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News for 04 December 2015

All the news for Friday 4 December 2015

Incredible India and brilliant Belgium set up semi-final showdown

Photo: FIH / Getty Images

The line-up for the semi-finals of the Hero Hockey World League Final 2015 has been completed following quarter-final victories for host nation India and Belgium’s Red Lions in Raipur on Thursday.

In the first of the day’s quarter-finals, India upset the form book with a fine win against Great Britain. The home favourites, who finished fourth in Pool B, claimed a 2-1 victory over the winners of Pool A to book their ticket into the semi-finals.

A packed house turned up to watch India produce their finest performance of the competition to defeat their higher ranked opponents, with penalty corner expert V.R. Raghunath finding the target in the 19th minute before Ramandeep Singh hit the crossbar just after half time.

Talwinder Singh scored what proved to be the winner in the 39th minute, smashing home from a tight angle after picking up a long overhead pass from Kothajit Khandangbam. Great Britain’s Simon Mantell reduced the deficit with eight minutes remaining, but India held on to move into the final four.

“We started great and scored two good goals”, said scorer Raghunath after the match. “We learned from the mistakes that we made in the Pool matches and we know that we can upset any team in the world on any given day. We will relax, rest and focus on the semi-final match now.”

India’s opponents in the semi-final will be Belgium, who recorded 2-1 win over Argentina in their quarter-final match.

Alexandre hendrickx gave Belgium the lead with a low, powerful penalty corner effort in the 22nd minute, before Sebastien Dockier added a second three minutes ahead of half time, forcing the ball home following a goal-mouth scramble. A defensive error from Loick Luypaert was punished by Argentina’s Leones, with Agustin Mazzilli eliminating the goalkeeper with a perfectly placed pass into the corner of the Belgian goal. However, it proved to be only a consolation, with Belgium’s defensive line holding firm to see out the victory.

“I think we had a very good game plan, very well structured, and we played it almost to perfection”, said Belgium defender Arthur van Doren. “We made one mistake and it cost us a goal, and we almost got into a bit of trouble, and we defended hard in the final minutes but we kept it together.”

Looking ahead to his team’s semi-final meeting against host nation India, Van Doren said: “It is a big honour to play India in India, so it is something that the whole team is really looking forward to. These are the kind of games that you train all year for, the chance to play against a good Indian side in a big stadium. We will prepare well and try to get the victory.”

As well the line-ups for the semi-finals, the classification matches have also been confirmed. India's win against Great Britain was bad news for Germany, pushing them into the 7-8 classification match against Canada. This is due to Germany and Canada having taken the least amount of points from the Pool phase. Great Britain and Argentina both earned more Pool points than Germany and Canada, and will play in the 5-6 classification matches. The match schedule can be found below.

Results – Day 7


Great Britain 1, India 2
Hero Man of the Match: Birendra Lakra (IND)

Argentina 1, Belgium 2
Hero Man of the Match: Felix Denayer (BEL)

Updated Match Schedule
Times listed below are Indian Standard Time (UTC/GMT +5:30)

Friday 4th December 2015
1830 – Semi-Final – Australia v Netherlands
2045 – Losing Q/F Match – Great Britain v Argentina

Saturday 5th December 2015
1830 – Semi-Final – India v Belgium
2045 – Losing Q/F Match – Germany v Canada

Sunday 6th December 2015
1830 – Bronze Medal Match
2045 – Gold Medal Match

#HWL2015 #MarkYourMark

FIH site

Umpire Nathan Stagno receives Golden Whistle

Photo: FIH / Getty Images

On Wednesday at the Hero Hockey World League Final 2015, Nathan Stagno (GBR) was presented with his Golden Whistle in recognition of umpiring his 100th senior international match by FIH President Leandro Negre (pictured).

Stagno, who made his international umpiring debut in 1999, took charge of the Australia versus Germany quarter-final at the event currently taking place in Raipur, India. He becomes the 36th men’s umpire to receive a Golden Whistle and the first umpire from Gibraltar to do so.

During his career, Stagno has officiated at some of the sport’s biggest competitions, including the London 2012 Olympic Games, the Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 in the Hague as well as two Champions Trophy events and a Commonwealth Games. As well as his 100 senior matches, Nathan has also umpired 21 junior internationals.

“For me, it is amazing”, said Stagno after his presentation. “To come from a small country like Gibraltar, where there are only around 200 people who play hockey, you can imagine how happy I feel to have been given the opportunity to umpire at this level and to get the Golden Whistle.”

Massive congratulations to Nathan!

#HWL2015 #MarkYourMark

FIH site

Great Britain slip to quarter final defeat over hosts

GB men team huddle

Great Britain’s medal hopes came to an abrupt end at the hands of hosts India as Bobby Crutchley’s side were beaten 2-1 in their World League quarter final match in Raipur. Goals for Vokkaliga Raghunath and Talwinder Singh put India 2-0 up and although Simon Mantell pulled one back it was not enough and Great Britain were condemned to playing off for fifth place.

The game took a while to get going with both sides seemingly sizing up their opponents. As expected, every time India broke forwards, the crowd roared them on but Great Britain remained undaunted and kept them at arm’s length with some solid defensive work. Chances were hard to come by but with five minutes left in the quarter Great Britain won their first penalty corner. Ian Sloan took the honours but PR Sreejesh got down well to his right to make the save. A lovely move from Bobby Crutchley’s side almost forced the opening goal moments later. Nick Catlin’s raking pass found Simon Mantell inside the circle and he played it in towards Phil Roper who couldn’t quite apply the finish and it remained all square at the end of the first quarter.

Great Britain briefly lost the services of Alan Forsyth early in the second quarter as he was struck in the face with a stray stick and had to receive treatment. India enjoyed a good spell of possession and forced a penalty corner in the 19th minute. VR Raghunath took the shot and beat Harry Gibson low to his right to open the scoring for the home side. Great Britain tried to hit back but found Sreejesh alert in the India goal and the hosts’ goalkeeper was on hand to snuff out a couple of half chances to protect his side’s lead going into the half time break.

