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News for 12 September 2015

All the news for Saturday 12 September 2015

Auckland Men, Canterbury Women stay on top

Photo: Planet Hockey

The Auckland Men and Canterbury Women are alone on top of the points tables remaining following Round 3 of the Ford National Hockey League at the ITM Hockey Centre in Whangarei.

In a battle for the top of the men’s points table, it was Auckland who flexed their muscle with a huge 7-2 win over North Harbour.

Auckland, who are eyeing up a fifth straight Challenge Shield title, had Harbour on the ropes early after scoring in just the second minute from a Dwayne Rowsell penalty flick.

Marcus and Simon Child both netted to put Auckland out by a three goal buffer before North Harbour responded with goals from Craig Jones and Cory Bennett. But Auckland went on to score a further four goals with another from Simon Child, Jared Panchia, Tim Drummond and Michael Ritchie.

The result leaves Auckland on top of the table as the only men’s team on a maximum 12 points following wins over North Harbour, Midlands and Northland.

North Harbour’s George Muir withdrew from the tournament prior to the game due to a serious hamstring injury, and has been replaced for all remaining rounds by veteran striker Dave Kosoof.

The Capital Cobras took a thrilling 3-2 win over the Southern Dogs in a shoot-out after the game was drawn 1-1 at fulltime. Dane Lett put Capital on the board in the sixth minute from a penalty corner before Hugo Inglis equalised for the Doggies in the third quarter. Neither side could score the winner in regulation, forcing a shoot-out.

It was another close-fought contest in the following game with the Central Mavericks defeating Canterbury Cavaliers 4-3 in shoot-out after a 4-4 deadlock at fulltime. Black Sticks striker Nick Wilson scored a double for Central along with goals from Sam Jimmieson, Martin Atkinson. Willie Davidson also scored a brace, while Cam Hayde and Martin Atkinson also netted for Canterbury.

Midlands powered their way to a 6-2 result against Northland thanks to Zac Woods double, and other goals from Ben Tanner, Des Abbott, Tarrant Haami-Jones and Matt Rees-Gibbs.

On the women’s side of the draw, the Canterbury Cats consolidated top spot on the table with a 2-1 win over the Central Mysticks.

After a goalless first half, the Cats scored two goals in the space of a minute through Rachel McCann and Sophie Cocks. Central Captain Cathryn Pollock scored nine minutes out from fulltime but the Mysticks couldn’t kick on to find an equaliser.

Northland secured a popular 2-1 victory over Midlands in front of a vocal home crowd. Stacey Michelsen opened the scoring just out from halftime before Kate Kernaghan drew Midlands level in the 41st minute. Anna Thorpe then delivered the winning goal just five minutes out from fulltime.

Auckland handed North Harbour their first loss at the tournament with a tight 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Sam Harrison off the back of a penalty corner in the 25th minute. The result leaves Canterbury alone on top of the women’s points table with 12 points, while Auckland jump up eight points.

Capital recorded their first win of the tournament with a convincing 5-0 against the Southern Storm, leading from start to finish thanks to goals from Renee Ashton, Freya Hawes, Charlotte Eastman, Sophie Devine and Kelsey Smith.

Round 4 gets underway from 10:30am tomorrow with Auckland vs Central Mavericks opening the day’s play for the men, before the Canterbury Cats take on Midlands on the women’s draw at 11:00am.

The Ford National Hockey League is proudly supported by the Whangarei District Council and Trillian Trust.

