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News for 11 December 2015

All the news for Friday 11 December 2015

Day of surprises sets up semi-finals in Rosario

Photo: FIH/Getty

It was a day of surprises in the Argentina Hockey World League Final as the teams entered the all-important quarter-final stages.

The biggest upsets of the day happened when first Germany fought back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Australia and then Argentina provided the home fans with the perfect end to the day as they out-witted the world number one side, Netherlands.

In the opening quarter-final, an energetic match between fifth-ranked China and eighth-ranked Korea, saw the China team emerge as 3-1 winners. This was an even game from start to finish, but where Korea dominated play in the middle of the field, China were the more clinical in defence and attack.

China's goals were scored by Wang Mengyu, Xhang Xiaoxue and Yu Qian – who put the ball in the back of the net with just 30 seconds left in the match. Korea had opened the scoring through Cheon Eun Bi.

New Zealand outplayed Great Britain in the second quarter-final. The Black Sticks took 22 minutes to score their opener, through captain Anita Punt, but it was a game that the New Zealand team dominated. Great Britain came back through a penalty stoke scored by Helen Richardson-Walsh, but then Olivia Merry scored from the tightest of angles to make it 2-1.

The third quarter-final looked to be going all Australia's way as they led 2-0 with 16 minutes to go. Two goals from Lisa Altenburg sent the match to shoot-out and heroics from Kristina Reynolds in the German goal meant that the German team won the shoot-out 3-1 and progressed to the semi-finals at the expense of their higher ranked rivals.

Australia's two goals were scored by Georgia Nanscawen and Kathryn Slattery.

The day of upsets was completed when Argentina scored an early goal against the Netherlands and then defended the lead for the remainder of the game. Delfina Merino was the hero as she took the ball wide in the Dutch circle and then hit a ferocious shot past Joyce Sombroek in the Netherlands goal.

The Netherlands threw everything into the match as they tried to breakdown the Argentine defence, but as Argentina captain Carla Rebecchi said: "Today we went to the game with the right attitude. We knew we had to defend and we went into the game knowing that of we got our defence right, we could win."

Meanwhile, Netherlands Naomi van As said: "We have to learn from this. We do not experience this very often, so it is important that we learn. Right now it is a horrible feeling, but tomorrow we will look at what happened and make changes so it doesn't happen again."

Quarter-Final results

Quarter-final 1 - China v Korea 3-1
Quarter-final 2 - New Zealand v Great Britain 2-1
Quarter-final 3 - Australia v Germany 2-2 (1-3 shoot-out)
Quarter-final 4 - Netherlands v Argentina 0-1

Match schedule and timing for Saturday 12 December (Times listed below are local)

11:30 7/8 place: Great Britain v Korea
14:00 5/6 place: Netherlands v Australia
16:30 Semi-final 1: Germany v New Zealand
19:00 Semi-final 2: Argentina v China

#HWL2015 #MakeYourMark

FIH site

Argentina stun the Netherlands

Photo: FIH/Getty Images

The form book was re-written as Argentina took control of the game against the world's number one ranked side, the Netherlands, and marched into the semi-finals of the Argentina Hockey World League Final to set up an encounter with China for a place in the final.

The team that had finished bottom of Pool A set out their stall early, putting their bodies on the line in defence and attacking with imagination and flair. The Netherlands, who had been so composed in earlier pool games, had no answers this time and will face playing off for 5th-8th place despite topping their pool.

Argentina got off to a dream start in the fourth quarter-final match of the Argentina Hockey World League Final when Delfina Merino smashed the ball into the goal past Joyce Sombroek to give Las Leonas the lead.

This followed some acrobatic moves from Belen Succi in the Argentina goal as she thwarted the Netherlands in their first two penalty corner attempts.

The match between the world's number one and number three sides was always going to be explosive and so it proved as the action flowed from end to end. The Netherlands began to build up a head of steam as the half progressed, pinging the ball around the ground and putting the Argentine defence under enormous pressure.

However the defensive unit led by Noel Barrionuevo, Victoria Zuloaga and Julai Gomes were adept at breaking down play and halting the Dutch attack.

A penalty corner won mid-way through the second quarter presented Caia van Maasakker with the perfect opportunity to reduce the deficit but her slip back to Naomi van As was intercepted by Gomes, who set up a speedy counter-attack.

The game settled into a pattern of attack and counter-attack as the Netherlands played with deft touches and incredible technical skills and the Argentina team matched them with tough tackles, hard running and great space creation whenever they won possession.

Argentina won their first penalty corner when van As unceremoniously bundled Argentina's captain Carla Rebecchi off the ball, but the Dutch defence was out sharply to cut out the threat.

Two minutes into the second half, Argentina won a second penalty corner. The shot was chased down by Willemijn Bos and it was Bos who also cleared the danger seconds later to set up a Netherlands counter-attack.

Argentina spent five minutes of the second half with just eight field players as Agustina Habif and Delfina Merino were both given yellow cards. The Netherlands camped in the Argentina circle area but were unable to get past the Argentina defence.

Another penalty corner was well saved by Succi and Alyson Annan's charges must have wondered what they needed to do to break down the stubborn Argentina resistance.

The final quarter saw the Dutch turn up the pressure and try to force errors in the Argentine defence. This left gaps, which a quick Argentine attack could exploit. That exploitation came in the shape of Merino who picked up the ball and glided past her opponents before firing an inch perfect pass to her colleague Rebecchi. In turn this brought a save of the highest quality from Sombroek.

At the other end of the pitch Succi was continuing to have an incredible game. Alert to every danger, she was out quickly to Lidewij Welten and smothered danger posed by the striker.

FIH site

German women save best until last

Photo: FIH/Getty Images

The third quarter-final went to the wire as Germany scored a last minute equaliser and then defeated Australia's Hockeyroos 2-1 in the shoot-out.

The match between pool A winners Australia and Germany – who were fourth placed in pool B – looked to be going all Australia's way until Lisa Altenburg grabbed two goals in the dying minutes of both the third and fourth quarter to take the game to shoot out.

And when it comes to confidence in shoot-out situations there is no team with deeper self belief than Germany. And so it proved… Germany made no mistake as they beat the Hockeyroos 3-1 in shoot out, with Marie Mavers scoring the winning shoot-out goal.