Great Britain pushed forwards immediately at the start of the second half. Henry Weir’s pass flashed across the face of goal with a diving Sam Ward not quite able to get a touch. They continued to press and David Condon forced a fine save from Sreejesh before Amir Khan flashed a shot wide at the other end in a frenetic opening few minutes to the half. India were unlucky not to extend their lead after a flowing move freed Ramandeep Singh. His shot crashed against the crossbar and away to safety. There was no reprieve for Bobby Crutchley’s side in the 39th minute however. Kothaljit Khadangbam scooped a pass over the top for Talwinder Singh who rounded James Bailey and slotted home to make it 2-0. Great Britain forced a penalty corner in response but Catlin’s shot was charged down and the danger was cleared. Ward almost picked out Mantell from another penalty corner move but with the time ticking down in the third quarter Great Britain still couldn’t find a way through.

Bobby Crutchley’s team threatened again at the start of the final quarter. Alastair Brogdon slapped an effort just wide but then with eight minutes remaining, Great Britain handed themselves a lifeline. A broken down penalty corner was recycled and from Sloan’s pass Mantell applied the finish for his third goal of the tournament. Condon rattled the goalkeeper’s pads with five minutes remaining and then Great Britain took off their goalkeeper to try and force the equaliser. The plan seemed set to work when they won a penalty corner with a minute left but the ball wasn’t trapped, the chance went begging and India held on for the win.

Great Britain will now play Argentina for fifth  on 4 December 2015 at 15:15 UK time.

Bobby Crutchley, Great Britain Head Coach:

“We allowed them to dictate the game in the first half and at times we were a little too passive. We still created chances but we weren’t quite able to get the goals we needed. We were better in the second half and dominated for long periods of the game but our execution in the final third was a little bit lacking today. We probably did enough to get something from the game so we’re a little frustrated but if you don’t take the chances you create it makes life difficult.

Despite the disappointment there is a lot to be positive about from this tournament. Some of the less experienced guys have stepped up and played well and at times we’ve played some really good hockey. We’ll be better for the experience and hopefully this will stand us in good stead and allow us to get over the line in the future. I’m positive that this group will bounce back. They have a lot of pride in what they do and will be keen to put things right in the next game.”

Great Britain 1 (0)
Simon Mantell 52 (PC)

India 2 (1)
Vokkaliga Raghunath 19 (PC)
Talwinder Singh 39 (FG)

Great Britain Hockey media release

India redeems itself

The host entered the semifinals with a 2-1 victory, its first win in the tournament

Uthra Ganesan

V.R. Raghunath celebrates after scoring against Great Britain on Thursday. Getty Images

India coach Roelant Oltmans has admitted he can never predict the Indian team. On Thursday in the quarterfinal against Great Britain of the Hockey World League Finals here, the one that turned up would be the one he would want every time as the host entered the semifinals with a 2-1 victory, its first win in the tournament.

Its reward would be Saturday’s semifinal against Belgium which beat Argentina by an identical margin in the other quarterfinal match. The latter would now play Britain in the 5-8 place play-off.

The much maligned Indian forwards stood up to be counted and even though they got just one goal in — the other was a penalty corner conversion by V.R. Raghunath, his first attempt in the competition — they created enough chances to redeem themselves to an extent.

Mohd. Amir Khan ran hard, tried one-touch hits at the top of the circle that missed the goal by inches and passed. Talwinder Singh was shaky to begin with but got better. His goal in the 39th minute after receiving the ball on the right was impressive, the pass from Kothajit Singh at left half even more so. England, impressive in its league games, was erratic. The shots were awry, the finishing was sloppy and the lone goal it scored came off a goalmouth melee than any well-thought out attempt as an unmarked Simon Mantell tapped in. That is not something India has been able to do too often. Five months ago, England had dismantled a disjointed India 5-1 in Antwerp in the Semifinals of this tournament. On Thursday, the host kept control on its showmanship. Despite missing chances, the team did not lose the plot.

Oltmans was visibly proud of the effort but cautioned against getting carried away. “It’s good that we are making it to the semifinals of the major tournaments but I think it is now time to move into medal contention,” he said.

The result (quarterfinal): India 2 (V.R. Raghunath, Talwinder Singh) bt Great Britain 1 (Simon Mantell); Belgium 2 (Alexander Hendrickx, Sebastien Dockier) bt Argentina 1 (Agustin Mazzilli).

The Hindu

India stuns Great Britain, enters the semis

In perfect sync with its rising global rating, India transformed itself to a higher level least expected but at the most crucial of phase as quarterfinal of the World League, to post two lightening goals and then withstood agonising pressure in the last quarter of play to enter the semifinal.

With a goal apiece coming from Reliable Raghunath and unlikely hero Talwinder Singh in the 19th and 39th minutes respectively, India moved to the next phase.

It’s second time in a year’s gap that India is successively in the semifinals of world’s elite hockey tournament.

India was in the semis of biannual Champions Trophy last December in Bhubneswar.

The victory is also a sweet revenge for India which lost to the British 1-5 at Antwerp, Belgium in the HWL Semifinals.

Playing against full crowd, which exceeded what one witnessed in the opening match, the visitors certainly buckled, often committing unforced errors.

undefined However, they came strongly in the last quarter where they were all over the Indian territory, and also reduced the margin. Simon Mantell struck off a penalty corner that withstood a referral.

Coach Bobby Crutchley even took the risk of removing goalie in order to pep up attack. India certainly showed its maturity to ward off the intense pressure.

Indian defence was perfect today, and did not allow us to equalize. Your goalkeeper also played well, said Simon Mantel, who scored the consolation goal for the British.

