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News for 14 June 2015

All the news for Sunday 14 June 2015

Olympic dream comes true for Argentina and Germany

Host nation Argentina and Germany have reached the competition final of the men’s Argentina Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires, claiming two of the event's three guaranteed tickets for the Hockey World League Final in India later this year.

As well as a ticket to the HWL Final, the two victorious nations also confirmed their places at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the process.

Goals from Gonzalo Peillat, Juan Gilardi and Ignacio Ortiz helped Argentina to a 3-0 victory over Pan-American rivals Canada in the first semi-final, while a late strike from Oskar Deecke gave Germany a 2-1 semi-final win over European rivals and 2013 Hockey World League champions the Netherlands at the Centro Nacional de Alto Rendimiento Deportivo (CeNARD) in Buenos Aires.

Match 29: Canada v Argentina 0-3 (0-2)

The noisy spectators in the sold-out CeNARD stadium saw a highly intensive match with both teams battling for the victory. Argentina were reduced to nine men after both Manuel Brunet and Facundo Calliano picked up yellow cards in the third and fourth minute of the game. Canada created some promising scoring opportunities during this timeframe but could not get past the outstanding Juan Vivaldi in Los Leones’ goal.

Playing at full strength again, Argentina forced a penalty corner which was fired home by dragflicker Gonzalo Peillat (14’) to give the home team the lead. This was the fifth penalty corner goal for the FIH 2014 Rising Star at this event. Juan Gilardi (23’) doubled the lead through a penalty stroke goal – much to the delight of the home crowd.

The Maple Leafs forced their first penalty corner with 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Team-captain Scott Tupper took the shot but Vivaldi saved again. Argentina added another goal through Ignacio Ortiz (42’) when he managed to put the ball through goalie Dave Carter’s legs.

Canada tried hard to get a consolation goal as the minutes ticket away in the last quarter but the Argentine defence stood firm with Vivaldi keeping a clean sheet.

Thoughts on the match

Scott Tupper (CAN)

“We wanted to win it because it would have guaranteed the Olympic spot. Unfortunately we were not able to score early in the game, we had some opportunities. It’s tough to play from behind, especially against a team having the home crowd.

Juan Gilardi (ARG)

“This is amazing. We wanted to win today and to play off in the final tomorrow, so we are really happy. The people come here to support us and so it was nice for them that we scored and won. We are also very happy to be qualified for the World League Final in India because this means we can play the best in the world.”

Match 28: Netherlands v Germany 1-2 (0-0)

This match was a close affair with both sides playing fast-paced, high quality hockey.

The Netherlands had the better scoring opportunities in the first two quarters forcing German goalie Nicolas Jacobi to make several saves to keep the score tied at 0-0.

The most promising scoring opportunity for the current Olympic and World Silver medallists arrived in the last minute of the second quarter when Oscar Deecke deflected a shot from Jeroen Hertzberger off the goalline.

The end of the third quarter was highly entertaining, as Jeroen Hertzberger (44’) put the Dutch ahead but Germany struck back one minute later through Florian Fuchs (45’) tipping in a beautiful pass from Martin Häner.

Germany won the first corner of the match with 9 minutes remaining on the clock but Moritz Fürste’s shot was blocked. However, the Germans managed to turn the score around. Oskar Deecke received a good pass from Moritz Fürste and scored from a wide angle sealing the 2-1 victory as well as the two tickets for India and Rio.

Thoughts on the match

Max Caldas (NED)

“We were by far the better team today. That’s the story of the bad losers, that you try to explain why you lost although you should have won. In the end we had two bad moments in the game and Germany had two good moments in the game, these two collided. They scored two goals and this is their world class. Germany showed today again, that if you give them half a chance they take a whole chance.”

Florian Fuchs (GER)

“Of course we are really happy because this has been a tough tournament so far, especially the quarter-final had its ups and downs. We were struggling in the first half but scored two goals in the second half and today we sealed it by taking the step to the Olympics. This is great for our very young team and it is a great success.

#HWL2015 #RoadToRio

FIH site

Canada drops 3-0 decision to host Argentina in tournament semifinal

Canadian men to play for Olympic qualification on Sunday vs GER/NED

Shaheed Devji

With Olympic qualification on the line, a highly emotional semifinal match ended with host Argentina beating the Canadian Men’s Field Hockey Team 3-0 at the World League Semifinals Saturday in Buenos Aires.

The win sends Argentina to the tournament final and - with a guaranteed top-two finish - gives them a guaranteed spot at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

Canada still has an opportunity to qualify for Rio by winning Sunday’s third place match, which will be played against the winner of the Germany-Netherlands semifinal.

Meeting for the second time in the tournament, this time with a spot at the Olympics as the prize, the two Pan American rivals began the match at a rabid pace.

The first chance of the game went to the home side in the second minute when Argentina’s captain Matias Parades drilled a hard ball across the face of the goal and nearly found Facundo Callioni at the other end.

A minute later, Argentina was given a yellow card for a shove to the back of Canada's Mark Pearson.

Less than a minute later, Argentina was given a second yellow card – this one a ten-minute infraction – and Canada went up two men early.

The Canadians nearly capitalized immediately when Matthew Guest spotted a wide-open Iain Smythe in front of the Argentinian goal.

Smythe was falling to his knees but managed a quick stickhandle to direct the ball to goal, but goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi got in front of it.

With almost five minutes of a two-man advantage, Canada wasn’t able to convert but had another glorious opportunity to get on the board in the thirteenth minute when Sukhi Panesar found Matthew Sarmento behind Argentina’s defense.

Sarmento tried a pass to Mark Pearson at the back post, but it was blocked. Canada, however, earned a penalty corner for their efforts.

The penalty corner was a turning point in the match as the Canadians couldn’t execute and on the counter-attack Argentina went back to earn a short corner of their own.

On the ensuing attempt, Gonzalo Peillat fired a hard flick to the right of goalkeeper David Carter, beating him and defender Gordon Johnston giving Argentina the 1-0 lead.

Argentina added a second goal in the second quarter after earning a penalty stroke due a stick challenge in the circle. Juan Gilardi beat Carter to his right for the 2-0 lead in the twenty-third minute.

Down two in the second half, Canada faced an uphill battle but had a chance to get right back in it in the fortieth minute on a penalty corner.

Scott Tupper’s drag flick was heading to the back of the net but and defender Matias Rey was able to get a stick on it and pop it up. Devohn Noronha-Teixeira knocked the rebound of the air, but his attempt couldn’t find the goal either.

It was yet another turning point as two minutes later, in the forty-second minute, Ignacio Ortiz netted Argentina’s third and final goal, sealing the victory.

Canada will play in the third place match on Sunday at 11:30am PT/2:30pm PT. The winner gets a spot at the Olympics in 2016 while the loser has to wait for one a number of scenarios to play out in order to qualify.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Big win for the Black Sticks Men

Andy Hayward (l) congratulates Stephen Jenness (r) on scoring

The Black Sticks Men have bounced back with a 4-1 victory against Japan in their classification match at the FIH World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires this morning.

Today’s win means they will now play against 11th ranked Spain in the 5th/6th match at 4am tomorrow (Monday, NZ time). The game will be televised live on Sky Sport.

After a heart-breaking defeat to Canada in Friday morning’s quarter-final, Black Sticks defender Andy Hayward said to pick themselves up and get a win today was really pleasing and head coach Colin Batch agrees.

“I thought we overcame the anguish of the quarter-final and did what we needed to. We had some good meetings following that game and players responded really positively. I think full credit needs to go to them for coming out and playing well today,” said Batch.

Today’s goals came from Stephen Jenness, Shea McAleese, Andy Hayward and Steve Edwards.

“We had good control of the game particularly in the first half, although it would have been nice to have had a second goal before the break. The third quarter was better and then I thought we had some difficulty in the fourth quarter, but in the end we got there,” said head coach Colin Batch.

Throughout the game the Black Sticks had 19 circle penetrations of which they fired 18 shots, highlighting their dominance up front.

“One of the areas we wanted to improve was our circle opportunities and I thought we did that, it was definitely a focus for us. We still have work to do on our rebounding and penalty corners and we will be looking at that,” said Batch.

Batch said the focus now turns to securing a fifth place finish by beating Spain in the final game of the tournament tomorrow.

“We haven’t played Spain since the World Cup – they have a slightly different team and a different coach now – they are playing well, so we know it’s not going to be easy."

In the first quarter today, the Black Sticks came out firing, maintaining 80% of possession and creating opportunities that often caught Japan off-guard. Nil-all at the end of the first quarter, the rewards came early in the second when Stephen Jenness dribbled it along the baseline and with defenders all around him, he found just enough space to slide it into the goal.

Japan worked hard in the second spell, holding more possession and territory, but the Black Sticks’ defenders rallied well when required and did enough to hold onto their lead.

The second goal came immediately after the half time break, when the Black Sticks were awarded a penalty stroke and Shea McAleese stepped forward and confidently slotted it high over the keeper’s left hand pad.

Throughout the game the Kiwis were awarded six penalty corners, but some miss-traps and good defence from Japan’s goalkeeper prevented them from converting until the 49th minute when Hayward stretched it to 3-0.

