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News for 21 December 2015

All the news for Monday 21 December 2015

Telkom Orange win record eighth Africa title


Telkom Orange captain Betsy Omalla (centre), Tracy Karanja, Lucy Wangeci, coach Jos Openda (second right) and other team-mates at JKIA on December 1, 2014 after they retained the Africa Hockey Club Championship title in Zimbambwe. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |   NATION MEDIA GROUP

Telkom Orange on Sunday retained their Africa Hockey Club Championship title after edging out Ghana Police 3-2 on post-match penalties in a dramatic final at the Olympic Youth Development Centre Stadium in Lusaka, Zambia.

The game began on Saturday afternoon but had to be completed Sunday morning after heavy rains disrupted the final with half an hour played. The teams went straight into penalty strokes following a 1-1 stalemate after 70 minutes.

Audrey Omaido, Barbara Simiyu and Terry Juma successfully converted their flicks but veteran striker Jackline Mwangi failed to, though it did not matter as Orange went on to win the match and lift Africa’s elite hockey club crown for a record eighth time, their fourth in a row.

“It feels very wonderful to be African champions once again,” an elated Orange coach Jos Openda told Daily Nation Sport on phone from Lusaka on Sunday. “It was a tough match between two great sides who wanted to win the title.

“However, our team spirit and never-say die attitude won it for us in the end.

“I think the rains worked in our favour because the girls came back sharper and were hungrier for the title.”


The two teams had drawn 3-3 in their opening match of this year’s competition. This time round, Openda maintained the side that beat Ghana Revenue Authority in the semi-final with Josephine Ataro starting in goal ahead of Ruth Njoki.

Tournament director Samuel Fadele had informed the teams that a coin would be tossed to determine the winner if the rains continued. And with five minutes of the aborted first half remaining, neither team had made a breakthrough in the dramatic final.

Mwangi gave Orange the lead in the 53rd minute with her fifth goal of the tournament, finishing off an Audrey Omaido penalty corner past Police keeper Abigail Boye. Police were level three minutes later as winger Linda Sasu sounded the board through another penalty corner after Omaido fouled Sasu inside the Orange final circle.

Orange missed a host of chances to win the match in regular time with Boye pulling a number of saves to deny Mwangi and Omaido. Juma slotted home the winning penalty.

Orange were due to arrive in the country Sunday night.

Eastern Company from Egypt were crowned the men’s winners after dethroning champions Sharkia 3-2 in the final. GRA and Niger Flickers of Nigeria finished third in the women’s and men’s events, respectively.

Daily Nation

Telkom dribbles to Continental glory

Orange beat Ghana Police to win eighth continental gong

By Elizabeth Mburugu

Telkom defender Lucy Wangeci PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE

National hockey queens Telkom Orange defeated Ghana Police 3-2 in a penalty shootout to extend their reign in women's continental club hockey.

The match had ended in a one-all draw after regular time, which paved way for the shootout. The Kenyan girls braved the early morning wet-weather conditions at the Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka, Zambia to reign supreme and retain the title.

Orange were forced to wait a little longer to defend their title, after the match was rained off on Saturday afternoon and replayed on Sunday morning. Nonetheless, head coach Jos Openda said the rain was a blessing in disguise for them, as they returned to the match an invigorated side.

"The postponement of the match worked for us; we returned rejuvenated and determined to defend our title and we made it happen," Openda told Feverpitch in a telephone interview from Lusaka. He said the Ghanaians were good and made things difficult for them in the first half.

Openda praised his charges saying despite it being a tough encounter; team spirit, tenacity, resilience and the desire to retain the title was what saw them emerge victorious. Midfielder Audrey Omaido was the first to test Police goalkeeper Abigail Boye in the shootout and she made good use of her eight seconds to beat Boye and put Orange one up.