The young British side which defeated the likes of Australia with a tennis like score did not measure of today.

Old fox Roelant Oltmans played a different first eleven today with freshers like Amir Khan, Chinglensana in the first eleven, and doing a fair job.

Harry Gibson, the British goalie in the earlier phase warded off a solo from Akashdeep Singh, and whenever India broke the brittle British defence, the youngster showed his class and denied a sure third goal in the late second half.

In fact the British started sluggishly and went full press only in the third quarter, where many times they came close to closing in on the deficit, but the defence consisting of Birendra Lakra and Raghunath stood firm.

Indian goalie PR Sreejesh had the last laugh.

India will now take on Belgium, the winner of Belgium-Argentina Quarters.


India prick British bubble

Hosts pull off an upset 2-1 win over world No. 4 side; to face Belgium in semis

PR Sreejesh makes a save against Britain

Raipur: India came up with a stupendous and thrilling performance to defeat Great Britain 2-1 for the first time in 35 years and enter the semifinals of the prestigious year-ending Hockey World League (HWL) Final here today.

Backed by a vociferous crowd, India managed to hold off Great Britain in their quarterfinal after the hosts took a 2-0 lead through VR Raghunath and Talwinder Singh. Simon Mantell scored the lone goal for the visiting team, which suffered its first loss of the tournament.

In the semifinals, India will take on Belgium, who beat Argentina 2-1.

Overall, Great Britain created far more chances than the hosts, who had not had any success in the tournament yet. The Britons had more than twice the number of penetrations in the striking circle than India. They won six penalty corners, with only one paying off, compared to India’s one. But India did what was necessary on the day.

The start was exciting as both teams pressed hard. Defender Devinder Walmiki had an excellent run in the eighth minute when he ran the entire stretch of the pitch to reach the British circle. However, his run even outpaced his teammates and he was left with no option to pass.

Bobby Crutchley’s men retaliated in the next minute by earning a penalty corner which Ian Sloan flicked right into the chest of India goalie PR Sreejesh.

A one-two between India captain Sardar Singh and Akashdeep Singh created another chance but the British defence held fort. India attacked again as Talwinder saw a brilliant chance, but was kept out by Chris Grassick.

Just when it was looking as if the game was slowing down in the second quarter, India took the crucial lead (19th minute) when Raghunath successfully converted a penalty corner to score his first goal of the tournament.

The goal upped the ante and the cheering crowd witnessed some fast hockey. Sreejesh was in his elements on the day as he made a couple of difficult saves, helping India to go into the halftime with the lead. India had one of their best chance in the 35th minute when Akashdeep set up Ramandeep Singh, whose reverse-flick hit the parallel bar.

The hosts had to wait for only four more minutes when an intelligent scoop from Chinglensana Singh was collected by Talwinder. The forward drew the British keeper out of the goal and fired in the ball from a very tight angle.

Great Britain went all out in the remaining 20 minutes, earning as many as four penalty corners. However, their nerves proved weak as they hardly managed to stop the ball, let alone take the shot. India, on the counter-attack, also wasted several chances in the tension and excitement. The visitors finally managed to draw one back (52nd) when Mantell scored from a penalty corner.

Great Britain played the last three minutes without a keeper, bringing in an outfield player. But that proved unfruitful as India managed to hold on.

The Tribune

India beat Great Britain after 25 years to qualify for semis

India secured just one penalty corner in the match which was beautifully converted by VR Raghunath in the 19th minute before Talwinder Singh doubled the lead in the 39th minute.

Talwinder Singh scored the second goal for India Getty Images

Leaving behind their disappointing league campaign, India produced an inspired performance to upstage World No.4 Great Britain 2-1 and enter the semifinals of the Hockey World League (HWL) Final at the Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Stadium in Raipur on Thursday. This was incidentally the first time since 1980 that India had beaten Great Britain.

World No. 6 India came into the match as underdogs having finished last in Pool B with just one point. Great Britain, on the other hand, were touted as favourites as they topped Pool A with two wins and a draw. But having faced a lot flak in the last few days for their inconsistent showing in the league stage, the Indians came out with purpose even though Great Britain had the better share of ball possession and circle entries. India secured just one penalty corner in the match which was beautifully converted by VR Raghunath in the 19th minute before Talwinder Singh doubled the lead in the 39th minute.

It was not easy for the Indians as Great Britain fought hard and tried to forge a comeback into the match in the fourth and final quarter when Simon Mantell scored from a penalty corner in the 52nd minute. Great Britain earned as many as six penalty corners in the match but made use of just one.

India started on a bright note and enjoyed the majority of the possession in the opening two quarters. The hosts looked far more organised and coordinated and attacked the rival citadel with purpose. It was India who had the first shy at the goal when Dhramavir Singh s brilliant solo run from the left flank found out Talwinder Singh inside the box but the striker messed up the opportunity. Two minutes later, Great Britain had the first real scoring opportunity when they earned their first penalty corner after Jasjeet Singh Kular found the feet of his own defender Raghunath inside the box while trying to clear the ball. The resultant try from Ian Sloan was saved by Indian custodian PR Sreejesh and the rebound was shot wide by Tim Whiteman.

India s persistent attack earned them their first penalty corner in the 19th minute and Raghunath made no mistake in give his side the lead with a powerful low flick to the right of Great Britain goalkeeper Harry Gibson. India created a few more opportunities thereafter but the strike force, in particular Ramandeep Singh continued to falter again and again as the hosts went into the breather with a one goal advantage.


Stats Speak: India wins platinum jubilee match versus Great Britain

By B.G.Joshi (India) in Raipur

India beat Great Britain in crucial quarterfinal match by 2-1. It was 75th match of two hockey giants since first meeting in London Olympics (1948) final. Triple Olympian gold Medalists Balbir Singh Senior scored the brace in 4-0 triumph 67 years back. In yesterday match VR  Raghunath and Talwinder Singh have netted for the winner.