Japan’s Genki Mitani pegged one back for Japan in the 58th minute, but it was the Black Sticks who had the last say when captain Simon Child set up a great goal for Steve Edwards who was perfectly positioned in front of the posts to end it 4-1.

Both semi-finals, the Black Sticks games and the final are LIVE and replayed on Sky Sport. Click here for the Sky Sport schedule. Nb. The channel of the final game is still to be confirmed.

Full time: 4-1 (NZ win)
Half time: 1-0
NZ goal scorers: Stephen Jenness, Shea McAleese, Andy Hayward, Steve Edwards
Japan goal scorers: Genki Mitani

Black Sticks Men vs Japan            4-1 win
Black Sticks Men vs Canada            0-0. Lost the penalty shoot-out 7-8.
Black Sticks Men vs Korea                3-3 draw
Black Sticks Men vs Netherlands        1-1 draw
Black Sticks Men vs Japan            2-1 win
Black Sticks Men vs Egypt                4-1 win

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Black Sticks keep Olympic hopes alive

By David Leggat

Stephen Jenness got on the scoresheet for the Black Sticks. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand comfortably beat Japan 4-1 at the World League semifinal in Bueno Aires today to keep their Rio Olympics hopes alive for next year.

The result means the men's Black Sticks will face Spain, who are ranked 11th, four places below New Zealand, in the decider for fifth and sixth places tomorrow. Win that and New Zealand are hopeful they can squeeze into the Rio field once the automatic places have been decided.

The top three teams in Buenos Aires are guaranteed an Olympic trip, as are the best three at the other World League semifinal starting later this week in Antwerp, along with the five confederation champions.

There will be double ups amid those qualification routes, and New Zealand aim to capitalise on that.

They dominated the run of play today, having 18 shots on goal to Japan's eight, 19 circle penetrations to 12 and a 6-1 penalty corner advantage.

However they managed only one goal from a PC, by Andy Hayward late on, which is a concern. The ball was repeatedly mistrapped, squandering opportunities at the set piece.

New Zealand were 1-0 up at halftime, through a nifty Stephen Jenness goal, wriggling along the baseline and beating Japan's goalkeeper at his near post.

It was not until early in the final quarter that the margin increased, with a penalty stroke from Shea McAleese. Hayward's goal made the result certain before Genki Mitani pulled one back for Japan, only for Steve Edwards to finish the scoring in the final minute.

''The Spain game is hugely important. It still gives us a chance to go to Rio and we've got to put ourselves in the best position," Hayward said.

New Zealand could go directly to Rio if they beat world No 1 Australia in the Oceania Cup in Taranaki in October but they don't want to rely on that route.

''Spain have improved as the tournament has gone on, they're a pretty dangerous, skillful team and our defenders have to be on their game," he added.

Spain kept their chances alive by beating Korea 4-2 on penalties after the scores were level 2-2 at full time.

Meanwhile, the women's Black Sticks were beaten 2-0 by the Netherlands in the second of two warmup internationals at the Noordwijkse Hockey Club south of Amsterdam today.

The fourth-ranked New Zealanders and world No 1 Dutch are preparing for their World League semifinal in Antwerp this week. The Dutch won the first match 3-1.

The New Zealand Herald

The reign of Spain

Ireland, USA, Great Britain and Spain enjoy stormy passage to quarter finals

Pool B: IRL v URU 3-2: RSA v USA 1-4
Pool A: GBR v ARG 2-0: CAN v ESP 0-3

Rain in Spain is rare, but it certainly put in an extended stormy appearance on day three of the Hockey World League Semi-Finals in Valencia, keeping the players in the final match of the day waiting for an hour and 19 minutes between half time and the start of the second half.

It was eventually a celebration for the hosts as they joined Ireland, USA and Great Britain on the winning sides, after a 3-0 win over Canada. The result means the four winning teams progress to the quarter-finals.

The first match of the day was a close-fought affair between Ireland and Uruguay, with the South Americans scoring their first goals of the competition, as they ran the Irish to the wire in a tight 3-2 encounter. Aine Connery was the hero as she scored the 55th minute winner that saw Ireland become the first side guaranteed to make it through to the quarter-finals as they survived a second half onslaught.

Florencia Norbis, speaking after the game, spoke of her side overcoming their early tournament nerves to play "the game we are capable of."

While the Irish looked to be in control at 2-0 up. Anna O’Flanagan and Nikki Evans put Ireland 2-0 up in the early stages of the game. But indiscipline was nearly the undoing of the Green Army – they ended with four yellow cards and two green – as first Janine Stanley, then Manuela Vilar got on the score-sheet to even things up. Ireland replied, though, with a solid final quarter and won a couple of corners, one of which Cliodhna Sargent swept to Connery to guide home for the victory.

The USA made it two wins from two as they came from a goal down to beat South Africa 4-1. Dirkie Chamberlain had given South Africa an early lead when she burst through and planted the ball past Jackie Briggs. But the Americans were in aggressive mood and they set about dismantling the South African defence in a powerful show of defiance.

Captain Lauren Crandall – on her 250th international appearance – pumped a corner shot at goal which took a nick off a defender and hit the net for 1-1. Katelyn Falgowski – another celebrant on her 200th cap – added the second in brilliant style, exchanging passes down the right with Michelle Vittese and slamming home from mid-circle.

Kat Sharkey made it 3-1 and Jill Witmer completed the win in the last 90 seconds of the game.

A scrappy couple of goals were the difference between Great Britain and Argentina, with Great Britain picking off two real poacher’s goals to beat Argentina 2-0 in a crucial Pool A clash. Hannah MacLeod and Sophie Bray were the scorers, both diving on to close range chances, getting in ahead of multiple Argentine defenders.

Prior to that, Alex Danson had seen her penalty stroke ping off the outside of the post.

MacLeod broke the deadlock seven minutes after the restart. She pounced when Danson’s shot was half-stopped by Belen Succi, lifting the ball up and over the prone goalkeeper for a key goal. GB held their nerve and were rewarded in the 58th minute, when Lily Owsley swooped on a penalty corner rebound and Bray nipped in to score from her cross.

Spain delighted their rain-soaked home fans with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Canada to reach the quarter-finals.

The first half was a low key affair which ended scoreless. The best of the chances fell to Spain for whom Maria Gomez was the main threat. From one thrust, she won a corner when she out-stripped Natalie Sourisseau on the right who picked up a yellow card for her foul.

Just as the sides were ready for the second half, the lightning cracked and thunder roared with the accompanying rain teeming down. It led to a break of an hour and 19 minutes. The volunteers, with their multi-coloured brushes performed wonders to remove all the excess water.

After the delay, it was the Spanish who kept their wits about them and they took just a few minutes to capitalise. Berta Bonastre stole the ball in midfield, thrust forward before slipping the ball under her arm to Roccio Ybarra. Lola Riera added her second drag-flick goal of the tournament with 11 minutes left. And they added an extra gloss to the scoreline when Beatriz Perez tore down the right wing. Her cross popped off a couple of near post sticks into Gomez’s path. She volleyed in via Sara McManus’s face, for 3-0.

Speaking after the game, Berta Bonastre said: “This victory was so nice. In the first half, we were a little bit afraid because they are quite physically strong team. But we kept trying to find a way into the circle and make chances.

“In the second half, I don’t know if the pause helped but we found some really good moments, pressed much harder and found the goals.

“In breaks like this, you have to concentrate because you can think outside the match and it becomes difficult to get your head back into the match. But our coach repeated our game plan and we all knew what we had to do.”

FIH site

Spain are singing in the rain

Spain and Great Britain secure quarter final places

Great Britain v Argentina 2-0
Spain v Canada 3-0

Heavy storms caused more than an hour's disruption on day three of the Hockey World League Semi-Finals in Valencia but the rain didn't dampen the host's spirit as they outplayed Canada.

The opening match of Pool A on day three saw Great Britain take on Argentina in a fiercely contested game with little to separate the two sides. The clearest chance in the first half fell to Alex Danson from the penalty spot but her effort, however, pinged off the outside of the post. Maddie Hinch ensured that it remained scoreless into the big break when she poked out a leg to kick away a Carla Rebecchi drag-flick.

Hannah MacLeod broke the deadlock, though, seven minutes after the restart. She pounced when Danson’s shot was half-stopped by Belen Succi, lifting the ball up and over the prone goalkeeper for a key goal.

Argentina responded with vigour, winning numerous corners and causing plenty of danger with a string of big chances but Hinch was not to be beaten. GB held their nerve and caused their own problems with the swift running of Susannah Townsend a factor. From a corner in the 58th minute, Kate Richardson-Walsh’s sweep was charged down but Lily Owsley swooped to get the ball into the danger zone where Bray nipped in to score.

Maddie Hinch, speaking after the game said: "That was a massive team effort. The goals were scrappy, but we don't care about that. We were playing probably against the best forwards in the world and we worked hard to negate that.

Carla Rebecchi spoke of her disappointment at the result. "We were good in the press and we got to the ball well, but we didn't take our chances. We had penalty corners, but they just didn't go our way today."

