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News for 27 July 2015

All the news for Monday 27 July 2015

Scotland cruise past Czechs to claim third place finish in Prague

Craig Madden, Photo Credits Petr Toman

Scotland goalkeeper Jamie Cachia receives a presentation from Performance Manager Callum McLeod for his 50th international cap

Scotland threw off the disappointment of failing to achieve promotion at the European Nations Championships II in Prague to take the bronze medal by thumping host side Czech Republic 5-1.

Derek Forsyth`s charges silenced the vociferous home support with a brilliant display of attacking hockey that left the Czech players chasing shadows in the Prague sunshine and perhaps should have produced more goals with more precise finishing.

"It was nice to come back from the disappointment of losing out on promotion to win bronze today, it`s a credit to the players, we will return a stronger team to win in two years time," said Derek Forsyth, Scotland`s coach.

Scotland Head Coach Derek Forsyth addresses his players after the full-time hooter

Although Forsyth was at pains to emphasise the team effort that contributed to this convincing victory, a catalyst was undoubtedly a hat-trick by Amsterdam striker Kenny Bain, his second of the tournament.

Striker Kenny Bain claimed his second hat-trick of the tournament against Czech Republic

After a tentative start, the Scots first chance fell to Alan Forsyth, the Surbiton striker robbed a defender, advanced into the circle but his effort was blocked by the goalkeeper.

Scotland`s opener was only delayed a couple of minutes, a long ball found Bain, he promptly turned his defender and slipped the ball over the advancing goalkeeper.

Scotland's Kenny Bain opens the scoring

Bain then turned provider for the second, he fed the ball on to Forsyth in space and his first-time shot this time slid under the goalkeeper.

The Czechs pulled one back from a penalty with Lucas Plochy netting from the spot.

Any glimpse of a comeback vanished with another Bain strike, he collected a through ball and took his time to beat the goalkeeper with a vicious low shot for a 3-1 advantage at the interval.

The contest was effectively over within a minute of the restart, the Scots were awarded a penalty corner and Bain rifled an unstoppable flick into the roof of the net for his hat-trick.

Hat-trick goal for Kenny Bain

The Scots were in total command of proceedings and could have easily increased their tally, while at the other end Jamie Cachia between the posts was relatively redundant on his 50th international outing.

The Scots cause was further aided by boisterous rallying calls from the small band of Scottish supporters whose cheering and singing quickly silenced the more populous home fans.

Further chances emerged at the Scots pounded the Czech circle, Chris Grassick weaved his way past several stick chops only to find his shot blocked by the goalkeeper, a great three player move opened up the home defence but Forsyth was unable to find the net, while a Wei Adams penalty corner effort sailed well over the bar.

Forsyth then had two further chances to add to his single strike but both foundered on the positioning of the Czech goalkeeper.   Bain could have added to his personal tally, he was right through on goal but elected to pass rather than shoot from an excellent position.

However, in the final three minutes the Czech goalkeeper, who kept the score down with several good blocks, brought off another good save but this time teenager Murray Collins followed up to fire a low shot home for a final score of 5-1.

Murray Collins rounds off the scoring with Scotland's fifth goal

Please visit the EuroHockey Nations Championship II website for fixtures, results and pool standings.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Breda 6N: Indian Junior Women finish third

s2h team

Breda (The Netherlands): After losing against England U-21 Women Team yesterday, the India U-21 Women Team took revenge after beating them by 1-1 (1-0 SO) today and finished 3rd in the Volvo U-21 (Women) Invitational Tournament 2015 held at Breda, The Netherlands. India’s goal-keeper Inderpreet Kaur was the hero of the match as she brilliantly thwarted all attempts by the English players during the penalty shootout which helped India clinch the closely-fought match and the 3rd position.

In the first half of the match, both the teams stepped-on the green astro-turf with an aim to score early and put pressure on their opponents. Gaining experience from their previous Pool match against England, the Indian eves played with surprise attacks along with closely-knit defence line. The Indians this time didn’t want to repeat their previous mistakes in the defence and were marking each player of their opponents. India managed to earn a penalty corner in the first few minutes, but could not convert the crucial opportunity in goal. However, with the continuous attacks, India’s forward Punam Barla sneaked in the opponent’s D and hit the ball into the goal-box to score the first goal of the match in the 31st minute. With this early lead, the Indian Junior women team played with more confidence and kept-on attacking on their opponents’ side till the end of the first half.

The second half saw more aggression from the Indian side as they continued their attacking game. On the other side, England came with some better strategies and looked for opportunities to level the score. After a few attempts, England earned three back-to-back penalty corners but all were thwarted by Indian defence led by goal-keeper Inderpreet Kaur. The English players were playing hard to open their account and tried to keep the ball possession in their side. The match turned into a neck-to-neck battle as both players from both sides pushed themselves hard to score goals. India earned another penalty corner but it was foiled by England custodian Amy Tennant. In the 68th minute, England managed to earn a penalty corner and skipper Hannah Martin successfully converted the equaliser. After conceding the unfortunate goal, the Indian eves fought back with more aggression but could not score any goal till the final whistle and the match went to Penalty Shoot-out.

In the penalty shoot-out, India’s star goal-keeper Inderpreet Kaur saved all the shoot-outs and Deep Grace Ekka scored the winning goal for India. After a hard-fought 70-minute battle and an intense shoot-out, the India U-21 Women team defeated England U-21 Women team by 1-1 (1-0 SO).


