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News for 02 October 2015

All the news for Friday 2 October 2015

Indian hockey team to face New Zealand A on Friday

AUCKLAND: The India men's hockey team will look to make a positive start as it gears up to take on New Zealand A in the opening game of the Kiwi tour on Friday.

The tour will witness India playing the first two games against New Zealand A followed by four matches against the host's national team.

Post winning the series against France and Spain recently during the Europe tour, the Asian Games champions have been working on different aspects of the game during the training camp that recently culminated at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi.

India's high performance director and chief coach Roelant Oltmans said his wards are ready for the "Kiwi challenge".

"Every day and every game is new. We have started benchmarking ourselves and we will ensure that we go a notch higher with each game. This is important, keeping the upcoming tournaments in mind. Not every day do we have the opportunity to play big tournaments and to be in contention we have to start challenging ourselves and be our own competition," Oltmans said in a release.

"The boys are not going to take tomorrow's match lightly as it will set the tone for the upcoming matches. The team is looking good and ready to accept the Kiwi challenge," the Dutchman added.

Talented Manpreet Singh has returned to the squad following an injury and the Punjab midfielder will be a big boost for India, captained by centre-half Sardar Singh.

He is also considered as a very effective resource to link between forward line and defence.

The forward line will have potent strikers in experienced S.V. Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh and Nikkin Thimmaiah.

Penalty corner specialists Rupinder Pal Singh and V.R. Raghunath, alongwith Birendra Lakra and Kothajit Singh will form the defence line, while P.R. Sreejesh will be hoping to get his new goalkeeping learning into play soon.

Commenting on the team's preparation captain Sardar stated: "It is very important to start a tour on a winning note as it gives you confidence for the rest of the matches.

"The team is working on the grey patches before the Hockey World League (HWL) Finals, so playing against New Zealand is surely going to help us in our preparations," the 29-year-old added.

The squad:

Goalkeepers: P.R. Sreejesh (vice-captain), Harjot Singh.

Defenders: Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, V.R. Raghunath, Jasjit Singh Kular, Rupinder Pal Singh, Gurjinder Singh.

Midfielders: Sardar Singh (captain), Chinglensana Singh, S.K. Uthappa, Satbir Singh, Devinder Walmiki, Manpreet Singh, Dharamvir Singh.

Forwards: S.V. Sunil, Ramandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, Nikkin Thimmaiah.

The Times of India

Pontifex named in diverse Black Sticks squad

Photo: www.photosport.co.nz

Black Sticks Men’s coach Colin Batch has given debutant striker Matt Rees-Gibbs and veteran goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex the call up for the 2015 National Squad.

Midlands Rees-Gibbs is excited to be joining the Black Sticks environment for the first time, but it’s a much more familiar scene for 35-year-old Pontifex who has 156 international caps and debuted for the team 12 years ago.

Both players will be back in black over the upcoming months, with national selectors impressed by their performances at the recent Ford National Hockey League held earlier this month in Whangarei.

“Matt is a versatile player and has really earned an opportunity based on his performances over the last couple of years. He is very fit, has a good understanding of the game, and an ability to contribute and fit into the wider game plan,” said Batch.

Having not played since the 2012 London Olympics, Pontifex couldn’t have hoped for a better return to form.

The Wellingtonian didn’t concede any penalty corner goals throughout the tournament, leading the Capital side to victory for the first time since 2010.

“That’s an outstanding record and speaks volumes of Kyle’s skill and the impact he had on the team.  He will bring a lot of experience to our defensive group,” said Batch.    

The next month will prove critical for the Black Sticks Men as they build towards the Oceania Cup (Stratford, 21-25 October), their final chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.  The Black Sticks are needing to win the tournament, which means beating World No. 1 Australia, as well as Fiji and Samoa.

To help prepare they take on eighth ranked India next week, playing two games in both Nelson and Christchurch as part of the Black Sticks Men’s and Women’s South Island Tour.

“India have their top group of players here, they are preparing for the FIH World League Final and they play a counter-attacking style of hockey – they will be tough games for us and that’s ideal preparation ahead of us taking on Australia,” said Batch.

Players from the new squad will be rotated throughout the India tests.

Andy Hayward, Phil Burrows and Shea McAleese made themselves unavailable due to European club commitments.

In December 2015, selectors will name a 2016 Black Sticks National and Development Squad.