Milestones matches won by India against Great Britain (includes England) as detailed below:

Match Number














Hong Kong


Bronze Medal




Kuala Lumpur

Azlan Shah






World League




Head to Head








India-Great Britain























World Cup Final rematch

Kookaburras v Netherlands live, Fox Sports 3, midnight (AEDT) tonight

Following the conclusion of the quarter final stage of the World League tournament in India overnight, the line-up for the semi-finals has been confirmed.

The Kookaburras (world ranking #1) are set for a rematch of the 2014 World Cup final when they take on the Netherlands (#2)  tonight (00:00am AEDT, Saturday 5). It will be the first time the two sides have met since June last year when the Australian men romped to a 6-1 victory in The Hague.

Australia’s most capped player of all time, Jamie Dwyer, is set to make his 350th international appearance in the match. The game will be shown live on Fox Sports 3.

The other semi-final, which plays 24 hours later, will pit hosts India (#6) against Belgium (#7). India reached the final four after a superb performance earned them a 2-1 win over Great Britain last night. Belgium beat Argentina by the same score.

Losing quarter finalists Great Britain, Argentina, Germany and Canada will now play off for fifth to eighth place classification.

Australia's women, the Hockeyroos, get their own World League Final campaign underway against China on Sunday (8:45am AEDT) in Rosario, Argentina.

Hero World League Final - semi-final & playoff fixtures

Saturday 5 December

SF1:  Kookaburras v Netherlands (00:00am AEDT / 9:00pm AWST Friday 4)
5th-8th: Great Britain v Argentina (2:15am AEDT / 11:15pm AWST Friday 4)

Sunday 6 December

SF2: India v Belgium (00:00am AEDT / 9:00pm AWST Saturday 5)
5th-8th: Germany v Canada (2:15am AEDT / 11:15pm AWST Saturday 5)

Quarter final results

Netherlands 2-0 Canada
Kookaburras 4-1 Germany
Great Britain 1-2 India
Argentina 1-2 Belgium

Hockey Australia media release

India meet Belgium in semis

Sam Chakraborty

RAIPUR: For a team that remained unbeaten in the group stage, Great Britain exited the World League Finals after succumbing to a 1-2 loss against India in the third quarterfinals on Thursday.

Striking the right chord from the onset, India put the Great Britain defence under pressure with SV Sunil and Danish Mujtaba combining well on the right flank. Britain's Dan Shingles took a painful blow on his knee as Sunil's shot rebounded of the defender before smashing into the hoardings behind the goalpost. Belgium defeated Argentina 2-1 to set up a semifinal clash against hosts India.

Looking an outfit determined to hand Britain their first loss of the tournament, India played like a team possessed. With their sporadic attack against the run of play yielding a penalty-corner, Great Britain failed to break down a dogged India defence as the hosts looked to take charge on the counterattack. While VR Raghunath was guilty of conceding the opposition their first set-play of the match, the full-back atoned for his mistake in the best possible manner.

India's insurmountable pressure upon the Great Britain backline finally paid dividends as the home side earned a much needed penalty-corner in the 19th minute and Raghunath did not disappoint.

The Times of India

Belgium beat Argentina 2-1, to play India in semifinal

RAIPUR: Belgium on Thursday defeated Argentina 2-1 in a keenly-contested fourth and final quarterfinal to set up up a semifinal showdown against hosts India in the ongoing Hockey World League (HWL) Final.

Belgium took the lead in the 22nd minute when Alexander Hendrickx scored from a penalty corner in the seventh minute before Sebastian Dockier (27th minute) made it 2-0 in the second quarter.

Argentina fought hard in the second half and pulled one back in the 42nd minute through Agustin Mazzilli's field strike.

Thereafter, the Argentines tried hard and kept putting pressure on the opponents in search of the equaliser but failed to break the resolute Belgian defence.

Belgium will now play India in the second semifinal on Saturday, while Australia and Netherlands will lock horns in the first last four match on Friday.

Argentina will play Great Britain in the fifth to eight place classification matches on Friday, while Germany will face Canada in the play-off game on Saturday.

The Times of India

It's time for us to win a medal in a major tournament: Oltmans

RAIPUR: India's chief coach Roelant Oltmans is a "proud" man after his side stunned Great Britain 2-1 to enter the semifinals of Hockey World League (HWL) Final and the Dutchman feels it's time for the eight-time Olympic champions to win a medal in a major tournament.

After finishing at the bottom of Pool B, India today produced an inspired performance to get the better of Great Britain, who suffered their first defeat in the tournament.

"We played fantastic hockey in the third quarter. We created fantastic goal scoring opportunities, scored a fantastic goal and was unlucky when Ramandeep (Singh) struck the bar. Akashdeep (Singh) also missed one and that easily could have been three or four. So I would like to look at that side," Oltmans told reporters in the post-match press conference.

"They put pressure on our defence in the last and final quarter to get back into the game. But I must say in the end we showed the right composure, energy and fighting spirit. And I am proud of what I have seen from the boys today," Oltmans said.

"It's nice to be in the semifinals but it's time to win a medal in a major tournament and this is a major tournament and that's what we are aiming for," he added.

Oltmans refused to talk about any individual players and credited the win to team effort.

"I never talk about individual players, I always talk about the team. It is his (Amir Khan's) first big tournament and so far he showed progress," he said.

The India coach, however, said inconsistency was a problem which the teams needs to work upon.

"We always go match by match. That always has been my approach. But I always tell the players in a tournament like this it's about match no. 4 and that is where we have to be at our best. And that is what they have shown today.

"If you ask me whether we will be able to give a performance like this again, then frankly speaking I am not sure about it. But of course in the next two days we will work towards that," Oltmans said.

