All the news for Sunday 21 September 2015
Auckland Women, Capital Men win Ford NHL
Photo: Planet Hockey
The Auckland Women and Capital Men have won this year’s Ford National Hockey League finals at the Whangarei ITM Hockey Centre.
Auckland powered to their second straight K Cup title with a dominant 6-0 win over hosts Northland in a replay of last year’s final.
It took just four minutes for Auckland to get on the board when Liz Thompson smashed home a penalty corner shot. The defending champions went on to score two more goals in the first half through Katie Glynn and Julia King.
A vocal crowd urged on Northland throughout the second half, but Auckland proved too good on both sides of the ball and sealed the result with three further goals to Deanna Ritchie, Sam Harrison and Monique Wilson.
Despite today’s loss, Northland defender Brooke Neal was named Women’s Most Valuable Player for the tournament after a top class week of hockey.
Midlands forward Gemma Flynn took out the women’s top goal scorer trophy with 10 goals at the tournament, including eight field goals and two penalty corners.
Meanwhile, the Capital Cobras won the Challenge Shield with a 4-3 shoot-out result after the score was level 0-0 at fulltime.
Wet conditions slowed play on the turf and the game became a defensive battle, with neither side able to put the ball into the back of the net.
The second half saw some high quality end to end hockey as the Cobras and Dogs searched for a game winning blow, but the stalemate at the end of regulation time sent the result to shoot-out.
It’s the first time the Capital side has won the Challenge Shield since 2010.
Southern captain Blair Tarrant scooped the Men’s Most Valuable Player award for his superb performance throughout the tournament.
Canterbury Cavaliers defender Nick Haig locked up the men’s top goal scorer award with eight, including seven penalty corners and one penalty stroke.
In other finals day results, Midlands came through to win the women’s bronze medal in a high scoring 7-4 win over the Canterbury Cats.
Captain Sam Charlton scored a hat-trick while Arnica Palmer, Shiloh Gloyn, Gemma Flynn and Amy Robinson were also on the score sheet. Olivia Merry scored a double for Canterbury along with goals from Catherine Tinning and Jenny Storey.
In the men’s bronze medal game Auckland came away with a hard fought 3-2 result over Midlands. Nic Woods opened the scoring for Midlands in the ninth minute before Joe Crooks equalised two minutes from halftime. Midlands grabbed the lead again but Simon Child ensured third place for Auckland with goals in the 42nd and 47th minutes.
North Harbour Women defeated the Central Mysticks 5-0 to place fifth, while Capital cruised past Southern Storm 5-0 to finish seventh.
The Canterbury Cavaliers scored three second half goals to defeat North Harbour 3-2 and finish fifth, while the Central Mavericks were untroubled in a 5-1 result over Northland to place seventh.
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
MEN’S RESULTS – FINALS DAY
WOMEN’S RESULTS – FINALS DAY
CAPITAL COBRAS vs SOUTHERN DOGS
NORTHLAND vs AUCKLAND
Kyle Pontifex the hero as Capital win National Hockey League men's final
Former Black Stick Kyle Pontifex was the hero for Capital in the National Hockey League final. FAIRFAX NZ
The oldest man on the turf proved the hero as Capital won the National Hockey League title.
Capital's 35-year-old former Black Sticks goalkeeper, Kyle Pontifex, saved the final shot of a shootout after the final against Southern had ended scoreless at fulltime.
Pontifex dove down to his right to deny Kirk Shimmins, before throwing down his pads and helmet to celebrate with his team.
It was the most dramatic event in an otherwise tense final.
A cagey opening quarter set the tone for the match, as both teams appeared more focused on not conceding rather than breaking the deadlock in the driving rain.
Capital won the first penalty corner of the match after 13 minutes, with Ollie Logan forcing a brilliant stick save from Tom Lysaght low to his right.
Capital dominated possession in the second quarter without really threatening, while Southern were happy to sit back and wait for a Capital mistake.
The halftime team talks did not see a change in approach from either side and Capital were quick to take control again when the teams emerged for the second half.
Black Stick Blair Hilton won a penalty corner after just 90 seconds of the half, but Lysaght was able to make a comfortable save from the ensuing shot.
Southern wrestled back some control late in the quarter but the stalemate continued.
A tense final quarter never looked like producing a goal, with the real action starting after the final whistle in the shootout.