CLICK HERE to find out more about next week’s South Island Tour

CLICK HERE to find out more about the Oceania Cup








Ryan Archibald






Marcus Child






Simon Child (capt)






James Coughlan

North Harbour





Steve Edwards

North Harbour





Nick Haig






Blair Hilton






Hugo Inglis






Stephen Jenness






Devon Manchester






George Muir

North Harbour





Arun Panchia






Jared Panchia






Kyle Pontifex






Matt Rees-Gibbs






Nick Ross






Dwayne Rowsell






Kane Russell






Alex Shaw






Bradley Shaw






Blair Tarrant






Nick Wilson






Nic Woods





Hockey New Zealand Media release

Pontifex back in Black Sticks squad

By David Leggat

Goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex has returned to the Black Sticks squad. Photo / Paul Estcourt

Veteran goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex has won a recall to the New Zealand hockey team after a three-year absence for the upcoming four-test series against India next week.

Pontifex, 35, was in the London Olympics squad but his fine form for Capital on their way to winning the Challenge Shield at the national league last month demanded a return to the national group.

With 156 caps, Pontifex enhances the experience factor too and even though three seasoned internationals, Andy Hayward, Phil Burrows and Shea McAleese, made themselves unavailable due to overseas commitments, there are still 12 players in the squad of 23 who have played 130 or more matches for the Black Sticks.

"You can't deny he was a big factor in Capital's win," coach Colin Batch said.

"His organisation and experience at the back can certainly help our group, and (first choice keeper) Devon Manchester."

The squad for the Oceania Cup will be confirmed at the end of next week. That tournament, in Stratford from October 21-25, is crucial for New Zealand.

They must beat world No 1 Australia to advance to the Rio Olympics next year. The women's Black Sticks have already secured their spot in Rio.

The only uncapped player is Midlands versatile Matt Rees-Gibbs.

"He played very well last year more as a striker, this year he performed pretty well in midfield," Batch said.

For live video streaming of every Black Sticks game of the South Island Tour click here

"We're thinking of him as a striker. He's very collective in his play. He understands the pressing side of the game and we'll throw him in and see what he can do."

India, ranked eighth, one spot lower than New Zealand, were the first team to qualify for Rio and Batch expects they will present a quality challenge.

"They are pretty strong on penalty corner attacks and renowned as a fast, attacking team, similar to Australia in that respect. We've got to manage that situation pretty well," Batch said.

A New Zealand invitation team is also playing two games against India, this afternoon and tomorrow at North Harbour, which will also go into the mixer to help Batch make his final selection for the Oceania Cup.

New Zealand play India in Nelson on Tuesday and Wednesday, and in Christchurch on Friday and Saturday.

New Zealand squad:
Goalkeepers: Devon Manchester (Auckland), Kyle Pontifex (Capital)
Defenders: Nick Haig, Bradley Shaw (Canterbury), Arun Panchia, Dwayne Rowsell (Auckland), Blair Tarrant, Kane Russell (Southern), Alex Shaw (Capital).
Midfielders: Ryan Archibald (Auckland), George Muir, James Coughlan (North Harbour), Nick Ross (Southern), Nic Woods (Midlands).
Attackers: Simon Child, Marcus Child, Jared Panchia (Auckland), Nick Wilson (Central), Steve Edwards (North Harbour), Hugo Inglis (Southern), Stephen Jenness, Blair Hilton (Capital), Matt Rees-Gibbs (Midlands).

The New Zealand Herald

Black Sticks recall veteran goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex after standout national league


Recalled Black Sticks goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex celebrates winning this year's national league with Capital team-mates. PHOTOSPORT

Recalled Black Sticks goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex is keeping his eyes firmly set on Stratford, even with a potential trip to Rio de Janeiro in the background.

The Capital shotstopper made an emphatic return to top-level hockey during the National Hockey League campaign, not conceding a penalty corner goal in any of Capital's nine games.

It earned him a spot in the Black Sticks 23-man squad - his first callup since the 2012 Olympics - for the upcoming four-test series against India..

"I got the call almost two weeks ago, just after the national league, Colin called and said that he was keen so it gave me a little bit of time to organise things," Pontifex said.

Uncapped young Midlands striker Matt Rees-Gibbs is the other new addition to the squad since the team last played, which will be whittled down for before the Oceania Cup in Stratford from October 21-25 - the Black Sticks' final chance to qualify for next year's Rio Olympics.

As one of only two keepers in the squad, Pontifex is assured of going to Stratford - barring injury - and said after getting the all-clear from work, it was just a matter of managing studying a Masters of Business Administration and spending time with his young family.

"I've got an exam the day following the Oceania Cup final so I'll have to do some study around that although I'm sure I'll manage."

The 156-test veteran said his sole focus was the Oceania Cup and he would be no sure starter if they did qualify for Rio.

"There's a huge challenge ahead of us, so at this stage all my focus is on that Oceania Cup and getting myself into form and hopefully being able to play a part in it.

"An Olympic campaign is a huge event and I would have to give it some thought, so at this stage it is just all around the Oceania Cup."
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Pontifex was well aware that a starting spot was not assured, with Devon Manchester the incumbent.