The Times of India

USWNT Closes out 2015 Strong with a Successful Series

LANCASTER, Pa. – The Home of Hockey hosted four international capped matches, marking the last competition on the U.S. Women’s National Team’s schedule for the year. Team USA’s final match against the 10th FIH World Ranked Japan ended with a 3-0 triumph for the red, white and blue. Team USA did not concede a single goal for the entire 240 minutes of play spread over the week.

"We've moved a long way again," said USWNT Head Coach Craig Parnham. "We had a good, successful year in 2014 and were able to pick it back up again in 2015. And over the course of the last 12 months, I've been pleased with the progress and how we've moved through. This week is a culmination of a consistent year and that's the aim for the next part of the journey - to maintain consistency and continue to play some exciting hockey. There's some work we need to do, of course, but I think we have a pretty good idea of what that looks like. 2016 will be an exciting year and we're very much looking forward to attacking it."

Wasting little time to make a scoreboard statement, Team USA grabbed a penalty corner in the opening minutes of play. Off of the attack opportunity, Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa.) sent a solid strike to the backboard to give USA their first goal in the 4th minute. Japan's defense looked for an open passing lane to move the ball upfield, but USA's forward line kept pressure high to allow Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa.) to steal the ball back which led to a flurry of shots on target. Team USA ended the first quarter with a penalty corner. Michelle Vittese's (Cherry Hill, N.J.) swift hit was blocked by Japan's keeper. She rebounded the ball and lifted it into the air without a result.

In the second quarter, Ali Froede (Burke, Va.) fed a beautiful ball to Marie Anne Bolles (Phoenixville, Pa.) at the attack baseline who popped the ball to Kelsey Kolojejchick (Larksville, Pa.) at the stroke line. The combination didn't translate into a goal. Back-to-back penalty corners followed for Team USA but the score remained USA 1, Japan 0. Keeping their offense alive, a goalmouth scramble occurred in front of Team's USA cage, but they're unable to convert on the opportunity. Japan had a breakaway, running fast into their attacking end. Kolojejchick sprinted in front of the dangerous action to move play out of the USA's defensive center. Action transitioned back to Japan's attack circle, but USA goalkeeper Jackie Briggs (Robesonia, Pa.) came through with a big glove save to keep Japan scoreless.
In the 28th minute, Crandall slammed her second ball past the goal line to change the score to USA 2, Japan 0.

The third quarter Japan's Maho Segawa earned a green card. Japan, in their attack 25, looked to enter their circle, however, USA with stick-to-stick defense regained the ball. Moving down the field, the red, white and blue earned back-to-back corners. Stefanie Fee (Virginia Beach, Va.) fed the ball to Julia Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.) waiting at the right post to tip the ball in to transform the goal count to USA 3, Japan 0. In 56th minute, Japan earned their first penalty corner of the match. USA's defensive corner unit denied the chance. The final match report USA 3, Japan 0.

USFHA media release

Spanish Series Finishes With 3-1 Loss

It was a disappointing end to the 3 match series for the Green Machine as they lost 3-1 to Spain. The squad, a mix of youth and experience as Fulton looked to his extended panel, was without no fewer than 8 of their European bronze medallists.

The first goal came in the opening minutes as a result of a defensive error that caught Carr wrong footed and the ball snuck under the Three Rock keeper. Ireland’s primary 2 chances of the half came within minutes of each other as Elliot’s reverse shot skimmed past the post and Cockram’s PC drag drew a diving save. Spain held control and appeared to step up another gear as they scored their second goal in a similar fashion to those of the previous 2 encounters. The ball was driven along the baseline and passed back to the waiting striker who swept it goal-bound. HT 2-0

In the last moments of Q3 Jonny Bruton expertly turned on the defender to set up the reverse shot in the D where a perfectly positioned Gareth Watkins was waiting on the post to tap it home. The game appeared to lose some structure and the ball was frequently crowded, leading to fouls and interceptions aplenty. Spain scored their third goal to make it 3-1 and two late PC’s for the Green Machine yielded no reward as the clock wound down.

The Green Machine will next travel to South Africa for warm weather training in January where they will face several higher ranked opponents.

Speaking after the series Coach Craig Fulton said “These 3 games against Spain are very important for us moving forward into 2016. We played well in some phases in each game but not well enough for 60 minutes. We’re now looking forward to our preparation phase in South Africa”.

Ireland 1 (Watkins)
Spain 3 (Lleonart, 2x Alegre)Squad

1 Matthew Bell - Banbridge
2 Jonny Bell - Lisnagarvey
3 Jonny Bruton - Monkstown
4 Timmy Cockram - Lisnagarvey
5 Stephen Cole -Monkstown
6 Jamie Carr(GK) - ThreeRock Rovers
7 Chris Cargo - Racing
8 Luke Chadwick - ThreeRock Rovers
9 David Fitzgerald(GK) - Monkstown
10 Maurice Elliott - Beerschot
11 Kyle Good - Monkstown
12 Ronan Gormley - Krefeld
13 Neal Glassey - Lisnagarvey
14 Conor Harte - Racing
15 Bruce McCandless - Banbridge
16 James Lorimer - Lisnagarvey
17 Michael Robson - Annadale
18 Alan Sothern - Pembroke
19 Kirk Shimmins - Pembroke
20 Gareth Watkins - Monkstown

Irish Hockey Association media release

Perak and three others book semis berth in Razak Cup

by S. Ramaguru

Perak's Azril Misron running past Terengganu's Mohd Shazwi Rani during their Razak Cup Division One match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Thursday. - IZZRAFIQ ALIAS /The STAR

KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions Perak have booked their semi-final ticket after beating Terengganu 4-2 in Group A of the Razak Cup tournament at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

In another Group A match, Malacca joined Perak in the last four after beating Penang 6-3 at the adjacent ground.

Perak will face Kuala Lumpur while Malacca will take on Johor in Saturday’s semi-finals.