Brad Read had Capital's first penalty saved by Lysaght, before Hugo Inglis put a penalty stroke past Pontifex after the Capital keeper tripped him on his penalty attempt.
Capital's Steven Ebbers and Harry Miskimmin made no mistake with their penalties, while Southern's Nick Ross and Blair Tarrant - who was awarded tournament MVP after the game - kept their side's perfect record intact.
Benedict van Woerkman scored his penalty for Capital, before Callum Bailey had his shot saved by Pontifex as Southern started to unravel.
Hilton scored what would be a crucial penalty with a superb reverse shot, as Pontifex stepped up on Southern's last attempt, saving Irishman Shimmins' penalty to win the shootout 4-3 and secure the Challenge Shield - their first title since 2010.
Hilton admitted to a few nerves before stepping up to take his shot.
"I've had a couple of nerve-racking ones recently so I was just happy to see it go into the back of the net.
"It's been a tough tournament but it was great to get through in the end."
Earlier in the men's bronze medal match, Auckland beat Midlands 3-2 thanks to a brace from Black Sticks skipper Simon Child, including a sublime reverse stick finish to win the game early in the final quarter.
Auckland thrash Northland in Women's National Hockey final
Sam Harrison, left, and Katie Glynn were in goalscoring form for Auckland in their K Cup win over Northland on Sunday. JASON OXENHAM/FAIRFAX NZ
Auckland are the Women's National Hockey League champions for the second year running after they thrashed Northland 6-0 in the final to retain the K Cup.
The defending champions dominated the entire game and had six different goalscorers as they charged to an emphatic victory.
Goals from Liz Thompson and Katie Glynn put them two goals to the good in the first quarter before Julia King added a third to make it 3-0 at half time.
Northland showed some fight early in the second half but their resolve was crushed as two quicks goals from penalty corners, scored by Deanna Ritchie and Sam Harrison, quickly made it 5-0 with time to spare. Monique Wilson then scored with four minutes remaining to seal victory.
There was some consolation for Northland as Brooke Neal was named as the tournament's most valuable player for her performances during the week.
Auckland fire in final to claim cup
By David Leggat
Black Sticks defender Liz Thompson was one of Auckland's outstanding players. Photo / Getty
Auckland saved their best till it really mattered, thumping Northland 6-0 to retain the women's K Cup hockey title in Whangarei today.
They defended their title with a top class display of cohesive, assertive hockey against a Northland side trying to win the cup, as played in its current format, for the first time.
Capital followed up by winning the men's Challenge Shield for the first time since 2010, beating Southern 4-3 in a penalty shootout after the match ended scoreless.
Auckland women had an up and down tournament, being beaten 3-0 by Northland early and three times needing shootouts to win matches. But they made no race of the final against the hosts, whom they also beat in last year's final.
"We're pretty happy with our overall performance. We kept the goals coming and kept our foot on the throttle for the whole 60 minutes," international defender Liz Thompson said.
Thompson was one of Auckland's outstanding players, locking the defence shut against a Northland side who struggled to get clear scoring opportunities, and also scoring the first goal with a rasping drive from a penalty corner.
''We just wanted to make sure we kept our basics up and linked up through all the layers. When we were all doing the little one percenters and everyone was doing their bit, it added up to a pretty good performance," Thompson said.
Auckland were 3-0 up by halftime, with further goals from striker Katie Glynn and midfielder Julia King, who celebrated her 100th match for Auckland along with team mate Danielle Sutherland.
Deanna Ritchie, Sam Harrison - another of Auckland's best players yesterday - and Monique Wilson scored in the second half.
It was a tough day for Northland, who were desperate for victory in front of their home crowd. However they were off the pace in the first half, didn't win a penalty corner until three minutes after halftime and were overrun by a clinical Auckland team.
Southern, like the Northland women, had been hoping for a maiden title but came unstuck in the shootout in driving rain. Neither side had been able to get an edge in the 60 minutes of a tight battle.
When Callum Bailey, then Kurt Shimmins had consecutive shootout attempts blocked by veteran Capital keeper Kyle Pontifex, Southern's fate was sealed.
Auckland finished third in the Challenge Cup, beating Midlands 3-2, the goals coming from Joe Crooks and a brace from national skipper Simon Child, the winner a classy reverse stick shot from a penalty corner. Nic Woods and Des Abbott scored for Midlands.