CLICK HERE for more on the 2015 Ford NHL



Capital Cobras vs Southern Dogs
Capital won shoot-out 3-2
Draw 1-1 at fulltime

Capital: Dane Lett
Southern: Hugo Inglis

Canterbury Cavaliers vs Central Mavericks
Draw 4-4 at fulltime
Central won shoot-out 4-3

Canterbury: Willie Davidson 2, Cam Hayde, Sam Lane
Central: Nick Wilson 2, Sam Jimmieson, Martin Atkinson

North Harbour vs Auckland
Auckland won 7-2
Auckland: Simon Child 2, Dwayne Rowsell, Marcus Child, Jared Panchia, Tim Drummond, Michael Ritchie
North Harbour: Craig Jones, Cory Bennett

Northland vs Midlands
Midlands won 6-2
Midlands: Zac Woods 2, Ben Tanner, Des Abbott, Tarrant Haami-Jones, Matt Rees-Gibbs
Northland: Isaac Staples, Andrew Scanlon

Canterbury Cats vs Central Mysticks
Canterbury won 2-1
Canterbury: Rachel McCann, Sophie Cocks
Central: Cathryn Pollock

Capital vs Southern Storm
Capital won 5-0
Capital: Renee Ashton, Freya Hawes, Charlotte Eastman, Sophie Devine, Kelsey Smith

Northland vs Midlands
Northland won 2-1
Northland: Stacey Michelsen, Anna Thorpe
Midlands: Kate Kernaghan

North Harbour vs Auckland
Auckland won 1-0
Auckland: Sam Harrison

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Sapura, Maybank lead

By Jugjet Singh

TENAGA Nasional threw away the lead to go down 2-1 to Maybank in the TNB Cup First Leg quarter-finals at a haze enveloped National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

In the other quarters, Sapura beat Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) 3-0 -- and it looks like the second leg is also going to be uphill for the University side.

The API reading for Bukit Jalil was 276, when Azril Misron gave Tenaga a fifth minute lead off a field attempt.

But inexperience was Tenaga's downfall, as they allowed Maybank into the match and goals from Hafifi Hafiz in the 46th, and India import B. Deepanshu in the 59th gave Maybank a slight edge going into the return leg.

For the record, it was Deepanshu's first goal of the season.

As for Sapura, Pakistan's Mumammad Imran starred in their show with fifth and seventh minute penalty corner goals, while the other goal was scored by Norsyafiq Sumantri (25th).

Maybank coach S. Vellapan was elated with the knock-out win, after losing 2-1 twice to Tenaga in the League.

"We went down twice in the League to Tenaga, and so I see this win as a good improvement and goin into the return leg, I believe my players will again perform and take us into the semis," said Vellapan.

League champions Terengganu Hockey Team and runners-up Kuala Lumpur Hockey Team are seeded into the semi-finals in this six-team tournament.

Tenaga coach Nor Saiful Zaini was peeved with his charges, as he felt that eventhough they are young, they should have improved after playing 10 matches in the MHL Premier Division.

"First of all, I am not looking for excuses in this defeat. I'm simply not happy with the way my charges played, as after 10 matches in the League, the eight Project 2016 players should have showed improvement in the knock-out, but they were a let-down.

"There Project boys were also not available to train with us as they had their own training programme leading to the Junior Asia Cup, and this, to a certain aspect, disrupted my preparations of the team.

"They commuted between Tenaga and Project training and looked a little jaded and tired. However, having said that, Tenaga fully support the system, and understand that the Project boys had to attend training with their coach (Arul Selvaraj)," said Nor Saiful.

RESULTS: Quarter-finals First Leg: Tenaga Nasional 1 Maybank 2; Sapura 3 Universiti Kuala Lumpur 0.

TOMORROW: Quarter-finals Second Leg -- Universiti Kuala Lumpur v Sapura (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 6pm); Maybank v Tenaga Nasional (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 8pm).

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Maybank edge past Tenaga in quarter-final

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank finally found the right mix to overcome Tenaga Nasional 2-1 in the quarter-final, first-leg tie for the overall title in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

The Tigers had lost both Premier Division matches 2-1 to Tenaga and knew that only a concerted effort would help them get past the former champions.

And it was their India import Deepanshu Bhargav who notched the winner with a field attempt in the 59th minute.

Although it is officially listed as his second goal in the tournament, Maybank are claiming that it’s his first. But who’s complaining?

It was Tenaga who took the early lead through an Azril Misron field goal in the fifth minute. And Maybank must have feared the worst.