The world number two side took an early lead when Ashleigh Nelson and Georgia Nanscawen combined to out-wit Kristina Reynolds in the German goal. It was Nanscawen (5') who got the touch after a great ball across the pitch from Ashleigh Nelson.

When it comes to quarter finals, Germany always play with belief and this opening half showed no change in this attitude. They certainly came to play and were not going to let a one goal deficit alter their pattern of play. With Janne Muller-Weiland and Nina Hasselmann offering a solid base from which to attack, the German team made sure the Hockeyroos didn't have everything their own way. Lisa Altenburg and Lisa Schutze were working hard to spread the field and get behind the Australian defence, with Marie Mavers also showing determination to get an attack going.

However, as the half counted down, mistakes began to creep into the play and structure of both sides. Misplaced passes meant the ball flew needlessly off the pitch and chances were wasted at both ends. The Australians were the first to rally and Kat Slattery (25') made it 2-0 when she pounced on a rebounded penalty corner shot that was struck by Jane Claxton.

This signalled a period of possession for the Australian team which always looked as if it could turn to a goal scoring opportunity. The half-time whistle came just when German coach Jamilon Mulders needed it most to refocus his team on the mammoth task ahead.

The second half was far more evenly matched. While Reynolds was called on to make a number of saves, so too the German forward line began to ask more of the Australian defence. The goal that changed the game was Altenburg's first (44'). The ball was picked up by Pia-Sophie Oldhafer and fed to Altenburg who hit it smartly past Ashlee Wells into the Australia goal.

Gabrielle Nance nearly restored the two goal cushion when she took the ball on a solo run into the circle. Her shot was parried by Reynolds, who then recovered her balance to clear. Reynolds continued to impress as the Hockeyroos peppered her goal. Kenny had a penalty corner saved and the German 'keeper was also quick to react to shot from Nelson.

At the other end, Wells also enjoyed a tough work-out. She made an inspired triple save, including a great effort from Jana Teschke. Seconds later she also managed to block a point blank shot from Eileen Hoffmann. In between both 'keepers' acrobatics, the posts also played their parts – both Germany and Australia had shots foiled by the post.

With two minutes left, Germany removed Reynolds to play 11 field players. The ploy worked as the team immediately won a penalty corner, but Lydia Haase failed to make the most of the opportunity. The moment of drama came in the final minute when Altenburg pounced to make it 2-2 and sent the game to shoot-out. And the rest, as they say, is history.

FIH site

Shoot-out disappointment

Hockeyroos go down to Germany in shoot-out after 2-2 draw

The Hockeyroos lost their World League quarter-final in dramatic circumstances as they relinquished a two goal half time advantage over Germany to draw 2-2 before going down in a shoot-out.

Georgia Nanscawen and Kathryn Slattery had put the Australian women in the driving seat but a double from German captain Lisa Altenberg, including the equaliser less than 60 seconds from full time, forced the shoot-out lottery.

Germany goalkeeper Kristina Reynolds, who was impressive throughout, proved the difference, denying Australia on three occasions in the shoot-out.

Australia’s women will now face either Great Britain or the Netherlands in the battle for fifth place in the early hours (AEDT) of Sunday morning. It will be the Brits unless the Dutch lose to hosts Argentina in their quarter-final later today.

Despite the result, Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens said there were some pleasing elements in the team’s performance, acknowledging “it’s a timely message on how tight international hockey is.”

He said, “It was a really good performance for 50 to 55 minutes. In the end Germany threw everything at us and some crucial errors in defence let them in.

“I thought we played our best hockey of the tournament in the first three quarters but our inexperience in crucial moments late in the game played a part. We will learn from it though and overall I’m really pleased with the growth of our group here.

“They [Germany] had one penalty corner and a handful of chances to our seven corners and numerous other opportunities. If we had executed more of those we would have put the game away by three-quarter time.”

Nanscawen’s perfect tip-in at the near post six minutes in was the perfect start for the Hockeyroos; the connection from Ashleigh Nelson’s cross giving Australia’s women the lead with their first open play goal of the tournament.

Reynolds gave a preview of the role she would ultimately play in the match with a number of excellent saves in the first half as she denied Jodie Kenny, Jane Claxton and Emily Smith before Slattery doubled the Australian advantage.

From a penalty corner, Reynolds’ save from Kenny’s flick fell to Eddie Bone who had the composure to square a pass to Claxton. And it was Claxton’s goal-bound shot that Slattery applied the final touch to for 2-0.

At the half time break Commens asked his side to tighten up in defence and improve their efficiency up front but the final quarter played out differently.

Reynolds again denied the likes of Kenny and Brooke Peris after half time while Germany’s own attacking opportunities were limited. But with a minute remaining in the third quarter Lisa Altenberg found herself with time and space inside the Australian circle to fire home and halve the deficit.

The momentum swung. With the game entering its latter stages it was Hockeyroos goalkeeper Rachael Lynch who was the busier as Australia found themselves on the back foot. A triple save midway through the period, followed soon after by another block, maintained the slender advantage.

Less than 60 seconds from full time and a semi-final meeting with New Zealand, the Australian defence was breached for the second time. A missed trap in the defensive circle saw the ball go through to the goalkeeper, who had to make the save but could only watch as Altenberg picked up the rebound and slotted home from close range.

Madonna Blyth and Julia Muller both netted their initial shoot-out efforts. Jodie Kenny then hit the crossbar from a penalty stroke after Georgia Nanscawen had been fouled by Reynolds. Lynch denied Marie Mavers and successfully appealed to the video umpire to overturn a Jana Teschke goal but Reynolds’ saves from Kirstin Dwyer, Mariah Williams and Jodie Kenny consigned the Hockeyroos to defeat.

Argentina World League Final
Rosario, Argentina


Georgia Nanscawen 6 (FG)    
Kathryn Slattery 25 (PC)            

GERMANY: 2 (0)*
Lisa Altenberg 44, 60 (FG, FG)           

*Germany win 2-1 on shoot-out.
1-0: Madonna Blyth (AUS) - goal
1-1: Julia Muller (GER) - goal
1-1: Georgia Nanscawen (AUS) - awarded PS. PS missed by Jodie Kenny.
1-1: Marie Mavers (GER) - no goal. Saved.
1-1: Kirstin Dwyer (AUS) - no goal. Saved.
1-2: Lisa Altenberg (GER) - goal
1-2: Mariah Williams (AUS) - no goal. Saved.
1-2: Jana Teschke (GER) - no goal. Over time.
1-2: Jodie Kenny (AUS) - no goal. Saved.     