North Harbour finished fifth in the K Cup after a 5-0 win over Central, and sixth in the shield, after losing 3-2 to Canterbury.
The New Zealand Herald
Mack attack sinks Holcombe
Leicester goalscorer Rachel Mack. Photo: Andy Smith
Rachel Mack’s second half strike was enough for Leicester to nick a 1-0 win at home to Holcombe in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday.
Mack notched a goal from open play in the 38th minute to haul her side up to fourth and leave Holcombe still searching for their first win after two games.
University of Birmingham retained top spot after they routed Reading 5-0 with goals from Erica Sanders, Olivia Paige, Tina Evans, Holly Hunt and Vanessa Hawkins.
Bowdon Hightown staged a second-half fightback to draw 1-1 at home against Surbiton, Sally Walton scoring the goal to cancel out Jenna Woolven’s first-half strike for the visitors.
East Grinstead are still unbeaten after they won 3-1 away at Buckingham thanks to a goal from Tacita Haines and two from Pippa Chapman, with Phoebe Richards grabbing a consolation for the home side.
Canterbury racked up a comfortable 4-0 win away at Clifton as Jen Wilson scored twice to help propel her side up to second.
Dirkie Chamberlain and Susannah Townsend were also on target as Clifton suffered a first defeat of the season.
Investec Conference West
Sutton Coldfield continued their great start to the season with a 9-1 victory over Bristol Firebrands in the Investec Conference West on Saturday.
Vicky Woolford and Bethan Merriman each grabbed a hat-trick as the hosts shot to the top of the early table with a devastating attacking performance.
Swansea City were also in goal-scoring form as they beat University of Bristol 7-1 helped along by two goals from Bridget Radice.
A single Jo Tolson goal was enough for Oxford Hawks to overcome Isca, and Olton and West Warwicks came from behind to win 2-1 away at Trojans.
Investec Conference North
Wakefield extended their unbeaten start to the season with a narrow victory at Beeston on Saturday to stay top of the Investec Women’s Conference North.
Cat Horn struck the only goal of the game three minutes from time to keep Wakefield top on goal difference and leave Beeston still searching for their first win if the new season.
Loughborough Students also made it two out of two with a 3-1 win at home to Liverpool Sefton, whilst University of Durham were 2-1 winners against Belper.
Elsewhere Whitley Bay and Tynemouth snatched a 1-0 win at Ben Rhydding and Brooklands Poynton played out a scoreless draw with Springfields.
Investec Conference East
Slough ran out 6-1 winners at home to St Albans to move to the top of the Investec Conference East on Saturday after Amy Sheehan helped herself to a hat-trick.
A flurry of second half goals put paid to St Albans’ hopes of a fight-back as the home side eased to the top of table on goal difference.
Cambridge City secured a 4-0 win over Sevenoaks, whilst Hampstead and Westminster needed a 69th minute strike from Joyce Esser to edge past Harleston Magpies by a goal to nil.
Elsewhere Wimbledon were 1-0 winners against Maidenhead and Chelmsford played out a goalless draw at home against Ipswich.
Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, September 19 2015):
Investec Women's Premier Division: Bowdon 1, Surbiton 1; Buckingham 1, East Grinstead 3; Clifton 0, Canterbury 4; Leicester 1, Holcombe 0; Reading 0, University of Birmingham 5.
Investec Women's Conference East: Cambridge City 4, Sevenoaks 0; Chelmsford 0, Ipswich 0; Hampstead and Westminster 1, Harleston Magpies 0; Slough 6, St. Albans 1; Wimbledon 1, Maidenhead 0.
Investec Women's Conference North: Beeston 0, Wakefield 1; Ben Rhydding 0, Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 1; Brooklands Poynton 0, Springfields 0; Loughborough Students 3, Liverpool Sefton 1; University of Durham 2, Belper 1.
Investec Women's Conference West: Oxford Hawks 1, Isca 0; Sutton Coldfield 9, Bristol Firebrands 1; Swansea City 7, University of Bristol 1; Trojans 1, Olton & West Warwicks 2. Evening match: Stourport v Gloucester.
England Hockey Board Media release
Twenty bus-loads to cheer-on THT v KLHC
By Jugjet Singh
TWENTY bus-loads of fans from Terengganu will arrive Sunday to cheer-on Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) in their quest to win back-to-back doubles in the Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League.