Luckily for the Tigers, skipper Hafifihafiz Hanafi got the equaliser in the 46th minute through a penalty corner conversion.

Maybank coach S. Vellapan admitted that the one-goal advantage “is not enough and we will have a tougher time in the return leg tomorrow”.

“It’s not over yet ... there’s still all to play for in the return leg. We had good control of the match and were able to play it wide this time around. The question is whether we can maintain this form in the return leg,” he said.

The conditions were not conducive for a good match due to the haze. The air pollutant index (API) reading was 270 but the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) still went ahead with the game. A reading of 200-300 is deemed very unhealthy.

Tenaga coach Nor Saiful Zaini conceded that the Tigers were the better side.

“Our performance wasn’t good enough ... we didn’t play our normal game. The players looked tired and jaded,” he said.

“It’s not as if we didn’t have chances. You have to score when you get into the D ... we didn’t. We were not in the game, but credit to Maybank for a better performance.”

In the other quarter-final first-leg tie, Sapura breezed to a 3-0 win over Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL).

Sapura have their Pakistani penalty corner specialist Mohamed Imran to thank for the win.

Imran scored a brace in the fifth and seventh minutes to inspire Sapura to victory.

Norsyafiq Sumantri added the third goal in the 25th minute.

The Star of Malaysia

OZ begin title defence against Hurley

The Hoofdklasse returns to action in the Netherlands on Sunday with Oranje Zwart hoping to make the first positive step toward retaining the national title when they meet Hurley in Eindhoven.

OZ were the only side to go unbeaten at home throughout the regular season last term and will be heavy favourites against a side they have not lost against since 2000 across 16 meetings.

Austrian star Benjamin Stanzl could make his debut following a summer move from Harvestehuder THC where he won an EHL winner’s medal in 2014.

Amsterdam start their campaign at home against Den Bosch with Mirco Pruyser looking to continue his hot streak in this fixture, scoring in the last seven encounters between the clubs with 13 goals to his name.

Kampong play newly promoted Voordaan hoping to go one better than last year when they reached the playoffs final. Voordaan coach Marieke Dijkstra played for 12 years for Kampong and she will hope her side can cause an upset against their near neighbours.

Rotterdam travel to Pinoké hoping to continue their run of just a single defeat in 19 meetings. Rotterdam added Irish international Mitch Darling to their panel this year, signing the forward from Three Rock Rovers.

Scherweijde play Bloemendaal, looking for a first win since April 1978, while SCHC face HGC in the other game.

Euro Hockey League media release

Kent derby as Men's National Hockey League begins

England's Ashley Jackson is challenged by Trindad and Tobago's Mickell Pierre during their pool game at the XX Commonwealth Games. Photo by Ady Kerry

Holcombe play host to Canterbury as the Kent derby clash provides the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division with a mouth-watering start on Saturday evening.

After going unbeaten on their way to the Conference East title last season, ambitious Holcombe have boosted their squad further by the signing of England and GB ace Ashley Jackson (pictured) from East Grinstead, while his international team-mate Sam Ward has also signed on from Beeston.

But Canterbury, who narrowly avoided relegation last term, also have several new faces as they bid to improve on last season. Ivo Moreira joins them from Sport Club do Porto, while Tariq Marano has moved from Malvern SC in Trinidad and Tobago.

“Playing Canterbury in our first match will be great for Kent hockey,” said Holcombe’s president and first team manager Keith Martin. “It should be a great atmosphere.

“They are never an easy side to play against. They have for a lot of experience and they will be well organised, well disciplined and hard to break down. But we’re looking forward to the challenge and playing our usual attacking hockey.

“We’re looking to consolidate our position in the Premier Division this season. We know we will lose the international players for the World League and training camps for Rio Olympics, which could rule them out for a third of the season, but that will give the chance for our other players to stake their claim for a first team place.”

Beeston head to Cannock in Saturday evening’s other Premier Division clash. England and GB international Mark Gleghorne has joined Beeston from East Grinstead.