Great Britain's goal scorer, Sophie Bray added: “We are really happy; they are a great side and third in the world. It gives us great momentum. Coming into the game, one of our mantras was just to believe! Believe we have the capabilities in the team to beat team and it showed.

“Two wins and two clean sheets; our defence were awesome today and so was Maddie [Hinch]. We will get back to the hotel, recover well and look forward to playing Canada tomorrow.”

Spain delighted their rain-soaked home fans with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Canada to reach the quarter-finals, joining Great Britain who also advance as a result.

The first half was a low key affair which ended scoreless. The best of the chances fell to Spain for whom Maria Gomez was the main threat. From one thrust, she won a corner when she out-stripped Natalie Sourisseau on the right who picked up a yellow card for her foul.

Just as the sides were ready for the second half, the lightning cracked and thunder roared with the accompanying rain teeming down. It led to a break of an hour and 19 minutes. The volunteers, with their multi-coloured brushes performed wonders to remove all the excess water.

After the delay, it was the Spanish who kept their wits about them and they took just a few minutes to capitalise. Berta Bonastre stole the ball in midfield, thrust forward before slipping the ball under her arm to Roccio Ybarra. Her effort was more of a cross than shot but it had enough direction to evade both the back-pedalling defence and her team mate who eventually stepped out of the way to let the ball plane through the water and just over the line.

Lola Riera added her second drag-flick goal of the tournament with 11 minutes left to add some extra insurance to their position. And they added an extra gloss to the scoreline when Beatriz Perez tore down the right wing. Her cross popped off a couple of near post sticks into Gomez’s path. She volleyed in via Sara McManus’s face, leading to a video referral but the goal stood for 3-0.

Speaking after the game, Berta Bonastre said: “This victory was so nice. In the first half, we were a little bit afraid because they are quite physically strong team. But we kept trying to find a way into the circle and make chances. “In the second half, I don’t know if the pause helped but we found some really good moments, pressed much harder and found the goals. “In breaks like this, you have to concentrate because you can think outside the match and it becomes difficult to get your head back into the match. But our coach repeated our game plan and we all knew what we had to do.”

FIH site

Great Britain tame Las Leonas in Argentina win

Hannah Macleod opening the scoring vs Argentina at WL2015

Great Britain picked up their second consecutive win of the World League Semi-Final with a gritty display to overcome a physical Argentina side. Despite a missed penalty stroke by Alex Danson in the first half, goals from Hanna Macleod and Sophie Bray were the difference on the day and steered Danny Kerry’s side to the top of the pool.

The first quarter was an even affair with Argentina probably shading the territorial battle without causing too much threat to the Great Britain goal. Carla Rebecchi went closest with a penalty corner that flew just wide. Great Britain forced a penalty corner of their own which was blocked on the line by a defender’s body, resulting in a penalty stroke awarded on video referral. Alex Danson stepped up but her effort crashed against the woodwork and away to safety.

The second quarter followed a similar pattern as both sides wrestled for control of the game. Belen Succi was called upon to repel a penalty corner from Kate Richardson-Walsh whilst at the other end Maddie Hinch excelled herself with a superb low save to deny Rebecchi from another penalty corner.

With 37 minutes on the clock the deadlock was broken. Susannah Townsend drove into the circle and hit a reverse stick shot which Succi saved but the goalkeeper could only watch as Macleod pounced to lift the rebound into the roof of the net. Rebecchi resumed her personal battle with Hinch but the Holcombe stopper saved well to her right and then denied the Argentina striker again. Delfina Merino found herself in space in the circle with time running out but blazed her effort over the bar.

The teams went into the final quarter with the game finely poised. Shona McCallin did well on the post at a penalty corner to keep out another Rebecchi effort and then Hinch pulled off another fine save blocking from Rocio Sanchez to preserve her clean sheet. With two minutes to play the win was sealed. Kate Richardson-Walsh’s penalty corner was charged down but Lily Owsley reacted well, firing the ball goalwards as she fell. Sophie Bray got a vital touch to loop the ball over the line to seal the win for Danny Kerry’s side, GB's first win over Argentina since 1996.

Quotes – Great Britain Goalkeeper Maddie Hinch:

We’re absolutely delighted. It was a massive team effort from us today. We’ve been in good form coming into the tournament. We had so much belief that today was our day to finally beat them. They’re a fantastic side but we stuck at it and held on.

They have the best forwards around so we knew we had to negate that today. We need to show belief in the second half and that’s what we did. We’re absolutely delighted.”

Head Coach Danny Kerry:

“It was a nervy start but we created good opportunities throughout the first half including the stroke. Some physical tackling from Argentina attempted to stop us from playing but we grew into the game. Our organised defence was great as Argentina threw numbers forward and we looked menacing on the counter-attack. I’m proud of how this group has gone about two exceptionally tough pool games.”

Great Britain 2 (0)
Hannah Macleod 37 (FG)
Sophie Bray 58 (PC)

Argentina 0 (0)

Great Britain Hockey media release

Great Britain beat Argentina in hockey’s World League semi-finals Pool A

England’s Sophie Bray, pictured in action last summer, was on the scoresheet in the 2-0 defeat of Argentina in Valencia. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Great Britain moved to the top of Pool A in hockey’s World League semi-final tournament with a 2-0 win over Argentina in Valencia.

Goals from Hannah Macleod and Sophie Bray proved enough for Danny Kerry’s side to secure a second successive win in the competition and a first triumph over Argentina since 1996.

Alex Danson also hit the woodwork from a penalty stroke in the first half as Britain had the better chances of a tight encounter.

Macleod broke the deadlock after 37 minutes before Bray settled the contest by diverting in a Lily Owsley shot from a penalty corner after 58 minutes.

Kerry, whose side beat the hosts, Spain, in their opener, said: “Our organised defence was great as Argentina threw numbers forward and we looked menacing on the counterattack. I’m proud of how this group has gone about two exceptionally tough pool games.”

The Guardian

Ireland Book Their Place in the Quarter Finals

Photo Credit: Stanislas Brochier/FIH

Aine Connery’s 55th minute winner saw Ireland guarantee their place in the quarter-finals of World League Round 3 as they survived a second half onslaught from Uruguay to prevail 3-2.
It means they are through with a group game to spare – a tie with USA on Tuesday – before playing their all-important quarter-final which will effectively hold an Olympic berth for the winner.
Ireland were made to work hard for the victory, though, against the tournament’s lowest ranked side as they did not have the same polish that marked their opening games against South Africa and Germany.
Nonetheless, they built a 2-0 lead by the early stages of the second half. Emma Smyth provided the impetus for the first pushing the ball into Kate Dillon whose touch lifted the ball away from two defenders.
It bounced into the path of Nikki Evans who selflessly played it around Rosanna Paselle to the sliding Anna O’Flanagan to finish. It was a classy move amid a sticky first half in which Ireland could not capitalise on early penalty corners while Uruguay gew in confidence.
The second arrived in the 36th minute as Lizzie Colvin hoovered up a loose clearance and whipped the ball right to Chloe Watkins. She lined up a perfect diagonal cross into the path of O’Flanagan and Evans; the latter got the key touch for her fourth goal of the competition.
But Uruguay began to punish the Irish indiscipline – they ended with four yellow cards and two green, totalling 24 minutes of sin-binnings – and got a lifeline when Janine Stanley showed some audacious skills down the right wing before flipping the ball over Emma Gray for her side’s first goal of the tournament.
In the 44th minute, Manuela Vilar dragged home a penalty corner to make it 2-2 and very much game on.
But Ireland got back to basics with a solid final quarter and won a couple of penalty corners. The first resulted in a mix-up but the other saw Cliodhna Sargent sweep to Connery to guide home for the victory.
Match winner Connery afterwards said it was “a tough game” but was delighted with how her side reacted in tough circumstances.
“With the amount of cards we got, it was disappointing from our point of view in terms of game management. But we showed good character at the end and were very focussed in what we had to do. I’m delighted we got the three points.
“We’re so excited with getting a quarter-final place. It was our aim when we started and we have achieved it and can start building towards it.”
Coach Darren Smith, meanwhile, added: “I am happy we are in the quarter-finals. The first part of the mission is done. We picked up soft cards which put us under pressure and they were able to exploit that but I was happy with how we closed it out in the end in a potentially difficult closing ten minutes.
“We’d love to have made it easier but three points is three points. Sometimes, in the past in these occasions, we haven’t got the three points. Today, we did.”
World League Round 3
Ireland 3 (A O’Flanagan, N Evans, A Connery) Uruguay 2 (J Stanley, M Vilar)

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

Irish Hockey Association media release

USA beat SA women’s hockey team


World number five USA beat the world number 11 South Africa women’s hockey team 4-1 at the World League Semi Final tournament in Valencia, Spain Saturday. The score was 1-1 at half-time

SA striker Dirkie Chamberlain opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a fine piece of individual skill before USA skipper Lauren Crandall equalised from a penalty corner a minute before half-time (29th minute). Three minutes after the changeover (33rd minute) Katelyn Falgowski put USA 2-1 up. Seven minutes into the final quarter (52nd minute) Kathleen Sharkey took USA to 3-1 and two minutes from full-time (58th minute) Jill Witmer made the final scoreline 4-1.