THT will face nemesis Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) for the TNB Cup at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, with no clear favourites.
KLHC lost both their titles to THT last season, and also crumbled 5-4 in the League this year -- but their 6-2 Charity Shield win still troubles THT.
Playing at the Batu Buruk Stadium in Kuala Terengganu, 3,500 fans in a 2,000-capacity stadium played a role of the twelfth player to cheer on THT to a slim win for the League title.
"Fans played a big role in our success this season, and as a reward, as well as for another round of support, 20 buses will arrive from Terengganu for the TNB Cup final," said THT assistant coach Shamsol Ismail.
THT are dead serious about claiming the double again, as coach Sarjit Singh could be seen, from the window, busy training his charges while the press conference was ongoing.
Terengganu skipper Shahrun Nabil feels they have a good chance if they play like they did against Maybank in the second leg of the TNB Cup semi-finals.
"We need to bring out that same determination on Sunday, because we were down 3-5 to Maybank from the first leg, but went on to carve a hard-fought 7-2 victory in the return leg. That's the way I want my team-mates to play again against KLHC," said Shahrun Nabil.
KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj believes it will be a close game, and could even end up in a shoot-out.
"In my 17 years in the MHL, I have taken my side to 15 finals and lost four titles on shoot-outs. TNB Cup finals, especially, have been very close affairs and so, we are prepared for all eventualities this time around," said Dharmaraj.
KLHC will again rely on Malaysia's No 1 penalty corner flicker Razie Rahim, who has delivered a total of 11 goals this season -- one field, nine penalty corners and one penalty stroke.
The other KLHC trump card is Pakistan import Ali Shan who has scord six of which three were from field and three from penalty corners.
As for THT Premier Division top-scorer Faizal Shaari, 17 goals, will be the man to stop. Faizal scored 10 field, five penalty corner and two penalty stroke goals and is an all-rounder.
THT also have Tengku AHmad Tajuddin, 10 goals, who has been playing his best games in the TNB Cup knock-out stage.
With no clear favourites, the TNB Cup final could go either way, but one thing is for sure -- it will be worth the time and effort put in by fans to travel to the stadium, or watch it live on Astro Arena 801.
SUNDAY: Final -- Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club v Terengganu Hockey Team (8pm, Pitch II); Third-Fourth: Maybank v Sapura (6pm, Pitch II).
Note: Both matches at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Jugjet's World of Field Hockey
Terengganu and KLHC mega clash for the TNB Cup
By S. Ramaguru
Terengganu have won three titles already over a one-year period.
KUALA LUMPUR: It will be a team with pedigree against one tagged as young upstarts in Sunday’s hockey final – the TNB Cup.
The Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) have won 13 Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) titles – eight league and five overall.
Terengganu, touted as the new kingpins of Malaysian hockey, are just three years old and have already won three titles since last year.
So, will KLHC regain their supremacy or will Terengganu continue to extend their stranglehold on local hockey in their showdown at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil?
Based on the current form of the players, it looks like Terengganu have the edge.
The one man who will definitely strike fear in the KLHC ranks is Faizal Saari, who is in line for his fourth top scorer award.
He leads the goalscoring chart with 17 goals – six more than second-placed Mohd Razie Rahim of KLHC.
But it’s not Faizal that KLHC have to worry about. Terengganu also have the likes of Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Mohd Firhan Azhaari, Ismail Abu and Argentine Jose Leandro Tolini – players capable of turning a match around.
Still, Terengganu skipper Mohd Shahrun Nabil is coy about his team’s chances, saying that KLHC’s recent form “shows they are peaking nicely for the final”.
“Their penalty corner battery is performing well and that will pose a great danger to us in the final,” said Shahrun.
“There’s no way we can take anything for granted.”
Shahrun is right to be cautious as his team lost 6-1 to KLHC in their opening match. Terengganu, of course, won the second round match 5-4 to bag the Premier Division title.
As for KLHC, there will be no greater motivation than to put the new kids on the block, Terengganu, in their place – and re-establish their supremacy.
And KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj knows that his team have shot themselves in the foot a few times this season.
“We’ve lost matches due to our own poor performance. So, we have to hit Terengganu hard and make sure we play a cohesive and controlled game,” he said.
“I don’t want to worry about what Terengganu can do. I’d rather focus on improving our game and taking it a notch higher.”