Hockey Australia media release

Black Sticks make Merry with win over Great Britain

Photo: FIH/Getty Images

Olivia Merry was the hero for New Zealand as she scored in the final minute of the game to send the Black Sticks through to the semi-finals of the Argentina Hockey World League Final with a 2-1 win over Great Britain.

This was a match in which New Zealand dominated large periods of the game and when Great Britain were able to put an attack together, they were thwarted by a New Zealand defence that was uncompromising and disciplined.

The final scoreline was a fair reflection of a game that was played out in wiltingly hot conditions, although Maddie Hinch – one of Great Britain's best players on the day will rue the final goal, which seemed to catch her unawares.

The opening encounters in the second quarter-final of the Argentina Hockey World League went largely the way of New Zealand. The team ranked fourth in the world started brightly, working hard to pin Great Britain down in their half of the pitch. The first penalty corner was awarded to New Zealand after some penetrating build-up play by the Black Sticks. Brave running from Hannah MacLeod stopped the shot and Great Britain were able to break quickly. The New Zealand defence is both well-organised and strong, so there was no way through for the Great Britain forwards.

Desperate defending by Great Britain in the first part of the second quarter kept the New Zealand attack at bay until the 22nd minute. However a series of fine saves by Hinch was not enough to keep the Black Sticks out indefinitely and it was almost inevitable that the deadlock would be broken. New Zealand captain Anita Punt opened her account at this Final with a hard, lifted shot that flew past Hinch's left hand. Hinch will wonder where her defence were as she had stopped three shots before the fourth flew in.

The second half saw much of the same. New Zealand pushed forwards and made some good attacking moves but were unable to beat the flat sticks of the Great Britain defence. Great Britain, by contrast, didn't seem to have any players prepared to move forwards and put the New Zealand back line under pressure.

As the fourth quarter counted down, the standard of both team's play dropped off – passes went astray and tackles were clumsy. Hinch was on hand to stop Punt doubling her personal tally, and the last 10 minutes of the game saw the Great Britain defence play with bravery in the face of some fierce New Zealand penetrative play. Kirsten Pearce also brought out the best of Hinch. She picked up the ball with only the Great Britain 'keeper to beat, but there was no chance Hinch was going to lose that particular one-on-one.

With six minutes left, Alex Danson had a chance to equal the match but Sally Rutherford in the New Zealand goal was able to get a glove to the shot. The 'keeper was judged to have fouled and a penalty stroke was awarded. Helen Richardson-Walsh, who has been one of Great Britain's outstanding players, was on hand to slot the ball home for the equaliser.

As the match reached the penultimate five minutes the tempo raised dramatically for both teams. Great Britain began to play with confidence, New Zealand continued to pile on the pressure. A penalty corner gave New Zealand the chance to go ahead again. Hinch saved from Punt and it seemed destined for shoot-out until Olivia Merry stepped in with an absolute pearler of a goal. Her shot, from the reverse stick came very fast and from out of the sun. Hinch was unsighted and Merry was the hero.

The result means that New Zealand will face either Germany or Australia in the semi-finals.

Speaking after the game, Olivia Merry said: "I had no idea that ball was going in, I just turned and shot. It was a tight angle. That is the best we have played this tournament and for us the tournament has only just really started. Whether we play Australia or Germany. we don't mind. We have played them both in the past few weeks."

Great Britain coach Danny Kerry said: "We were quite naive and played some silly passes out of defence in the first half and then a silly mistake at the end. It was a turn-over ball and the ball went through Maddie's glove. It was an accumulation of a lot of little things and that means it gets away from you."

"I think the players now understand a little bit more. The younger players now get the tempo of the game and the heat of the quarter final format. They will probably play with a bit more brain and we won't let games get away from us."

FIH site

Black Sticks seal dramatic win over GB

Photo: Rodrigo Jaramillo

The Black Sticks Women scored in the final minute to defeat Great Britain 2-1 and move through to the semi finals at the FIH World League Final in Argentina.

New Zealand dominated much of the game but were in for a tense finish after Great Britain were awarded a penalty stroke and equalised six minutes from fulltime.

With the game looking destined for a shoot-out, Olivia Merry delivered the killer blow with less than a minute on the clock courtesy of a stinging reverse shot which squeezed past the goalkeeper’s chest.

The result sees the Black Sticks progress to the Sunday’s semi finals where they face a rematch against Germany, who they defeated 3-1 in pool play.

Captain Anita Punt said it was a gutsy performance from her side, who showed determination to fight until the final whistle.

“Credit to the girls, we fought really hard throughout the game and I’m so proud of them all. Great Britain were after the shoot-out but we kept battling and were disciplined with our structure. I’m just really happy right now,” she said.

The Black Sticks made a superb start and created plenty of opportunities in the opening quarter in what promised to be a game full of running.

Pressure on attack led to a penalty corner for New Zealand two minutes from quarter time, but the play broke down at the top of the circle.

Midway through the second period the Kiwis got onto the scoreboard when Anita Punt got hold of a deflection in the circle and rocketed home a flick into the side net.

Great Britain had the chance to equalise with a penalty corner just seconds from halftime but the shot was snuffed out by Black Sticks goalkeeper Sally Rutherford.

Six minutes from fulltime Great Britain levelled the score at 1-1 after a video referral deemed a tackle from Brooke Neal to have caused enough stick interference to award a penalty stroke.

But the Kiwis weren’t done and poured the pressure on in attack which led to a chance for Olivia Merry to pull off the game winner from a tight angle.

BLACK STICKS 2: (Anita Punt, Olivia Merry)
GREAT BRITAIN 1: (Helen Richardson-Walsh)
Halftime: New Zealand 1-0

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Blacksticks sink Great Britain to reach Semi-Finals

Susannah Townsend in action against NZ

Olivia Merry’s last-minute strike for New Zealand sent the Blacksticks in to the semi-finals of the World League and condemned Great Britain to a dramatic defeat. Anita Punt had given New Zealand the lead in the first half but Helen Richardson-Walsh’s third goal of the tournament had the game seemingly headed for a shootout until Merry’s late intervention broke Great Britain hearts.