Johor top Group B after a 3-2 win over Negri Sembilan while Kuala Lumpur finished second with a 4-3 defeat of Pahang.

Perak went into their last Group A match against Terengganu wary of the threat posed by the east coast team, who have national forward Faizal Saari in their ranks.

But it didn’t take Perak long to break the deadlock, with Mohd Fitri Ismal scoring with a direct hit off their first penalty corner.

Perak added two more goals through Azril Misron in the 20th and 27th minutes before Mohd Ashran Hamsani added the fourth 10 minutes later.

Although Terengganu scored twice in five minutes – Fitri Saari (40th) and Nik Aiman Rozemi (45th) – it was too late to salvage the match.

“Once we had the opening goal, we made it easier by converting our chances,” said Perak coach K. Yogesweran.

“We were already four goals up before they scored ... so, we were quite comfortable. It doesn’t matter who we meet in the semi-final. We need to be ready. It is good that there is a day’s break before the semi-finals.”

In the other Group A match, Malacca were 5-0 up before Penang could get going.

Amirullah Zainol scored a hat-trick in the 28th, 30th and 36th minutes while Dedy Ariyadi (35th), Mohd Firdaus Omar (39th) and Mohd Hafiz (52nd) added one apiece for Malacca.

Penang replied through Mohd Rahimi Iskandar (40th), Mohd Izwan Firdaus (47th) and Mohd Rashid Baharom (58th).


GROUP A: Perak 4 Terengganu 2, Malacca 6 Penang 3

The Star of Malaysia

All hockey squads’ coaching vacancies to be filled

by S. Ramaguru

Hockey coach K. Dharmaraj.

KUALA LUMPUR: All vacant coaching positions at the national level are expected to be filled up when the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) coaching committee meet on Saturday.

The committee will also meet with all the state coaching chairmen to see how they can help with their programmes.

The meeting will be divided into two sessions.

“The first is to meet the state chairmen and seek their feedback on the coaching issues. We also want to help them with the coaching structures at the state level and inform them of our plans,” said MHC coaching committee chairman Datuk Ow Soon Kooi.

He also revealed the teams at the national level who are without a coach are the Project 2020 (men and women) squad, women’s national team, and 1MAS programme (Under-16).

“There is a panel of coaches under our purview and we will fit them into the positions after the meeting. We will appoint the chief coaches as well as the assistants and attachment coaches,” he said.

The meeting is also significant, as the first reports on the failed Junior Asia Cup outing will be tabled.

“Project 2016 coach A. Arulselvaraj will present his report and we will then deliberate on the findings. All decisions taken will be recommended to the MHC Executive Board for their stamp of approval, including the naming of coaches for the vacant positions,” said Soon Kooi.

“The next programme is the Project 2020 ... we need to get cracking,” he added.

The positions for the senior team have already been filled. Stephen van Huizen is the chief coach and Lim Chiow Chuan the assistant coach.

Among the coaches who are eligible for the various postings include A. Arulselvaraj, K. Dharmaraj, K. Gobinathan, Nor Saiful Zaini, S. Vellapan, Wallace Tan, Mohd Amin Rahim, Mohd Nasihin Nubli, Lailin Abu Hassan, K. Kanagi, Mohd Soffian and Yahya Atan.

The Star of Malaysia

The queen comes of age

Indian hockey player Rani Rampal, who turns 21 on 4 December, enters the most significant year of her life

Sharda Ugra

Rani Rampal. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

Today, a girl in Bhubaneswar will celebrate her 21st birthday. It will mark her entry into an amorphous kind of adulthood because by 18 she could vote, drive and marry. By that time Everygirl had turned into teen prodigy, an inadvertent torch-bearer for her sport. On the field, she moved like she was on skates and picked up speed like she had race-car engines for lungs, left defenders wrong-footed, red-faced. Her name won’t pop up first in a straw poll of India’s top female athletes because she plays a team sport. Try “Indian women’s hockey team” though and she is instant recall.

It is Rani Rampal’s birthday on 4 December and the prowler, forward, penalty corner striker, enters the most significant year of her life. It is eight months away from her team’s first appearance at an Olympic Games after 36 years and Rio is on Rampal’s mind. While the team toured Argentina in November, Rampal stayed in Bhubaneswar due to a hamstring injury, her career held together by a smouldering core of skill, drive and ambition wrapped in miles of sports bandage. Top to toe, she lists body parts that have broken down, were fixed and now need constant attention. “Hamstring, shoulder, back, ankle and heel,” Rampal laughs, “if I worked as hard on my hockey as I have to on my body to stay fit, I would be able to become a good player.” Really?

At the 2010 Women’s World Cup, Rampal’s breakout international event at age 15, she was named young player of the tournament, scoring seven goals, more than her hero and all-time great Luciana Aymar of Argentina. It earned her a spot on the FIH (International Hockey Federation) All-Star team named at the year’s end, the first Indian to get there.

In 2013, coming off a debilitating back injury, Rampal was player of the tournament at the junior (under-21) hockey world cup, where India won its first ever medal. Surely “become a good player” is faux-modesty after six years and 140-plus India caps? “No, I can be better.”

Aymar, she reminds you, quit at age 37; that’s the standard to aspire for. “She was eight-time FIH player of the year…I want to do something great, put my name down in history.” It means owning everything—brain, speed, strength and skill. “I know I don’t have as much strength as I should.” A vegetarian, she’s recently taken to eggs, and will venture towards the hairier side of protein-intake in the form of fish next.

Rampal has a world view that I find wider, broader and clearer than many athletes of her age and experience. It is realistic, practical, shorn of sentiment. After India beat Italy on penalties at the World Hockey League semi-finals in July and as good as qualified for Rio, after the adrenalin had subsided, she said on TV the team should have closed the game out in full-time. “Penalties turn things to 50-50. We missed so many chances. It may seem like small now but what if we’d lost? That’s a lifetime of regret.”