Sunday sees the 2015 title winners Wimbledon travel to Brooklands Manchester University in their opening match. Matthias Knuepfer joins the champions from German club An der Alster and Richie Dawson-Smith returns to England from Harvestuder. Brooklands have signed goalkeeper Rob Turner from Bowdon.

Also on Sunday Surbiton play host to East Grinstead. Surbiton welcome New Zealander Andrew Hayward who joins from Hampstead. EG have signed Adam Seccull from St Kilda, Australia, Jannis Schwebs from Berliner and, closer to home, Ben Alberry from Canterbury.

The other game in the top flight sees Reading at home against Hampstead and Westminster. This will see an early return for Richard Springham who left the Berkshire side for Hampstead in the summer. Hampstead’s other newcomers include Pakistan international Muhammad Irfan who played for Olton last season and Stu Loughrey from Cannock.

The Conference East also starts on Saturday with Richmond versus Teddington while promoted Sevenoaks host last season’s runners-up Bromley and Beckenham.

Conference North champions Bowdon travel to the University of Durham in their opening fixture of Sunday, while runners-up Sheffield Hallam take on Preston at Abbeydale.

Champions Team Bath Buccaneers entertain Conference West newcomers Chichester Priory Park on Sunday, who have switched divisions from the East for 2015-16.

Cardiff and Met – who just missed out on the title in the final week last season – begin their new season with a home match against Guildford.

Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, September 12 2015)

Premier Division
Cannock v Beeston 19:00
Holcombe v Canterbury 18:00

Conference East
Richmond v Teddington 18:00
Sevenoaks v Bromley and Beckenham 17:30

Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, September 13 2015)

Premier Division
Brooklands Manchester Univ v Wimbledon 14:00
Reading v Hampstead and Westminster 14:30
Surbiton v East Grinstead 14:00

Conference West
Cardiff & Met v Guildford 12:30
Cheltenham v Indian Gymkhana 12:30
Isca v Fareham 12:30
Team Bath Buccaneers v Chichester Priory Park 13:00
Univ of Birmingham v Univ of Exeter 12:30

Conference North
Deeside Ramblers v Lichfield 13:30
Olton and West Warwicks v Loughborough Students 13:30
Sheffield Hallam v Preston 15:30
Univ of Durham v Bowdon 14:00
Wakefield v Doncaster 14:00

Conference East
Brighton and Hove v Oxted 13:00
Cambridge City v Harleston Magpies 13:00
West Herts v Southgate 14:00

England Hockey Board Media release

Our Special Correspondent 2015-16 preview

Wildcats GHK Kaz Marshall

Tomorrow sees the return of top flight hockey in Scotland for both Men and Ladies. In the first round of games for both there are some mouth-watering ties. Title hopefuls Western Wildcats make the long trip to Dundee to face evergreen and fellow title hopefuls Grove Menzieshill. A home win is expected in this fixture but will the Wildcats spring out of hibernation and surprise the Dundonians? Kareena Marshall has been slowly improving the Ladies side from Milngavie whilst her former team mate, Linda Clement, is still getting her feet under the table in her first club coaching role since exiting the international stage. This one could be intriguing.

ESM re-join the top flight after a hiatus in the second division and start against a young looking CALA team hoping to build on the steady progress of recent years where they have been ‘best of the rest’ around play-off time. This all Edinburgh affair is a nice way for both teams to ease back into the swing of things with a view to ironing out any pre-season problems. CALA should hope to take three points in this one but an early season upset could be the catalyst for ESM’s prolonged stay in the top flight.

Watsonians made moves in the summer to appoint Keith Smith as Head of Youth to keep the talent flowing and they will be reliant on Scotland U18 stars Katherine Holdgate, Mairi Shaw and Laura Swanson to move away from that bottom end of the table.  Swanson is a recent acquisition from Inverleith and veteran Nikki Robertson will once again don the pads for a season in the sticks.