"Devon has progressed really well in the last year or so, I don't mind if we qualify [for Rio] and I'm on the bench, I'll help Devon wherever I can and ensure the team has the best goalkeeper out there."

Batch said Pontifex's NHL form, in particular his penalty corner stopping, was the clincher to get him in the team.

"That's an outstanding record and speaks volumes of Kyle's skill and the impact he had on the team.

"He will bring a lot of experience to our defensive group."

Batch said Rees-Gibbs was a versatile player and had earned an opportunity based on his performances over the last couple of years.

"He is very fit, has a good understanding of the game, and an ability to contribute and fit into the wider game plan."

To help them prepare for the Oceania Cup, where they must beat world No 1 Australia, Fiji and Samoa to qualify for Rio, the Black Sticks face eighth-ranked India next week.

The teams will play two games in both Nelson and Christchurch as part of the Black Sticks men's and women's South Island tour.

Senior squad members Andy Hayward, Phil Burrows and Shea McAleese made themselves unavailable due to European club commitments.

Selectors will name a 2016 Black Sticks national and development squad in December.

Black Sticks men's squad:

Goalkeepers: Devon Manchester (Auckland), Kyle Pontifex (Capital)

Defenders: Nick Haig, Bradley Shaw (Canterbury), Arun Panchia, Dwayne Rowsell (Auckland), Blair Tarrant, Kane Russell (Southern), Alex Shaw (Capital)

Midfielders: Ryan Archibald (Auckland), George Muir, James Coughlan (North Harbour), Nick Ross (Southern), Nic Woods (Midlands)

Attackers: Simon Child, Marcus Child, Jared Panchia (Auckland), Nick Wilson (Central), Steve Edwards (North Harbour), Hugo Inglis (Southern), Stephen Jenness, Blair Hilton (Capital), Matt Rees-Gibbs (Midlands).


Watch all the South Island Tour games LIVE!

Emily Naylor returns to the Black Sticks team

All the action from the eight internationals during the South Island Tour will be streamed LIVE and on-demand here on our website.

Click here to watch the games

Radio Sport commentator Bryan Waddle will be calling the game with Andrew Brydon leading the commentary team in Christchurch.

The Tour gets underway tomorrow when the Black Sticks Women face Argentina at 2pm, and the Black Sticks Men play their first game against India at 7pm on Tuesday.

Black Stick Pippa Hayward is injured and has been replaced by Julia King. 

3 Oct, 2pm – Black Sticks Women vs Argentina
4 Oct, 2pm – Black Sticks Women vs Argentina

6 Oct, 5pm – Black Sticks Women vs Argentina
6 Oct, 7pm – Black Sticks Men vs India

9 Oct, 6pm – Black Sticks Men vs India
9 Oct, 8pm – Black Sticks Women vs Argentina
11 Oct, 1pm – Black Sticks Men vs India

Hockey New Zealand Media release

QLD and VIC into Grand Final

Defending champions fall down to 2014 runners-up Queensland

2013 women’s Australian Hockey League champions the Queensland Scorchers will have the chance to reclaim their AHL crown against the Victorian Vipers in the grand final on Friday after sealing a 2-1 victory over the NSW Arrows.

Everything was on the line for the Victorian Vipers in their clash against the Canberra Labor Club Strikers, requiring top points in order to confirm their spot in the 2015 grand final. A double from Emily Hurtz and Claire Messent’s strike awarded Victoria the chance at playing for the 2015 crown in Friday's final after their 3-1 victory.

Things were heating up on the field in the final match of the day when the defending champions, the NSW Arrows, went head-to-head with the Queensland Scorchers for the remaining grand final spot. Undefeated throughout the tournament, NSW Arrows’ Grace Stewart found the net in the second quarter, however, it wasn’t enough to keep Queensland away. Jodie Kenny’s powerful drag flick coupled with Jill Dwyer’s strike in the dying seconds of the match sealed their place in the 2015 women's grand final.

Having already played each other on day four of the competition, the Victorian Vipers will hold the upper hand after their previous 2-0 victory over the Queensland Scorchers.

The SA Suns will meet the WA Diamonds in Friday’s fifth-sixth playoff after the Suns defeated the Tassie Van Demons 2-1. An early strike nine minutes after the starting whistle from Charlotte Van Bodegom, alongside Berri’s Karri McMahon’s on-target drag flick, sealed the SA Suns top spot in the Pool D standings. Tassie Van Demons’ Madeleine Hinton’s strike in the third quarter wasn’t enough to secure them any points, bumping them down to the seventh-eighth playoff against the NT Pearls.