Rampal’s lifetime has straddled two worlds. A childhood of poverty so terrifying that when recalled today “raungte khade ho jaate hain” (the hairs stand on end). The only sport for girls in her town Shahbad, Haryana, gave her wings, freedom and her family a more secure life. Despite everything. That phrase could be the leitmotif in Rampal’s life. Aged 13, weighing 36kg, she was asked by the coach at her first junior national camp to do squats lifting 80kg weights. Or else the federation would be told she was not eligible for the camp. Lost, desperate, she tried the lift, fell to the ground with 80kg on top on her. The incident was to give birth to a troublesome back which five years later in 2012 left her with two disc bulges on her spine and eight months of bed rest.

“At first I would feel awful…the way I see it now, it is like God has given me this talent and the only path to get there, to reach the talent, is to work through my injuries. Now I treat the physical work as a zaroorat (necessity). Like I eat, I have to do extra exercise to be able to play properly.” To the point where Rampal could be included among India’s top 5 women players in history. Former men’s captain Viren Rasquinha reckons she is “possibly the top striker India has produced”. Despite everything.

When I first met Rampal at an event in Delhi last year, she was wearing a white jacket, red trousers and had her arm in a sling. Her shoulder had been dislocated, an on-field skirmish hammering her on to the ground. She was at the event having committed to it, despite the discomfort of the injury and having to be helped in and out of formal clothes by another female athlete.

On stage, Rampal spoke with composure and wisdom about what sport did for Indian female athletes. She is grateful for her parents sending her and letting her stick with hockey and for their trust in the life she now lives, radical by Haryana standards. It distresses her that girls there remain crushed by convention. “In backward areas, when girls are born, people are not happy, they have only one target for her—little education, then marriage, housework, having kids, that’s a girl’s life.” When younger girls meet Rampal, “I can see they are still dabi hui (inhibited). They wish they were given a chance, they could have made something of their life. They are not allowed to get out of their homes, they don’t talk much. When they find someone who listens to them, it is a huge thing.”

Rampal is 5ft 6 inches, around 59kg, sweet-faced, fine-boned and looks delicate, easily breakable. That appearance conceals her toughened core and her zidd (stubbornness). To this day, Rampal says, she has never understood who the mysterious entity called “log” (people) actually are. “When my parents say, ‘if this happens, log kya kahenge (what will people say?) Who are these log? Why should we live our life according to what people think? Live like prisoners of someone else’s idea? That way, life is only for them, it’s not made for us to live, is it?” The Rampals continue to stand up against continuing community pressure. Which asks why after a little hockey and a good job, is she still not married? “You can’t stop them, you can only do what you do… We have so much talent in Haryana, but if girls are not even given a chance, how do they show people how good they are?”

She did. Despite everything.

On Friday, Rampal is no doubt going to get cake (either one of two she knows, chocolate or black forest) from her teammates and have them, “put it all on my face and make it memorable”. In her new year, she will wish for strength, power, fitness, and for her team, ranked No.13 in the world, success in Rio. “We must finish somehow in the top 6, kisi bhi tarah (somehow).”

Happy birthday, Rani Rampal. May your tribe increase.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at Espncricinfo.

Live Mint

Leuven's Quemada looking to create new EHL memories

KHC Leuven striker Pau Quemada is looking to recreate some of the memories that started the Belgian revolution in the Euro Hockey League.

In 2008/09, Leuven became the first Belgian side to reach both the KO8 and the FINAL4 phase with a lively run that saw them eliminate Atlètic Terrassa in Round1 in dramatic fashion before seeing off Three Rock Rovers and Reading. UHC Hamburg ended their run 3-2 in the semi-final.

Quemada was a crucial player throughout that run and he will return to the fray with the University town’s side at Easter for the KO16 where Leuven will play WKS Grunwald Poznan.

Looking ahead to that game, he told the EHL website that he reckons the two sides are “equal” and so his team will “face the game with plenty of energy in order to achieve the best from it and try to win”.

He added: “We don’t know a lot about them; we need to be cautious and be aware that it won’t be easy and we’ll need to make sure there are no surprises.

“Polish hockey is usually about technical players who are strong in defence. They have lots of experienced players in this kind of games so we need to be aware of their strong points and try to reduce them so can play our hockey style and our own game.”

The sharp-shooting Quemada is one of a large number of Spaniards on Leuven’s books with Alfonso Moreno, Alfonso Alvarez, Guillermo Garcia, Ricardo Santana and Gerard Girabent also registered while they also feature French players Hugo and Tom Genestet, Guillaume Deront and Lucas Sevestre in a cosmopolitan outfit.

Along with Quemada, Girabent (with Club Egara), Hugo Genestet and Deront (both with Saint Germain) and Audry Renaer (with Racing Club de Bruxelles) have prior EHL experience.

Quemada says that his memories of the tournament are “great” and from “a long time ago” and so his side is extra motivated to put their best foot forward at Easter.

“I still remember the first time we play the EHL in Lille when we had to play vs Three Rock Rovers and Atlètic – who were the best team on paper – and had to get a draw against the Spanish team."

A 1-1 draw with TRR was followed by a dramatic 3-1 success over Atlètic, seeing the Belgian and Irish sides through and the Spaniards exit in a shock result.

“We showed on the field what we were capable of and that we wanted more. It was weird for me to play against a team I usually played many times against in the Spanish competition and where I had friends but, in the end, as a player, winning or losing is what it counts.

“Then in Hamburg, we beat Three Rock Rovers again and Reading and we won both games so it was incredible to be the first Belgian team in history who makes it to the FINAL4.

“It has been many years now since we were in the EHL so we face this competition with happiness and we’ll try to play our best hockey in order to achieve the best results we can.”