Bromac Kelburne Ladies 1st XI have plenty of national youth internationals of their own with Natalie MacKinnon and Maddie Cleat sure to blaze a trail for the Paisley side.  Add this to the engine-room run by Stevie McInally and the yellow and black will be hoping there is no need for a final day play off win to stay in the top flight.

Edinburgh University continue to sit at the very apex of the ladies game and if the form book is followed should win against a GHK team who were beaten 10-0 in this fixture last season. Sam Judge continues to improve the University side who are laden with experienced internationals and pace in a variety of positions. GHK have maintained their top flight status for 5 consecutive seasons and although they have lost Jenny Morris to studies abroad, they continue to develop young players through their sparkling youth set up, Under 16 internationalist Lucy Findlay steps to the fore in defence for them this season. The inevitable home win will be tempered in the GHK ranks with the knowledge that their very own water based pitch will be open for business later in the month.

Two titans of the ladies game slug it out on the banks of the Tay in the final match when Dundee Wanderers welcome Clydesdale Western and there promises to be fireworks. Vicky Bunce’s Wanderers will be their usual potent combination of speed and skill on the break which may be an interesting style of play with new Clydesdale coach, Derek Forsyth, looking to take a notable scalp on his first forage into ladies hockey for many a year. A pre-season draw with Kris Kane’s GHK suggests that the Scotland men’s coach is still impressing his ideas on a much changed Clydesdale side but an away win will be the only thing on the Glaswegian minds as they make the trip to the City of Discovery.

Turning to the men’s fixtures and the last time Kelburne started a league campaign without the title of ‘Champions’ Tony Blair was Prime Minister, Liverpool FC were European Champions and, bizarrely, Elvis was number 1. The Paisley side have lost Mark Ralph to retirement and internationalist, Michael Bremner, to studies abroad, the ‘holy trinity’ of Christie, Christie and Nelson remain as potent a goal threat to opposition keepers as any in the league albeit all three are a year longer in the tooth. The first run out for the self coached team is against newly promoted Grove Menzieshill who brushed aside the Division 2 opposition like a minor distraction, qualifying in record time for a return to the top flight. The Dundonians tend to be a much better side at home than on the road but, ably led by grizzled veteran Ross McPherson and with Gavin Byers hoping to prove that he can carry the weight of Tay-side expectation this season, matters will not be so straight forward for the once dominant west coasters. Expect a strong start at Glasgow Green from both sides as they trade blows in the early exchanges.

Scotland U-21 coach Graham Moodie takes what could well be the surprise package of the season, Edinburgh University, to Aberdeen to face Craig Harper’s Gordonians side. Moodie has been quietly assembling a decent team very much based on the ‘Galacticos’ model of superstars with a spine of home-grown talent. Ex internationalists Moodie and Steven Dick are joined by the surprise capture of current internationalist Ian Moodie from Western and, more impressively, Dan Coultas from English hockey, who will be very much to the fore in the set plays. All have the ability to devastate opponents in short bursts and if Moodie can keep them all fit and blend the home grown talent (no doubt with a sprinkling of enigmatic foreign players) University Men will be a top four side this season – potentially at the expense of their opposition. Hoping to upset the apple cart will be Gordonians. Always difficult to beat on their own patch, Harper’s troops will be hoping to kick on from last season where their team spirit was very much to the fore in a number of fixtures and they managed to grind out some impressive points. His task is not added by the loss of their Czech internationalists who have returned home in search of international honours and a more reasonably priced pint. Ian Coffey will be hoping to kick on this season with a view to senior Scotland acknowledgement.

The much vaunted, Graham Dunlop returns to coaching duties at Titwood when Clydesdale open their campaign against Uddingston in the south side. Striker, coach and, undoubtedly, commentating at the same time, Dunlop appears to have his plate full this season with a youthful team hoping to retain first division status. Top flight new boys, Uddingston, will see the fixture as one that can set a tone for the season. If discipline and cohesion can be brought to the fore in the Uddingston ranks then there is no reason that Uddingston cannot be the team to avoid the automatic drop this season.