In match that marked Nicola White's 150th international appearance, Great Britain showed their attacking intent from the first whistle. Susannah Townsend drove into the circle but just failed to find Alex Danson with her pass. At the other end Punt broke forwards down the left and found Petrea Webster inside the circle but Maddie Hinch was out quickly to block well. With just less than three minutes left in the first quarter New Zealand won the first penalty corner of the match. The injection was not stopped and although Punt got the shot away, Hannah Macleod made a fine block to avert the danger and it remained goalless at the break.

Punt was first to threaten at the start of the second quarter. She broke into the circle and was only halted by the advancing Hinch who cleared well with her stick. In the 22nd minute, the Blacksticks took the lead. Hinch denied the New Zealand Captain twice in quick succession but with Great Britain unable to clear their lines the No32 was able to slot the third effort into the far corner for her first goal of the competition, her 87th international goal. Punt who was a constant threat and played in Kirsten Pearce for a clear shot at goal. Hinch extended a right leg to make a fine save. Great Britain won a penalty corner on the stroke of half time. Crista Cullen took the shot but Sally Rutherford watched it all the way and made the save.

At the start of the second half some superb 3D skills from Alex Danson freed Townsend down the left. Rutherford smothered the cross but with Danson closing in a foul was committed and a penalty corner was awarded. Cullen’s shot was charged down and it remained 1-0. Punt was shown a yellow card in the 44th minute meaning Great Britain would start the final quarter with a player advantage as they sought to recover the deficit.

New Zealand pushed hard for a second goal in the final quarter. Charlotte Harrison stung Hinch’s gloves with a fierce shot that was bound for the top corner. As Great Britain threw caution to the wind in search of the equaliser gaps started to appear in defence. Pearce found herself clean through but Hinch did well to save again. At the other end Danson broke free inside the circle but Rutherford got down well to block. Great Britain asked for a video referral, questioning whether there was a foul as Danson shot. A penalty stroke was given by the video umpire. Up stepped Helen Richardson-Walsh who made no mistake and levelled the scores with a low finish, her third goal of the competition. New Zealand forced a penalty corner after some good work from Stacey Michelsen with the clock ticking down. Punt took the shot but Helen Richardson-Walsh was on hand to divert the ball over the bar. With the game seemingly headed for a shootout there was one final twist. Olivia Merry’s backhand strike found its way past Hinch at the near post to break Great Britain hearts and send New Zealand into the semi finals.

Great Britain will now play Korea in the 7/8 play playoff

Danny Kerry, Great Britain Head Coach:

"We were quite naive and played some silly passes out of defence in the first half and then made a silly mistake at the end. It was a turn-over and the ball went through Maddie's gloves. It was an accumulation of a lot of little things and that means the game gets away from you. We need players to be here and go through these experiences. There are some players at home who also need to be here to get the experiences for Rio. It’s all very well making excuses but international hockey is tough. We will debrief and look at our decision-making. The players now understand a little bit more about what this level is like. The younger players now get the tempo of the game and the heat of the quarter final format. They will probably play with a bit more nous and we won't let games get away from us."

Great Britain 1 (0)
Helen Richardson-Walsh 54 (PS)

New Zealand 2 (1)
Anita Punt 22 (FG)
Olivia Merry 59 (FG)

Great Britain Hockey media release

Black Sticks women score late winner to book semifinal berth at World League Final

Clay Wilson

Olivia Merry celebrates after scoring the winning goal with 90 seconds remaining. CHRIS BRUNSKILL/GETTY IMAGES

A semifinal berth won't be the only thing that has Black Sticks coach Mark Hager smiling after their 2-1 win over Great Britain at the World League Final in Argentina.

Pressure situations have not always been the forte of the New Zealand women's team in the past few years. But when the heat came on in the dying stages of the quarterfinal in Rosario on Friday morning (NZ time), the Kiwis stepped up.

Locked at 1-1 after Great Britain converted a controversial penalty stroke after a long video referral with just six minutes remaining, frustration and thoughts of a dreaded penalty shootout could well have got the better of the Black Sticks.

Instead, the Kiwis re-focused and piled the pressure on as the clock wound down, eventually rewarded when Olivia Merry's reverse-stick shot from a tight angle with 90 seconds left found its way into the goal to seal victory.

Great Britain keeper Maddie Hinch appeared to indicate the sun had caused her to lose sight of the ball as she missed a straightforward save, but that did not dim the Kiwis celebrations.

"I had no idea that ball was going in, I just turned and shot," Merry said. "It was a tight angle.

"That is the best we have played this tournament and for us the tournament has only just really started."

New Zealand will face Germany at either 8.30am or 11am on Sunday for a spot in the tournament final, with the ninth-ranked Germans fighting back from 0-2 down to win a shootout against world No 2 Australia.

It will be the fourth time in less than two weeks the fourth-ranked Black Sticks have played Germany. The teams shared a two-match warm-up series for the World League Final 1-1, before the Kiwis prevailed 3-1 to complete pool play on Thursday.

Backing that up with a largely dominant display against Great Britain, who prevailed 3-1 when the two teams met in the bronze medal match at the 2012 London Olympics, made for a satisfied New Zealand camp after the match.

"Credit to the girls, we fought really hard throughout the game and I'm so proud of them all," captain Anita Punt said.

"Great Britain were after the shootout but we kept battling and were disciplined with our structure. I'm just really happy right now."

The Black Sticks skipper deserves plenty of praise herself, because she lead from the front and was also responsible for giving her side the lead in the 22nd minute with a clinical finish.

It was a goal which came after an effective high press had allowed the Kiwis to apply all the pressure throughout the first quarter and the early part of the second.

Midfielder Pippa Hayward made the initial circle penetration and when two shots were blocked by Hinch, Punt cleaned up the scraps and fired a strong low flick inside the right-hand post.

The fleet-footed New Zealand captain almost set up their second goal minutes later when her pass split the Great Britain defence and striker Kirsten Pearce's shot forced a good low save from Hinch.