Then Orange's goalkeeper Josephine Ataro, who returned from retirement for the tournament, couldn't save Police captain Rejoice Noi's effort, as she levelled the scores. Veteran Jacqueline Wangeci was next, but missed her penalty, giving the Ghanaian law enforcers prospects to take the lead, but Nafisatu Umaru also squandered her chance.

Barabara Simiyu challenged Boye to slot in the second for Orange. Ghana's international Serwaa Boakye also made it two for Police. Terry Juma scored a third for Orange, while Cecilia Amoako and Evelyn Fiadoh lost their penalties.

This was Orange's eighth continental title and the fourth in a row. Wangeci had scored for Orange in the 53rd minute, while Linda Sasu restored parity three minutes later in their 1-1 regular time draw.

In the men's contest, the Egyptian derby saw Eastern Company dethrone 23-time champions Sharkia to be crowned winners. Fadl Gamal and Ahmed Ebd El Hakim scored for Eastern in the 10th and 67th minutes, while Hosam Gorban scored Sharkia's consolation goal in the 70th minute.

Niger Flickers beat Trustees of Ghana 3-2.

The Standard Online

Team USA Concludes SPAR 4 Nations Tournament Against World Indoor Ranked

DURBAN, South Africa - It was a reluctant start for the U.S. Women's National Indoor Team's third game of the series as their Australian opponents patiently waited to see whether the pressure of the occasion would get to Team USA. Showing growth in stature and knowledge of the indoor game internationally throughout the SPAR 4 Nations Indoor Tournament, Team USA fell just short of a victory against 8th FIH World Indoor Ranked Australia with a respected 3-3 result.

Australia was first to create a scoring opportunity on a shot that struck the crossbar of the cage. Team USA also had early offensive looks as Megan DuVernois (Collegeville, Pa.) created a series of chances for herself including a deflection on a ball from Hannah Prince (Gorham, Maine) that went just wide of the cage. Fighting to seal one away, Team USA took a lead with twelve minutes into the game as DuVernois finished on a broken down play in front of the goal that a diving Australia goal keeper couldn't save. The lead didn't last long as less than a minute later, Australia got an equalizer on a lapse by Team USA's defense. Australia found the back of the cage again with just two minutes remaining in the half on a penalty corner to make the score USA 1, Australia 2 at halftime.

With the nature of USA being a tight-knit team, they came storming back at the start of the second half. DuVernois and Katie Gerzabek (Springfield, Pa.) set the tempo on attack as Gerzabek converted on a flick off a penalty corner tying the score to 2-2 with 18 minutes to go in the match.

Knowing that this game was going to be a constant battle, Australia took the lead off a field goal but Team USA came back strong eager to find the equalizer. Pushing forward with the clock ticking to just under three minutes to go, USA earned a penalty corner opportunity. Gerzabek converted on the chance and notched her second goal of the game to tie the score at 3-3.

The game ended in a physical and tactical battle and Head Coach Jun Kentwell was proud of Team USA for competing with heart and belief as they tested a solid top-ten world ranked opponent.

Team USA faced the same Australian team in their final game on Friday morning in the SPAR 4 Nations Indoor Tournament. Though Team USA lost a close-fought 3-1 game the team would leave South Africa knowing they can compete against internationally world-ranked teams.

The USA started quick with a direct, man-to-man system and it was the urgency that set the stage early in the game. When Australia created a chance, USA goalkeeper Ainslie Rhoads (Chester Springs, Pa.) stopped the initial penalty corner and then an open field attempt which she dove full-length to redirect it past the post. Rhoads efforts wouldn't be enough as Australia capitalized on a Team USA defensive error that was converted to a goal.

Gerzabek and DuVernous did what they have been doing all tournament by creating plenty of scoring opportunities but together they couldn't quite find the finishing possession. USA forwards continued to be a constant threat. Rhoads kept denying chances for Australia and Cassie Sumfest (Lewisburg, Pa.) registered a defensive save as she cleared a ball off the goal line that got past Rhoads.