Both teams also met in last year’s final, with Terengganu taking a 3-0 lead before KLHC fought back to draw level. Terengganu went on to win the title on a penalty shootout.
“Our performances against them show that we have the ability to beat them ... and match them in every aspect,” said Dharmaraj.
“I do not see any reason why we should fear them ... and I want my players to realise that.”
The Star of Malaysia
TNB-Thunderbolt beat UiTM to lift President's Cup
By S. Ramaguru
TNB-Thunderbolt players celebrate their win against UiTM in the President's Cup final. - M. AZHAR ARIF / The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: TNB-Thunderbolt skipper Mohd Sallehin Ghani led by example to inspire his team to lift the President’s Cup at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
The national defender’s goal – four minutes before the end of the game, gave Thunderbolt a 2-1 win over UiTM and allowed them to regain the title they won in 2013.
TNB had earlier taken the lead in the 23rd minute through a Mohd Hanif Azemi penalty corner goal.
Abdul Rauf Nazri equalised for UiTM – also from a penalty corner set piece – in the 38th minute.
TNB pocketed RM30,000 for the win while UiTM picked up RM20,000.
In the third-placing playoff, Ipoh City Council (MBI) fought back from 5-1 in the first half to beat ATM Airod 9-6 in a pulsating clash.
Forward Arshad Repakhali was the toast of the MBI side with five goals, taking his tally to 18 and giving him the top scorer award.
MBI’s other goals were scored by Mohd Soffian Kamaruddin, Mohd Najame, Khairul Nizam Rani and Shahrusadan Basri.
Airod got their goals through Razali Mohd Hazemi (three), Abdul Ghaffar Nordin (two) and Mohd Izuan Misman.
MBI earned RM10,000 for their third placing and Airod RM5,000.
The Star of Malaysia
MHL not messing about on discipline
By S. Ramaguru
The Division One semi-final, first-leg match between Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Ipoh City Council on Wednesday. - MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/ The STAR
KUALA LUMPUR: There will be no compromise on discipline!
The Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) technical committee said this is to protect their men, including umpires, from unruly and abusive players-team officials.
Technical committee chairman Datuk G. Vijiyanathan clarified that although a red card merits a harsher punishment than a yellow card, there are other circumstances that need to be taken into account when handing out punishments.
He was referring to the recent case where a player who was sent off during a match was only penalised with a one-match ban while two others who were shown yellow cards were given two-match suspensions.
In the Division One semi-final, first-leg match between Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UiTM) and Ipoh City Council (MBI), on Wednesday, MBI’s Mohd Faris Fadila Zulkifli was red-carded for hitting a UiTM player on the head with the hockey stick.
In that same match, three UiTM players were sent to the sin bin – Mohd Taufik Abdul Hamid, Razalee Yahya and Abdul Rauf Nazri. Only Mohd Taufik and Razalee were hauled up and given two-match bans.
“The reason the yellow-carded players were given two-match bans was because they continued to abuse the officials and for shoving the umpires. We had a report on the matter from the match officials as well as a video recording of the incident,” explained Vijiyanathan.
He also explained why the meeting to decide on the punishment of the two UiTM players was held on the day of their second leg clash.
“The only reason the decision was reached one day later was to allow the team officials to be heard and to allow everybody a chance to have their say,” explained Vijiyanathan.
“There was no issue or deliberate delay in the proceedings. The proper e-mails were sent to the team concerned and we believe that the meeting was also highlighted in the media.
“So the team had nothing to complain about as we gave them every opportunity to be heard.
“I go by the rules.”
The Star of Malaysia
Air India cruise to fourth straight win
MUMBAI: Two goals from captain Shivendra Singh saw Air India fly to the top of Pool B after their 3-1 win over Western Railway in the Mumbai Hockey Association Limited Super Division League at the Mahindra Stadium on Saturday. This was their fourth win in a row. Joga Singh was also on target for Air India, while the lone effort from Western Railway came through Amit Rohidaas.
It took a while for Air India to emerge into a threat with their lion's share of possession, but that was taken care of when they finally broke the deadlock in the 15th minute through a penalty stroke.
Shivendra stepped up and made no mistake from the spot as coach Dhanraj Pillay finally had reason to smile. Even as the half-time hooter sounded, Prithvi Raj had done enough to earn Air India a timely penalty corner with a dribble into the circle before he was brought down to the turf. Birendra Lakra's drag-flick was parried by Railway 'keeper Gurwinder Singh, but only into the path of Joga who was quick to pounce.