England U23 Women narrowly miss out on bronze

ENGLAND Under-23 Women narrowly missed out on the bronze medal in in the Six Nations Tournament held in Breda, The Netherlands, after losing 1-0 to India on shuffles.

It was a battling performance from the England side and they came from a goal down to draw level with just two minutes of the game remaining.

Punam Barla put India ahead on 31 minutes, finishing off a counter attacking move. England looked solid defensively but had some difficulty in carving out chances.

But in the second half, they were much more of a threat and won five penalty corners. After a sustained period of pressure, one of these corners dropped to Hayley Taylor out on the left and although her shot was saved, Martin was on hand to tuck away the rebound and make it 1-1. However, in the resulting shuffles, it was India that scored the all-important goal.

Head Coach Craig Keegan said: “In a repeat of yesterday’s game, India were able to get the upper hand late in the first half. Through fantastic individual and team defending, we had large periods of possession where we were able to make it up the pitch.

“But our final third play lacked a cutting edge. It has to be focus area for development in the future as in all our games we competed D to D but lacked quality in front of goal.

“However, defensively we set very high standards and this enabled us to stay competitive all tournament.”

India (1) 1
Punam Barla – 31 (F)

England (0) 1
Hannah Martin – 68 (PC)

England Hockey Board Media release

Third spot for England U23 Men in Netherlands

ENGLAND Under-23 Men clinched third place in the Six Nations Tournament after beating India 3-0 in their final match in Breda, The Netherlands, on Saturday.

Two goals from Ed Horler and one from Sam Hatherley were enough for England – who drew with India in their previous Pool match on Friday – to take victory this time.

Horler struck first in the seventh minute and doubled their lead on 47 minutes, while Hatherley made sure of the win with a strike two minutes from time.

Head Coach Jon Bleby said: “Overall this was a really good performance where we successfully applied some of the lessons we learned against India in the previous match.

“India put in a very good performance, but we were unfaltering and I was particularly pleased with the improvements to our circle attack play and our thoroughness across the pitch.

“The tournament has been a great learning experience and we go home looking forward to working hard to improving further.”

The team are next in action against Germany in August.

England (1) 3
Ed Horler – 7 47 (FG, FG)
Sam Hatherley – 68 (FG)

India (0) 0

England Hockey Board Media release

Future Black Sticks Women scoop fifth place

Photo: Koen Suyk

The Future Black Sticks Women defeated Germany 2-1 to take fifth place at the Volvo Invitational Series in Breda, Netherlands.

Germany had played well during the tournament, drawing with Holland and England, and falling just one win short of third place.

The Kiwis started under pressure with Germany looking to control the game early. Despite the pressure, the defence was able to handle the German attack and as the half wore on the girls began to create opportunities of their own.

New Zealand earned a penalty corner, but the attacking opportunity proved their undoing, with the corner run down by the German defence who then made a fast break and scored at the other end.

The young Kiwis were determined to prove they were capable of winning, creating several real opportunities.

The Future Black Sticks had eight shots on goal for the half, with Germany only entering the circle on four occasions.

Despite the dominance, the Kiwis were behind by one goal as halftime approached. That was until Stephanie Dickens made an intercept in her defensive half and set off up-field with the ball.

Dickens made it all the way to the German circle where she combined with her North Harbour team-mate Courtney Winterbottom who deflected home a diving pass from Dickens.

The second half was a much more even contest, although it was the Future Black Sticks who were able to break into the German circle testing the keeper on several occasions.

The arm wrestle continued with the game looking likely to end in a penalty shoot-out. That was until some desperate lead up work by Phoebe Steele and Catherine Tinning led to a penalty corner with just over three minutes left on the clock.

Pippa Norman took her chance, firing a penalty corner drag flick past the diving German keeper and into the side netting to give the Kiwis a 2-1 lead.

The Germans again tried to penetrate the defence, but the Kiwi defence held strong to secure fifth place at the tournament.

The girls were pleased to finish on a positive note and win their classification playoff.

“I have learnt so much this week. It’s been very tough, but very enjoyable,” said midfielder Maddison Dowe after the match.

Head coach Sean Dancer was once again pleased for his young group.

“We challenged them today, and while I think there were some things we could have done better, overall I’m pleased with the effort and the group’s competitive nature.

“There were some very good teams here this week, and for this group the experience has been invaluable."

In other matches, India beat England in a penalty shoot out to take third, while host Holland easily beat previously unbeaten China 5-1 to win the tournament.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Olympic Qualification update

The eligibility and order of which teams will qualify for the Olympics is now known. There are several ifs to be sorted out as the different Continental Championships happen. The Pan American Games has concluded with Argentina's Men and USA Women winning their respective tournaments. Most importantly Brazil Men achieved the top 6 finish set by the IOC and FIH when they finished 4th. This knocked Malaysia completely out of contention and they, for the time being assume the position of first reserve.