The opportunity to find the back of the net would have to wait for Team USA as the halftime score stood at USA 0, Australia 1.

Early in the second half, team captain Prince dictated the play from deep in the court and threaded the ball up to Gerzabek who scored a brilliant individual effort to tie the game at 1-1. Team USA maintained a fast attacking mentality as an unlucky effort by Madison Orobono (Macungiem Pa.) hit the post and rebounded clear and Sumfest's penalty corner chance went just wide of the top left corner. On a threatening effort forward, Australia used their experience to punish Team USA on another unforced defensive error, taking advantage of the exposed right baseline to score a clinical goal and take the lead by a score of 2-1.

Team USA did not give up against a most experienced Australian team, which rostered five World Cup veterans, and nearly grabbed an equalizer when Gerzabek's shot slid past the post. With an intense press, the USA was able to pin Australia in their half but Australia's goalkeeper recorded two excellent saves that USA could not recapture the possession. With time running out, Australia converted on a fast counter attack that left Team USA down by two goals to make the final score 3-1.

"The team showed they could adapt their tactics to the different styles of international indoor hockey and create opportunities to put experienced international teams under periods of constant pressure", commented Kentwell.

As the first tournament led by Head Coach Jun Kentwell and many of the players making their debut with the indoor squad against top-ten world indoor ranked teams, the overall performance was credible and can be looked back on with pride knowing that a lot of knowledge was gained from the experience.

In the Final match of the SPAR 4 Nations Indoor Tournament, host nation South Africa defeated Namibia 6-0. Also in the closing ceremony, Katie Gerzabek received the SPAR 4 Nations Indoor Tournament Top Goalscorer Award.

USFHA media release

South Africa turning down Olympic hockey and rugby sevens places is step in wrong direction

by Liam Morgan

South Africa's women's hockey team are one of three sides from the country to miss out on the Olympics next year because they only qualified through continental championships ©Getty Images

Imagine securing a place at the Olympic Games only to have it snatched away from you by the organisation that are ultimately supposed to aid and help the development of sport in your country.

After all, for most people, it simply doesn’t get much better than representing your nation on the Olympic stage.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder heads are being scratched amid strong voices of dissent in South Africa after the country’s National Olympic Committee refused to send their men’s and women’s hockey teams, as well as the women’s rugby sevens side, to Rio 2016 due to the fact that they each failed to qualify through the highest-level route available to them.

All three booked their ticket to Rio de Janeiro, which will be the first South American city in history to stage the Games, by winning their respective African Championships. Usually, that is enough.

But not for South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), who are maintaining their harsh stance on a matter which has caused widespread debate in Africa and beyond.

The line being touted by SASCOC chief executive Tubby Reddy, who holds the same position within the Durban 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, is one of arrogance. He feels the organisation’s position is “in line with their policy of producing world-class athletes who will compete at the highest level”.

Am I missing something here? For many, there is no higher echelon of sport than the Olympic Games, and by depriving their hockey and women’s sevens teams of a spot at next year’s Games in Rio, they are surely causing much more harm than good.

Of course, Reddy and the SASCOC in general wanted to see their athletes qualify in style, rather than meandering through continental events at which they were always expected to win, but by being so stubborn and obdurate, they are limiting the future development of their athletes and grinding Olympic dreams abruptly to a halt.

Often athletes at the Games perform way beyond expectations as they feast on the energy, fervour and atmosphere around the event itself – a feeling that many South Africa competitors will not get to experience during the summer of 2016.

And what a shame that is. The qualification process is complex and difficult enough for the athletes and to then strip them of their places, which seems overly strict and ultimately detrimental, will do their future career prospects no favours whatsoever.

SASCOC argue that these Continental Championships were simply too easy for their teams to win given their status as a major regional sporting power, and in terms of hockey, they may actually be right. Their men’s team, for example, had claimed six straight African Championships titles before the 2015 competition and their stroll to this year’s crown included a 30-0 mauling of Botswana and an 11-0 thrashing of Namibia.