Great Britain were able to gain more parity in the closing stages of the quarter, and the second half was also a more even affair, with both sides unable to convert a couple of penalty corner opportunities.

The Black Sticks could barely believe they had conceded the late penalty stroke, defender Brooke Neal deemed to have obstructed the stick of Great Britain striker Alex Danson as she shot on goal.

Helen Richardson-Walsh made no mistake from the spot, before Merry's late strike ensured the questionable decision would not prevent New Zealand from advancing.

New Zealand 2 (Anita Punt 22, Olivia Merry 59) Great Britain 1 (Helen Richardson-Walsh 54 (PS)). Q1: 0-0. Q2: 1-0. Q3: 1-0.


Black Sticks face rematch with Germany in semis

Photo: Rodrigo Jaramillo

The Black Sticks Women have been confirmed for a rematch with Germany in Sunday’s semi finals at the FIH World League Final in Rosario.

The first semi final will be the Black Sticks up against Germany at 8:30am on Sunday (NZ time), followed by China taking on hosts Argentina at 11:00am (NZ time). Both games will be broadcast LIVE on SKY Sport 4.

New Zealand earned their place in the semis following a dramatic 2-1 result over Great Britain while opponents Germany upset Australia with a 2-1 shoot-out victory.

China overcame Korea 3-1 in their quarter final while Argentina were boosted by their home crowd to secure a 1-0 win over Netherlands.

The Black Sticks played Germany in yesterday’s final pool game and came away with a 3-1 result thanks to goals from Charlotte Harrison, Pippa Hayward and Liz Thompson.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

China break Korea hearts to win place in semi-finals

Photo: FIH/Getty Images

Forget the defensive play around the back for which these two teams are renowned, this Argentina HWL quarterfinal began as a full-blooded attacking encounter between two Asian teams who have impressed throughout this competition. The first quarter-final between fifth-ranked China and eighth-ranked Korea was an epic match of strong defensive performances and fast-paced attacking moves. While China emerged 3-1 winners, Korea also showed their great potential.

What the game lacked in goal finishing, it made up for in energy and work rate. The eventual scoreline means China will play either Netherlands or Argentina in the semi-finals.

Korea opened the scoring when Cheon Eun Bi (5') doubled dragged the ball to outwit Li Dongxiao in the China goal.

China fought back through a series of speedy attacking moves and were rewarded for their efforts when Wang Mengyu (9') flicked the ball high over the head of Korean 'keeper Jang Soo Ji from a penalty corner. Korea had one more scoring opportunity before the end of the quarter, when Kim Da Rae picked up a ball behind the China defence but was unable to finish with a clean shot.

The second quarter continued at the same pace. Korea were particularly effective when attacking down the sides of the pitch, little deflections and surging runs from Kim Hyun Ji and Oh Sun Soon created space and Park Mi Hyun was unlucky not to capitalise on two successive occasions. Li Donxiao saved the first attempt and the ball flew wide on the second.

For their part, China were taking the more direct route, playing the ball fast down the pitch trying to hit their forwards early and catch Korea on the break. Both teams came out for the second half looking to change the pattern of the game and gain an advantage.

Korea pressed high up the pitch, while China appeared resigned to defending deep and relying on the break. Korea captain Han Hye Lyoung nearly broke through when she was played into space by a nifty little pass from Lee Young Sil. Li Dongxiao smothered the shot and it was cleared. The action switched to the other end as China pushed up the pitch. The ever-dangerous Yu Qian took a snappy shot just in front of goal but it was saved by Jang Soo Ji.

The second China goal was scored by Zhang Xiaoxue (45') a scrambled goal after Peng Yang battled her way through the Korea defence.

In the final quarter Korea threw everything at the China defence but the toll of their competitive match against Germany the previous day could have accounted for the lack of clinical finishing by the Korea attack. Certainly, despite the best efforts of Hong Yoo Jin and Cheon Eun Bi, there was no way past the Chinese defensive press. China broke clear of the Korea attack and just a fine double save by Jang kept the Korean hopes alive. With five minutes to go, Korea removed their 'keeper and went to 11 field players. They continued to flow forwards but China nicked possession and Yu Qian was able to score into an empty net with 30 seconds remaining.

FIH site

Life from a different angle

Lisa Roach is renowned as an international umpire. The Australian has umpired at two Olympics and two World Cups and she will be packing her bag for Rio 2016 next year.

But Lisa, or Roachie as she is universally known, will not be tearing up and down the pitch blowing her whistle in Rio, rather she will be watching events from the relative comfort of the video umpire's office.

This is not through choice Lisa is quick to point out. For her the real excitement in the game lies in the action on the pitch. "I would definitely have preferred not to stop. It is a huge transition out of umpiring, it is taking something out of your life that has been hugely important for so long. As a player these days you get help and support when you stop playing, and I think as umpires we need something similar."

But, with a few competitions as video umpire under her belt now, Lisa is realising that she can play her part in developing and supporting umpires as they come through the ranks and, while it is not the on-pitch role that she has played for so many years, it is still a vitally important role within the umpiring team.

"Prior to the game I talk to the umpires," she says. "I like to get them feeling that they can trust me. It can be a lonely place out on the pitch, so knowing there is someone on your side is a good thing. I also talk to the umpires at quarter-time and half-time, just pointing out some of the good decisions they have made or highlighting a situation where they really dealt with it well. As video umpires we can help the umpire on the pitch feel calm and focussed."

The role of video umpire has developed in the past few years and Lisa says that it is an essential part of the increasing professionalism of the game. Not only does it ensure the game is played to the highest standard of decision-making but, as video umpire, Lisa is able to offer insight into rules and situations that the umpires on the pitch might face.

"We see a different angle and we have time and resources to look back at situations. That is invaluable when it comes to the post-match debrief."

As video umpire, Lisa and her colleagues face the challenge of making decisions based purely on what they see. "There is no room for what we 'thought' we have seen. This is where people sometimes ask questions. We cannot give a decision unless we actually see the action. So it might look like it has hit a foot by the direction of travel, but if the replays do not show that, then we cannot make that call."

The FIH has been pursuing a policy of drawing more young umpires into the game and Lisa says the mixture of young, new entrants and some of the more experienced umpires is helping develop the standard across the board.

