to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, the club celebrated its 80th Anniversary with a Dinner / Dance in the Apex Hotel, Dundee, last Friday evening with over 220 guests, including Wanderers from the early 1950s up to the present day.

Top place for determination not to miss the event undoubtedly goes to Chris Healy who flew in for Vancouver and Donny Mackay arriving from Houston in Texas. Both were 1st team players; Donny should have made International grade and Chris was Wanderers first Internationalist though he was with St Andrews University at the time.

Neil Sturrock, ex-Grove FP and Western player spoke for Scottish Hockey and Wanderers President Pat Joyce replied. Scottish Hockey Chair Scott Baird was also in attendance.

A Book covering the 80 years of Wanderers HC was compiled by Richard Miller, the Club Treasurer. Each guest received a copy, as will the sponsors, advertisers, current members and any past members who get in touch.

This 120 page souvenir is a Wanderers History worth reading

Before the Dancing got underway the Club Awards for the season were presented and concluded with Megan Potter, Young Club Person of the Year, Emily Dark, girls Young player of the year and Tom Cole the Boys young players of the Year.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

SCORPIONS STING: Strathmore edge Sliders to top KHU women's league standings

By Elizabeth Mburugu

Orange Betsy Ommalla (l) and Strathmore Gilly Okumu fight for the ball when they played Vaisakhi Tournament 2015. Orange won 5-0. ON 27/04/15 PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE

Last season women’s league first runner-up Strathmore University Scorpions shot to the top of the Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) women’s league standings.

Strathmore’s 1-0 victory over Sliders has seen them top the women’s table with seven points from three matches. Yvonne Karanja’s 54th minute goal was all the Scorpions needed to bag the three points.

Defending champions Orange Telkom are second, a point adrift of the league leaders with one match in hand. Sliders remain in the third spot even after suffering two straight defeats. United States International University of Africa (USIU-A) are fourth with three points from two matches while Vikings are fifth with a point.

Butali Sugar Warriors remain at the summit of the men’s premier league table with 15 points from six matches. Police are second with 12 points after they suffered a 2-1 loss to Western Jaguars in Kakamega at the weekend. Strathmore Gladiators are third tied on nine points with Jaguars but with a superior goal difference.

Greensharks hit two time champions Strathmore University Gladiators 2-0 to register their first victory of the season. The victory saw them jump two places to 10th place with five points. Sharks suffered two consecutive losses to defending champions Butali Warriors (3-0) and Police (2-1). Greensharks head coach Nixon Nyangaga told FeverPitch: “This win is very fundamental as it has boosted our confidence and brought us back into the competition, we now focus on our next tie with victory in mind.” Greensharks International midfielder Leon Magomere beat Strathmore shot stopper Lewis Mawira to give Sharks the lead a minute to the half hour mark.

Sharks skipper Samuel Mucheke sealed the victory in 56th minute to earn them their first victory of the season.

In other Premier League encounters Wazalendo held United States International University of Africa to a 3-3 draw to gain their first point. Elly Mwangi, Sam Wekesa and Job Ondiro scored for Wazalendo while Bill Olang Lawrence Okubasu and Captain Brian Makokha found the back of the net for students.

Thika Rovers secured their third straight win after beating Karate Axiom 2-1 in their men’s Second Division tier. Rovers, who are eying Premier League promotion, have been on a winning streak and are yet to lose a match.

They are now in second place tied on nine points with league leaders Chase Sailors but with an inferior goal difference. Parkroad Tigers are third with seven points while Wazalendo Youth are fourth with four points.

Wazalendo Youth added to the misery of the University of Nairobi students, handing them a 4-1 thrashing. UoN began the season on a low note and have lost all their matches.

The Standard Online

Noble goals: Treating injuries to become easier for Betul’s hockey players

Shruti Tomar

Bhopal - The financial hardships that hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand faced in his last days, before succumbing to cancer at the age of 74, is a story that many hockey players in the country can relate to.

Hockey players hailing from poor families are often strapped for cash required to treat diseases and injuries sustained during the course of their sporting careers.

In a first-of-its-kind initiative in the state, a Betul-based organisation has come forward to provide insurance cover to help 30 such hockey players from the district.