South Africa’s women were also in ruthless form, dispatching Nigeria 15-0 before hammering Tanzania 27-0. But, as the old sporting saying goes, you can only beat what is put out in front of you.

In the end, both of South Africa’s hockey outfits clinched their respective titles and with it a spot at the Olympics was in the bag. Or not.

Since their victories, a battle has ensued between the South African Hockey Association (SAHA) and SASCOC, while the International Hockey Federation (FIH) also appealed, unsuccessfully, to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on behalf of SAHA.

Their attempt at making SASCOC see sense was turned down on the grounds that, under the terms of the Olympic Charter, all parties must respect the integrity and authority of their National Olympic Committee.

This to me is also difficult to fathom. Surely an integral and core value of the Olympic Games is not just who wins gold, silver and bronze but also participation; it is an event where taking part really does count and SASCOC are, therefore, blatantly denying their athletes the chance to do just that.

Their decision sparked anger among SAHA, who put out a strongly-worded statement after SASCOC said they would not allow them to participate because neither their men’s nor women’s teams had qualified through the FIH Hockey World League series of events.

“We note the growing impatience and frustration among the hockey community around why the qualification criteria discussion took place so late and note that some of this timing was out of our hands,” the statement read.

“We further acknowledge that up until the conclusion of the African Championships there was no qualification at all to speak of, as SA had not as yet met any elements of the FIH/IOC qualification criteria.

“The decision taken by SASCOC is crippling and will have long lasting negative ramifications for the sport of hockey, the decision taken is by no measure in the interest of the sport.”

South Africa’s women’s sevens team were also denied their Olympic spot at Rio 2016 by SASCOC ©World Rugby

Having taken such a drastic step in the wrong direction with their hockey teams, SASCOC then followed suit with their women’s rugby sevens team earlier this week – a decision which was described as “extremely disappointing” by Oregan Hoskins, President of the South African Rugby Union, who also said participating at Rio 2016 “would have been inspirational for many young female athletes”.

This development prompted another backlash. After I tweeted the link to insidethegames story about it, available here, I received several scathing responses, labelling SASCOC as “corrupt” among other things, while another South African wrote: “Then we blame our athletes for representing other nations, our sports administrators are a joke!!”

Not particularly promising for SASCOC, who may yet see support for their competitors at next year’s Olympics wane because of the recent debacles concerning their hockey and rugby sides and they could yet compound the anger if they take the same step with men’s football team, who earned a Rio 2016 berth by finishing third in the African qualifier.

While neither of the three teams were likely to add to the South African medal tally at Rio 2016 – the men’s hockey side are ranked 15th in the world, the women are 11th while their women’s rugby outfit finished 12th out of 13 in last season’s Women’s Rugby Sevens Series – it is the principle of SASCOC’s stance that has rankled with the country’s 53-odd million residents.

One nation’s loss is another country’s gain in both circumstances, however, as New Zealand will fill the men’s Olympic hockey vacancy while the women’s place will be given to Spain.

SASCOC chief executive Tubby Reddy says their stance is in line with their policy of producing world-class athletes who will compete at the highest level

SASCOC chief executive Tubby Reddy says their stance is in line with their policy of producing world-class athletes who will compete at the highest level ©Getty Images

In rugby, Kenya’s women are the beneficiaries of SASCOC’s decision, which got me thinking, bizarrely, about Denmark shocking the entire footballing stratosphere by winning the European Championships in 1992.

After they failed to reach the tournament through the qualification process, the Danish team were informed just over a week before the competition began that they would have to step in to replace Yugoslavia, who were not allowed to participate due to the civil war that was ravaging the country at the time.

Having qualified purely by default, few gave the Danes any hope of getting out of their group, let alone going on to win the tournament.