The WA Diamonds will meet South Australia after running out 4-0 winners over the NT Pearls. It was Diamonds’ captain Ashleigh Nelson’s double and strikes from Jess Esslemont and Penny Squibb that secured their spot in the fifth-sixth playoff. The WA Diamonds and SA Suns met earlier in the tournament, where the WA Diamonds sealed a close 3-2 victory.

Women's AHL, powered by Premier Technology Solutions
Day 5
Sydney, NSW
SA Suns 2-1 Tassie Van Demons
WA Diamonds 4-0 NT Pearls
Victorian Vipers 3-1 Canberra Labor Club Strikers
NSW Arrows 1-2 Queensland Scorchers (QLD)

Pool C
1. Queensland Scorchers (6 points)
2. Victorian Vipers (6 points)
3. NSW Arrows (6 points)
4. Canberra Labor Club Strikers (0 points)

Pool D
1. WA Diamonds (9 points)
2. SA Suns (6 points)
3. Tassie Van Demons (3 points)
4. Pearls (0 points)

Upcoming Fixtures - Women, Friday 2 October
7th/8th Playoff: Tassie Van Demons v NT Pearls (1:00pm AEST)
5th/6th Playoff: Southern Suns v WA Diamonds (3:00pm AEST)
3rd/4th Playoff: Canberra Labor Club Strikers v NSW Arrows (5:00pm AEST)
Grand Final: Queensland Scorchers v Victorian Vipers (7:30pm AEST)

Watch Friday's finals day action live from Sydney on the tenplay website.

Hockey Australia media release

Blades, Thundersticks go for gold

Queensland and WA to contend men's AHL final on Friday night

Queensland Blades marched into Friday’s Australian Hockey League grand final with a 3-1 win over fellow contenders Victorian Vikings. The unbeaten Queenslanders – the only side with a 100% record in Darwin – will face WA Thundersticks after the 2014 runners-up beat defending champions Tassie Tigers 3-1.

Dylan Wotherspoon’s double, including a dramatic aerial lob over the Victorian goalkeeper, and one from Jamie Dwyer saw off the Vikings, for whom Chris Ciriello fired home a powerful penalty corner.

Defending champions Tassie Tigers will relinquish their crown after their slim hopes of reaching the grand final were extinguished with a 3-1 defeat to the Thundersticks. WA went ahead through Tom Wickham in the first quarter but the sides looked as if they would go in level at the half time break after Jack Welch’s equaliser. Chris Bausor had other ideas though and put WA back in front just a minute before the break. Tim Bates made sure of the result early in the fourth period.

Earlier, Troy Sutherland’s last minute goal earned the RAMS Home Loans Canberra Lakers a crucial 2-1 win over SA Hotshots to help the Lakers leapfrog the Hotshots into Friday’s fifth place playoff, where they will meet NSW Waratahs. Aaron Kershaw’s goal had the Lakers ahead for most of the match but Chris Wells’ equaliser six minutes from full time looked to have done enough for the Hotshots until Sutherland struck his third of the tournament.

The Hotshots will face SRA Territory Stingers in Friday’s seventh place playoff after the home team lost 5-0 to NSW Waratahs. Tournament leading scorer Blake Govers extended his lead at the top of that particular table with his sixth and seventh goals of the week. The 19 year-old was joined on the scoresheet by older brother Kieran and Jake Hayes, who also netted twice.

Men's Australian Hockey League
Powered by Premier Technology Solutions

Day 5 Results
RAMS Home Loans Canberra Lakers 2-1 SA Hotshots
NSW Waratahs 5-0 SRA Territory Stingers
WA Thundersticks 3-1 Tassie Tigers
Queensland Blades 3-1 Victorian Vikings

Pool C
1. Queensland Blades (9 points)
2. WA Thundersticks (6 points)
3. Victorian Vikings (3 points)
4. Tassie Tigers (0 points)

Pool D
1. NSW Waratahs (9 points)
2. RAMS Home Loans Canberra Lakers (4 points)
3. SA Hotshots (3 points)
4. SRA Territory Stingers (1 point)

On social media, use #AHLmen

Finals Day Fixtures, Friday 2 October
2:30pm AEST: SA Hotshots v SRA Territory Stingers (7th/8th playoff)
4:30pm AEST: NSW Waratahs v RAMS Home Loans Canberra Lakers (5th/6th playoff)
6:30pm AEST: Victorian Vikings v Tassie Tigers (bronze medal match)
9:00pm AEST: Queensland Blades v WA Thundersticks (gold medal match)

Watch the final day's action live from Darwin on the tenplay website.

Hockey Australia media release

Egara's Arch ready for toughest Round 1 group

Club Egara’s Pere Arch says there is “no doubt” that his side face the toughest EHL Round 1 group in Hamburg next week as they line out against Irish champions Monkstown and England’s runners-up East Grinstead.