Scottish Champions Grange open their account away to Dundee Wanderers. Wanderers will be hoping that Colin Clarke’s wonderfully organised and efficient team will have one eye on their trip to Hamburg to face European behemoths Harvesterhuder in the EHL later this season and not on this fixture. Grange have lost Hamish Imrie but Cameron Fraser will continue to offer bite in midfield in what promises to be a big year in the development of Sean Hadfield in goals. Wanderers are very much a team navigating for survival, in recent years they have demonstrated an un-paralled ability to ‘get the job done’ and whilst this may not be a game where that big game mentality is engaged, they should have enough in the locker to avoid the automatic relegation spot.

Last up is the north Glasgow Derby between Hillhead and Western Wildcats. Keith Joss will again have his Hillhead team set up to frustrate in a formation where the sum is undoubtedly greater than the individual parts. Scottish Hockey employee and ageless Dorian Gray type, Jamie Frail will be guarding the goa, well patrolled in front by Steven Pollock. Captain Matt McIntyre will be hoping that the formula of recent years will be enough against an enigmatic Western team who have flattered to deceive on a number of occasions. Western have been without a trophy since 2011 and must see this campaign as one where they can make inroads without the distractions of Europe. Joe McConnell and Rob Harwood in midfield have blossomed into decent players in recent seasons and the irascible Luke Cranney has been added to the forward line in a bid to inject pace. McCartney and Sinclair remain the fulcrums of the team who must add a mental and physical toughness to their undoubted flair going forward.


Scottish Hockey Union media release

A Preview of our top divisions for 2015-16

National League Previews

It’s The Big Weekend for Scottish hockey teams across the top leagues for men and women as our National League programmes begin.

In Women’s National One, the biggest changes are amongst the coaching fraternity as Grove Menzieshill and Clydesdale Western will take to the field under the watchful eye of Linda Clement and Derek Forsyth repectively.  Both coaches have strong experience of international hockey so all eyes will be on how they do leading their teams domestically.

Dundee Wanderers welcome back the outstanding Vikki Bunce and Becky Ward after their stellar performances for Scotland in London at the Europeans.  Alongside established players such as Heather Elder and youth prodigy Charlotte Watson, the indoor specialists will look to build on last years Scottish Plate success.

Elsewhere in Womens National One, Edinburgh University continue to build on their success of last season with the signing of Amy Brodie who joins from Grove Menzieshill.  Brodie was part of the Scotland Senior Womens setup for the 2015 European Championships and strengthens Sam Judge’s Champions even further.

Staying in the East, CALA Edinburgh will be delighted by the signing of 4 promising talents including Scotland youth starlet Amy Costello whilst newly promoted Erskine Stuarts Melville will be warmly welcomed by all in the top flight for their first ever match in National One after a tremendous promotion run last season.

Back in the West, Kareena Marshall is delighted with the return of Rona Stewart to Western Wildcats 1st XI after injury and Kelburne Ladies will be thrilled by recent Scotland U18 success enjoyed by Natalie MacKinnon and Maddie Cleat.

Across at Old Anniesland GHK are celebrating both past and future as the clubs 25th anniversary coincides with the laying of a new water based astro as the club continues to cement its elite status.

Turning our attention to the mens side, Grange and Kelburne who fought out for the National Championship in 2015 are set to go again, with Iain Scholefield returning to the Paisley side after time playing in Australia alongside Gary Maitles joining from Western Wildcats.  Renowned Drag-flick expert Josh Cairns returns for another spell in the yellow and black after moving from recently promoted Uddingston.

Champions Grange have lost Scotland star Hamish Imrie to Loughborough after a stellar European Championships in Prague, however the Edinburgh powerhouses have massive strength in depth across the club and will not let their crown go lightly.

Western Wildcats coach Harry Dunlop told the clubs own media that the youthful age of his senior mens side bodes well for the future, with a cultural shift in training and preparation more important than any marquee signings.