For the amateur South Africans against the full-time USA girls it was always going to be a battle.

SA face world number 29 Uruguay at 1pm Sunday (SuperSport 8) and the South Africans must get at least a point to put them in position to qualify ahead of the South Americans for a place in Thursday’s quarter-finals.

In the third minute skilful play won USA a penalty corner (PC) but SA keeper Sanani Mangisa made a fine stick save to her right from Rachel Dawson’s drag-flick. In the sixth a defensive error saw Chamberlain drive towards goal from outside the 23-metre area, exhibiting great 3D skills in flipping the ball over defenders’ sticks before making no mistake with her shot (1-0).

Mangisa made a solid save in the ninth before excellent defence repelled another incursion. Taking a 1-0 lead into the second quarter, SA continued to defend with determination and skill.

USA were piling on the pressure and on the cusp of half-time (29th minute) Crandall fired in the equaliser from a PC. The 1-1 score at the changeover was the least the Americans deserved after spending 80% of the time in the SA half.

Three minutes into the third quarter (33rd minute) Falgowski rounded off a quality move down the right to put USA 2-1 up.  Mangisa two more key saves to keep SA within striking distance. Three minutes from the end of the third quarter, midfielder Illse Davids did well to cross from the left to Bernie Coston and SA were awarded a PC. However, after the USA appealed, the TV umpire reversed the decision.

Soon after, SA striker Tanya Britz fired in a shot and Coston forced a PC but Lisa Deetlefs’ “goal” was disallowed for being too high on the initial strike. Just 22 seconds from the close of the third quarter, USA won a disputed PC but SA successfully defended what was the seventh set-piece against them.

The statistics were overwhelmingly in favour of USA and in the 52nd a fine through-ball from Michelle Vittese found Paige Selenski, who fired in a cross that was deflected in at the far post by Sharkey (3-1). Two minutes from full-time (58th) Jill Witmer scored the Americans’ fourth goal for the 4-1 final scoreline.

SA team – Starting: Sanani Mangisa (GK), Lisa Deetlefs, Nicole Walraven, Quanita Bobbs, Celia Evans, Nicolene Terblanche (capt), Shelley Russell, Jade Mayne, Bernie Coston, Dirkie Chamberlain, Lilian du Plessis. Rolling subs: Anelle van Deventer (GK), Line Malan, Erin Hunter, Illse Davids, Kelly Madsen, Candice Manuel, Tanya Britz.           

South Africa’s Pool B matches: SA 1 Ireland 4; USA 4 SA 1; SA vs Uruguay (Sunday, 1pm on SS8); Germany vs SA (next Tuesday, 5pm on SS7). Quarter-finals: Thursday.

SA Hockey Association media release

Mammoth Cap Accomplishments Mark World League Semifinals, 600 Caps Among Three U.S. Olympians

The U.S. Women’s National Team Overcomes South Africa 4-1

VALENCIA, Spain –  Three seasoned veterans of the U.S. Women’s National Team are commemorated for their contributed leadership and skill during their continued tenure with Team USA. For Olympian Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) (150 caps), two-time Olympian Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg, Pa.) (200 caps) as well as captain and two-time Olympian Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa.) (250 caps), the recognition comes at a time where their extensive experience on the pitch is vital. In Valencia, on their quest to secure 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games  selection, Team USA’s second match at FIH Hockey World League is recorded as a  4-1 win against South Africa.

The match kicked off in dramatic fashion as lively volley in the midfield for possession began, a foreshadowing of the intense battle that was about to ensue. Within the opening minutes of the game, Team USA secured their first penalty corner opportunity against 11th FIH World Ranked South Africa. A diving safe from South Africa’s keeper kept the game up for grabs. In the 7th minute of play, South Africa’s Dirkie Chamberlain regained control of a bouncy ball in their attacking end and at close range was able to hit USA's keeper Jackie Briggs’ (Robesonia, Pa.) pad at the right angle to create a score of USA 0, South Africa 1.

Reflecting on what she has learned from her journey of collecting a stack of caps, Falgowski says she gathered the mentality of resilience which was necessary to maintain for today’s match.

“No matter what, don’t stop fighting, don’t ever quit,” said Falgowski. “Don’t ever get down on yourself. There’s always hope. Today that was evident. Together as a unit we were able to get the performance and result we wanted because we never stopped believing in each other.”

There were no lulls in Team USA’s response to the board change. Rapid fire shots from the attack line and the reward of earned penalty corners were a present theme until the final seconds of the first half. Gonzalez was able to whip a wicked backhanded shot on cage without result. This was quickly followed by Katie O'Donnell’s (Blue Bell, Pa.) supreme ball control to draw in a RSA defender and force an error, earning Team USA one of the many attack corners of the half. It wasn’t until the 29th minute where off of an attack corner did Crandall rip a shot down the left channel where it nicked off a South African athlete’s stick and into the net for an equalizer.

The United States carried momentum from the first half into the second when in the 33rd minute a clever give-and-go play from Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) to Falgowski created the necessary space for Falgowski to crank the ball into the cage for USA to take the lead. On the opposite end of the pitch, Briggs made a crucial save by cutting off right post access to a backboard bound ball to keep their opponent’s at a lone goal. Despite South Africa valiant attempts run into their attack 25 yard line, defenders Stefanie Fee (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Julia Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.) were able to shut down the offense.

In the 49th minute, Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.) positioned herself on the left side of the semicircle to send a smooth cross to forward Kat Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.) who redirected the ball to break the goal line barrier. Mirroring this play, in the 59th minute, another quick cross from USA attacker Kelsey Kolojejcheck (Larksville, Pa.) took a sharp path to Jill Witmer (Lancaster, Pa.) who bashed the ball into the net. The final result of today’s Pool B match was made permeant with a score of USA 4 - RSA 1.

“What’s so beautiful about our team right now is the pop-up leadership and culture,” said Gonzalez. “Whether it’s your first cap or your 150th cap there is a unified sense of belief. We were down today, but we were never out.”

The three landmark cap recipients wish to thank their families, friends and coaches to propel them to this achievement.

“I dedicate this cap to anyone who has worn the U.S. jersey, of any sport, at any time,” said Crandall with patriotic pride.

Previously the United States defeated Uruguay 2-0 with an unrelenting attack in the first round of pool play. Team USA continues on with FIH Hockey World League Semifinals play Sunday against Germany 9 a.m. EST. Follow @USAFieldHockey on Twitter for live Team USA match updates.  View the Hockey World League Semifinal by subscribing to Willow, who will be live streaming the tournament.  #UN1TED

USFHA media release

Spain denies Canada its first win of the World League Semifinals

Host country scores two second half goals after lengthy weather delay

Shaheed Devji and Kishan Mistry

In a match that was delayed nearly an hour because of a thunderstorm, the Canadian Women’s Field Hockey Team couldn’t secure their first win of the World League Semifinals in Spain, losing 3-0 to the host country on Saturday afternoon.

The twentieth ranked Canadians got off to a good start, playing the first few minutes in the Spanish end but Spain, ranked fifteenth in the world, was able to withstand the early pressure and slowly began to gain momentum.

After Canada was given the first card of the game – a yellow to Natalie Sourisseau - the Spaniards earned their first penalty corner of the match.

The first attempt was bobbled and blocked, but on the ensuing corner, Lola Riera found herself open in space after some nice stickhandling. Her shot was turned away by a quick reaction save from Canadian goalkeeper Kaitlyn Williams.

The game remained scoreless throughout the first quarter, despite Williams being asked to turn away several attempts from the Spanish side.

The second quarter, much like the first, was scoreless.

Canada, staying calm and composed, was able to ward off any Spaniard attack displaying great defence in their own end. After a Canadian turnover, resulting in a penalty corner, the duo of Williams and Abigail Raye teamed up to keep Spain off the board, turning away a high flick from Riera.

As the match was slated to restart after half-time, a thunderstorm swept into the area causing a lengthy delay of nearly an hour.

Once play resumed, it was Spain – being encouraged loudly and proudly by their home fans who stuck around through the inclement weather – got on the board quickly.

In the thirty-third minute, Berta Bonastre found an open Rocia Ybarra in stride to the left of the Canadian goal. Ybarra attempted a pass across the goal to her teammate, but it was slightly blocked by a Canadian defender and fortunately for Spain the ball ended up going in for the game’s first goal.

Riera added her second of the match in the forty-ninth minute on a penalty corner that Williams got a piece of but couldn't manage to full turn away.

With five minutes remaining, Maria Gomez scored Spain's third and final goal of the match, knocking the ball out of the air and into the net.

The ball actually hit Canadian defender Sara McManus' face before going in, but after a video review it was ruled the ball was going in despite the deflection.

With the loss, Canada remains at the bottom of Pool A with no wins after three matches.

The Canadians face Great Britain in their fourth and final pool-stage match Sunday at 8am PT/11 am ET.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Malaysian Hockey players urged to score from anywhere

By S. Ramaguru

Beng Hai (in yellow) giving instructions to his players during a training session at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

KUALA LUMPUR: Shoot on sight!

