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News for 10 July 2015

All the news for Friday 10 July 2015

USMNT Fall to Argentina in Second Game

BOSTON, Mass. - Today was another opportunity for the U.S. Men's National Team to gain match experienced against Argentina, who recently finished second at the FIH Hockey World League Semifinal in Buenos Aires. With that second place finish, the 6th ranked team in the world by the FIH World Rankings has already qualified for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

In their second game in the preparatory series before the Pan American Games, the USMNT made improvements from the previous day's game. The first quarter showed a much more controlled approach to the game with the score at the end of the period tied at 0-0.

Team USA needed continuation of momentum to progress but within a 7 minute period Argentina capitalized on opportunities and quickly changed the score to USA 1, ARG 3. USA's first goal came from Will Holt (Camarillo, Calif.) who found the net on a penalty corner.

The second half began and the USMNT quickly wanted to revert away from play in the second quarter and within 2 minutes Ajai Dhadwal (Agoura Hills, Calif.) fired a ball to Pat Harris who cleverly deflected it past the Argentinian goalkeeper to close the scoring gap to USA 2, ARG 3. Play was exciting through the midfield with offensive and defensive play however Argentina converted on their third penalty corner out of four to put the opponents up by one.

In the final quarter, Team USA fought  hard to again close the scoring gap to 3-4 on a goal from Tom Barratt (Greensboro, N.C.) who found himself free at the top of the circle and scored on a low backhand shot into the goal.

"Today we played with more belief in ourselves as individuals and as a team," said Chris Clements, U.S. Men's National Team Head Coach. "The results are seen on the statistics sheet where we allowed far less turnovers in the defensive end of the field whereas yesterday this was a huge problem for us. We therefore created more scoring chances and were on the front foot and gave our players a better platform to build from with our overall performance."

"The training camp in Boston has been very productive and again another positive step for the U.S. Men's National Team." added Clements.

"We played more solid and composed than yesterday and this allowed us to get a better result," said Michael Barminski (Ventura, Calif.), U.S. Men's National Team Athlete. "Most importantly we are progressing going into the games and we are healthy and fit, and looking forward to the first game."

USFHA media release

USA’s Miller and Crandall eye Olympic glory

One is on 200 caps, the other has less than 25, but both Lauren Crandall and Adam Miller have high hopes for Toronto

We talk to two athletes who have been counting down the days until they can get on the hockey field at the Pan-Am Games and make their mark.

23-year-old Adam Miller played hockey for England at under 16, 18 and 21 level, but then he decided to try out for Team USA, courtesy of his dual nationality.

Miller made his debut for Team USA last year, playing in a series of test matches against Mexico, Chile and Argentina.

Looking back he says those test matches were the best hockey experiences he has enjoyed so far and his ambition is to play in an Olympic Games as a member of Team USA.

Miller works and lives in England so he has to do much of his training by himself or with teammates from his club side.

He explains what his current training workload looks like: “The lead up to the Pan Am Games is unfortunately in the off-season in England which has made it difficult to get regular team training. I was able to get on the pitch every Tuesday and Thursday, where I did speed and fitness sessions before practising basic stick skills on my own or more complex drills with any friends that fancied coming along.

He continued: “Our team philosophy in the build up to the Pan American games has been’no off days’, and so every day I did 30 minutes of maintenance such as stretching, foam rolling and core exercises. Since June, I have been with the squad doing full-time training in preparation for the Pan- Am Games.”

A common theme with Team USA hockey players, both males and females, is the importance of being part of the team and always putting team first. Miller is no exception.

He said: “Our main aim when we play matches is for every individual to understand their own role within the team. Then our only individual aim is to take care of that role and that role alone. This is why being around our teammates in preparation for a competition is hugely important. Plus it’s the main reason why team sports and particularly playing for this squad is so much fun. The squad is extremely supportive, honest and open to each other… almost too open,” he laughs.

When it comes to recognising the importance of a good performance at the Pan-Am Games, no-one will be wanting to win more than USA captain Lauren Crandall.

In the Pan-Am final four years ago, Team USA were on the verge of breaking the hearts of Argentina and its passionate supporters.

This time around, victory is essential because first place in the Pan-Am Games guarantees qualification for Rio 2016.

Putting aside this pressure, Crandall recalls that day back in July 2011. She said: “We had done all the preparation prior to the game, so it was just a matter of performing. We were relaxed but excited. We all went through our typical pre-game rituals: some of us played some games; others listen to music together in the locker room. 

“As we got out on the pitch, I remember the crowd was loud and there were a lot of Argentinian fans; there was a section of fans with a drum that kept beating. But the best noise I heard all game was when that drum stopped and the American fans began to roar.”

The USA had a dream start as they took a two goal lead and at half-time they were 3-1 up. But with Argentina’s Las Leonas there is always the chance of a comeback.

It wasn’t until Michelle Vittese made it 4-2 in the 66th minute of the game, did Crandall and her teammates dare to dream.