"You see people come to these tournaments and they are a bit unsure and nervous. But by the end of the event they are far more confident and have almost 'grown up' a little bit more. That is the beauty of international events, you learn new life skills, you meet people from all cultures and you learn a bit more about yourself as well."

Lisa has always been quick to help her colleagues and she sees her new role as an opportunity to continue down that road. "I'm not sure at this stage if I want to go into umpire management, I'd like to give it a few years as video umpire before I make that decision, but I have always been someone who wants to get the best out of my colleagues – I think in doing that, I get the best out of myself as well. In the video umpire box I can still do that."

FIH site

SPAR SA indoor women win first Test 5-0 against Namibia

JONATHAN COOK at St Anne’s Thursday evening

The SPAR SA women’s indoor hockey team attacked from the outset in the first Test of five, the right channel rewarding the girls in green and gold with a penalty corner, Kara Stella making no mistake, the ball flying into the net off the keeper Petro Stoffberg’s glove.

Now 1-0 up after two minutes, SA were switching across the back, waiting for the opening, and it paid off when Stella got another PC opportunity. On the third-re-award, this after Namibia had defended courageously, the keeper Stoffberg saved well from SA skipper Celia Evans on the slip variation.

SA were still 1-0 up into the last five minutes before half-time when Shelly Higgo got in a shot and then great combination play that included debutant Amore de Wet from the back, brought two more PCs, Stella netting the latter for 2-0 after 17 minutes.

Higgo was involved in earning another PC on the whistle but Namibia were up to the challenge, goalkeeper Stoffberg and the entire line-up showing outstanding tenacity in the face of the SA offense.

SA turned around 2-0 up and two minutes in it was Amy Greaves who rounded off a great goal (3-0). The SA combination play was starting to click big time and two more PCs followed, Namibia’s first wave Dunell van Taak did very well to block a shot.

The second of the PCs saw Higgo show top-class skills to slip the ball under her shoulder past Stoffberg for 4-0 with 13 left. Namibia had a moment of real threat in the SA defensive circle but it was not to be.

In the 29th minute new cap Steph Baxter showed why she is in the team and the PC won was capitalised on when Stella sent the yellow nut soaring into the net (5-0).

With two minutes of the first Test left it was Namibia’s Van Taak who did well to get in a shot. And it looked like she was to be rewarded seconds later with a fine effort to put the visitors on the board, but the "goal" was correctly disallowed.

SA earned PCs on the final hooter but the score remained 5-0 at the end of Test one and SA could look forward with confidence to Friday’s 10am and 7pm Tests at the same venue.

Amore de Wet, Celia Evans (capt), Stephanie Baxter (North West); Amy Greaves (KZN Inland); Hanli Hattingh, Jessica Glass, Megan Robertson, Nicole la Fleur (Western Province); Jessica O’Connor, Kara Stella, Shelly Higgo, Candice Eales (KZN Raiders); Sarah Allan (Southern Gauteng).
Team management: Lennie Botha (coach), TJ Smith (assistant coach), Taryn de Winnaar (manager), Brighty Mashaba (video analyst).
Petro Stoffberg, Dunell van Taak, Gillian Hermanus, Kaylee Schlechter, Ina Louis, Ester Beukes, Jerrica Bartlett, Magreth Mengo (capt), Phia Gerber, Marian Laubscher.

SPAR SA women vs Namibia five-Test series
1st Test: Thurs, 10 Dec (SA 5 Namibia 0)
2nd Test: Fri, 11 Dec (10am, St Anne’s)
3rd Test: Fri, 11 Dec (7pm, St Anne’s)
4th Test: Sat, 12 Dec (10am, Danville Park Girls School)
5th Test: Sat, 12 Dec (8.15pm, UKZN Westville campus)

SA Hockey Association media release

Fijians beaten

Shalveen Chand

A Fiji Presidents team player on attack against New Zealand Presidents in the Fiji Men's Hockey 2015 Invitational Series at the National Hockey Centre at Laucala Bay, Suva yesterday. Picture: ATU RASEA

IT has been an ever improving game by the Fiji Presidents side as they succumbed 3-2 to the New Zealand Presidents in the Fiji Invitational Series at the National Hockey Centre in Suva yesterday.

It was a tit for tat match as the momentum changed from one team to another. The Kiwis bigger and more physical in their game had to keep up with the pace shown by the Fiji team.

Coach Hector Smith said it was tough luck that the boys didn't get the win.

"We played very well. They are the New Zealand B team and they are seasoned players so I am very glad at the way the team has played," he said.

"It shows that what we are doing is working and we would like to continue this. We ahev a very good chance of retaining the title in Fiji.

"The Fiji Warriors side also had a good day today. They lost just 4-0 to Australian Country compared to the bigger margins."

The games later in the evening had to be called off because of a burst main which meant there was no water for the pitch. The games will continue today and end with the final tomorrow.

The Fiji Times

Teaching hockey

Pravin Narain

Adrian Smith of the Fiji Presidents controls against New Zealand President in the Fiji Mens Hockey 2015 Invitational Series at the National Hockey Centre at Laucala Bay, Suva yesterday.Picture: ATU RASEA

THE Australian Country hockey were happy spreading the hockey gospel to young local players at the National Hockey Centre in Suva on Tuesday .

Australia Country women's team co-captain Lucy Balfour said they enjoyed the day teaching the young players.

"We taught them basic skills which the Australians are really focused on. We find it very important and it is the difference between winning and losing," she said.

"These things include tackling, hitting, dragging and pushing.

"They were taking all the information and they were doing really very well in the session."

Balfour, 20, from Queensland said she loved playing in the Fiji Invitational Series 2015.

"The Fijians have done very well and I hope they would improve. We have given away some hockey gear as well," she said.

"You have allowed us to come down to Fiji and we are really enjoying.

"I'm in the striking line and my main role is to score goals and also set goals in the field. We have a lot of speed and we love to pass the ball around."

Today's fixtures:

11am- NZ Presidents vs Fiji Warriors (W), 1pm- NZ Presidents vs Australia Country (M), 3pm- Australia Country vs Fiji Presidents (W), 5pm Fiji Presidents vs Fiji Warriors(M)

The Fiji Times

Canadian men’s Under-21 team named for January series in U.S.