Staying in the West, Hillhead Goalkeeping Talisman Jamie Frail returns for his 17th consecutive season in the first XI.  Keith Joss, 2014 Scottish Hockey coach of the year is keen for his team to emulate their top-four finish of season 13-14, with many of that squad remaining at Windyedge.  PSL Teamsport Clydesdale are adjusting to the loss of coach John McKnight who heads Down Under with the double-blow of losing Ciaran Crawford to Grove Menzieshill.

Dundee has 2 teams back in the top flight for the first time in a year as Grove Menzieshill return to the top flight after dominating National Two with a perfect season.  Gavin Byers brings the experience of another international tournament with him from Prague alongside the aforementioned Ciaran Crawford.

Uddingston are another team out to cement elite status by improving infrastructure with the laying of a new water-based pitch.  The club have embedded themselves in the local community and also focus on sustainability with an excellent youth programme but their immediate task is retaining their place in National One.

Dundee Wanderers Men retain a similar squad to last season after yet another strong play-off showing.  Key players such as Fergus Sandison and Euan Borland will be key for the Black & Red’s again this season.

Last seasons 4th placed AAM Gordonians are also looking strong and are of course keen to retain their top 4 status as a minimum.  Craig Harper told the clubs media last week of some departures but the club are excited at Robbie SHeperdson joing from Loughborough and Rory McCann joining from PSL TeamSport Clydesdale.

Exciting times are ahead for all our National One clubs – we wish you all the best of success!

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Bahrain Hockey offers Middle-Eastern promise

One nation that is working hard to re-establish itself as a front-runner in the world of hockey is the middle-eastern nation of Bahrain.

The Bahrain Hockey Association was established in the 1940s, after oil was discovered in the Persian Gulf nation. Since then, hockey’s popularity has fluctuated in the country.

Two new events however, signal an increase in interest in the sport both at an elite level and at a grass-roots, developmental level.

Jude D’Souza, the General Secretary of the BHA, has announced that a new programme of hockey development for children is to be rolled out across the Kingdom.

The Youth Hockey Programme will introduce children to the game and provide opportunities for development, participation and eventually for elite level performance.

Targeted age groups of under 7s, under 10s and under 13s will all received weekly coaching with regular competitions.

The coaching will be based in an academy which will be the first facility of its kind in the Arabian Gulf Cooperative – as the collection of seven Arab countries are known. The long-term aim is to play against other international academy sides in the region.

While these exciting plans are about to be launched across the island, the BHA has been arranging and running short format hockey tournaments in association with various communities on the island.

When it comes to intensity of competition however, look no further than the memorial tournament launched this year, honouring two hockey heroes on the island.

The Tahir Mir Hockey Memorial Cup 2015 and the associated Imran 'Pachi' Reza Hockey Shootout Memorial were recently held at the Bahrain Football Academy.

The event was a memorial tournament dedicated to ex-BHA hockey committee member and umpire chairman, Tahir Mir and ex-Bahrain hockey supporter, Imran ' Pachi' Reza who both passed away last year.

The event, which was played on the artificial turf at the national football ground, featured four of Bahrain's top hockey teams: Hungry Hamours, Dadabhai Wizards, Ministry of Interior and the Young Stars. The Dadabhai Wizards edged the final through a solitary goal against the Bahrain Policemen (Ministry of Interior).

While the inaugural Imran 'Pachi' Reza Penalty Shootout contest was an entertaining affair, it had a serious side as it was the BHA’s way of introducing rule changes in the international game to the Bahrain hockey players.

The Hungry Hamours proved shoot-out champions, with the Hamour’s ‘keeper proving the star of the show.

Umpires for the tournament were: Fran Treadgold (Chairman, UK Hockey Lions), Ali Zaman and Yashpal Rana (Saudi Hockey Federation) and Hassan (Bahrain Hockey Association).

D’Souza, who has been in place for six years and is the driving force behind hockey in Bahrain, says that the hockey tournaments are not just about playing the sport competitively, but also as means of encouraging social community development.