AUS Qualified 1st place finish Antwerp
GER Qualified 1st place finish Buenos Aires
BEL Qualified 2nd place finish Antwerp
ARG Qualified as Pan American Continental Champions
NED Qualified 3rd place finish Antwerp
GBR Qualified 3rd place finish Buenos Aires
IND Qualified Asian Champions
BRA Qualified as Host Nation after meeting FIH qualification criteria to achieve a top 6 position at the Pan American Games. They came 4th.
CAN Qualified after Argentina won the Pan American Games and double qualify
ESP If neither France nor Russia win the European Championships as all other squads are pre-qualified.
IRL If Spain win the European Championships or South Africa win the All Africa Games. SASCOC has already said they will not send the SA hockey squads through qualification by way of the Continental Championship only.
NZL If Australia win the Oceania Cup and South Africa win the All Africa Games. If New Zealand win the Oceania Cup they will go as Continental Champions.
MAS Are out and are first reserves if any other nation pull out of the Olympics


NED Qualified 1st place finish Antwerp
GBR Qualified 1st place finish Valencia
CHN Qualified 2nd place finish Valencia
KOR Qualified Asian Champions
AUS Qualified 3rd place finish Antwerp
GER Qualified 3rd place finish Valencia
ARG Qualified due to Korea double qualification
NZL Qualified due to host nation Brazil not qualifying for Pan American Games
USA Qualified as Pan American Continental Champions
IND Unofficially qualified due to Australia and New Zealand prequalifying prior to Oceania Cup. Will officially qualify If NED, GBR or GER win the European Championship
JPN If NED, GBR or GER win the European Championship or if South Africa win the All Africa Games.
ESP If South Africa win the All Africa Games.


U.S. Women’s Field Hockey Players Stop By Practice in Luzerne County

by Landon Stolar   

LUZERNE COUNTY — The United States won gold at the 2015 Pan-American games in field hockey.

Members of the team were in Luzerne County on Sunday, holding a clinic for young players.

Seventeen women on the roster hail from the Keystone State, many from Northeast Pennsylvania.

While the young girls had a chance to learn from the best players in the world, the veterans see this as a way to give back.

“It’s so great being back here at Wyoming Seminary and back in the Wyoming Valley and training with some local girls,” said Kathleen Sharkey, U.S. Women’s Field Hockey.

“You know, they’re asking all kinds of questions about our college career, our high school career and our experience on the national team. So I think it’s great to just expose them to the potential where field hockey can take you,” said Kelsey Kolojejchick, U.S. Women’s Field Hockey.

16 WNEP news

USA Field Hockey Confirms 2016 Summer Bash at the Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia - Continuing the celebration of the inaugural Summer Bash at the Beach currently taking place at the Virginia Beach Training Center in Virginia Beach, Va., USA Field Hockey has announced the dates for the 2016 Summer Bash at the Beach as the weekend of July 22-24, 2016.

USA Field Hockey has formatted the tournament to consist of an Under-14 Girls Division and an Under-12 Co-Ed Division. All teams are guaranteed six games lasting 30 minutes long with two 15 minute halves. The matches will be a 7v7 format with a maximum roster size of 12 athletes. Provision has been made to expand the tournament if necessary to accommodate as many USA Field Hockey club teams as possible.

Matches will be scheduled to take place at the Virginia Beach Training Center in the morning hours leaving the afternoon open for athletes and families to enjoy the sun, surf and Virginia Beach culture. The facility boasts two brand new, state of the art AstroTurf watered based fields, providing the very best surfaces available in field hockey.

With hotels being in high demand during the summer months in Virginia Beach, USA Field Hockey will again team up with JBS Destination Solutions/The Global Housing Bureau as the official housing provider to make sure the best quality hotels are available during this time of year at the best prices available. The Summer Bash at the Beach will be a Stay to Play event.

“The Summer Bash is a celebration of fun field hockey," said Simon Hoskins, USA Field Hockey Chief Operating Officer. "We are committed to giving a national experience for young field hockey athletes and there is no better place to do this in the summer than at the ‘beach’ and on the immaculate watered turf. After getting underway with the concept in 2015 we would like to open it up to U-12 and U-14 athletes and clubs from across the country for 2016. Next year we will be looking to add further unique and fun extra events around the field hockey."

With the first day of the 2015 Summer Bash at the Beach complete and the second one starting today, we have heard nothing but positive feedback from athletes, parents and coaches.

"I think it has been a phenomenal inaugural event for the girls," said Claudia Keen, Pinnacle Field Hockey parent. "It is also a great opportunity for U-12 and U-14 athletes to come down to the Training Center facility and play on AstroTurf. We are definitely really pleased."

"The tournament has been fun," said Emily Tammaro, Saints athlete. "It is a great place to host a tournament because for me it is close to home but there is also the beach."

"The tournament has been a great experience so far for my U-12 team," said Meg Dudek, Potomac Field Hockey coach. "It gives them a chance to play on watered AstroTurf that the kids don't have a opportunity otherwise to play on. It is a good opportunity for new umpires to learn the game since the tournament is 7v7 and with the younger age groups. The fast pace of the game keeps the kids and umpires thinking and moving quickly."

USFHA media release

Hockey matches evenly shared


Marlborough player Matt Brydon sweeps the ball towards goal as Nelson's Brady Machen takes evasive action. DEREK FLYNN

Honours were shared when the top representative hockey teams from Marlborough and Nelson met at Blenheim's College Park on Sunday.

Marlborough dominated the men's section, the top team beating Nelson A 6-3 and claiming the McCarthy Cup, while Marlborough B scored a comprehensive 7-1 victory over their Nelson counterparts for the Russell Trophy.

Fortunes were reversed in the women's matches though, Nelson winning both by narrow margins. The visitors took home the Ken Beach Cup, awarded to the winners of the clash between the A teams, with a 3-1 scoreline, while the women's B game for the Wyn Robinson Cup also went Nelson's way, 2-1.   