Looking at the draw, Arch told the EHL website that both sides offer a huge threat to his side.

“It is, without any doubt, the hardest group in the Round 1,” he said.

“You only have to see the last European Cup to see how quickly Irish hockey is improving. In fact, knowing that Monkstown have some players who won the bronze medal, we are certain that a hard game is waiting for us.

“And what to say about East Grinstead? They are an historic club that has been always on the top of Premier league for the last few years. Although they lost some of their top players, they have incorporated great Under-21 players that, together with other very experienced players they already have, they will be a dangerous team.

“But we are preparing thoroughly to arrive at 100% in the Round 1 to be for a second year in KO16.”

Egara have undergone a large number of changes to their panel during the summer. Nonetheless, the Catalan side have started the season well, winning the Catalunya championship a couple of weeks ago.

They followed up with a 2-2 away draw against SPV Complutense with Josep Farres on the mark along with Xavier Aguilar.

Six players have moved on since last season with four of them moving to the Belgian league while Jordi Clapés has retired and Roger Matalonga moved on.

Importantly, though, Franc Dinarès and Marc Garcia Chicote have come back from Belgium and Australia, respectively, while a number of young players have been incorporated into the squad from the seconds and Under-18 section.

“The preparation is going very well. Although we started the pre-season later than our rivals in Round 1, and we are not at our 100% yet, we have still a few weeks to keep working hard.”

And they will be looking to at least emulate last season’s run to the KO8. Looking back at that run, Arch said: “It was a great experience for all of us because a lot of players had never played the EHL before and we grew up like a team, inside and outside the pitch. Being together in such a great event made us a better team.

“Against St Germain, we played very well but we couldn’t see it before shoot-outs. Against Orange Zwart, we went head to head with them until the last quarter but their corner machine finished our chance to play in the Final 4.

“This year we have a little bit more experience and we will try to go as further as we can.”

Euro Hockey League media release

Junior Asia Cup: Great Wall the first hurdle

By Jugjet Singh

MALAYSIA will open their campaign against China in the Junior Asia Cup in Kuantan, Pahang, from Nov 14-22.

The tournament offers four tickets to the Junior World Cup in India next year. And with India qualifying as hosts, defending champions Malaysia must play in the semi-finals to book their spot.

In Group A with China, Japan and India -- Malaysia must not fumble in their opening match to keep the fire burning.

Group B looks like an open book, as South Korea and Pakistan will be the front-runners, while Oman and Bangladesh playing catch-up.

Coach Arul Selvaraj and his boys will have a tough time emulating the 2012 feat, which saw Malaysia snatch the gold in Malacca and went on to finish fourth in the Junior World Cup.

Then, Malaysia were the highest ranked Asian team in the Junior World Cup as South Korea finished eighth, Pakistan ninth and India tenth.

After China, Malaysia lock horns with tournament favourites India on Nov 15, followed by Japan on Nov 17.

"We have two tournaments starting with the Sultan of Johor Cup (Oct 11-18) followed by the Junior Asia Cup and the priority is the latter.

"Out focus remains with the Asia Cup where we will first play to be in the semi-finals to qualify for the World Cup, and then make a dash to defend our title," said Arul.

The SOJC will see Malaysia battle against two-time champions India, Australia, Pakistan, Britain and Argentina.

"It (SOJC) will give us an insight into the strength of India and Pakistan ahead of the Junior Asia Cup," said Arul.

India will be the team to beat in Group A, while Pakistan could be Malaysia's opponents in the semi-finals.

India's budding striker Arman Qureshi had this to say about the SOJC: "The team is very confident as we aim to retain the title this time around too. This has made us even more positive of playing the matches ahead.

"During our practice sessions, we have made good progress and aim for a better penalty corner conversion rate. We want to make our attack even stronger in the upcoming matches and look forward to carry out our game strategies firmly to claim the title.”

India open against Pakistan in the SOJC.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Competitive indoor hockey in England to return to 6-a-side

Canterburys Liam Foster celebrates scoring at the indoor finals day

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) recently made a decision to implement a number of changes to the Rules of Indoor Hockey that will come into force on 1 January 2016.

The most significant of the changes will see the number of players on the field of play change back to six from five. This means the game reverts back to the Rules relating to the number of players as existed prior to 1 September 2013.

This decision means England Hockey’s flagship indoor competition will change from Hockey 5s to Super 6s – tickets for the hugely popular Semi-Finals and Finals day at the SSE Arena, Wembley, will go on sale next week.