“Each goal we scored added more momentum to the game. But it wasn’t until Michelle put away our fourth goal that we knew we were taking that game.

“After our team celebration I remember jumping the fence and grabbing an American flag from the crowd and running down the field holding it. My teammates and I sprinted over to our Men’s National Team who were there supporting us and thanked them for their support - they were loud and amazing.”

FIH site

Ronan Gormley Becomes Most Capped Player in Irish Hockey History  


Congratulations to Ronan Gormley who has become the most capped player in Irish hockey history. Gormley celebrated his 200th cap in May when the Green Machine faced Germany and has represented Ireland 12 more times since then, making his total caps 212. The previous record holder was Nikki Symmons with an incredible 208 caps, which Eugene Magee has now also matched. It's a fantastic achievement for a stalwart of Irish hockey.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Scotland host Grand & Great Grand Masters 4 Nations this weekend

Scotland’s Over 60 and Over 65 teams take on the rest of the UK this coming weekend at Peffermill in the Home International Tournament, with separate competitions for the two age groups.

The Linburn Trophy for Grand Masters (Over 60) is the premier competition, fought out between England, Ireland. Scotland and Wales, whilst the Great Grand Masters (Over 65) tournament involves England, Scotland and Wales. England, as holders of both trophies from the last event in Wales in 2013, start as favourites but the other countries have been training hard and will provide stiff opposition for the holders.

The tournament begins on Friday 10 July with Scotland Great Grand Masters looking to repeat their success against Wales earlier this year in the Celtic Cup. Later in the evening, Scotland Grand Masters will find out if their hard work in training will pay off and allow them to gain revenge on Ireland, Grand Masters Celtic Cup winners.

Match Schedule

Friday 10 July

16:30 Pitch 1   Scotland v Wales   (GGM)
17:30 Pitch 2   England v Wales   (GM)
18:15 Pitch 1   Scotland v Ireland   (GM)

Saturday 11 July (All Pitch 1)

12:00   England v Wales   (GGM)
13:30   Ireland v Wales   (GM)
15:00   Scotland v England   GM

Sunday 12 July

10:30 Pitch 1   England v Scotland   GGM
10:30 Pitch 2   Scotland v Wales   GM
12:00 Pitch 1   Ireland v England   GM
13:30 On-field Presentation

Scotland Squads

Over 60

Jim Bate, Hew Bishop, Peter Burns, John Candlin, Jim Chisholm, Jan Durajczyk, John Hay, Derek Johnstone, Chris Kalman (GK), Gordon Loudon, Ken Moore, Bernie Morrison, Alistair Ogilvie, Glenn Paton, John Smith, Chris Taylor (GK), Jim Watson, Ian Wilson (Captain).

Over 65

Alan Auld, Ernie Brittain-Dodd, Alex Cathro, Roy Crichton, Ian Downie, Donald Dunbar, Colin Gallacher, Peter Gordon (Captain), David Margerison, Alan Parker, Dick Pearce (GK), Colin Tucker, Douglas Turner, Sandy Weir.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

World Hockey League brings global recognition to Indian hockey

By V Krishnaswamy

Hockey World League Semi Final match

The men had already booked their ticket to the Rio Olympics of 2016 last year and the women have now got a ticket, which is in the waiting list and shall be confirmed soon. That happened after the women finished fifth at the Hockey World League Semi-final which concluded in Antwerp last Sunday.

So what did the men’s team gain from a tournament which is largely an Olympic qualification one? Perhaps more experience of facing the big teams and some humour.

“It would help to have more Sardars. He was very good. His leadership was excellent, players co-operated. Looking at the bigger picture, we came as No. 9 in the world, we made the semis, which was good. Then the others teams there (in semis) proved too big for us, at this stage,” that was, Paul Van Ass, Dutch coach of the Indian team. He was speaking after India’s massive defeats at the hands of Great Britain (1-5) in the ‘Battle for bronze’ and before that against Belgium (0-4). The thought provoking the point was that Indian captain Sardar Singh seemed to be the one warrior in the two losing battles against Belgium and Britain, he jokingly said,

“Each team has a few crucial players. You take them out and the team can fall apart – and Sardar is the same for us,” he added.

Sardar himself had a fine event, but did have some disappointments from the tournament. “We had a poor start against both Belgium and Britain and we gave away the early goals in counters. We went up and then did not fall back in time,” believes the Indian captain.

“The lessons were that we need more focus and we need to be more organised at higher levels of international hockey. It is not about just two, or three or four players, we need all to perform. But still the margins against Belgium and Britain were too much.”

He added, “There will be times when (tough) situations arise when we play big events. We need to prepare better and learn how to play major games better. Like, a bronze medal match is very important,” Sardar cautioned.

On strategy and lessons, the coach believes more needs to be done. “Our ‘play with the ball’ is okay, what we need to improve is ‘play-without-theball’ to compete with teams that have been together for longer periods. We are settled in terms of most of our players, but we need to move around better without the ball. By that I mean, we must know where to take position to catch rebounds, deflections and what to do when we regain the ball and how to move around at that time.