Western Railway squandered a great opportunity to get on the scoreboard off a penalty corner 10 minutes into the second half with only a four member Air India defence to beat. They were finally provided an opening to get back in the game after earning a penalty stroke of their own in the 48th minute which was comfortably put away by Rohidaas.
It propelled a late charge by Sunil Kumar Yadav's men who twice came within sight of drawing level through reverse hits from Vinod Singh. However, Air India sealed the affair on the hour mark as Arjun Halappa intercepted a WR pass to set up Shivendra for a powerful finish past Gurwinder.
The Times of India
Illustrious leaders reflect on past AHL memories
The nationally renowned Australian Hockey League is not only recognised for its strong competition featuring the country’s best players, it’s also known for creating treasured memories each year for the players, coaches, officials and supporters.
From the ultimate victory, long-lasting friendships and amusing past moments, this year’s captains reflect on their most memorable AHL moment thus far.
Canberra Labor Club Strikers
“For me it’s playing against the best players in the country and with 17 of your best mates. When we all get together and welcome back our Australian players from Perth, we have a quality time both on and off the field.
“I believe my best memory is yet to come, hopefully the Strikers will win the title this year.”
RAMS Home Loans Canberra Lakers
“Making the top four at the AHL is always special, however, most of all it’s the friendships that you make along the way.”
“My best AHL memory was winning my first title with the Scorchers in 2005.”
“For me it has been winning several titles with the Blades. I enjoy playing every minute on the field for Queensland. My most memorable win was our 7-2 victory at the Brisbane AHL in 2010.”
Rachael Lynch and Stacia Joseph
“Winning the women’s Australian Hockey League title in 2012.”
Tassie Van Demons
“My best memory of AHL would be my first AHL trip. I’ve played in many U18 and U21 state tournaments, however, playing an AHL was that next step up. It was a memorable experience playing against Australia’s most elite hockey athletes.”
“There’s a few AHL memories…one would be getting stuck in Melbourne after the 2011 Australian Hockey League due to an ash cloud, as well as winning our first AHL title for the Tassie Tigers last year.”
Hockey Australia media release
Foreign strikers to the fore
Any high profile auction is bound to produce a slew of distortions, contortions and unpredictable outcomes. Not surprisingly therefore all these elements were apparent in the Hockey India event for framing the teams to the next Hockey India League (HIL).
On an eventful day around 280 players were on ‘sale’ from 20 countries making India the focus of the hockey community across the globe.
Interestingly, the talking point centered around the price tag for the finest Indian player Sardar Singh. At US $ 58,000 the Indian skipper acknowledged as the leading center halfback in contemporary sent a wave disappointment across the tables when eventually Jaypee Punjab Warriors snapped the deal.
Quite understandably, the Franchises pitched their price mainly on the strikers thanks to the change of the rule of awarding one extra goal for every field attempt. Until now, the emphasis on scorers both forwards and the penalty corner experts who usually dominate the scoring chart.
So inevitably, the mid-fielders and defenders received lesser competitive bids though no team can afford to diminish the defender’s importance. It must however the mentioned that the two stalwart penalty corner hitters, Sandeep Singh and Rupinderpal Singh commanded a fairly high price tag.
What was clear in the auction was the preference of the Franchises to the foreign stars renowned for their striking competence. Usually, the Australians led by the inimitable Jaime Dwyer were the cynosure.
But this time the attention was cornered the talented Germans headed by Moritz Fuerste who was picked by the Kalinga Lancers for a whopping US $ 105,000 (Rs.6946289).
Belgium’s extraordinarily talented 25 year-old Tom Boon was grabbed by Dabang Mumbai for US $ 103,000, along with another outstanding German performer Florian Fuchs for a sum of US $ 96,000.
Judged against the trend to bid mainly for strikers it was no surprise that the best Indian bid went in favor of Akashdeep Singh who fetched the top price of US $ 84000.
That as many as 135 Indians and 136 foreign players went under the hammer confirmed the enlarging popularity of the HIL and the increasing bonanza for the professional hockey players. The fees may not stand comparison what their counterparts get in soccer, golf and cricket, but for hockey, a pure amateur sport for a long, long time till the 90s, the rewards are definitely substantial and lucrative.