The FIH has given National Associations the discretion to introduce the new Rules from a date other than 1 January 2016. With considerable indoor activity prior to that date, including the first weekend of the Men’s and Women’s Premier Divisions and Regional qualifying tournaments at Senior and Junior level, England Hockey recognises the need to vary this date of implementation. It is also of note that England Men and Women and our 2015 Hockey 5s Champions are participating in their respective European Indoor tournaments in 2016 when the new Rules will be played.

At the time of the previous change England Hockey made the decision to implement the new Rules with immediate effect. Conclusive feedback from stakeholders, including players, coaches, umpires and administrators, was that the domestic game should be aligned to the international game.

Based on the insight of this consultation process just two years ago and on the principle of consistency, England Hockey has decided that all competitive indoor hockey in England will change to six-a-side with immediate effect. England Hockey also believes the move back to six players has the potential to support its objectives to see more people playing the sport but also deliver great spectator experience, one of which is the annual, ever-popular showpiece Finals at SSE Arena, Wembley.

The other rule changes introduced by the FIH will also be implemented immediately. These are as follows.

• the banning of ‘Trapping’ players in the circle or against the side-boards.

• the number of times a team may substitute a fully kitted goalkeeper off the pitch for either a player with goalkeeping privileges or another field player will be limited to a total of two per match

• an attacking Free Push awarded within three metres of the circle will now be taken from the point of the offence (in line with the outdoor game).

• no extraneous equipment is allowed inside the goals’

The Semi-Finals and Finals day at The SSE Arena, Wembley, has been a favourite for hockey fans for years – it is a fantastic day of out-an-out entertainment for club groups and the neutral sports fan – over 50 goals were scored on the Finals Day in 2013, the last time the matches were played as 6-a-side. The nature of indoor hockey is fast, end-to-end action, making it a brilliant product for spectators of all ages.

Tickets for the Semi-Finals and Finals day are on sale next week – the best seats will sell quickly. It’s proven a superb day out for clubs and schools making group bookings and we’d encourage anyone who is thinking of organising a group to contact Matt Baddeley on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 01628 897522 to register your interest.

England Hockey Board Media release

Olympic umpire appointments for Martin Madden and Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson umpires during the World Hockey League. Photo Credit: Catherine Poels

Scotland’s Sarah Wilson and Martin Madden had cause for celebration last week as their appointments to umpire at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio as representatives of Great Britain were announced by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

Both individuals participated in the Road to Rio programme, which identified umpires who demonstrated the potential to be selected for the tournament in Brazil next summer.

Their selection comes on the back of years of hard work and commitment to achieve their ambitions.

After receiving the news of his appointment, Martin Madden said, “It's an amazing feeling as I have been working towards this since I saw my dad [Craig] going to the Seoul Olympics [in 1988].

“It is the pinnacle of my umpiring career.”

Martin Madden during the European Championship final in London. Photo Credit: Ady Kerry

Madden has featured in a number of high profile competitions in recent years, including umpiring the 2014 Commonwealth Games Gold Medal match, the 2014 World Cup 3rd/4th play-off and the EuroHockey Nations Championship final in London.

He follows in the footsteps of father Craig, holder of a FIH Gold Whistle, who officiated at both the Seoul and Atlanta Olympic Games.

Commenting on her appointment, Sarah Wilson, said, “It is an absolute honour to be selected for the Olympic Games in Rio 2016. It has been my dream for as long as I can remember. To be representing Great Britain is such a privilege and I am really proud to have achieved this.

“I have umpired at some incredible tournaments but nothing compares to that of the Olympics. I now need to work hard over the next 10 months to be in the best physical and mental shape possible to ensure the best performance for the games."

Like Madden, Wilson recently umpired the EuroHockey Nations Championship final in August, and was also recently elevated to the World Development Panel by the FIH.

Scottish Hockey Chief Executive David Sweetman added, “I am delighted at the appointment of both Sarah and Martin to umpire at the Rio Olympics.

“It is a fantastic achievement and reflects their hard work, commitment and sustained high levels of performance. Credit also needs to go to all the volunteers that have helped support Sarah, Martin and our other international and aspiring umpires to improve and reach their potential.

We have a proud history of providing umpires and officials for Olympic Games and I am thrilled for both Sarah and Martin that they will have the chance to officiate at the pinnacle of our sport next year.”

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Weekend College Games

USA Field Hockey highlights some of the top college games in Division I, II and III each week.


DI: No. 3 North Carolina vs No. 4 Virginia
The game between these two top ranked Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opponents will be one of the top games to see this season. Although UNC has fallen in the polls with a loss to  No. 2 Syracuse, UNC has come out on top against six top ranked teams. UVA is also no stranger to knocking off top opponents by having beaten four top ranked teams. Heading into the game, both teams have fallen short against No. 2 Syracuse by two goals. The game will definitely be a tight one. It could possibly be the first shootout we see in ACC play.