On the question players falling back with the ball, “We did well against teams who we are supposed to beat, it worked, but if the pace goes up then things fall apart. So let us take lessons from here (Antwerp) and work on them,” Van Ass said.

Sardar echoed the coach when it came to the new strategy of’10-on-10′ adopted by the team. “It is about all forwards going up and the line behind takes care if something goes wrong or is needed to strike, but there is a gap when we need to fall back. We are not able to fall back quickly. Also up front we are not finishing.”


Women’s coach Mathias Ahrens, who took charge just weeks before the event, wore a big smile while walking off out of the stadium after beating Japan 1-0 for fifth place. “The job has been. We are ranked in the tournament at fifth. It is too early to say we have qualified, but after not getting into semi-finals, this is the best we could do and we did it. I have said before that if the men could qualify for World Cup finishing sixth, we should make it to Olympics at fifth. Let’s see how it goes.”

The coach’s take away?

“We played well against higher ranked teams like Netherlands and Australia. Now, we will put in more competitions in the next year or so and work on various things.

The Economic Times

Why should India rethink about annual Australia series?

K Arumugam

The proposed annual India-Australia men’s hockey test series, which will be telecast Live by Starsports, and is expected to provide entertaining stuff to at least India, needs to be re-evaluated in the light of what has transpired between India and Australia turf encounters in the last one year.

Hockey India, undoubtedly the wealthiest and healthiest national field hockey federation, and Hockey Australia, undoubtedly the national federation that possesses most vibrant of men and women’s hockey teams, have early in the year signed an agreement to host annual test series. The highlight of the proposal is live telecast of all the matches, an exclusive entity reserved only for India-Pak series so far.

Thinking beyond cashing in on traditional India-Pak rivalry is opening new vista, and is welcome. If the telecast is to create mass interest in hockey to benefit both the staking holding nations, significantly the followers and hard-core fans of India and its vast diaspora, the idea need to look at from different angles above known factors such yet-to-fructify-commercial interest, building national team and providing competitive international exposure to them.

Here only the results of matches involving both the nations come in to play.

India played Australia late last year. After 0-4 rout in the opener, India won the rest 3 matches with close margins (1-0, 2-1, 3-1) at Perth, WA.

undefined With four months from the what was described as ‘historic’ Australia Series Win, India locked horns with them in the last pool match at Ipoh in the Azlan Shah Cup. Before the match, India was almost out of medal race. But it posted what appeared a fluent and fantastic 4-2 win thus making it play for the bronze, which it ultimately won.

The Australian win featured a fluent hat-trick by Nikkin Thimmaiah. He has become an instant hero. He deserved it we thought.

The continuous wins did not count when they met at Antwerp.

It was an one-sided, outplay kind of stuff. India was no where in the game.

For many it may sound a routine drubbing at the hands of Australia.

Yes it is.

Now the question, how do you view the Historic Series Win and Azlan Shah upset?

Cynics always say leading countries don’t play their best teams except FIH tournaments. Coaches, having full authority to plan exposure trips and select teams – obvious case with Oceania and Europe -- use every opportunity to experiment.

They don’t seem to play full team, to potential in order conserve energy, conceal strategy etc etc. Their focus is FIH tournaments and to earn as much ranking points as possible.

Unfortunately, present FIH ranking system is much flawed, narrow in vision, doesn’t consider 90 percent of international matches.

It is though charitable to say the FIH ranking system is in infant stage.

But see some of the fringe things that have happened based on Australia Series and Azlan Shah victories.

StarSports TV, for instant, crested a promo in which Indian stars in a press conference regret their great victories such as against Australia has not won the hearts of Indians.

The promo, aired almost a month in the run up to HWL SF Antwerp, and also during the event, attempts to convey a deep rooted, but perhaps partly misplaced feeling among hockey players and administrators that their achievements did not cut much ice with public at large.

Now in the light of Australian drub -- aided by other drubbings of Belgium and Great Britain – the promo looks misconceived.

However, when the stats say that India won 3 out 4 test matches in four months, any TV promo is entitled to take that seriously.

If they are let down, its fault of hockey as a sport, which organizes mis-guiding tournaments, and showcase false laurels with it.

For coaches, every tournament is a guinea pig; but for the paying and seeing fans, struggling organizers, and promoting TV set up every tournament is an entity, viable at that. True at that.

By hiding players and scurrying strategies coaches have a field day at the expense of hockey sport itself.

In the process, knowingly or unknowingly, the results have fooled the fans, and made such events insignificant and unworthy of trust.

If an upset result occurs in FIH tournament it is desirable.

But if everybody will know that the likes of India will be outplayed by the likes of Australia in FIH tournaments (say World Cup and Olympics), for whatever reasons, and the likes of India will win and present equal status in all other tournaments and Tests, the idea of organising any tournament other than FIH ones is rank bad.