Last season Nelson won the battle of the top men's sides 14-1, but a fired-up Marlborough side ensured there would be no repeat of that embarrassment. In fact, with a 4-1 lead at halftime, Marlborough were well placed to push on for a sizeable win. However a second spell resurgence by their rivals, and an easing of the intensity from the home side, saw both sides score two goals in the final 35 minutes.

Marlborough made a superb start, Michael Mitchell slamming home a rebound off the keeper's pads after a Matt Brydon shot in the third minute. Next on the scoreboard was young forward Eli Kepes who deflected in a powerful reverse stick shot from the lively Jack Boon, reflecting Marlborough's dominance. But Nelson were not about to lie down and they scored next, through a smart individual effort by the tenacious Jamie Machen as he drove the ball into goal while tumbling over.

The two-goal margin was restored soon after however, Brydon converting a penalty stroke after a Boon shot was illegally kept out of goal.

The final goal of the half was scored by Brydon, slotting home after a well-worked penalty corner variation.

Ten minutes after the restart Nelson bridged the gap again after a concerted period of pressure, Ryan Nordstrom taking advantage of a goalmouth scramble after a PC to force the ball home. Five minutes later Brydon completed his hat-trick, then Kepes scored his second, making amends after missing at this first attempt. At 6-2 the game was well won but Nelson had the final say, veteran Paul Muncaster bagging a consolation goal in the final minutes.

The Machen brothers, Jamie and Brady, provided good value for Nelson, along with Nordstrom, Muncaster, Scott Walbran and Tim Kerr.

Brydon was at the heart of the Marlborough effort, well supported by Tim Burt, Kepes, Mitchell, Boon, goalie Glen Stevens, defender Jason Dark and Sam Solly.

The men's B clash was notable for hat-tricks to Marlborough players Andrew McCaa and Hamish Watson, Ollie Foster bagging the other goal. Jamie Brown scored for Nelson.

More clinical finishing was the key to the Nelson A women's victory. Marlborough had plenty of possession and chances, reflected in the fact they forced a multitude of penalty corners to Nelson's single PC, which the visitors scored from.

The match was evenly-fought in the first spell, the only goal coming from Nelson's Hannah Climo who drove the ball to the right of Marlborough keeper Hannah Hocquard in the 22nd minute. Marlborough's best chances were created by the direct running of Pip Lunn, Jules Maltesen and Yvonne Boyd in midfield while Nelson's Edwards sisters, Bronie and Julia, were always threats out wide.

Nelson's second goal came three minutes after the break, Climo slamming the ball into the circle for Brenna Ellis to convert.

Marlborough replied immediately, forcing three PCs in a row, but to no avail. When Nelson got their chance though, they made no mistake, skipper Tania Hawley, a dominating presence in midfield, slamming her side's third goal home from the top of the circle.

Marlborough earned a ray of hope midway through the half when Emma Mills deflected the ball in from close range, but Nelson held on to their two-goal advantage until the final whistle.

Goalie Louise Bradley had a busy afternoon for the visitors, whose scrambling defence was a feature.  Lunn, Boyd, Mills and Jo Jones stood out for a Marlborough side that will be rueing lost opportunities.  

In the women's B match, Milisa McCallum and Kim Hobbs scored Nelson's goals, Lynne Fitzpatrick on target for Marlborough.            


Malaysian Hockey League recruits 15 Pakistanis

Pakistan hockey players will get much-needed financial relief as they are expected to receive $10,000 each from the two-month long Malaysian Hockey League. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: In a development that would certainly lift the morale of the team, 15 of Pakistan’s hockey team players have been signed by Malaysian clubs for the upcoming season of Malaysian National Hockey League, scheduled to be held from August 2.

The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has issued the NOC’s for the players to participate in the two-month long league. However, in case any international event arises in the aforementioned period, the players have signed affidavits which require them to report for national duty, if called upon, and allows the PHF to take legal action against players who fail to comply.

National skipper Muhammad Imran, along with Haseem Khan, Kashif Ali and Azfar Yaqoob, has been signed by Sapura HC, while Rizwan Senior, Fareed Ahmed, Ali Shan, Waseem Ahmed and Umar Bhutta have been signed by Kuala Lumpur HC.

Meanwhile, Hammad Butt has been signed by Tenaga Nasional Berhad HC, while Maybank HC has secured the services of former captain Shafqat Rasool, goalkeeper Imran Butt, Touseeq Arshad, Muhammad Waqas Shareef and Muhammad Irfan.

The players, who have endured the brunt of a financial crisis plaguing the PHF over the past year, received a major boost recently when the federation released Rs700,000 each for the team’s 2014 Asian Games second place showing and goalkeeper Butt believes that the $10,000 they will receive from the Malaysian league will certainly improve their financial standing in addition to their morale.

“All the players are really happy to participate in the league as this will not only give us match exposure and practice, but will also help us in getting ourselves out of the financial crisis,” Butt told The Express Tribune. “Last year when I was signed by Sapura HC, I had to miss the league for the 2014 Champions Trophy training camp, for which I did not receive any compensation. However, considering that PHF released some of our dues and also gave us the NOC for the league, I am quite confident that the payment for the Champions Trophy would also be cleared soon.”

The six players who have been signed by Maybank HC and Kuala Lumpur HC will be leaving on Monday night as they have received their visas and NOC’s, while other players are expected to leave on July 28 as they have to reach Malaysia before August 1.

Apart from Pakistani players, players from India, Argentina and other European countries will also participate in the league that will end on September 20 with the players returning home on September 24.