That’s the order given to the national hockey team as they gear up for the World Hockey League Semi-Finals in Antwerp, Belgium, later this month.

The forward line will comprises Faizal Saari, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Izwan Firdaus, Mohd Firhan Ashari and Mohd Shahril Saabah.

National coach Tai Beng Hai has told them to go for goal rather than “trying to get a penalty corner”.

“What really counts are goals ... so, when they get the chance, they must take it. It doesn’t matter how we get the goals,” said Beng Hhai.

“Many times I’ve seen them trying to earn penalty corners instead of taking a shot at goal.

“We have a balance team and the forward line is quite experienced.”

The team will leave Sunday night for Amsterdam, Holland, where they are set to play two matches before heading for Belgium on June 17.

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

The top three finishers in Belgium will also gain automatic berths in next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Malaysia’s initial target in Belgium is to make the quarter-finals.

“That means we need to win at least two of our group matches. We have to win the first two matches – against China and Ireland – to make it easier for ourselves. Only then can we take it one match at a time,” said Beng Hai.

“It won’t be easy, though. Even China and Ireland will be a handful. We need to be cautious and go at them right from the start.”

World No. 1 Australia are the top seeds, followed by world No. 4 Belgium, world No. 5 Britain and world No. 9 India.

The result will be of academic interest to India, who have already qualified for the Olympics after winning the Asian Games gold medal last year.

The Star of Malaysia

Naveed Alam says can turn hockey fortunes in just six months

Mohsin Ali

ISLAMABAD - Olympian Naveed Alam offered his services to revive fast declining fortunes of national sports hockey within six months if given complete authority and made him director planning/development.

“I am ready to work for the national cause free of cost and could also resolve financial crisis persisting with the current management of the federation.
I had worked with Bangladesh Hockey Federation for 14 months as director coaching and took them to Asian Games and Youth Olympics.

Never in the history before Bangladesh were able to select even a single full-fledge playing XI in the past.

With my tireless efforts and hard work, I was able to establish five different age group teams.

Pakistan hockey is much better and there is absolutely no comparison between green shirts and Bangladeshi hockey teams but as far as organization, sponsorship, government and media support is concerned they are way ahead.”

Naveed said there was no government involvement at all in Bangladeshi hockey affairs and Bangladesh Hockey Federation president Air Chief Inamul Bari was doing tremendous job for the game as he involved cooperate sector to ensure there would be no financial hazards in smooth functioning of hockey federation.
“Bangladesh had constituted a sports institute called BKSP near capital Dhaka, where different international coaches were hired to impart coaching.

All the other countries adopted Pakistan model and implemented our ideas and are enjoying huge success while our hockey is on consistent decline.
We have to take drastic steps or else forget about hockey.”

Naveed said he was quite astonished Prime Minister, who is also the patron of the PHF, was not taking interest in hockey matters.

“He is not taking any action and no body feeling the pain and embracement, which we went through when Pakistan for the very first time failed to qualify for the World Cup and now we are almost on the brink of missing out on the Rio Olympics as well.

Now we are pinning great hopes on performing well in Olympic qualifiers to get a birth for the Olympics.

It hurts when we see national hockey stadium not used for hockey but for different functions.”

“PHF president Chaudhry Akhtar Rasool visit my house and wanted my support.
I told him to identify mistakes/culprits, play role or leave the post.

Government is not in a mood to listen you and not giving time despite two years gone, your own party’s PM not ready to meet you and players, masses and Olympians are feeling the grave pain.

I suggested him to hire right man for the right job.

PM must interfere and order complete operation clean up.

Now we are facing a situation whre we can’t even find 11 players.”

Naveed lamented that hockey was national sports only in books while in reality hockey was given step-motherly treatment and only handful of hockey players are living respectable life and that too because they play in international leagues abroad, while majority of players were suffering.

“Until and unless players’ living standard is not improved, no one could expect even ordinary results.

I had stayed with the national team at Pakistan Sports Board for the last 4 days or so.

I find majority of players very low in confidence.

They were not looking gold medal contenders and district level organization was witnessed at national level.

If Shahnaz and Islah are not on board, then God knows better where the team would stand.”

He said same persons were occupying federation in one role or another for the last 12 years.

“If their performance is satisfactory, let them continue, if not then they should be immediately removed.

Hockey world gives tremendous respect to Pakistan and they kept on changing rules just to accommodate greenshirts.

I request PM Nawaz Sharif to save hockey from further decline.

I didn’t change my principle stance for the last 8 years as I don’t want anything; I just want hockey to flourish and see Pakistan team of same old glory days.
Any further delays in taking action by the PM would further aggravate the situation as non-performers and liabilities must get the boot,” Naveed concluded.

The Nation

The disturbing scene of hockey

Aamir Bilal

Athletes around the globe have started the final round of their preparations for 2016 Summer Olympics which are scheduled in Rio de Janeiro from August 5, 2016.

Men’s hockey event will be the biggest attraction for Olympic fans in Pakistan. It starts from August 7 at the hockey centre in Deodoro, where top twelve teams will fight for the Olympic medals.

Pakistan, currently ranked 10th, are preparing to qualify for the Rio Olympics by participating in the 2015 World League Semifinals in Brasschaat, Belgium, which are to be held in July this year.

During the last few days, I witnessed the loosely coordinated Pakistan hockey camp in Islamabad under the leadership of Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh where the focus is on drills and full sessions are difficult to conduct because of the poor state of the Astroturf.

The lackluster Pakistan side is facing numerous fitness problems. Eight players in the camp suffered hamstring and other injuries, which clearly showed that they were training without the supervision of a physical trainer. Nasir Ali, Smeer and Malik Shafqat who were part of coaching staff have disappeared from the scene and the entire team is at the mercy of Shahnaz.

The state of our preparations can be well judged from the fact that in the recent tour of South Korea, Pakistan had to play four test matches, but they played only three matches against local teams and returned without playing the fourth match.

We must remember that modern hockey is quite different from grass hockey and as per new rules the matches in the Olympics will not be of two halves but of four quarters of 15 minutes. This new pattern will not only add colour to hockey from media and marketing perspectives but it will also make hockey speedier and add new dimensions to the art of coaching.

The role of coach will become vital as he will have to command and execute his plans for four new theaters by employing the best possible players and utilising the bench strength as the situation demands.

In such a scenario the services of senior players like Shakeel Abassi and Haseeb will be missed by the team.

The road to success for Pakistan will not be easy. I fear Pakistan may slip below the 10th spot and our fans may be shocked not to find Pakistan hockey team in Rio Olympics.

Leaving all long-term solutions aside, the government must interfere in the national hockey affairs, dismiss the present federation forthwith and give the charge to a high-powered five-member committee that should put up its recommendations to the government for a phased development of hockey in the country.

The government in coordination with private sector should immediately establish a national hockey academy in Swat or Abbottabad where students under the age of 14 years should be imparted coaching along with education.

The government and PHF should seriously consider the names of Australian coaches Charls worth and Reed to be engaged as coaches and advisors to develop the Pakistan hockey on modern lines and get rid of old horses who are no more than excess baggage for Pakistan hockey.

It will be impossible for Pakistan hockey to come out of the current situation if the federation continues to live with its ills and keeps its favourites in the team management.

After assessing the whole scenario, I am quite pessimistic and would not like to give the hockey fans any false hope.

The News International

Vandana strengthens team’s attack: says Rani

Vandana Katariya receiving Female Player of the Year award at the Hockey India Awards.

"The tournament is really tough but the aim is the berth for the Rio Olympics. We are geared up as a team."

Indian women’s hockey team forward Rani said on Saturday that striker Vandana Katariya will add venom to their attack during the Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Finals from June 20 to July 5.

India have been grouped in Pool B with Australia, hosts Belgium, New Zealand and Poland. They will play their first match against Belgium on June 20.

“We clearly missed Vandana during the Hawke’s Bay Cup. Her being back in the team strengthens our attack as she is good with speed and skill, to break the defence chain, which at times leaves the opponents on the back foot,” said the 21-year-old Rani.

A top-3 finish in the 10-team tournament will earn any side an Olympic berth while a top-4 finish will help them qualify for the HWL Final to be played in Argentina in December.

“The tournament is really tough but the aim is the berth for the Rio Olympics. We are geared up as a team. The key will be to take the crucial passes as this enables keeping possession of the ball and moving further towards the opponent’s defence wall,” said Rani.

“This is possible if we keep pace with each other. We have been working on our passes and tackles and we are confident of a good start.”

The Hindu

We have improved in passing and co-ordination: Ritu Rani

ANTWERP (Belgium): Prolific forward Ritu Rani feels the Indian women's hockey team is well-prepared for the Hockey World League Semifinals after working hard on improving the passing and co-ordination.

Speaking about the tournament starting June 20, the 21-year-old said she is extensively working on holding the possession of the ball and improving her short passing skills.

"The tournament is really tough but the aim is the berth for the Rio Olympics. We are geared up as a team. I think the key will be to take the crucial passes as this enables keeping possession of the ball and moving further towards the opponent's defence wall," she said.

This is possible if we keep pace with each other. We have been working on our passes and tackles and we are confident of a good start," she added.