Shaheed Devji

Canada’s Under-21 Men’s National Team will be kicking off 2016 with a trip down south to San Diego to face the United States senior development squad in a test series from January 14th-18th.

The tour will consist of four matches, all of which will be played at the Olympic Training Centre in Chula Vista, California

The series begins a busy year for the Junior Men’s National Team, which will be centralizing in Vancouver for full-time training beginning in February and will be attempting to qualify for the 2016 Junior World Cup, which takes place at the end of the year in India.

“We’ve got a large group for centralization,” says Canada’s Under-21 head coach Inderpal Sehmbi. “We want to give the guys some international experience heading into that so they know what international hockey is like.”

In June, Canada will host the men’s Junior Pan American Championships in Toronto, where the top two finishers will qualify for the Junior World Cup.

Canada’s roster for the test series in San Diego consists of many of the members of the team that swept the United States in a four-game test series in Surrey, British Columbia in June.

The roster contains a mix of athletes who named to both Canada’s Senior Development and Junior Development Squads.

Roster – Canadian Under-21 Men’s National Team – U.S. Test Series, January 2015


Name Position Hometown
Balraj Panesar Defender Surrey, BC
Brandon Pereira Defender Surrey, BC
Cameron Bonney Goalkeeper Port Coquitlam, BC
Fin Boothroyd Forward West Vancouver, BC
Floyd Mascarenhas Defender Mississauga, ON
Ganga Singh Defender Toronto, ON
Gavin Bains Defender Ladner, BC
Harbir Sidhu Midfield Victoria, BC
Iqwinder Gill Goalkeeper Surrey, BC
Jamie Wallace Midfield Vancouver, BC
Kabir Aujla Forward Surrey, BC
Michael Mackenzie Midfield White Rock, BC
Rajan Khalon Defender Vancouver, BC
Rohan Chopra Forward Ottawa, ON
Sahib Suri Midfield Surrey, BC
Sam Cabral Midfield Vancouver, BC
Satbir Brar Defender Surrey, BC
Shahbaaz Dhaliwal Forward Surrey, BC
Thomson Harris Midfield Vancouver, BC
Zaiq Rana Forward Vancouver, BC


 Staff – Canada’s Under-21 Men’s National Team – U.S. Test Series, January 2015

Head Coach – Inderpal Sehmbi
Assistant Coach – Geoff Matthews
Physiotherapist – Jen Mark

Field Hockey Canada media release

Campo and Atlètic face key league battle

The Spanish Honor Division returns to action this Sunday with the second last round of fixtures before the Christmas break with Club de Campo’s hosting of Atlètic Terrassa the highlight.

The two sides are locked on 16 points in the rankings after eight rounds of matches, putting them in direct competition for a potential playoff spot.

Atlètic will need to be wary of the twin threats of Leandro Tolini and Joaquin Menini who have score 15 goals between them for Campo so far this season.

Both sides, though, are coming into the game on the back of a 2-1 defeat with Atlètic losing to Club Egara while Campo lost to Junior FC.

Elsewhere, Real Club de Polo will look to retain their place at the top of the table with victory over fifth place SPV Complutense. Second place Egara host CH Pozuelo.

The league is returning to action after a little break as the Spanish national side took on Ireland three times in Sant Cugat, winning 3-2, 3-0 and 3-1 in an impressive series victory over their Olympic rivals.

The Irish league is one of the other competitions still going outdoors. Reigning champions Monkstown suffered a rare loss last weekend, 3-2, to Glenanne as South African international Shannon Boucher fired home twice from set pieces.

The Dublin side will face Banbridge on Saturday in a repeat of last year’s national final. Town’s loss allowed Lisnagarvey the chance to go top of the table, something they did with a 3-1 win over Annadale – Timmy Cockram scoring twice.

Euro Hockey League media release

Faizal to face the music for no-show with national team

by S. Ramaguru

Faizal (left) failed to show up for national team training since October.

KUALA LUMPUR: Terengganu forward Faizal Saari will face the MHC disciplinary board on Saturday after failing to attend national team training since October.

Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal confirmed that the four-man disciplinary board would decide on the matter.

“I can confirm that Faizal will be hauled up on Saturday. I don’t want to comment further on the matter as we need to let the disciplinary board make a decision first. The decision will then have to be endorsed at the executive board meeting on Dec 19,” he said.

The four-man disciplinary board will be chaired by SAC Datuk Mohd Adnan Abdullah. The members are Datuk Arthur Edmonds, Awtar Singh Grewal and Datuk G. Vijiyanathan.

Subahan also confirmed that the only major tournament for the national team next year is the invitational Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in April.

He said there has been no discussion to host the Asian Champions Trophy, although there have been reports of MHC planning to bid for it.

“We’re not bidding for any tournaments. The Asian Champions Trophy is under the AHF and it is for them to decide where to hold it. But, if need be, we can look at it at a later date,” he said.

Subahan said that the next executive meeting on Dec 19 would also look at the programme for the National Juniors (Project 2016 team). The coaching committee have already deliberated on the matter and will present their report to us. We will then decide on their fate,” he said.

The Star of Malaysia

Another boo$t for national hockey as Astro pitches in

by S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: As the Malaysian Hockey Confederation’s (MHC) coffers continued to grow, plans are afoot for a sustained development.

Last month, the MHC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tenaga Nasional Berhad that provides them with RM4mil a year for the next five years.

On Thursday, the MHC signed another MoU with Astro totalling RM60mil. Of the amount, RM18mil will be given to MHC over eight years while RM42mil will be spent to broadcast the game to a wider audience.

“That means all hockey matches until 2023 will either be telecast live or delayed. This is a tremendous boost for the game and we can now go full steam ahead with our development plans,” gushed MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal.

“It has been seven months since we took over the helm at MHC and we have managed to get two big companies to enter into a partnership to help develop the game further.

“We have a blueprint in place that will take us to 2020, with the Olympics as our main target for the national team.

“We also have a MoU with Hockey Australia to help us in our plans.”

Subahan signed the agreement on behalf of MHC while Lee Choong Khay, vice-president, Sports Business Content Group, represented Astro.

The event was witnessed by MHC honorary president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, who is also the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) president.