But that’s exactly what they did, beating defending world champions Germany 2-0 to lift the trophy against all the odds.

“We didn’t have the best players, but we had the best team,” Kim Vilfort, the midfielder who scored in the final, told BBC Sport back in 2012.

If only SASCOC saw it that way.

Liam Morgan has recently graduated from Southampton Solent University with a BA First Class honours degree in Sports Journalism and has worked for a number of different organisations, including Reuters, The Non-League Paper and the Worthing Herald, in his short career to date.


Comment: I just love the IOC reason for turning the appeal down "Their attempt at making SASCOC see sense was turned down on the grounds that, under the terms of the Olympic Charter, all parties must respect the integrity and authority of their National Olympic Committee."

It looks like the IOC forgot to look at SASCOC's Constitution in coming to that decision. Their Constitution, amongst other things, states they must promote women in sport. How does barring two women's teams comply with that? They must obey the Rules and Regulations of the IOC and International Federations, one of those regulations being the Continental qualification route to the Olympics. They must promote the "Spirit of Olympism" and the Board may not take a decision that goes against their Constitution.

So where is the integrity in an organisation that so blatantly ignores their own Constitution?

Where is the integrity in an organisation who coined the phrase
"Spirit of Olympism" and then denies qualified athletes the opportunity of competing at the Olympics? Sorry, IOC, but if you are prepared to ignore the whole purpose of the Olympic Charter, why are you getting so worked up by the systematic doping by entire nations? In reaching your decision you have compromised your own integrity in endorsing the total lack of respect SASCOC has for South African athletes.

Irish Men's EY Hockey League Round Up

Timmy Cockram’s goal in dead time saw Lisnagarvey salvage their eighth win from nine outings to retain their four-point lead at the top of the men’s EY Hockey League.
They were made to work all the way by Railway Union at Park Avenue who had earlier fought back brilliantly from a 2-0 deficit to set up a grandstand finish. Cockram and Andy Forrest had given Garvey the dream start with two goals in the first quarter but third quarter efforts from Mark English and James Dick tying things up.
But Garvey won a last second penalty corner which Cockram duly converted for a 3-2 win. They stay clear of second placed Monkstown who were too good for Annadale at Lough Moss.
Peter Caruth returned to haunt his former club on his first visit to Dale since moving on five years ago. Two of his goals came in the first quarter which, in tandem with a Richard Sykes’ set piece goal, saw Town go 3-0 up. John Guilfoyle and Caruth’s third extended the lead to five before Annadale got a couple back in the closing 15 minutes.
Banbridge recorded their fourth draw in their last four games when Eugene Magee's deflected corner goal earned them a 3-3 draw at Glenanne Park. The Glens led through Stu Ronan only for the lead to be swapped with Josh Moffett and Eugene Magee on the mark, 2-1 at half-time to Bann.
Shannon Boucher, though, produced two brilliant finishes to put Glenanne in front for the second time but Dowds provided the power to bring about the Co Down side’s late equaliser.
Three Rock Rovers bounced back from a heavy defeat to Lisnagarvey with a battling 2-1 win at Cookstown with Fred Morris the hero. He scored first and last, sandwiching a Paul Thompson goal for the Co Tyrone outfit. Rover sit fourth over Christmas with Cookstown in ninth.
Cork C of I and Pembroke shared a 1-1 draw in Garryduff. John Jermyn’s tenth goal of the season opened the scoring before Ronan Flannery levelled with seven minutes left. C of I move up to sixth place while Pembroke remain in eighth.
The league now goes on hiatus until February 6th, 2016.
Men’s EY Hockey League: Glenanne 3 (S Boucher 2, S Ronan) Banbridge 3 (E Magee 2, J Moffett); Annadale 2 (P McDonnell, M Allister) Monkstown 5 (P Caruth 3, R Sykes, J Guilfoyle); Cookstown 1 (P Thompson) Three Rock Rovers (F Morris 2); Cork C of I 1 (J Jermyn) Pembroke 1 (R Flannery); Railway Union 2 (M English, J Dick) Lisnagarvey 3 (T Cockram 2, A Forrest)
Extended Day Nine match reports