The Express Tribune

It's IOC again: Beats Army XI 3-2 in final

Deepak, best forward with 10 Goals


Chennai: With a display that underscored the elements of experience, expertise and enterprise, Indian Oil Corporation kept back the Gold Cup and the Challenge Trophy with a 3-2 victory over the Army XI in the Murugappa invitation hockey tournament on Sunday.

As predicted, the tie turned out to be a fitting finale to the 10-day competition before a huge holiday crowd. The turnout for the title contest reflected the yearning of the enthusiasts in the city to witness good hockey.

This tournament is acknowledged as the best organized in the Southern part of the country. The hockey fraternity owes a debt of gratitude to the Murugappa Group for reviving the tournament after the gap of a year. The event was launched in 1963 as a Firms and Banks Tournament.

Every ingredient that you look for in a final contest was there where the edge, for the major part, rested with IOC. There was some alarm at the start of the event when news spread that the trump card for IOC, Deepak Thakur, may miss the match owing to indisposition.

But the gallant warrior that Deepak is, entered the fray midway through the first half much to the delight of the team as well as the spectators. That he figured in the scorer’s list once again proved his value for the team. He finished the tournament with a tally of 10 goals and earned the distinction of being the Best Forward in the Tournament.

Raising the quality by a notch or two than from the earlier matches, the IOC team held the whip hand in the early but surprisingly conceded a goal. Pawal Lakra shocked the defenders and goalkeeper Baljit Singh with a quick strike from the top of the circle.

Realizing the need to tighten up, IOC went on the offensive. Inderjeet Singh led the attack assisted on the wing by Roshan Minj, and by Bharat Chikkara, Vickramkanth and Sunil Yadav in the defense. IOC’s attempt from a penalty corner was neatly blocked by Army’s Robin midway through on the goal line. But it was left to Hamza Mujtaba to secure the equalizer after Chikkara did the spadework.

Army was aggressive in its approach with a good measure of adeptness surfacing now then. The frontline was speedier than compared to the rival but the defense proved vulnerable. Salaria, Siraju and the lithe Gurpreet Singh were formidable in their tackles and distribution.

However, the defenders failed to gauge the switching of the IOC attack from Inderjeet to Deepak with Didar Singh entering the area menacingly. Inderjeet almost scored off a cross from Didar, missing the mark by inches. Minutes later Mujtaba fumbled with a cross from Chikkara.

IOC’s dominance became crystal clear during the final stages of first half. The trend continued after the break. P.T.Rao, the Army goalkeeper, made a fine save in a penalty corner by Sunil Yadav. But he was bemused the skilful execution to the lead by Deepak who made capital off a pass from Inderjeet from the left.

The spontaneous approbation from the stands to Deepak’s effort only confirmed his popularity rating. Amidst the din and excitement, IOC enlarged the lee way when Didar Singh penetrated his way through a couple of defenders and finished with a splendid flick.

Surprisingly, IOC’s penalty corner conversions was poor, largely due to the over elaboration. None was successful from the six gained in the match.

The Army attack thereafter was frenetic. Egged on by the supporters the team launched a few incisive moves involving Binoy Bhengra and Vishwa Thakur. There was hectic activity near the IOC goal area but Baljit Singh stood up to the pressure gallantly.

However, penalty flicker Chandan Aind bewildered Baljit Singh with an immaculate finish restoring a flicker of hope to net the equalizer in the four minutes that were left for the hooter. But IOC managed to stem off that spell of aggression by controlling the tempo of the match until finish.

IOC won the cash prize of Rs.500000, while the Army XI received 250000.

M.M.Murugappan, Vice-Chairman, Murugappa Group and Arun Murugappan, President, EID-Parry, Murugappa Group, along with Ajit Kumbhat, President of Madras Cricket Club, Srivatsan Subramaniam (VP), Ramesh (Treausrer) and B.Vijay Kumar (Organizing Secretary) were part of the prize distribution ceremony.

The result: Final: IOC 3 (Hamza Mujtaba, Deepak Thakur, Didar Singh) beat Army XI 2 (Pawal Lakra, Chandan Aind).

Special Awards: Best Forward: Deepak Thakur (IOC), Mid-fielder: Pradhan Somanna (Karnataka), Goalkeeper/defender: Chandan Singh (CAG), Promising Player: Vinay Anup Walmiki (Mumbai) and Man of the match (final) Deepak Thakur (IOC).


IOC canters to a comfortable triumph

Jolted by an early strike from Army, the champion rallies superbly

K. Keerthivasan

The IOC team after winning the MCC Murugappa Gold Cup.

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has been on a bit of a roller-coaster ride. Playing well only in patches in the league, IOC did not exactly paint a picture of being a cohesive unit.

But when the crunch moments emerged, it delivered in grand style. The last two matches saw IOC at its best, displaying clockwork-like precision in its moves.

The final of the 89th all-India MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium here on Sunday saw the defending champion script a 3-2 victory over Army XI to bag the title and the cash prize of Rs.5 lakh. Army had to be content with Rs.2.5 lakh.

Army made the scoreboard first within hardly five minutes of the start with a goal from Pawal Lakra — a clean shot from close to the box that found the top of the roof.  However, from that moment till the end of the first half, it was IOC which put up a show of dominance.

Bharat Chikara moved in quickly in the left, and his cross found Hamza Mujtaba, who scooped it into the top of the net for the equaliser. IOC raided from both flanks that left the Army team panting. Didar Singh’s strike was by padded away by the ’keeper P.T. Rao, and then Roshan Minz and Mujtaba’s combination created a flutter in the Army camp.