Through their initiatives and events, BHA are inspiring the next generation. Hockey is growing fast throughout the country and all of this is due to the dedication of BHA. They are re-energising the sport, which is not only important for Bahrain, but the whole Arab region.

FIH site

Love Actually

by Keli Smith Puzo, USA Field Hockey Region 9 Development Manager

It is a common occurrence that people ask me, “Why are you still involved in the game?” “Don’t you feel burned out?” “Is there really more to learn or do?” These questions have arisen on numerous occasions during my years as a hockey enthusiast, from age 15 to 35, yet my answer has always been the same - because I love it.

My childhood experience with sports defines the term organic. I never played to earn a college scholarship or to make someone else happy. I didn’t travel to tournaments every weekend with ungodly amounts of pressure on my shoulders. I even quit the U.S. Women's National Team to try something new, only to return 2 years later. Maybe I was oblivious to reality and pressure or, quite simply, I grew up in a different generation. But, one fact always remained the same - I played field hockey because it was fun and when I wasn’t having fun, I always took a break.

I see the pressure that our athletes have in today’s athletic world and it breaks my heart.  How and when will we ever turn back to what really matters?

Sometimes I think it is providential that my career spanned over so many years, afforded me to see many new places and allowed me to meet amazing people along the way. But as I get older, I realize it was not luck or simply hard work. It was my passion for competition, my appreciation for the learning process and my love for the people that surrounded me every day that always kept me coming back for more.

The truth is, I have an inner competitive drive and hockey fulfilled that outlet. I am the person racing to get in the door first and the one that secretively wants to win every game of UNO that I play with my 5-year-old son.

Competition was part of my DNA and this factor became a driving force of my playing career. If you ask most successful athletes, they all say the same. I love competition. Not just the big games, but the competitive drive of winning the small battles everyday at training.

Sports are not always peaches and cream. It’s a process. Whether you are just starting out in a youth league, playing for your high school or club or competing at the highest level, you will always have days were you simply grind it out. Successful athletes don't just understand the grind, but they live for it.  

Loving the process and the simple life lessons along the way are exactly what got me out of bed each day. But, one day I woke-up and couldn’t find the desire in the process.

I spent the next 2 years in corporate America. Every day, I put on stilettos and attempted to make my frizzy outrageous hair look somewhat attractive.

At the start, it was fun and fulfilling. I was new to the traditional working world and the learning process was intriguing at the start but soon, the competition of sales wasn’t enough. I wanted to win on the field.

The corporate process was not one with which I connected. I certainly didn’t connect with the people, because for the most part, we had different aspirations, different goals, and ultimately, a different drive than my colleagues. Different isn’t bad - it’s just different, and it meant that I felt myself longing for the complete fulfillment of my competitive drive, which I knew I had in hockey.

I turned back to hockey and the national team where I reconnected with the sport in a much fuller way. Every day I rolled out of bed, put on my training shoes and made my frizzy outrageous hair easy to control as I ran, lifted, practiced and played. The return was natural, it was fun, it was fulfilling. I was back in the world where I simply loved the process, had fun and loved the people that surrounded me every day. I wasn’t playing for money or someone else’s happiness. I was playing because I had fun and I loved the sport.

I had the opportunity to continue to travel to many new places, meet many new people and experience things that I still hold as treasured memories. As my family grew, my love of the sport did not diminish but rather the time available to both reached maximum capacity. I stepped away from playing actively, but I did not step away from the sport, because my competitive drive has been channeled into developing ways to help others capitalize on their passion.

So when I am at a club practice, or at a hockey event, and I’m holding the hand of one of my sons, and people ask me “'Why are you still involved in the game?',  'Don’t you feel burned out?', or  'Is there really more to learn or do?'", it’s an easy answer for me. I have had the same answer since I was 15 years old. It’s the same answer I want everyone to be able to respond with when someone asks them why they play.

“Actually, because I love it.”

USFHA media release

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