Such events lack credibility and trust worthiness. These won’t take off, cannot get eye balls and stands.

Cynicism will set in.

If India wins, public will say ‘but will be beaten in big tournaments. Its not good. Its not going to take hockey anywhere.

Everybody knows the likes of Chris Criellos will convert 3 out of 4 penalty corners in World Cup and World League but not in Tests, HHIL, Azlan Shahs! Unless attitude of the coaches change, India, always wanting to make hockey a professional sport, will not achieve it.

A test series, as it happens in Cricket or any other professional sport, must be competitive and true reflection of strength and weaknesses of teams.

The battle has to be real the result has to have credibility. Otherwise India is not going to benefit. Holding the series should not construed by the public as providing laboratory facilities to Australia!

I am not sure how many Australians will see the Series, but definitely bulk of India will be.

Australia’s popular media may not even take note of such Series.

But in India the series will be followed, written and covered. Believing people should not be misled with such soft fixing.

Therefore, its time the Administrators take a relook.

It is necessary for both teams to play any series with all cards open.

There seem some merit in the argument that India might lose badly all the Tests if Aussie play with full force.

Be it.

Let us lose. But there will be improvement after each failure, at least there won't be false wins.

In other way, such arguments may not sustain as we saw West Indies in the 70s and 80s beating all the cricket nations comprehensively, yet matches were interesting, worth the cost and time, real heroes like Vivs became household names.

That's real sport.


Shahnaz, Imran blame govt for Olympic debacle

Kashif Abbasi

Shahnaz Sheikh, left, submitted a 20 page report to the committee, in which he highlighted the fact that led to Pakistan's debacle in the Hockey World League. - AFP/file

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan hockey coach Shahnaz Sheikh and captain Mohammad Imran on Thursday informed the probe committee into the team’s failure to qualify for next year’s Olympics that it was due to insufficient funding and lack of proper patronage from the government.

The probe committee formed by the government has been tasked with finding out the reasons for Pakistan’s dismal showing at the Hockey World League semi-finals in Belgium and on Thursday, it recorded the statements of top Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) officials along with the team captain.

Pakistan needed to finish at least fifth at the HWL semi-finals to have an outside chance to qualify for next year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro but the eighth-place finish means the three-time Olympic champions miss out on the extravaganza for the first time in their history.

The six-member probe committee met here at Pakistan Sports Complex with its chairman, Federal Secretary Ejaz Chaudhry in the chair. The other members of the committee, Col Mudassar, Shahbaz Senior, Khawaja Junaid and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, also attended the meeting.

Shahnaz submitted a 20-page report to the committee, in which he highlighted the fact that led to the debacle and according to him, lack of funding resulted in uncertainty over the team’s participation in the HWL semi-finals.

“Apart from lack of funding, there was no proper patronage on the part of government and as a result the players were under physiological pressure,” he said.

The head coach told Dawn that he informed the committee members that due to PHF’s financial crisis, it was unable to provide food supplement and energy drinks to players during training sessions.

In his report he also mentioned that the team was not provided required training sessions and international matches. “It was our plan to reach Belgium a month before the tournament but we went there just four days prior to the event,” he said.

Shahnaz also gave some suggestions to committee to improve the fast-declining game.

He recommended special focus be paid towards domestic hockey, particularly at grass-roots levels, and added that a Super League be introduced in the country to attract young players.

In his report, the former Olympian acknowledged that players did not live up to his expectations. “We got almost 70 scoring chances, but we could score only nine goals which is an alarming sign,” he acknowledged.

He also informed the committee, that the artificial turf at Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium — where players held training sessions — should also be blamed for poor results as several players were injured due to the condition of the turf.

Speaking to reporters, the head coach added that there was no truth to reports of his resignation. “I am the head coach and will continue performing my job till the next year,” he clarified.

Besides Shahnaz, captain Imran, PHF president Akhtar Rasool and secretary Rana Mujahid also appeared before the probe committee.

Imran also blamed the government, saying the players were “uncertain about their futures as government is not providing us with job security and financial support”.

Talking to Dawn, Akhtar and Rana said the PHF could not be held solely responsible for debacle as there were several other reasons behind their Olympic failure.

Akhtar Rasool added that according to International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) rules, government could not suspend the country’s hockey governing body.

“The FIH protects our right and government cannot interfere in the PHF affairs,” he said. “But the government is supposed to provide required funding.”

IPC secretary Ejaz Chaudhry, meanwhile, said the committee is to “submit recommendations for improving the national game” and quashed reports about the appointment of former prime minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali as the PHF president.

“These all are rumours and speculations,” he said, assuring that within three months a new Astro Truf would be laid at the Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium.


Investigation committee: ‘Players need to be paid if better results are desired’

By Nabil Tahir

An investigation committee looks to find the reasons that led to Pakistan’s failure to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in their history. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Officials of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) — including former head coach Shahnaz Sheikh and captain Muhammad Imran — presented their reports to the investigation committee formed by the Inter-Provincial Committee (IPC) on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s orders to look into the poor performance of the national team at the Olympic qualification round.