About 25 minutes into the first half, IOC’s star striker Deepak Thakur made his appearance and the complexion of the game started to change.

IOC’s bugbear has been the penalty corners and in the final the team had six but converted none, though a couple of them did trouble the ’keeper.  IOC field play, though, was superior to Army’s.  Unable to break into a packed defence, Army resorted to long balls, with Gurpreet Singh supplying from the right.

Deepak, who was hospitalised on Saturday night for a ‘viral fever’ found the net to give IOC the lead in the 48th minute. Gagandeep Singh’s pass from the left saw Deepak trap the ball and wait for a few seconds with the choice to either hit it over the ’keeper or under him. Seeing Rao advancing, Deepak rolled the ball between his legs for his 10th goal. The former India striker was the real star of the tournament.

Didar Singh put the match beyond Army after he dribbled past a couple of defenders from the right to score his second goal of the tournament.

Having been outplayed for the major part of the contest, Army scored off a penalty corner by Chandan Aind five minutes from the hooter.

The results (Final): IOC 3 (Hamza Mujtaba 15, Deepak Thakur 48, Didar Singh 55) bt Army XI 2 (Pawal Lakra 4, Chandan Aind 65). Man of the match: Deepak Thakur.

The Hindu

Paul Van Ass deserved respect: Roelant Oltmans

Rutvick Mehta

Roelant Oltmans File Photo AFP photo

Roelant Oltmans is no more just the high-performance director of Hockey India. With his compatriot shooed away, the Dutchman is also head coach of the senior men's team. In a freewheeling chat with Rutvick Mehta, the 61-year-old says he would love to see the squad achieve a top-six finish at the 2016 Rio Olympics

You're now the chief coach of the team. Are you ready for the challenge?
To be honest, it's not exactly what I expected when I first got here in 2013. But at the moment, I think it's the best solution. And yes, I'm ready to work really hard for the boys in the next one year leading up to the Olympics.

Would you continue in your role as Hockey India (HI) high-performance director?
Yes, it's a combination.

You have been silent on the entire Paul Van Ass episode. Has it left you disappointed?
Of course, it is disappointing when someone is appointed just five months ago and now he's not there. But, maybe, we all have a different kind of disappointment. Everyone who has been involved — the players, Paul himself, Dr Narinder Batra and myself — is disappointed, but not in exactly the same way. You appoint someone because you think that in the next one-and-a-half years he is going to work with the national team. But in the end, that's not what happened.

Do you think the situation could have been handled a lot better?
(Laughs) Well, hope it will be now. Let's see how things work in such a situation in the future. If I didn't expect that it will be a workable situation for me, or that I will get the space to do what I need to do, I wouldn't have signed the contract. So I hope I get that space from the HI side that I need to prepare the players in the best possible way.

Your "firing" email to Van Ass generated a lot of debate. Would you like to clarify your stance?
Look, to be honest, I don't think anything will add to this situation anymore. Of course, Paul has sent his mails and informed you about the conduct of Dr Batra. I think that's enough.

But I will like to make it very, very clear that Paul deserved respect. Although it was just a short period of time that he worked here, he is a very respectful coach, and that's the way I'd like to finish this episode. For me, he's a very respectful coach with a lot of good things, and it's a shame things didn't work out here for him the way we all expected.

Four foreign coaches have come and gone since 2009, but you're into your third year. How did you manage to work in a system that everyone has criticised for so long?
Well, that's a very good question. Sometimes, I'm also confused, no doubt about it. But for me there are two important things. First, and it's something I said when I arrived here, my dream was to bring Indian hockey back to the level where it was around 14 years ago. We're not there yet. So that's always there in my mind. And second, I've tried to understand why people act the way they act. There are huge differences between places like Europe, Australia and here in India. But that's how it is. And I try to understand why people sometimes react the way they do from the cultural point. And maybe I have managed to understand that better than others. I don't know (laughs).

Do you put it all down to ego wars?
I don't know if it's only about ego. I believe that ego shouldn't be there in any team environment. It's about working as a team, not individuals. And team work is not just for the 16 players, it's also for the staff, the employees of HI, people of SAI (Sports Authority of India). We're all striving for the same success. And that's what we should try to do.

Looking ahead, you haven't been a full-time coach since 2008. How difficult will it be to get back to it?
Well, I have coached quite a number of times in my time here in India. I did the Asia Cup (2013) with the national team as well as the Champions Trophy (2014). I've also worked with the women's team as coach during that period. Luckily, I have been coaching for a certain period. So I'm not afraid that I'm lacking in that. I'm experienced and I have kept my coaching skills abreast in that period. I'm not afraid about that.

Coaching is just something extra that is added to my role. Of course, that's a challenge. But it's a challenge that I'm ready for. And, hopefully, I can work with the staff and the players in the right way towards the Olympics. We really have to work hard, there's no doubt about it. I know the boys will do, and I know I will too.

The boys seem comfortable with you. That must be a good sign to start with, considering the premature exits that foreign coaches have had...
Yes, of course. That is not what we want, to change positions so often as has been the case in the past two years. You want consistency. I've not always been too close to the team, but I have been around. The boys at least know my way of working and are comfortable with it. Of course, we still need to add quite a number of things to the process, because it's quite different if you're an Indian coach. You're responsible. And now I'm responsible. It's also a responsibility for the players. It doesn't mean everything will stay exactly the same. No. There will be differences, there will be challenges also for them.