DII: Pace vs Franklin Pierce
The game between Pace and Franklin Pierce will be a great game to watch in Division II field hockey. If Pace’s performance this year is any prediction for what is to come, we can expect great things from this team. So far this season, Pace has held No. 1 Millersville to a one goal difference game and has defeated top ten team, Saint Anselm College. Franklin Pierce has had a successful season so far as well, having only lost to top 10 opponents like Merrimack and Saint Anselm. The game will be a great one to watch to see the direction these teams are headed.


DI: Columbia vs Cornell
Columbia and Cornell has already begun facing Ivy League opponents this season. Columbia opened their Ivy League schedule with a 2-0 win against Brown. Cornell opened their Ivy League schedule with a tough loss in overtime to Penn. In the match-up in 2014, Columbia suffered an overtime loss to Cornell. Will the tides turn this season with first-time head coach and former U.S. Women’s National Team member, Caroline Nichols?

DII: Saint Michael's vs Bently
Both Saint Michael’s and Bentley are no strangers to facing tough competition. Saint Michael’s has faced three top 10 teams while Bentley has faced two. The conference game will either propel Bentley up in the polls or it allow Bentley to move up in the conference standings. This game is definitely one to catch.

DIII: No. 12 Tufts vs Amherst College
The match-up between these two New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) opponents will be one of the top games the conference will see this year. The NESCAC currently has four teams in the top 20 of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Poll. Amherst has already played two of the other three NESCAC top 20 teams while this will be the first competition for Tufts against a top ranked NESCAC opponent. The game between these two top colleges will give a great insight into who will be a contender against Bowdoin and Middlebury in the NESCAC Tournament.


DI: No. 11 Boston College vs No. 7 Wake Forest
Not only is the game between Boston College and Wake Forest a game between two top ACC opponents, but this game will be Wake Forest’s game to honor former Wake Forest field hockey athlete, Maria Whitehead. Whitehead was a two-time All-ACC selection and helped Wake Forest to three Final Fours and the 2002 National Championship. Whitehead was also a part of multiple USA Field Hockey Teams and an assistant coach at Duke University. On November 1, 2006, Maria Whitehead lost her battle with Melanoma. The game between these two opponents will be in honor of Maria Whitehead and her battle. The game will be filled with emotions as Kelly Doton (teammate of Whitehead and Wake Forest '04) will be leading Boston College in the competition. Without a doubt, the game will be a great one for spectators.

DII: No. 8 Limestone vs No. 4 West Chester
Limestone and West Chester both started off their respective seasons with a strong force. Most recently, West Chester downed No. 2 Shippensburg after suffering a loss to Millersville and East Stroudsburg. Limestone has also only faced two losses so far this season but will be entering the toughest part of their schedule. The match-up between these two schools could give Limestone momentum going into the toughest part of their schedule or get West Chester back on top of the polls.


DIII: Sewanee vs Randolph-Macon
The game between Sewanee and Randolph-Macon makes this list of games to watch this weekend because it is a match-up between one of two Tennessee schools versus an Old Dominion Athletic Conference opponent. While most of us are surprised to learn that there is a Division III field hockey school in Tennessee, Sewanee has yet to suffer a loss this season. Randolph-Macon in Virginia enters the game with a winning record, having only lost to two top 20 teams and Frostburg State. Will Sewanee continue their winning ways or will Randolph-Macon snap their winning streak?

DIII: No. 2 Bowdoin College vs. No. 9 Wellesley College
Wellesley Head Coach Julia King (Bowdoin ’09) will lead undefeated team against her Alma Mater, Bowdoin College. Bowdoin heads into the game with confidence after a 2-1 win over No. 4 Middlebury College, putting them on the top of the New England Small Colleges Athletic Conference rankings. Both teams have competed against Wesleyan (Connecticut), with Wellesley winning 3-1 and Bowdoin winning 5-0. The game between both teams will be one to watch.


DII: No. 1 Millersville vs No. 2 Shippensburg
After defeating West Chester 1-0 in overtime, Millersville will face another tough opponent. Shippensburg heads into the game after facing a 2-5 loss to West Chester. Although West Chester defeated Shippensburg after losing to Millersville, Shippensburg is not an opponent to take for granted. Shippensburg is no stranger to success, having won the 2013 Division II National Championship.

DIII: Franklin & Marshall vs Johns Hopkins
Both teams have faced tough competition so far this season. Franklin & Marshall has only suffered a loss to No. 20 Messiah College and York, while Johns Hopkins has a .500 season with a 0-4 loss to No. 3 Salisbury. The game will definitely be closer than the ranking depicts. If you’re in the Baltimore, Md. area, it will be worthwhile to check both teams out.