The members and officials presented their reports individually on Thursday at the Pakistan Sports Board Complex, Islamabad to the committee, which comprises of IPC secretary Muhammad Ijaz Choudhry, PSB technical director-general Akhtar Ganjera and Olympians Shahbaz Ahmed, Khawaja Junaid and Col Mudassar Asghar.

Two members of the committee, Ijaz and Ganjera, also met with Sheikh, who submitted a 14-page report of the team’s performance during his coaching period and gave them suggestions regarding ways to improve the state of hockey in the country.

“I have told them that the federation and the management produced results at the Asian Games and the Champions Trophy when they had enough funds to set the required camp and facilities, but during final preparations of the qualification round, things were not even up to previous standards,” Sheikh told The Express Tribune after the meeting. “The players were injured, the camp was not established properly and the team wasn’t sent to Belgium a month before the event — as they should have been.

Sheikh added that the federation’s failure to pay the players and the resulting financial crisis that they faced meant the players’ performance was affected.

“The super league should start again soon in order to improve the players’ financial condition, while hockey should also be made compulsory in schools,” suggested Sheikh as ways to improve the sport.

The captain also seconded the former coach’s claims. “The problem which is hurting the players the most is their central contracts,” he said. “The players can’t concentrate on the game when they have something going on in the back of their minds. I told the committee to provide the required facilities and financial support if they want to get better results from the players.”

The committee also met PHF secretary Rana Mujahid and president Akhtar Rasool, both of whom are likely to be asked to leave their posts within the next two weeks.

Former PHF president Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali is expected to be reinstated as president. “The PM has already talked to Jamali and conveyed the message through his military secretary,” informed a source close to the matter. “Jamali agreed to take over the helm as he enjoyed tremendous success in his short six-month tenure.”

The Express Tribune

Meor to make amends in Junior Asia Cup after Antwerp debacle

by Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Once is enough.

National Juniors midfielder Meor Mohd Azuan Hasan doesn’t want to experience the heartache of another disappointment.

Meor was a member of the national senior team who finished a dismal sixth in the recently-concluded World League Semi-Finals in Antwerp, Belgium. Malaysia went into the tournament eyeing a top-four place to seal their spot in next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Instead, the sixth placing has made them the third reserves for the Rio Olympics.

And Meor doesn’t want the Juniors to suffer the same fate when they compete in the Under-21 Junior Asia Cup in Kuantan from Nov 14-22. It is the qualifying tournament for next year’s Junior World Cup in India.

The Juniors must finish among the top four to seal a place.

The 21-year-old Meor admitted that the national team had let the nation down in Antwerp.

“We had the chance to beat India to qualify for the semi-finals ... we were leading 2-1 in the third quarter. But we fizzled out in the fourth quarter and lost 3-2,” said Meor.

They eventually lost 4-1 to Ireland in the fifth-placing playoff.

“It was a disappointing performance... we have a very slim hope of qualifying for the Rio Olympics.”

Seven countries have qualified for the 12-team Rio Olympics – India, Germany, Argentina, Holland, Australia, Belgium and Britain.

The rest of the cast will be known after the continental tournaments end in October.

For the Kuantan meet, Meor said: “We will face strong challenges from teams like India, Pakistan, South Korea and Japan... the challenge will be to qualify for the Junior World Cup after the disappointing outing in Belgium,” said Meor, who featured in the 2013 Junior World Cup in New Delhi, where Malaysia finished fourth.

Besides Meor, two other players – forwards Mohd Haziq Samsul and Mohd Shahril Saabah, who also featured in Antwerp, are eligible to play in the Junior Asia Cup.

Malaysia were champions in Malacca in 2012.

The Star of Malaysia

Tenaga hockey team zapped as top players leave

by Aftar Singh

Mohhd Marhan Mohd Jalil (left) in action for Tenaga during the 2013 Malaysia Hockey League. - Filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: Former champions Tenaga Nasional have been dealt with a triple blow less than a month before the start of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

Tenaga, who are also the main sponsors of the MHL, have lost the services of three internationals – defenders Mohd Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin and Faiz Helmi Jali and midfielder Mohd Marhan Mohd Jalil.

The trio, who featured in the recent World Hockey League Semi-Finals in Antwerp, Belgium, have been lured with a better offer by Sapura.

Tenaga are the only team in the MHL who have relied on local players since the inception of the league in 1987.

Their challenge this year will be led by two internationals – forward Mohd Shahril Saabah, who played in Antwerp, and the country’s number one goalkeeper S. Kumar, who had to return from Antwerp on June 18 following the death of his son.

Tenaga coach Nor Saiful Zaini was annoyed with the three internationals “for leaving the team just a month before the MHL begins”.

“Our defence will be affected without the experienced Izad and Faiz. We also don’t have any experienced players to marshall the midfield,” lamented Nor Saiful.