What are the immediate things that you'll be working on?
The most important thing is to perform on a consistent level. I think we have all seen that the players have the quality. There's no doubt about it. But at the same time, it's a very small base because, at the moment, not everyone is on the same page or in the best form. We don't have something to fall back on. So, I think, the most important thing is to find out what should be our level to perform on a consistent basis. And from there on, we can look at ways to improve that level. But we shouldn't go below that level anymore. That's the important thing. And that is based on making sure that our physical condition is perfect, our tactical understanding and awareness should improve, and our goal-scoring is still not up to the mark. The penalty corner conversion should be on a higher rate. So there are quite a few areas that we need to work on in the upcoming 12 months.

In India, people always expect a podium finish going into Olympics. How do you look at such expectations?
I'm not the one who will say we are going to make the podium finish for sure. You never know. But if you don't have the aim to get there, you will never get there. So, of course, that should be the aim. If we can finish in the top six, I think the Indian team will have done a very good job. Don't forget we were 12th in London 2012 and ninth at the last World Cup. So don't expect a jump from 9 to 3 in two years' time. That's a huge jump. That doesn't mean we're not working at it. We will. We'd like to finish with a gold medal! But let's stay realistic as well.

And for that you would hope the next one year remains controversy-free...
Yes, I hope that. I understand that my role now is different to when I was the high-performance director. Now the direct results will become more important as well, and people will look at that. I understand that. I'll have a meeting with the players today (Sunday) evening, and we make a new start.

The HI chief wants you to coach the team till 2018...
Well, to be honest, I read that in the papers today (Sunday) morning. We didn't discuss this at all yesterday (Saturday) during our meetings. So that is something he (Batra) must have just mentioned (in the press conference). I'm really just looking for the first year at the moment. But I'll not say absolutely not, and I won't say absolutely yes.


One coach can’t turn it around

Indian hockey needs a uniform system and trained coaches starting from grassroots level

Like all foreign coaches, Michael Nobbs (in pic) felt India does not have a proper system in place to groom players . file photo

Chandigarh: Paul van Ass’s tryst with Indian hockey has ended even before he could properly introduce himself (and his work). Just days after his first big assignment as the coach – the Hockey World League Semifinals – the Dutchman has been fired.

For the fans, following hockey in this country is like being stuck in a loop. Van Ass is the fourth foreign coach in five years to leave midway. His predecessors were either shown the door or they quit after a year or more. But Van Ass’ removal after just five months makes it a new record.

And it has got to be tough on the India players. Most of the players in the current group have played under two Australians – Michael Nobbs and Terry Walsh – and two Dutchmen – Van Ass and Roelant Oltmans.

In this case, with Oltmans taking over, the change wouldn’t be that great. Even though making frequent changes is an obvious hurdle in the growth of Indian hockey, it’s not the main problem.

No system

During training, Van Ass asked the players to pass and receive the ball without verbal communication, one of the players in the camp told The Tribune recently.

It is odd. Why does the coach of a national team felt the need to teach the players what is supposed to be taught at the basic level?

This is just one small example, but it raises a much larger issue – the lack of a uniform system in Indian hockey.

The skills required in modern hockey have completely changed from the time when India was on top. The introduction of a synthetic turf and the ever increasing pace of the game have rendered obsolete the skills that made us unbeatable on grass. Today, you need skills like one-touch passes, receiving on the move etc.

You can’t learn these in months or a few years. These skills need to be taught from the grass-roots level to be ingrained in a player.

In the top hockey playing nations, be it Australia or Germany, there is a uniform system – to teach the technical and tactical aspects of the game – in place from the grass-roots level to the top level. That means that by the time a player enters the national team, he doesn’t need to be taught something as basic as communicating discreetly.

That brings us to the need for a particular playing style. Skill training has to be done in match situations, not in isolation. But unless you know what style you want to play, the training is pointless.

In an ideal situation, every right back and right half, for example, in the country play in a certain style. They are taught the same skills and the same tactics. When the two meet in the national team, they will know exactly what to do in what situation; even if the right back is from Odisha and right half from Punjab.

Pointless training

But that doesn’t happen in India. There is no training system, except for what the foreign coaches teach the national teams. The Indian coaches are not qualified enough and the blame goes to the teaching institutes such as NIS who still teach archaic methods. The players at the lower levels are still being taught obsolete skills – dribbling is a great exercise to improve one’s feel but useless in today’s game. Most players are never taught how to tackle different situations in a game. So very often, when they face a situation they have never been trained for, they make mistakes.

No wonder, Van Ass felt that the players needed a lesson in the basics. But the basics can’t be learnt after a certain age. And what’s worse is that if a player picks up a bad habit during his developing stage, it cannot be unlearned.

This leads to frustration for the coaches. Van Ass’ predecessors faced the same problem. Right at the start of his term, Walsh had said that the players were making very basic mistakes, which cost the team dearly. Before him, Nobbs, Spaniard Jose Brasa and Australian great Ric Charlesworth also said that India needed to develop a proper system.

Why are coaches from different countries saying the same thing? This means that the argument about different styles hurting India is secondary. Even if India hires an Australian coach for a long term, the results won’t change much. He could improve one group of players to a certain level, but when a new batch comes in, he will have to again start from a scratch.

A better process would be to pick a style, for example Australian, and hire their coaches for the senior, junior and sub-junior teams. Then develop Indian coaches who could spread the foreigners’ teachings to the lowest levels across the country.