Euro Hockey League media release

Top teams for Fiji hockey tournament

Shalveen Chand

THE Fiji Invitational Series starts tomorrow at the National Hockey Centre with teams from New Zealand and Australia participating.

The Kiwis are sending players who are on the fringes of the Black Stick women's and men's teams while the Australians, realising the intensity of the competition, are sending an under-23 side as opposed to the under-18 sides that have come to Fiji previously.

Fiji head coach Hector Smith said Fiji would be fielding two each team in the men's and women's competition.

"We have the senior teams which are the Fiji Presidents and the under-21 sides known as the Fiji Warriors," Smith said.

"We are missing five elite players in the men's team so new players have broken into the national team so it is going to be exciting.

"We expect nothing but the best from all the teams."

Fiji Hockey Federation president Dr Robin Mitchell said hosting the tournament was a step closer to getting the nod to host the World Series in Fiji.

"We have bid to host the World Series and we are keeping our fingers crossed that we get the nod ahead of Papua New Guinea," he said.

The Fiji Invitational starts this Saturday at midday with a traditional ceremony of welcome followed by the first game at 1.30pm.

The Fiji Times

Junior Asia Cup: Four Dar Academy Boys Contributed in Pakistan's Second Position

Ijaz Chaudhry

Dar HA players Rana Sohail & M.Rizwan with their junior Asia Cup's silver medals

Pakistan’s second place in the recent Junior Asia Cup has been widely acknowledged as the best happening for country’s hockey in recent times.  With this, Pakistan has also qualified for the next year’s Junior World Cup.

Four boys of the Lahore based Dar Hockey Academy were proud members of this team. 

Forward Bilal Qadir is an exciting prospect and has been hailed by many as a future star of Pakistan hockey. He has been on the national selectors’ radar for quite some time, winning selections for the national age group sides during last few years.  Also won the MVP award in Vught, the Netherlands, in 2010 when the Dar HA’s under 16 team won the MOP international tournament involving teams from Pakistan, the Netherlands, Germany and France. The affable lad, who scored two goals at the Asia Cup, is now knocking at the doors of the national team.

The compactly built M.Rizwan, is a dynamo whose forte is speed. The forward is an up and down player with a high work rate.  He acknowledges that his experience of the European tours with the Dar HA has been very beneficial for his development.  

The other two players are relatively new comers as far as the international scene is considered.

Rana Sohail Riaz won his first selection for the Pakistan Juniors, only this September, at the Sultan of Johor tournament. Sohail also had his name among the scorers at the junior Asia Cup.

While mid fielder M.Adnan made his international debut at the junior Asia Cup itself. When asked if he suffered from any nerves, Adnan replied smilingly, “Having played in Europe with the Dar HA against German, Dutch and Belgian sides, I found no difficulty playing first time for Pakistan in a high profile event.”

Rana Sohail Riaz comes from Lahore. The other three all hail from Pir Mahal. This small town in district Toba Tek Singh has emerged as a big reservoir of hockey talent over last few years. This is remarkable, since the place doesn’t have many facilities. The enthusiasm of the local populace is behind this success story.

Like so many Dar HA boys, scouted from outside Lahore, the boarding, lodging and education of Bilal, Rizwan and Adnan were all borne by the Academy.

Ijaz Chaudhry writes on hockey and other sports. For more about him and his work, visit www.sportscorrespondent.info


MAM Ramaswamy was a great motivator: Ajitpal Singh

Sunil Subbaiah

BENGALURU: The racing and hockey fraternity reacted with shock and sorrow on the demise of turf baron and former Indian Hockey Federation president MAM Ramaswamy, who passed away in Chennai on Wednesday after a prolonged illness.

S Ganapathy, who trained Ramaswamy's horses to 92 classic victories said the death brings to an end a glorious innings that was marked by incredible feats. "Lucky to have worked with a legend who has the unique record of 600 classic wins. A gentleman, MAM deeply cared for all the people who worked for him. He would travel to races across the country. Races will not be the same without him," said Ganapathy, who guided Bold Command to win the Mysore 2000 Guineas to raise the classic tally of Ramaswamy to 600 wins.

"His passing away is a huge loss to the racing fraternity. My deepest condolences to his family. Rest in peace MAM," added Ganapathy who also won over 150 Grade I races for the former chairman of the Chettinad Group.

Ramaswamy's journey of classics began in 1965 when his first horse Silver Jet clinched the Bangalore Colts Trial Stakes. Noted breeder and trainer Rashid Byramji from whom Silver Jet was bought in 1964, said Ramaswamy took the sport to new heights of excellence. "No other person in the world can match his records in the world of racing. I am proud to have bred the horse that won him his maiden classic. He would personally visit Stud farms across the country and pick horses on his own. He had an eye to spot winners," Byramji said. "He was so passionate about each one of his horses. One things that annoyed him most was defeat in races," Byramji added.

Another Bengalurian who played a big role in Ramaswamy's remarkable achievements is his trainer Aris David, who passed away in 2012. David trained his horses to 100 classics wins and 1000 other winners.

His love for sports did not end with horses. He had a great interest in hockey too. Ramaswamy was the president of the Indian Hockey Federation when Ajitpal Singh-led team created history by winning the only World cup at Kuala Lumpur in 1975. Recalling his association with the then IHF chief, Ajithpal said Ramaswamy was a great motivator. "A fabulous man, he knew the sport very well. He cared for each and every player. He would tell the players to address him as Ramu to build a close bonding. He was a great motivator. He was present in Kuala Lumpur during the World Cup. After every match he would talk to the players and motivate them. He would reward performers with cash incentives. After we won the World Cup, he invited the whole team to Chennai for a grand procession. These are some of the sweet memories. It's a great loss for Indian sport," the former India skipper told TOI. During MAM's time at the helm of IHF, India also won the gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

The Times of India

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