Speaking on fellow striker Vandana Katariya, Rani said her return would help the side.

"We clearly missed her during the Hawke's Bay Cup. Her being back in the team strengthens our attack as she is good with her speed and her skill to break the defence chain at times leaves the opponents on the back foot," he said.

India will play their first match against Belgium on June 20.

The Times of India

India warm up with 1-0 win over France

Rupinder Pal Singh scored the lone goal of the match.

Antwerp (Belgium) - The Indian hockey team notched up a 1-0 win here today over France in their first practice match ahead of the FIH World League Semi-Finals starting from June 20. Rupinder Pal Singh sounded the board for India, while France failed to score.

The match started with vigour and speed, with both the sides looking desperate to take lead. Nonetheless, neither side could convert the chances that came their way in the first half.

The second session saw India raising the tempo further, and their efforts bore fruit in the 23rd minute when Rupinder Pal Singh struck through a penalty corner. The goal eventually turned out to be the match-winner as France failed to draw parity.

India will take on hosts Belgium in their second practice match. India will clash against France in their opening match of the tournament on June 20th.

The Tribune

Great Britain stun World Champions Australia

Sam Ward celebrates for GB against Australia

Great Britain stunned the world champions Australia with an excellent display to take a 3-1 win at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London. Goals from Sam Ward, Alastair Brogdon and Iain Lewers did the damage despite Jamie Dwyer’s first half equalizer.

Great Britain made a lively start in what was a high-tempo opening quarter. They forced an early penalty corner but Jackson’s drag flick was charged down by Kiel Brown. Three minutes later however they got their reward for their early enterprise as Sam Ward pounced to produce a lovely reverse stick deflection to hand his side the lead. Bobby Crutchley’s team continued the pressure and on nine minutes the ball broke to Chris Griffiths but Andrew Charter was out well to block from close range

With two minutes left in the quarter Australia forced their first penalty corner but Dan Fox charged down Blake Govers’ effort. Kieran Govers’ snapshot moments later was well dealt with by George Pinner and it stayed 1-0 at quarter time.

Australia levelled the scores early in the second quarter. They won the ball high up the pitch and Jamie Dwyer slid in to try and score. Although Pinner saved well the Australia No1 was alive to the situation and stabbed in the rebound. Both sides battled hard to get control of the game but with the teams evenly matched it was hard to say either side had control and it was 1-1 at the break.

Australia dominated the opening exchanges of the second half with Dwyer looking increasingly dangerous. The most capped Australian of all time ran from inside his own half to play in Kieran Govers but Mikey Hoare was there to see off the danger. Dwyer then had a shot of his own, but Pinner stood firm and made a good save. The crowd got their first look at Chris Ciriello’s penalty corners but Barry Middleton on the post did well to divert the effort wide.

With 38 minutes on the clock Great Britain took the lead once more. Tim Whiteman crept forwards down the right and fed the ball inside to Brogdon, he in turn played it to David Condon who delayed before returning the pass to a diving Brogdon who applied the finish from close range.

It could have been 3-1 with a minute left in the quarter as Ward let fly with a rocket strike which cannoned back off the post.

The pace intensified in the final quarter as the two sides battled for the all important next goal. Jacob Whetton spun away from his marker well but his shot flashed wide of the far post. Some lovely combination play between David Ames and Mark Gleghorne had the crowd off their seats but the No30 couldn’t quite apply the finish. It was 3-1 with seven minutes left on the clock. Jackson’s penalty corner was saved by Tyler Lovell but the rebound found its way to Iain Lewers who rifled the ball in via the goalkeeper’s facemask from a tight angle.

Australia withdrew their goalkeeper with three minutes left but GB saw the game out for a famous win to the delight of the home crowd.

Great Britain Head Coach – Bobby Crutchley
“They’re a quality side so it’s always a tough game. I’m very pleased with the result but there were periods of the game where we defended well but also periods of the game where we need to improve as well. Our ball retention could have been better at times but on the whole we can be very happy with our performance.”

“Everyone knows about Sam Ward’s goalscoring, but he actually did some things very well today that people may not have noticed. He’s had to work hard on parts of his game but he’s starting to get to the level we want him to reach and I’m pleased with how he did.”

“We know Australia will get better as they come into the World League competition so although we are happy with the result today we won’t take anything for granted heading into the Olympic Qualifiers.”

Sam Ward 7 (FG)
Alastair Brogdon 38 (FG)
Iain Lewers 54 (PC)

Jamie Dwyer 18 (FG)

Great Britain Hockey media release

Kookaburras downed

Kookaburras lose World League warm-up to GB in London

Despite Jamie Dwyer's 11th goal since the start of April, the Kookaburras fell 3-1 to hosts Great Britain in their first return to London's Olympic Park since winning bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Kookaburras coach Graham Reid said afterwards that despite defeat he is "not too concerned", adding, "We were trying a few things today. It was a good opportunity for a hit out and it's given us a bit of clarity for what we want to work on.

"We had passages of good play but just couldn't string it together and finish them off. There was a lack of connectedness between the lines.

"Credit to GB. They came out to play in front of a large home crowd."

It was a significant turn around for Great Britain with 15 of their 18-man squad having suffered a 5-0 reverse to the Kookaburras when England and Australia clashed at last year's World Cup, which the Kookaburras went on to win.

Australia welcomed back Kieran Govers from a hamstring injury for his 100th international appearance in the first of two warm-up matches for the World League Semi Final in Antwerp, starting next weekend.

After a delayed start to allow the capacity crowd to enter, the Kookaburras found themselves behind to an early Sam Ward reverse stick deflection after just seven minutes.

Centurion Govers and Dwyer combined shortly after the start of the second quarter to put Australia back on terms and the 36 year-old, five times World Player of the Year, Dwyer, was soon denied a second by British goalkeeper George Pinner.

The Kookaburras found themselves behind again midway through the third period when GB's Alastair Brogdon finished a neat team move.

The Australian goal then survived as Sam Ward's effort cannoned back off the post before, at the other end, Jake Whetton flashed an effort through the British circle.

But as the match entered its final moments it was Great Britain that seized the initiative, netting a third goal through Iain Lewers to seal a first victory for GB over Australia since the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. Lewers' flick over Tyler Lovell came after the goalkeeper had initially denied Ashley Jackson from a penalty corner, the ball rebounding to Lewers for a close range finish.
Of Kieran Govers' 100-cap career, which has been frequently interrupted by injury, Graham Reid said, "It's been five and a half years since his debut. It was good for him to get back into the group again and get used to how we are playing."

The Kookaburras and GB meet again in their second encounter on Monday (9pm AEST).

Match 1 of 2, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London

Sam Ward 7 (FG)
Alastair Brogdon 38 (FG)             
Iain Lewers 54 (PC)

Jamie Dwyer 18 (FG)
Kookaburras squad v Great Britain
Name (Hometown/State) Caps/Goals
Kiel Brown (Toowoomba, QLD) 160/6
Andrew Charter (Canberra, ACT) 90/0
Chris Ciriello (Melbourne, Victoria) 162/103
Jamie Dwyer (Rockhampton, QLD) 333/217
Kieran Govers (Wollongong, NSW) 100/52
Fergus Kavanagh (Geraldton, WA) 198/14
Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD) 257/22
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS) 244/61
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 89/37
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW) 55/3
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA) 58/4
Used Substitutes
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 56/10
Tim Deavin (Launceston, Tasmania) 107/5
Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD) 123/37
Blake Govers (Wollongong, NSW) 4/3
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA) 42/0
Simon Orchard (Maitland, NSW) 170/50
Matthew Swann (Mackay, QLD) 114/5                                               
Match Schedule            
15 June - 12:00hrs local / 21:00hrs AEST - Test: Kookaburras v Great Britain, Bisham Abbey
21 June - 18:00hrs local / 02:00hrs AEST (+1) - World League: Kookaburras v France
24 June - 20:00hrs local / 04:00hrs AEST (+1) - World League: Kookaburras v Pakistan
26 June - 20:00hrs local / 04:00hrs AEST (+1) - World League: Kookaburras v Poland
28 June - 16:00hrs local / 00:00hrs AEST (+1) - World League: Kookaburras v India
1 July - TBC - World League: Quarter Final
3 July - TBC - World League: Semi Final / Classification
5 July - TBC - World League: Medal Matches / Classification       

Hockey Australia media release

Great Britain’s hockey team defeat Australia for first time in 17 years

Iain Lewers was among those on target in a famous win for Great Britain against the world champions. Photograph: Ady Kerry/PA

Great Britain produced a stunning performance to beat world champions Australia for the first time since 1998 in their one-off Test in London.

Goals from Sam Ward, Alastair Brogdon and Iain Lewers secured a memorable 3-1 victory at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre and gave the side the perfect confidence boost for this month’s World League semi-finals.

The experienced Jamie Dwyer did cancel out Ward’s seventh-minute opener after a high-tempo first quarter but Australia failed to make the most of a spell of dominance.

Brogdon put Britain back ahead in the 38th minute after exchanging passes with David Condon and Ward hit the post a minute later. Lewers rifled in the third, via the facemask of goalkeeper Tyler Lovell, seven minutes from time from a penalty corner rebound.