“We’re in a fix ... we only have 15 players in the squad… we need to register 20 players for the league.

“We have two more weeks to find the players before we submit our team’s name list.”

Nor Saiful said he would recall former international defenders Mohd Madzli Ikmar and Mohd Amin Rahim (who is the assistant coach of the Project 2016 squad) to the squad.

“We’ll rely on Amin to deliver the goals from penalty corner set pieces. We also have a few Project 2016 players,” said the coach.

The Projest 2016 players are Aminuddin Mohd Zain, Mohd Najib Abu Hassan and Syafid Syed.

“It will be a good exposure for the juniors as we’re building a team for the future,” said Nor Saiful, who led Tenaga to become joint overall champions with KLHC in 2013.

This year, only six teams will feature in the Premier League. The other teams are double champions Terengganu, Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC), Maybank, Sapura and Universitil Kuala Lumpur (UniKL).

Last year, Tenaga finished third in the league behind champions Terengganu and runners-up KLHC.

In the knockout stage, Tenaga defeated Maybank to finish third.

Terengganu will take on KLHC in the season-opening Charity Shield match on Aug 2.

The Star of Malaysia

Title drought set to continue for Maybank in MHL

by Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: It’s been 20 years since Maybank last won the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) title.

But don’t put your money on them ending the drought any time soon.

Maybank, who have featured in the league since 1987, do not have any internationals in their squad.

If that’s not bad enough, they are still unsure if the five Pakistani internationals hired will even turn up!

Besides that, they also have a new coach – S. Vellapan replacing Wallace Tan, who had coached the team for the last six years.

Velappan admitted that it would be tough to win the title this year.

“It’s nice to handle the Maybank team but it won’t be plain sailing for us,” said the 52-year-old coach.

“Our foreign imports have not been finalised yet. The Pakistani players had verbally agreed to play for us, but they’ve not contacted us yet.

“We’re still waiting for their reply as we need them to sign their contracts.

“I’m also worried whether the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) will release the players for the MHL after their poor outing in the World League Semi-Finals (in Antwerp, Belgium).”

Pakistan finished a disappointing eighth in Antwerp, thus ending their hopes of featuring in next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Vellapan said Maybank will be led by two former internationals – forward Hafifihafiz Hanafi and defender Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin, who is a penalty corner flick specialist.

Last year, Maybank had two Pakistani players – Shakeel Abbasi and Abdul Haseem Khan – but still finished last in the six-team Premier Division.

In the knockout stage, the Tigers lost to Tenaga Nasional to finish fourth.

The other teams in the Premier Division are double champions Terengganu, Tenaga Nasional, Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC), Sapura and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL).

The Star of Malaysia

North Harbour Women book spot in NZ U18 final

Pictured: Southern and Canterbury in action today. Photo credit: Kiwi Hockey

It’s a tight affair at the National Regional Under-18 Tournament with North Harbour Women the only team to book a spot in the final after a convincing 4-1 win against Auckland today with Midlands, Auckland and Canterbury still in the contest for the title.

On the men’s side, Central, North Harbour, Midlands and Auckland are all getting ready ahead of a big day on the turf tomorrow with all four teams able to make the final.

Central Men remain unbeaten after Hayden Phillips scored a last minute goal in their game against Midlands to give them a 2-1 win.

“It felt pretty good, to get a penalty corner and score that goal was great,” said Phillips, who plays for Palmerston North Boys High School.

Phillips says the team is looking forward to the game against North Harbour and is confident they just need to keep playing the way they are.

“It is working well so far and if we can keep doing what we have been doing, we hope to go through the tournament undefeated.”

In the first game of the day, Canterbury Men bounced back and stormed to a 3-0 win against Southern. The defending champions were hoping to contend for the title again this year, but a 1-2 penalty shoot-out loss yesterday against Auckland means the highest they can finish is fifth.

Silas Dalley was first to score in the sixth minute, with team mate Matt Cummins doubling the lead shortly before half time.

Although Southern fought hard to get back in the game, Canterbury held possession and created more opportunities with Dalley knocking home his second in the 44th minute.

Dalley said their tight loss yesterday helped motivate his side who played an attacking style of play, contesting the ball at every opportunity.

 “It was good to see some of the other boys stepping up as well. I reckon Corey [Paterson] had the best game of his life, I play with him in our school team and I’ve played with him for many years and I’ve never seen him play like that, it was great, and  other people like Knowlsey (Shaun Coles), it was good to see,” said Dalley.

On Saturday, Central Women will play Capital for fifth position and Canterbury Men will play Capital for fifth. The seventh position will be contested by Southern and Northland on both the men’s and women’s side.