The inspiration for this novel initiative does not come from the social security insurance scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 9, but from the life of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand himself.

The Betul-based organisation, aptly named Dhyan Chand Foundation, will provide insurance cover to 30 hockey players from Betul on May 26 - the day India registered its first victory in the game in the 1928 Olympics.

It will also provide a certificate containing an old signature of Chand.
Chand’s son Ashok Dhyan Chand says: “Babuji (Major Dhyan Chand) didn’t want me to become a player. Despite bringing laurels for the country, he faced a lot of problems towards the end of his life and he always wanted his children to become officers rather than hockey players. In his time, there was no security to the players. It’s a very good initiative being taken for the first time by any organisation.”

Dhyan Chand Foundation’s convener Hemant Dubey said the Indian hockey scene is witnessing changes but still the game has “no money”.

“There are many players in India who left their games after injuries as they could not afford treatment. Even I left my game following an injury in the knee which later turned into a lymphocyte cancer. Players who come from a humble background are worried about the treatment of injuries and their future. So, we have decided to give them security in the form of insurance.”

According to Dubey, the foundation will provide two types of insurance: accidental and life insurance of Rs 2 lakh each.

“In case of any accident on the turf as well outside the turf, they could treat themselves with insurance,” he says.

Dubey says the foundation has submitted a proposal to United Insurance Company and the scheme is likely to be finalised in 2-3 days. He adds that the foundation will provide insurance to 30 players from Betul and would consider expanding it later.

National hockey player from Madhya Pradesh Nitin Malviya, who is one of the players to be chosen for the insurance cover, says: “I belong to a very poor family. My family is always anxious about my future as we can’t afford medical expenses in case of any accident. The insurance cover will not only motivate me to play fearlessly but also give security to my life.”

Hindustan Times

6 Hockey Coaching Teachings from Ric Charlesworth

Ric Charlesworth is one of the best coaches in recent times. If you watched the 2014 World Cup, you probably witnessed an Australian team that deserves to go down in history as one of the best squads to ever win the trophy. The coaching mastermind behind this winning side was Richard Charlesworth, who in addition to being one of the best coaches ever, he was an outstanding hockey player and cricketer.

The website www.sportsmediagroup.com.au interviewed him a while ago… these are 6 amazing hockey coaching teachings that we took out from that interview:

1. About creating a winning hockey team

It requires to have good players who athletically gifted with technical capacity and ambition however, this is not easy. If you don’t have those elements in your players then you have to develop them and improve the group. In addition, a coach should fashion the way of playing of the team according to the talent of the players available and not the other way around. Players should have a clear definition about how to accomplish each individual task as well as their particular and specific role. The coach should stay true to the playing culture of country or club. You cannot expect that Germany will play as Australia. Finally, players are the ones who finally make the decisions  on the final and the coaches need to prepare them to be capable of making those decisions in the right way.

2. How important is it to have a specialist drag flicker:

It is very important as 30 to 40% of goals in the game come from that set skill and, as long as the corners are the way they are, you have to have a specialist. The current rules for corners, according to Ric Charlesworth, are not good because they narrow a lot of the goals scored in a game to that particular skill.

3. Selecting the right players for the squad:

It takes a long time to decide which players will get cut at a national team level and the coach should remain as objective as possible. Balancing the team with the selection of the right players is extremely important, because the range of things that the team require is broad. In the end is very difficult to face players who are not happy with the decision taken but you, as a coach, have to calculate what does each player bring to the team but when comes to the last spots available, you seek for the versatility and flexibility of the players in different positions.

4. Motivating players:

It goes down to ambition and wanting to be part of an outstanding team. Coaches should deal with the players as individuals, giving them feedback that is specific to their task and challenging them with goals that can be reached. You push them to be better to what they are, you give them lots of feedback and encouragement.

5. How do you tell something negative to a player?

You have to be direct about it because there is expectation for their performance but you have to give them the tools to find the way to reach improvement as well.

6. The style of the Australian player:

They must have more than skills… they have to be flexible. You expect them to be all around players, they have to multifunctional and Australia has been pushing for that for decades. You need people that are flexible in terms of positioning, however there can be emphasis on a particular skill such as scoring or defending but a player should be capable of playing at any position on the field.

A Hockey World

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