“India needs to bring in specialists for short periods and build up Indian coaches and specialists. Bring back the specialists again and review. Continue this until you have a fully working programme," Nobbs recently said.

It is a long process, the one without which Indian hockey would not regain its lost glory.

It is distressing that the administrators, be it Hockey India or the Sports Authority of India, have ignored the suggestions of the foreign coaches for so many years now. Instead, they have gone for the short-cut solutions – bringing one high-profile coach after another.

The Tribune

Coaches are treated as 'marionettes' in Indian hockey: Brasa

NEW DELHI: Coaches in Indian hockey are treated as 'marionettes' and lack of freedom and interference are the main reasons behind the controversial exits of foreign experts, feels former India coach Jose Brasa.

"Many coaches have been fired by Hockey India, and remember before me Ric Charlesworth, the best coach in the world, was fired too. The problem is freedom," Brasa told PTI Bhasha from Madrid while reacting to the sacking of Dutch coach Paul Vaan Ass.

"In the beginning, they (Hockey India and Sports Authority of India) promise you the moon. They promise you that you and only you will do the selection of players, but once you sign the contract and if they are not happy with the players that you have picked, they start to interfere," he added.

"The problem is freedom. A coach who accepts to be a marionette (puppet) will stay long. Good foreign coaches with personality will never accept to be a marionette," said the Spaniard.

Van Ass has become the fourth foreign coach to be shown the door unceremoniously ever since Hockey India took over the reins of the game in 2009.

Van Ass' predecessors Brasa, Michael Nobbs and Terry Walsh -- all of whom were hired by Sports Authority of India on the recommendations of HI at hefty salaries -- also left the country on an unceremonious note.

Brasa also said that administrators in India treated him like a slave during his tenure.

The Times of India

Anatomy of a hockey disaster: Paul Van Ass saga proves Batra is as bad as Gill

by Ashish Magotra

What does it take for a sport to make it big in India?

Some might say money. Others might hint at talent. Still more would veer towards success at the international stage. But none of them really matter -- not in India anyway; not when you have administrators who feel they know the sport better than the coaches; not when you have administrators calmly walk onto the turf and give the players a pep talk; not when administrators sack coaches 380 days ahead of the Olympics; not when administrators sack coaches days after winning an Asiad gold; not when you have a KPS Gill; not when you have a Narinder Batra.

Money might help an individual rise through the ranks but can it do the same to a sport? Then again, one individual might have great talent but how does one raise a generation of talented players — and unless both the earlier conditions are fulfilled — getting success at international level as a nation will remain an empty pipe dream for India.

The Indian men's hockey team was the first to qualify for the Rio Olympics -- this is not to suggest that they are better than Australia, The Netherlands or even Germany -- but only to make the point that they have managed to get the most difficult part of the journey out of the way. They have qualified and they could/should begin preparing in earnest -- set everything else aside, put on the blinkers and focus on the Olympics... and the Olympics alone.

But that would have meant that Batra would have had to remain out of the limelight; he would have had to take a back seat to hockey and that just didn't sit right with the man in charge. If it's hockey in India -- the administrator always needs to be at the forefront; he is the face and he is their tragedy. The KPS Gill years were no better -- if Batra feels better it is only because Gill's madness was at another level.

Gill’s 14-year term as chief of the now defunct Indian Hockey Federation divided the federation (IHF and HI), the hockey fraternity and players, and over time, significantly dented the team’s performance and morale.

At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the Indian team was captained by Pargat Singh. Coach Cedric D’Souza didn’t want him in the team but Gill forced his hand. India finished eighth and Pargat's full back position was the weakest slot. Gill, rather defiantly, blamed the umpiring.

He dropped/sacked star forward Dhanraj Pillay when he criticised them (demanded more pay) after the Asian Games in 1998 (where India won gold). The reasoning given was that Pillay couldn't work with his team-mates. But he wasn't the only one sacked -- the coach MK Kaushik and several other senior players were given marching orders too.

At the 2002 World Cup, India finish 10th and became the first nation in hockey history to sack their coach, Cedric D’Souza, midway through the tournament. By the time Gill was done, he had sacked 18 coaches and destroyed the careers of many players.

And even then he had the temerity to say: "Hockey is not instant coffee."

The problem with this whole narrative is that Batra is just starting out (he took over in October 2014) and he has already sacked five coaches (including Paul Van Ass, if he goes). Why, he even dreams of running the Indian Olympic Association at some point...

Administrators -- in India at least -- are known to interfere and grant favours but the good one's stay away from the game as much as possible. The Badminton Association of India is pretty nuts as well at times -- for starters, they sent a 46-year-old man from Punjab police to represent India at an international tournament in Iceland, on the recommendations of the Punjab Badminton Association (PBA). The doubles discipline has also be neglected.

But they have mostly allowed coaches to do their job -- that is also good administration and it shows in our rising profile in the sport. Let people do the jobs they have been hired for and success will follow.

In hockey, however, the administrators believe they are untouchable. They interfere with team selection, sack coaches, scrap schedules -- all because their ego is at play. Van Ass miraculously survived for 126 days -- the hockey equivalent of instant coffee. Terry Walsh was sacked just days after he coached the team to gold at the 2014 Asian Games and an automatic spot in Rio. One can't help but wonder whether any coach worth his name will want to be in charge of India. Put all of this together and it is a recipe for disaster.

When Gill was once asked about the debacle of the hockey team, he famously snapped back: “the team has lost. I have not.”

But if hockey loses, then who wins?


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