North Harbour 2 (Benji Edwards, Henry Will) vs Auckland 0
Central 2 (Lee Moir, Hayden Phillips) vs Midlands 1 (Declan Keaney)

Canterbury 3 (Silas Dalley, Matt Cummins) vs Southern 0
Capital 5 (Zac Caldwell x2, Tim Kerr, Tom Caughley, Andrew Miles) vs North Harbour 3 (Ford Kurt, James Mortimer, Bronson Baker)

Midlands 4 (Lorrin Tiedt, Yazzmine Woodhouse, Chloe Nesbitt, Alex Lukin) vs Canterbury 2 (Maddie Wotton, Emily Wium)
North Harbour 4 (Kayla Reed, Ashleigh McNaughton x2, Julie Ellis) vs Auckland 1 (Kate Ivory)

Central 2 (Nicole Strawbridge, Holly Pearson) vs Southern 1 (Annabel Girvan)
Capital 3 (Petra Hall, Brigette Mossman, Whena Munn) Northland 2 (Kelsey Eaton, Samantha Polovnikoff)

CLICK HERE for the full results, pool table and draw from the National Under-18 Regional and Association Tournaments

Hockey New Zealand Media release

North Harbour, Midlands and Central make NZ Under-18 finals

North Harbour and Midlands Women as well as Central and Midlands Men will compete for their respective National Under-18 Regional Tournament titles at North Harbour Hockey tomorrow.

On the turf today, Central Men remain undefeated after they pushed to a 3-0 win against hosts North Harbour, and Midlands Men romped to a 7-1 win against Auckland.

In the women’s competition, Midlands kept their chance of winning back-to-back titles alive thanks to a 3-1 win against Auckland.

In the first half, both teams were competitive and it took some superb vision from Deborah Yung who made a long pass into the circle, and despite the best efforts from Auckland’s goalkeeper Ashleigh Cooke, Lorrin Tiedt knocked it to the back of the net.

With a 1-0 advantage at half time, Auckland fought hard to get back into the game, but it was Midlands who capitalised on the opportunities they created.

Midlands’ Tori Robinson got the second goal of the game in the 46th minute and with one minute left to play, a desperate dive by Olivia Scotland during a goal mouth scramble saw her side go up 3-0. Auckland pegged one back in the final seconds when Rose Tynan got her fourth goal of the tournament to end the game 3-1.

Midlands now face North Harbour Women, who had already booked a spot in the final, but continued to show their dominance today when they edged Canterbury in a penalty shoot-out.

“I thought we put everything out there, we put it all on the turf, we really wanted to win that game, we just worked really well as a team,” said Robinson, who was captain for Midlands’ today.

Robinson said the nerves were there before the team played today, and she expects they will return tomorrow ahead of the final.

She knows what to expect as she played in the final last year, and her advice to teammates will be simple - to have lots of composure and to be relaxed.

In the bronze medal games, North Harbour Men will face Auckland and Canterbury Women will also take on Auckland. For fifth spot, Canterbury Men will face Capital and Central Women will also take on Capital.

Southern and Northland will be first on the turf tomorrow, playing for seventh position in both the men’s and women’s tournament.

Midlands 7 (Maks Wyndham-Smith, Daniel Scanlon, Jonathan Bloor, Reuben Andrews x2, Aakaash Chimanlal, Reuben Andrews) vs Auckland 1 (Guy Xavier)
Central 3 (Mathew Wilson, Hayden Phillips x2) vs North Harbour 0

Northland 2 (Hadley Greenhalgh, Cameron Lindsay)  vs Southern 3 (Charles Darling, Josh Caldwell, Ethan Pugh)
Canterbury 3 (Josh Meates, Shaun Coles, Silas Dalley) vs Capital 0

Midlands 3 (Lorrin Tiedt, Tori Robinson, Olivia Scotland) vs Auckland 1 (Rose Tynan)
North Harbour 1 (Ella Hyatt-Brown) vs Canterbury 1 (Emily Wium). North Harbour won 3-0 in the penalty shoot-out.

Northland 3 (Ella-Rose Kini, Samantha Polovnikoff x2) vs Southern 3 (Mackenzie Cassie, Gemma O’Connell, Isabelle Becconsall-Ryan). Northland won the shoot-out 4-3.
Central 2 (Moelani Tureia-Siataga, Cory Campbell) vs Capital 1 (Emma Smith)

CLICK HERE for the full results, pool table and draw from the National Under-18 Regional and Association Tournaments

Hockey New Zealand Media release

KZN Coastal U13 girls win SA hockey title

JONATHAN COOK in Pietermaritzburg
In one of the most thrilling final days seen at the annual SA U13 Girls Interprovincial Hockey Tournament (IPT), KZN Coastal leapfrogged frontrunners Southern Free State and defending champions Western Province Thursday to win the national title amidst great celebrations by the Durban fans.

The AB Jackson Greenfields Turf was the stage, and going into Friday’s final round, girls’ A Section log-leaders Southern Free State (15 points), WP (14 points) and third-placed KZN Coastal (13 points) were in the running for the coveted trophy.

In the 10am match, KZN Coastal met last-placed Amathole and had to win well if they were to have a shot at upsetting the favourites. Even a big victory margin might not have been enough, though, as SFS were due to take on WP at 11am and a victory for either team would have knocked the Durban girls out of title contention.