The Great Britain head coach, Bobby Crutchley, said: “Our ball retention could have been better at times but on the whole we can be very happy with our performance.

“We know Australia will get better as they come into the World League competition so, although we are happy with the result today, we won’t take anything for granted heading into the Olympic qualifiers.”

The Guardian

Great Britain 3 Australia 1: Hosts end 27-year hoodoo with famous win

Great Britain men finally break shackles of 23-match losing streak with convincing 3-1 win at Lee Valley
By Rod Gilmour, at Lee Valley

Sam Ward celebrates opening the scoring for Great Britain against Australia Photo: RAVI GHOWRY, GB HOCKEY

It was 27 years ago when a semi-final hat-trick at the Seoul Olympics from stick maestro Sean Kerly had sealed Great Britain’s last triumph over Australia, the current world champions.

At the Olympic Park on Saturday, Great Britain men finally broke the shackles of a 23-match losing streak following a thoroughly convincing 3-1 win at Lee Valley, a match delayed by 10 minutes to allow the capacity 3,000 crowd to get in on time.

They were treated to a superb team display as Great Britain ended the Ashes hoodoo, a perfectly timed result ahead of their Olympic qualifying campaign, which starts next weekend in Antwerp.

Iain Lewers punches the air after making it 3-1

Great Britain’s goals from Sam Ward, Alistair Brogdon and Iain Lewers – Australian stalwart Jamie Dwyer had levelled for the visitors – were all world class. Even Bobby Crutchley, the national coach who usually finds areas for improvement in victory, admitted that his side “showed glimpses of the future”.

“One of my first frustrations has been for some time that no matter how hard they have tried against the top teams, the quality on the ball hasn’t been good enough,” said Crutchley.

“We have to take a lot of tough challenges against a time like that. Now we have the skills to break the lines. We now have a number of players who are good on the ball and that’s really exciting. Previously we had hard workers rather than real quality and players who scare opposition.”

Bobby Crutchley gives his instructions to the Great Britain players

Australia didn’t look like a side who had arrived in the UK on Tuesday. But for all their early pressure and cute aerial passes, it was Ashley Jackson who earned the first penalty corner of the game.

It came to nothing, but they still took a deserved lead in the seventh minute when Henry Weir’s weighted cross found Ward, whose deflected shot was perfectly executed. The goal shifted the balance of possession, although Australia levelled when Dwyer followed up his initial shot off George Pinner’s pads from close range.

Great Britain started the second-half with a delightful goal. Started on the left by Tim Whiteman, a series of cute interchanges from Brogdon and David Condon saw the former finish off from close range.

Ashley Jackson made his 200th international appearance against Australia

Six minutes from time, a melee in the circle from a Great Britain penalty corner saw the ball find Lewers on the baseline. The Ulsterman, one of three Irishman in the side, had few angles to work with, but his aerial flick was driven high into the net as the hosts held on.

“Until recently we had 25 years either as England or Great Britain without a win”, Crutchley said. “Great Britain beating Australia is very important. It may not be in a big tournament, but in a Test and for our sport, those kind of wins make people smile.”

Just as Crutchley saw his side complete a satisfactory afternoon with a practice shoot out wi, GB women began their second Olympic qualifying match in Valencia.

Following a 2-0 win against Argentina - at world No 3 they are the highest-ranked side in Spain - Danny Kerry's side went top of their pool after two successive wins to complete highly satisfactory day for British hockey.

The Telegraph

Black Sticks Women edged by Netherlands

Kirsten Pierce was unlucky not to score

The Black Sticks Women have been edged 2-0 by the Netherlands in the second of two tests at the Noordwijkse Hockey Club in Holland.

In front of a vocal home crowd, the world champion Dutch had the majority of possession in the first quarter but couldn’t find a way through the Kiwi defence with goalkeeper Sally Rutherford making some top saves.

Both sides had several scoring chances in the second quarter but it was Netherlands who capitalised with some clever rebounding off an initial save.

Striker Kirsten Pearce was unlucky not to score the equaliser with a stinging shot at goal that was just deflected wide by the Dutch keeper.

Leading 1-0 at halftime, the Dutch turned up the pressure in the third quarter and extended their lead with a sharp shot from the top of the circle following a quick long corner.

The Kiwis pushed hard to pull a goal back but were unable to get the ball into the attacking circle.

These tests have been part of New Zealand’s build-up to the FIH World League Semi-Final which runs from 20 June-  5 July in Antwerp, Belgium.

The Black Sticks now travel from the Netherlands to Belgium where they will set up base and prepare for their first match at the World League Semi-Final against Poland at 8pm on Saturday 20 June (NZ time).

All Black Sticks games will be LIVE on SKY Sport.

NETHERLANDS 2: (Ginella Zerbo, Carlien Dirske van den Heuvel)
Halftime: Netherlands 1-0

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Malaysia retain gold medal in men's hockey

By Aftar Singh

Malaysian hockey team celebrates after winning the final against Singapore at Sengkang Hockey Stadium. - IZZRAFIQ ALIAS / The Star

SINGAPORE: Malaysia edged Singapore by the skin of their teeth to retain the SEA Games men’s hockey gold medal.

Both teams were tied 2-2 in regulation time, forcing the tie to be decided on a penalty shootout at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium. And Malaysia can thank their lucky stars for triumphing 4-3.

The Malaysian team, represented by the National Juniors, led 2-0 with penalty corner goals by Aminuddin Mohd Zain (14th) and Mohd Azwar Abdul Rahman (45th).

But Singapore, who lost 4-1 to Malaysia in the round-robin match, hit back through Hafiz Abdul Rasheed (51st) and Timothy Goh (70th) to force the match into a shootout.

Nor Azrul Abdul Rahman netted the winner from the shootout to clinch Malaysia’s gold No. 45 in the Singapore Games. Nik Rozemi Aiman, Arshan Hamsani and Najmi Farizal Jazlan converted the other goals for Malaysia in the shootout.

Noor Silas, Farhan Kamsani and Sabri Yuhari scored from the shootout for Singapore.

The Star of Malaysia

Malaysia win hockey gold

Malaysia won the men's gold medal in field hockey at the SEA Games when they beat Singapore in a penalty-shootout after being deadlocked at 2-2 on Saturday at Sengkang Hockey Stadium.

In the earlier match Myanmar thrashed Thailand 5-1 to win the bronze medal.

In the gold medal match Malaysia got off to a great start when they opened the scoring through defender Aminudin Mohdzain in the 14th minute after a number of penalty corners.

They then went 2-0 up in the 45th minute when Azwar Abdul Rahman scored when he deflected a ball played from the right that went into the goal.

Singapore pulled a goal back when Hafiz Abdul slotted home a shot in the 51st minute.

The equaliser was scored when Enrico Marican’s shot in the area was blocked and after a goalmouth scramble Timothy Goh scored in the 60th minute.

The match went down to a penalty-shootout which Malaysia won 4-3 thanks to Nor Azrul Abdul Rahman, who netted the final penalty to win gold.

Fox Sports Asia

Gallant hosts go down on penalties to Malaysia

Malaysia defended their men's hockey gold medal at the 28th SEA Games after beating hosts Singapore 4-3 on penalties in the final.

SINGAPORE: Malaysia defeated hosts Singapore 4-3 on penalties after the match ended 2-2 in regulation time at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium to retain the men's gold medal at the 28th SEA Games on Saturday (Jun 13).

The Malaysians, who have only ever lost the gold medal once - to hosts Singapore in 1973 - in men's hockey, were overwhelming favourites but Singapore had the best chances early on, drawing a save from the Malaysia keeper Azmi Ridwhan and then forcing a clearance from the Malaysian defence.

Malaysia then took charge, winning a succession of penalty corners, before scoring with their seventh through Aminudin Mohd Zain in the 16th minute.

The defending champions then doubled their lead in the 44th minute when Abdul Rahman deflected the loose ball after it was played back in from the right.

The hosts were far from outclassed by the regional powerhouses, and Singapore then struck back following a mazy run on the right by which was then pulled back for Abdul Hafiz to slot home.

Malaysia thought they restored their 2-goal advantage following a penalty corner in the 60th minute, but it was overruled by the referee.

Singapore’s dogged defending and persistent probing paid off after captain Marican Enrico's shot was bundled home for the equaliser by Timothy Goh in the 70th minute following a goalmouth scramble.

The match then went to penalty strokes which the Malaysians duly won 4-3, this after Singapore had missed their first two strokes.

Singapore captain Enrico Marican was left to rue what might have been for the hosts. "It's bitter and sweet," he said. "I think we've given our all and played our hearts out. This is one of the best teams I've ever played with."

He added: "I feel that we won the hearts of our fans and I hope we'll get as much support as possible. We are a young team and we want to go far.

"To me, my team won the game."

Channel News Asia

Dar Hockey Academy Swept Aside MOP 4-1

By Ijaz Chaudhry

On paper, it was the toughest assignment for the Dar Hockey Academy thus far on the tour of Holland. The boys faced MOP hockey club’s first Men team. One of the umpires of the day was world famed Rob Lathouwers. He blew whistle in 158 internationals including three Olympics and two World Cups from 1978 to 1994.