Subahan said that state affiliates would also benefit from the sponsorship deals, with each state receiving a RM10,000 administrative grant.

A further RM50,000 will be given to each affiliate to organise their state leagues.

“This are just for starters. We need to have a structured plan, which deputy president and chairman of the competitions committee George Koshy is handling. We will give more information on this after the executive board meeting on Dec 19,” said Subahan.

Before the signing ceremony, the MHC held an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to change their logo.

All states affiliates, except for Johor and Kelantan, attended the meeting and approved the new logo.

For the first time, the EGM was held behind closed doors

The Star of Malaysia

Funding boss defends cuts for Football Ferns, Black Sticks in Olympic year

The Black Sticks men have suffered a $50,000 funding cut after their agonising Oceania Cup final loss to Australia in October. John Cowpland/Photosport

High Performance Sport NZ is making no apologies for chopping $200,000 in funding from women's football and men's hockey - despite both teams preparing for Olympic campaigns.

As key Olympic sports rowing and cycling each got a further $100,000 funding boost for 2016, the Football Ferns and Black Sticks men both took a hit from Friday's funding announcement as they eye Rio.

HPSNZ chief executive Alex Baumann said this annual announcement was relatively straightforward as they refined and tweaked the significant funding decisions made at the halfway point of the Olympic cycle in 2014.

But that didn't spare everyone from cuts as women's football had $150,000 sliced from their 2016 allocation (down to $800,000) and men's hockey $50,000 (down to $700,000). Swimming's $100,000 drop to $1.3 million had already been flagged after it missed "a number of key performance indicators".

The Football Ferns didn't emerge from the group stages at their World Cup this year which cost them, despite Baumann rating them an outside medal chance in a smaller, more even Olympic field next year.

"We have a performance driven approach and we're very open and honest about that. The challenge with women's football is their pinnacle event is once every four years, and the World Cup is in the third year of the cycle, then there's the Olympic Games," Baumann said.

"The fact they didn't get out of pool play was a key factor for that reduction. We do need to make sure we don't reduce too much and they can actually campaign towards the Olympic Games and $150k is moderate."

Baumann said the cut wouldn't adversely affect their Olympic chances. "In the end they still have a good chance to have a good campaign."

Ferns coach Tony Readings said the team would have to work smarter and be wise with every penny, with their campaign made more costly by having to assemble players from around the world.

The Black Sticks men looked gone from Rio for all money after missing their two qualifying opportunities but due to South Africa's withdrawal are still a chance of sneaking in the back door.

"They've had some good games against Australia, in Oceania, but unfortunately when it matters most they have not been performing. They didn't get a medal at the Commonwealth Games and World League 3 was quite a poor performance and that was their pinnacle events to qualify for World League 4," Baumann said.

"They have underperformed and there's got to be some accountability for that. It's a minor reduction, and making sure they have enough resource on the assumption that they go to Rio. They were cut more in 2014, with $250k reduction, so this is relatively minor."

Of the other funding cuts, slalom canoeing lost $30,000 (down to $175,000) after disappointing results from Mike Dawson and Luuka Jones, while Commonwealth Games boxing gold medallist David Nyika dropped $15,000 to $65,000. The fact Nyika is adjusting to a new weight division and is yet to qualify for Rio were factors, Baumann said.

Rowing and cycling will provide the bulk of HPSNZ's target of 14 New Zealand medals next year and each got a $100,000 boost to $5.3 million (rowing) and $4.7 million (cycling). Athletics and canoeing each went up $75,000, with extended overseas campaigns for big medal hopes Valerie Adams, Tom Walsh and Lisa Carrington taking up a chunk of that.

Rugby league got a $50,000 boost to help the Kiwis prepare for the 2017 World Cup, to be co-hosted in New Zealand and Australia, while Paralympics got an extra $55,000 in its quest for 12 medals next year.

And there was a merry christmas for some individuals, with trap shooter Natalie Rooney ($20,000) and wrestler Tayla Ford ($15,000) each getting funded for the first time after encouraging international results this year. Tokyo in 2020 is their key target.

"They've had some good international performances and we need to still have the flexibility to support international athletes rather than targeted and campaign sports," Baumann said.

"They've given us confidence they're in the mix, and while it's not a key milestone for us the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast is still an important competition for us."


Hockey player dies in training accident

Samantha Dalton

A 22-year-old man has died in a training accident at Old Loughtonian's Hockey Club in Chigwell, police have confirmed.

It's believed Tom Wilson, a member of the men's first team, suffered a blow to the head at the club on Luxborough Lane on Tuesday night.

The club said that he was a "much admired role model", adding it was cancelling adult matches on Saturday to hold a charity collection.

BBC Essex

Tom Wilson - Old Loughtonians 1st XI  member

Barry Middleton (GB Captain) taking on Tom Wilson courtesy of Peter Savage at www.hockeyinengland.com

It is with great sadness we regret to tell you that Tom Wilson, a member of 1st XI passed away on Wednesday after a tragic accident at training on Tuesday evening.

Tom was not only a key member of the Mens 1st XI team, but had come up through the club junior sides and was a very popular young man who was a much admired role model for our younger players. One of Tom's many fantastic attributes was he was an extremely conscientious person and had agreed to be an organ donor so will continue to help people.

The whole Club community is much saddened by his passing and members and friends are invited to come and pay their respects at the club on Saturday 12th between 12:30 and 3 pm. Any donations in Tom's memory will be collected and donated to charity. There will be no adult matches at the club on Saturday.

On behalf of the whole Club our thoughts go out to Lisa, Graham, Pippa and Daisy.

Old Loughtonians Hockey Club

Tom Wilson

We have been deeply saddened to learn that Tom Wilson, a member of Old Loughtonians Hockey Club, passed away on Wednesday after a tragic training accident.

Tom was a key member of the Old Loughtonians Men’s 1st XI team, had come up through the club junior sides and was a very popular young man who was a much admired role model for younger players at the club. Members and friends have been invited to pay their respects at the club on Saturday 12th between 12:30pm and 3 pm.

Incidents such as this one are almost unprecedented in hockey – our thoughts, and those of the club and wider hockey community are with Tom’s family and friends.

England Hockey Board Media release

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