KZN Coastal duly beat Amathole 5-0 with captain Tayler-Jade Weiss netting a brace from penalty corner (PC) play, while Erin Armstrong also bagged two goals – one from a set-piece and the other from field play – and Jenna Stichelbout nailed the fifth goal, also via the PC route.

That left WP and Southern Free State knowing exactly what they had to do in their match, which followed directly after. Both needed to win, but as fate would have it the key match ended in a 0-0 stalemate, which left KZN Coastal the 2015 championship team on goal difference over the Free State girls, both sides having ended on 16 points, while WP were just a point off the pace.

At Maritzburg College, defending boys U13 champions Western Province underlined their quality with a 5-0 win over Amathole to finish off as IPT winners by six points from runners-up Eastern Province.

This WP team is widely regarded as one of the best sides yet to be seen at U13 IPT.

In the last boys’ match of the tournament, hosts KZN Inland had to beat Northerns to stay in the A Section and were 2-1 up at one point, only to be edged out 3-2 at the final whistle.

Winning promotion from the B Section to next year’s top-tier A Section are Boland (boys) who replace KZN Inland, and Mpumalanga (girls) who replace Amathole.

Boys – at Maritzburg College: North West 2 KZN Coastal 4; South Gauteng 1 EP 1; WP 5 Amathole 0; KZN Inland 2 Northerns 3.
Girls - at AB Jackson: Northerns 1 SG 3; Amathole 0 KZN Coastal 5; WP 0 Southern Free State 0; EP 1 KZN Inland 0.

(all played seven, goal difference, points)
Boys: 1 WP (gd32) 21pts; 2 EP (gd11) 16pts; 3 KZN Coastal (gd6) 13pts; 4 South Gauteng (gd0) 10pts; 5 North West (gd-12) 8pts; 6 Northerns (gd-10) 6pts; 7 Amathole (gd-9) 4pts; 8 KZN Inland (gd-18) 1pt.
Girls: 1 KZN Coastal (gd12) 16pts; 2 South Free State (gd8) 16pts; 3 WP (gd5) 15pts; 4 EP (gd2) 13pts; 5 South Gauteng (gd-3) 9pts; 6 Northerns (gd-6) 6pts; 7 KZN Inland (gd-6) 3pts; 8 Amathole (gd-12) 3pts.

SA Hockey Association media release

Celebrating hockey

Archana Nathan

Sandhya Kumar’s Hockey In My Blood is a documentary that films the world’s largest hockey tournament.

Every year, in a remote village in Coorg, right in the middle of coffee plantations, the world’s largest hockey tournament takes place. Over 200 families belonging to the Kodava community gather from different parts of the country and take part in the annual Kodava Hockey festival, which is a month-long event. Each family forms a team which means that the entire tournament comprises face-offs between 200 teams. Every year, one family takes up the responsibility of hosting the tournament. The field is cleared, podiums are constructed, jerseys are ordered, exercise drills take place everyday, the hoardings are put up and then the grand sporting event is held with tremendous amount of fervour.

Sandhya Kumar, a Bengaluru-based filmmaker, documented one such tournament held in 2013 and made Hockey in my blood, a documentary film which was screened as part of Doc@Everest by Vikalp, Bengaluru yesterday.

In a cricket obsessed country, Sandhya’s film offers an insight into a community’s consistent penchant for a sport that is not cricket. In fact, a telling moment in the film is when the priest in the temple in Coorg inadvertently tells the Kodava players, “may you win tomorrow’s cricket match” and is quickly corrected that it is a hockey match and not a cricket game. And, laughter follows. Hockey in my blood follows the lead up to the Madanda Hockey Fest, 2013, hosted by the Madanda family and ends with the opening night of the Thathanda Hockey fest, 2014. Sandhya surveys the scene before the Madanda tournament, speaks to the different families that are preparing to take part and traces the beginnings of the Kodava’s passion for hockey. Throughout the film, Sandhya’s camera merely observes and records. There is a brief moment in the film when we meet 17-year-old Priya, a hockey player who became the captain of her team during one of the tournaments. She tells the camera that no one knew that she could play the game and when her family got to know how well she could play, they made her captain. The conversation with her is only in passing and one wishes the filmmaker had pursued this thread more seriously.

The film tells us that over the years, more than fifty players have made it to national team in India from the Kodava community alone. And all of them come back to be a part of the Kodava hockey tournament each year. Sandhya also presents a fascinating montage that traces India’s tryst with hockey on the global stage. The last time India won an Olympic Gold in Hockey was in 1980, the film reminds us.

Overall, Sandhya’s film is a celebratory document that focuses on the pride that the community feels for their contribution to the field of hockey. It is heart-warming to see their dedication and the amount of effort they put into the event each year. We are told that some of them have missed examinations and even quit their jobs just to take part in the tournament. Considering this was an event that was hidden in the coffee county until recently, Sandhya Kumar's unobtrusive documentation works well.

The Hindu

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