The extra point for a field goal during the HIL has come in for a lot of comment. Former skipper, Dilip Tirkey, said, “ it is an interesting rule. Strikers, who were losing importance because of the drag flickers, will play a crucial role now on.”
For the moment the new rule is confined to HIL 2015 but the possibility of the FIH accepting this for future tournaments cannot be overlooked now. The FIH CEO, Kelly Fairweather noted “ we have been trying to find out different ways to see how we can bring the relevance of field goals once again. Drag flicks were assuming a lot of significance and teams relied too heavily on it. Our attempt is to encourage open play and since this was a significant change, FIH’s competitions and rules committee were consulted.”
It is undeniable therefore that HIL 2015 is sure to be more vibrant than the previous editions. The enthusiasts will be looking forward to more field goals than the staid drag flicks. That the coaches and captains will do the same goes without saying.
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‘Dabang Mumbai is the side to watch out for in next HIL’
On cloud nine after becoming the second costliest Indian player during the recent Hockey Indian League (HIL) player’s auction, young defender Gurmail Singh on Saturday said his new team Dabang Mumbai is the side to watch out for in next year’s cash-rich tournament.
The 23-year-old defender from Punjab never imagined that he would find himself in the middle of a fierce bidding war between Jaypee Punjab Warriors and Delhi Wave riders before attracting the second-highest bid among Indian players from Dabang Mumbai, owned by DoIT Sports Management (India) Pvt. Ltd.
“I am feeling really good to be associated with Dabang Mumbai. In fact, I feel very proud,” said Gurmail, who was bought for a whopping USD 81,000.
“I was watching the auction live and the way bidding was going, I was sure that I will either play for Delhi or my previous franchise Punjab. But Dabang Mumbai came into the picture pretty late and ultimately chose me and I hope I live up to their expectations. This squad is formidable and is one of the team to watch out for in HIL 2016,” he added.
Talking about his new teammates at Dabang Mumbai, Gurmail, who has featured in the Asia Cup, World Cup and also FIH World League Semi-Final in Belgium this year, said: “I already know couple of them like Nikkin (Thimmaiah), Danish (Mujtaba) as I have played with them in Indian colours.”
Young striker Nikkin will be one of the Indian stars in charge of the forward line and the Karnataka lad is overjoyed to get an opportunity to play for Mumbai.
PHF names squad for Sultan of Johor Junior Hockey
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) selection committee chairman Rasheed Junior Saturday announced 21-member Pakistan junior squad along with five standby players for the 5th Sultan of Johor Junior Hockey Tournament to be played in Johor Bahru, Malaysia from October 11.
After the two-day trials here at the Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium, the national junior team was selected by selection committee chairman Rasheed Junior and members Farhat Khan, Saeed Khan, Qasim Khan and Wasim Feroze along with coach Tahir Zaman. PHF president Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar, secretary Olympian Shahbaz Senior, coaches Irfan Senior and Zeeshan Ashraf and newly-appointed manager Brig (R) Khalid Mukhtar Farani were also present on the occasion.
Talking to the journalists, Rashid Jr said: “We have selected the best available junior squad. Eleven players were from the previous teams while rests of the players are fresh faces. Seasoned campaigner Dilbar Hussain was appointed as skipper of the team, which will stay in Malaysia till the Junior Asia Cup qualification round to be held in Malaysia from November 14. The same venue will help in saving extra expenditures.”
When this scribe asked secretary Shahbaz Senior whether they had funds and the team would proceed in time to Malaysia or same old story of lack of funds and uncertainty would prevail, he replied: “No, the team will proceed on October 7 and will play practice match against Argentinean national hockey team on 10th while the Malaysians will inform us about their availability of playing two practice matches.”
To a query regarding state of Naseer Bunda astroturf and facilities being provided to them by the IPC and PSB, Tahir replied: “I am grateful to the IPC minister and PSB director general and especially assistant director hostels Malik Imtiaz Hussain and his team for fulfilling their promise and caring the players better than we thought. Secondly, I must appreciate DDG Facilities Agha Amjedullah and his team for superb work on the astroturf. We had not a single injury in the last 15 days or so, because they had done a tremendous job of cleaning the astroturf and making it quite comfortable.”
He said that the camp would conclude on September 23 morning for Eid holidays. “The players will report on September 27 while the full-fledge training will start on 28th. The team will depart on October 7.”