USFHA media release

Hockey's health and physchological benefits highlighted on International Day of Older Persons

1 October marks the 25th anniversary of International Day of Older Persons, with age inclusivity one of the key focuses of this year's celebrations.

This particular area resonates strongly with the sport of hockey, which is played and enjoyed by people of all ages around the world, from grassroots level to Masters.

The sport offers a number of health benefits, but, in addition to that, it is particularly appealing for older persons for many other reasons.

“The thing about Masters Hockey,” muses Debbie Wilkes, organiser of the EuroHockey Masters Tournament, “Is that it gives people, especially women, their identity back.”

Wilkes’ point is that playing a sport into your middle and late age doesn't just provide a physical health benefit, it is also good for social and psychological reasons.

As part of the United Nations International Day of Older Persons, FIH took a look at some of the benefits of playing hockey; benefits that are driving up numbers returning to or continuing to play hockey well into their 60s, 70s or even 80s.

“So many women spend their 20s and 30s being 'Mum'”, says Wilkes. "They run their kids to matches and practices, they wash the kit, they might do a bit of junior coaching, but at the end of the day, they are not the focus, they are not part of the team that is playing on the pitch. Masters hockey gives that feeling of self-confidence and worth back to people, particularly at a time when age is becoming an issue in so many other aspects of their lives."

Certainly team sports have been proven to have a positive impact upon psychological health. Both the Mayo Clinic and Duke University in the USA agree that regular participation in team sports reduces stress, boosts self-confidence and gives a feeling of mastery and control.

In the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Neha John-Henderson writes: “People who participate in club sports enjoy better mental health and life satisfaction than those who exercise at a gym or alone.”

Then there are the well-documented physical benefits of sport. Research released earlier this year by Ingar Holme, lead researcher on the Oslo Study, found that elderly people who do a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity, six days a week are likely to live longer than their 'couch potato' peers. “A mortality reduction of 40 percent was associated with a moderate amount of time [30 minutes, 6 times a week], irrespective of whether the activity was light or vigorous,” the study said.

So really, there is little wonder that the Masters hockey scene is one of the biggest growth areas in our sport, particularly in Europe and Oceania.

The increase in teams participating in regional and state leagues, national and international competitions has risen incredibly fast in the past few years. More than 90 teams across all Masters age categories took part in the EuroHockey Masters in London this August and in October, 1,500 players will participate in the Australian Masters Games to be held in Cairns.

Here are some of the reasons for playing hockey for as long as you can:

· Health - live longer than sedentary peers; enjoy better brain health.
· Challenge - whatever your age, you still have that desire to win.
· Friendship - competing in matches strengthens bonds with teammates and developed enduring relationships because participants remember shared experiences - with competitors as well as teammates.

And if any 60 or 70 year old is reading this and still wondering if it is time to hang up their stick, then they could consider challenging the world record for the world’s oldest hockey player.

Australia’s Marie Larson played her final match aged 79 years, 311 days, ensuring her place in the Guinness Book of Records.

“I started when I was 14 and I have just been playing ever since” said the great-grandmother. She played her last competitive game last year, deciding that a minor stroke had meant she was no longer able to contribute so well on the pitch. The record was broken in June 2014, but has only just been ratified.

To read the full article on Marie Larson, visit the Daily Mail website by clicking here.

FIH site

5000sq m of old hockey turf in need of recycling

By Lynda van Kempen

"Turf's up" will soon be the cry at the Central Otago Sports Trust turf in Cromwell.

Work will begin soon on replacing the ageing sand-based surface at the hockey venue with a water-based turf.

The turf trust built the all-weather hockey ground 18 years ago and the surface needed to be replaced, trust chairman Michael Paardekooper said.

The $1.8million project would include an amenities block.

Businesses, individuals, families and organisations were being invited to sponsor the new turf, buying a square metre or more.

About 60sq m was still awaiting sponsors, he told the Cromwell Community Board this week.

The board agreed to give the trust $50,000 for the project.

The trust has leased Central Otago District Council land for the turf.

Its annual rent goes into a fund which will be used for the donation back to the trust.

Mr Paardekooper said the new water-based turf would be completed for next season.

The public was being invited to recycle 5000sq m of old turf.

"The old turf will make great backyard cricket pitches and mini hockey fields but is also good as a weed suppressant and many other things that I'm sure people will think of," he said.

Each 3.6m-wide by 4m to 5m-long section of the turf weighed about 400kg and delivery could be arranged.

The trust was asking for "a small donation" towards its project.

The artificial turf and shock pad which sits under the turf would be ideal for use in dog kennels and in "heavy pedestrian traffic" areas, he said.

Some would be recycled for use in the mini warm-up turf, but the rest was available for recycling.

Otago Daily Times

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