The Vught based side was the first to make inroads. One ball deep into the circle was neatly cleared by left half Aqeel . In the fourth minute, a cross from left side by Umair went perilously close to the MOP’s goal line but eluded Dar HA sticks. In the seventh minute, a quickly taken free hit outside the circle caught the Pakistani academy off guard and Cees Peters netted to put MOP ahead. Surprised but not demoralized, Dar HA had a chance in the very next minute. A minus from Zulqarnain well inside the circle, was not trapped by Zeeshan who was in excellent position to shoot. In the 11th minute, a jinking run by irrepressible Usman senior eliminated three defenders. The ensuing effort on goal was stopped by the goal keeper and the resultant rebound hit foot of Usman junior, who was well positioned to score. Lahore based outfits’ raids yielded two penalty corners in last minutes of the first quarter but neither was cashed. First one saw Usman blasting over the bar and the flat push on the other was easily taken care of by the goal keeper.

As in the first quarter, MOP came out of the blocks quickly in the second as well. Mobashar’s decisive tackle prevented what could have been a goal scoring opportunity. In the 18th minute, Aqeel failed to trap a MOP high ball and first penalty corner resulted. Net minder Awais dived to execute a brilliant save. The very next minute the long coming equalizer arrived. Usman senior linked up with Umair and the latter found the net with a reverse high strike. Hosts immediately retaliated and earned another penalty corner via a defender’s rash challenge. The indirect drill on the set piece was well read by the defence and easily put out of the danger area.

Dar HA went ahead in the 22nd minute. The raid had been halted in the circle but Zulqarnain beautifully robbed the defender and netted the ball in a flash. The visitors remained in cruise control and the lead was soon doubled. Perhaps no one expected Usman Senior to attempt from a very tight angle on the right side of the circle. But he went for it. The powerful strike found the top left corner of the goal; leaving everyone awestruck. 

Half time finished with Dar HA leading 3-1

They continued to press. Usman Senior, Umair and Zulqarnian were involved in a sweeping move. As the goal keeper closed in, Usman tried to flick the ball over him. The save resulted in Dar HA’s second penalty corner. The defender rushed and stopped the shot at the top of the circle. Later, MOP had two penalty corners, both conceded by the Dar HA through unnecessary stick checks outside the circle. But neither was converted. This was followed by another wasted chance in the 41st minute as a sitter was missed after a delightful one touch move by five players. Three minutes had passed when a MOP defender inexplicably failed to stop a long high ball from Dar HA’s full back Asif Iqbal.  Striker Usman junior showed great opportunism and made it 4-1 with a back hander.

In the final quarter, the forwards crafted attacking sorties and also had scoring opportunities but the Dar HA’s defence started to wind down. MOP was presented with open play chances as well as two more penalty corners. However, the visitors net minder Awais aided ably by deep defenders ensured the score sheet remained intact.

This was Dar HA’s finest all round show in Holland so far. The team excelled in all the departments. The only worry in the coaches’ mind should be the number of penalty corners conceded due to unforced errors.

Dar Hockey Academy: 4 (Umair, Usman Senior, Zulqarnain & Usman Junior) MOP HC: 1 (Cess Potters)

Updated Tour Record: Matches played 6. Won 3, Lost 1, Drawn 1

Ijaz Chaudhry writes on hockey and other sports. For more about him and his work, visit www.sportscorrespondent.info


Indian hand in Australia’s hockey success

Rohit Mahajan

Seven Anglo-Indians (encircled) formed part of Western Australia’s 1958 national championship winning team.

1947 saw migration of Anglo-Indians in large numbers, taking with them their love for the sport, and their legendary skills. They infused the attributes that today form the basis of Australian hockey — being robust, and skilful

As the sea is sighted at Freemantle, close to Perth in Western Australia, the driver-guide, mindful of his Indian audience, announces with a flourish: “And that, gentlemen, is the Indian Ocean!”

The waters of the Indian Ocean wash the sands of Freemantle, but there’s a much stronger, more human connection between Freemantle and India than just shared waters.

When the great Indian hockey team played Australia, novices then, in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, there were five Anglo-Indian players on the green. But only one was playing for India — captain Leslie Claudius. Four, recent migrants from India, were representing Australia.

With Independence for India came anxiety for the nation’s Anglo-Indian community. It’s estimated that their number was 300,000 — a third of them departed during 1947 or soon after. Most went to Great Britain, but a significant number came to Australia. Anglo-Indians were the buffer between the British and the “natives”. They were the people who turned the great wheels of the Raj, manning the Railways, Telegraph, Customs, Army and Police. And they also excelled in sports — migrants to Australia contributed vitally in making that country a hockey superpower.

Ric Charlesworth, the great Australian hockey player and coach, rattles off the names — the Pearce brothers, Fred Browne, Merv Adams, Trevor Vanderputt, Don Smart, Terry Walsh, Paul Gaudoin. These are some of the prominent Anglo-Indians Charlesworth associated with as a player or coach.

“The Indians, and Pakistanis, were the greatest players of hockey at that time,” says Charlesworth. “They were the great innovators in the sport, the equipment was made in Sialkot and Jalandhar. The migrants brought with them their knowledge.”

Charlesworth says that the Australian style of hockey, before it was influenced by the Anglo-Indians, was “pretty European”. “The Anglo-Indians brought in more finesse, different skills,” he says. “So Australia’s game is hybrid — more robust, but also giving emphasis to the skills, what we associated with Indian hockey.”

Hockey had been played in Australia, and there had been Anglo-Indian players and coaches before 1947. But it got a huge boost from the Anglo-Indian influx after India’s Independence, especially in Western Australia.

Perth, on the western edge of the country, is the loneliest big city in Australia, closer to some Asian cities than Australia’s own large cities. “It being closer to Asia than other Australian cities, the first port of call for Indians in Australia was Freemantle, and a very large number of them settled in Western Australia,” says Charlesworth.

Among them were great coaches like Vanderputt, Browne and Adams, whose mentorship resulted in Western Australian becoming a hockey powerhouse. When the Anglo-Indian influence was at its peak, with the Pearce brothers in action, the state won the country’s top championship eight times in nine years from 1962 to 1970.

Many Australians started playing hockey after being inspired by migrant coaches. Michael Nobbs, the former Australian player who coached India, was one of them. “I still remember the day I fell in love with hockey, when as a boy I watched an Indian coach dribble the ball so fast that I could barely see the ball!” says Nobbs.

Charles Gaudoin landed in Perth in 1970. “When we arrived, we had only $7, which was what the Indian government allowed migrants to leave with,” says Gaudoin. In India, his father worked with the Central Excise and Customs department. “He was an excellent sportsman, he’d played with all those top players like Leslie Claudius,” says Gaudoin, who was the key man behind the formation of an Anglo-Indian hockey club, the Harlequins, in Perth.

Over the years, tens of Anglo-Indians have played hockey for Australia. The most remarkable were the five Pearce brothers — Cec, Eric, Julian, Mel and Gordon. There have been many others, like Dick Carr, Don Smart, Kevin Carton, Ray Whiteside, Godfrey Phillips, Paul Gaudoin (son of Charles Gaudoin) and Chris Ciriello.

Ciriello, whose mother was born in Kolkata, scored a hat-trick when Australia beat the Netherlands in the World Cup, and also when Australia beat India in the final of the Commonwealth Games, both last year. “One of my first coaches, in basic skills, was my grandfather,” says Ciriello. “My basic skills are very good, and that’s because of him.”

Ciriello’s grandfather is Rudolph Pacheco, who played hockey for India before migrating to Australia. “He was quite high-up in the Customs, and always talked about how great it was to play hockey for a job in India in those days!”

Ciriello says that there was a distinctive style the Anglo-Indians brought to Australia. “My best man is an Anglo-Indian too, and his dad also played in India,” he says. “With him too you can see the different skills, in terms of movement and controlling the ball.”

Charles Gaudoin, a long-time coach who’s coached in India as well, says that the Anglo-Indians, with skills, also brought in an element of mental toughness, without which migrants can’t flourish. “There were times we had lots of regrets about leaving India,” he says. “My mother missed India enormously, the lifestyle we had there…”

There were racial tensions as well. In India, while the Anglo-Indians were seen as close to the white British rulers, Gaudoin didn’t feel that there was resentment towards them after Independence. “In fact, it was far greater here!” he says.

There was racist name-calling, he recalls, and it sometimes happened on the field of play as well. “The Anglo-Indian mentality is to fight back, but we would fight back with our fists!” he says. “We were hot-blooded, but we were good. And we would not only beat them on the field, but also off it, with our fists!” They’re now all friends, says Gaudoin, because with time people learn to forgive the anger and mistakes of youth.

The Anglo-Indians were able to integrate quite well, better than other Indians or Europeans. There were key reasons for that, including the proximity of language, culture, religion, for Anglo-Indians are mostly Catholic or Anglican Christians. Plus, they excelled in sport, a unique unifying factor. They were excellent in sport, and sport wins friends everywhere.

The Tribune

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