When asked about players would feel homesick after such a long stay in Malaysia, Tahir said: “Off course, they will feel so, but they fully realize what is on offer, a bit long stay will certainly benefit them. The team is not final yet and we will witness performances of the players and can make a couple of changes before the Asian Junior Qualification round. Five standby players can be rushed in case of any emergency or injury.”
The selected 21 players are Talal, Ali Haider (goalkeepers), Mubashir, Faisal, Atif (full backs), Faizan Jonthy, Abu Bakr, M Qasim, Sikander, M Adnan and Junaid (half backs), Shan Irshad, Azfer Ayub, Dilbar Hussain, Fahad, Sohail Riaz, M Atiq, Bilal, Adnan, M Naveed and Rizwan (forwards). Five reserve players are Ali Raza (goalkeeper), Zahidullah, Asfandyar, Mohsin Sabir and Sohail Anjum (backs).
Dilbar Hassan to lead Pakistan in Malaysia
ISLAMABAD: Forward Dilbar Hassan will lead a 21-member Pakistan team in the 5th Sultan of Johor Junior Hockey Tournament to be held in Johor Bahru, Malaysia from October 11 to 18.
The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on Saturday announced the final squad after two-day trials held at Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium in Islamabad.
“The team was chosen by PHF selectors headed by Olympian Abdul Rasheed,” a spokesman for the PHF said. He added the first phase of training would conclude on September 23 while the next phase would commence on September 28 after a brief gap of four days.
“The second phase of training will continue till October 6. The Pakistan team will fly to Malaysia on October 7 to feature in the event.”
Pakistan would play a practice match against Argentine on October 10 before the event begins.
“Almost half of the players named in the squad have already represented Pakistan internationally while rest are fresh faces making their first tour abroad. The team comprises of the best talent available amongst the probables turned up for the camp training,” the spokesman said.
Goalkeepers: Talal Khalid and Ali Haider. Full-backs: Mubbashar Baig, Faisal Shah and Atif Mushtaq. Half-backs: Faizan Jonty, Abu Bakar, Mohammad Qasim, Sikandar Mustafa, Mohammad Adnan and Junaid Kamal. Forwards: Shan Irshad, Azfar Yaqoob, Dilbar Hassan, Fahad, Sohail Riaz, Mohammad Attiq, Bilal Qadir, Adnan Anwar, Mohammad Naveed, Rizwan. Reserves: Ali Raza (goalkeeper), Zahidullah (full-back), Asfandyar (half-back), Sohail Anjum and Mohsin Sabir (forwards).
The Daily Times
Meta wants to represent the Fijian national hockey team
Kezia Meta right, of Tokalau club against the New Zealand-based Hinemoa-Kaiapol during the Marist Eastgate Open Hockey tournament at the National Hockey Centre. Picture: ATU RASEA
TWENTY-three-year-old Kezia Meta has set a very good example to the other girls in the community to play hockey.
Meta, who plays forward, was part of the Tokalau team in the 2015 Geotech Marist Eastgate Memorial Tournament in Suva.
"Hockey is my sport and I love playing the sport. I have been playing hockey for the past seven years," she said.
"I am always supported by my brother and my brother-in-law and they have motivated me to play.
"They were part of the national trials in the past but could not make it to the team. I hope to play for the national team and hence I will try in the national trials in future."
Meta, who works as a wedding photographer, said hockey was one of the best sports to play and she wanted to represent the country on the international scene.
"I have made a comeback in the sport after two years. Work commitments had kept me out of the sport but then I managed to take part.
"It was not difficult coming from the break since I had been doing my training. I don't think it should be a drawback. It is a good opportunity for the Indian girls who want to play to join the sport.
"There are so many good players who would be trying to get into a place in the national team but I will try."
Tournament official Chantelle Fraser was happy with the progress of the tournament. The competition ends today.
RESULTS: Mobees 0-6 Ventures, Hackers 1-0 Stingers Extreme, Stingers 2-1 Rebels, Stingers Fusion 2-0 Tokalau, Marist White 3-1 Ventures, Marist Blue 1-0 Mates, Ventures 1-0 Marist, Hinemoa- Kaiapoi 1-0 Tokalau, Rebels 2-0 Mates, Stingers Extreme 0-4 Ventures, Marist White 4-0 Hackers, Stingers 8-0 Mates
The Fiji Times