Railway Union 2 (Mark English, James Dick) Lisnagarvey 3 (Timmy Cockram 2, Andy Forrest)
Timmy Cockram’s goal in dead time saw Lisnagarvey salvage their eighth win from nine outings to retain their four-point lead at the top of the men’s EY Hockey League.
They were made to work all the way, though, by Railway Union at Park Avenue who fought back brilliantly from a two-goal deficit only to be stung at the last.
Garvey came out of the blocks flying, over-lapping at pace and using the overhead pass to great effect. The first chance was taken by Timmy Cockram who took advantage of a high ball that deflected off Kenny Carroll’s stick neatly into his path to fire home an upright reverse-stick shot.
The second came when a wily Andy Forrest nicked the ball off Ravin Nair and rounded Stephen O’Keeffe for 2-0. Railway came back into the game with Mark English to the fore in the second quarter before they made their move in the third quarter.
Fergal Keaveney and English’s one-two opened the door for the latter to find the corner with a shot on the bounce. Railway then equalised from a penalty corner, one that English initially saw saved but he worked the rebound to James Dick who took control and tapped home.
It set up an epic closing quarter and a grandstand last 90 seconds. Firstly, Railway saw a Nick Tate corner go high and wide. A counter shortly afterwards led to a ball being arrowed across goal and hit a foot right on the final whistle. Garvey took the chance with Cockram roofing his drag-flick for 3-2.
Garvey hold a four-point lead going into the New Year while Railway dropped to seventh place in the standings.

Glenanne 3 (Shannon Boucher 2, Stu Ronan) Banbridge 3 (Eugene Magee 2, Josh Moffett)
Eugene Magee rescued a point for Banbridge at Glenanne Park after a thrilling, aggressive battle between two sides in the midst of the race for a playoff place.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Glens took the lead somewhat against the run of play when they forced a penalty corner. The push out was moved right to Gary Shaw who picked out Stu Ronan to finish smartly. The lead did not last long, though, with the Glens wrong-footed in defence, allowing Josh Moffett – back after a long spell out injured – to apply a smart overhead finish.

And the lead was swapped two minutes later when Bann created an opening on the right of the circle and the pull back was smartly finished by Eugene Magee, 2-1 at half-time.

The hosts bounced back with the wind behind them, gaining more possession and were rewarded when Shannon Boucher superbly converted a drag-flick high past Gareth Lennox’ right to level.

It meant it was anyone’s game in the closing quarter and the Glens hit the front for the second time. David Keogh robbed possession just outside the Bann circle and teed up Boucher for a sharp strike into the backboard.

With sin-binnings for Moffett, Stephen Dowds and Peter Brown, Glenanne looked to be well set to hang on for the win but a late corner chance saw Magee's drag-flick deflect off the number one runner and leave goalkeeper Lukasz Domachowski helpless.
The Glens end the pre-Christmas period in fifth place having been bottom after three rounds of matches, losing just once since. Banbridge are third, ending the first half of the campaign with four draws in their last five games.
Annadale 2 (Paul MacDonnell) Monkstown 5 (Peter Caruth 3, Richard Sykes, John Guilfoyle)
Peter Caruth returned to haunt his former club on his first visit to play at Lough Moss in five years, netting a hat trick in a comfortable win for second placed Monkstown.
He struck within the first ten minutes when he slammed home a corner rebound and then produced a brilliant snap-shot from the edge of the circle for the second. Richard Sykes made it 3-0 before the end of the first quarter with a low drag-flick to the bottom corner.
Annadale, missing the experience of David Smyth and Chris Jackson, came back into the game in the second quarter with Michael Robson creating their first major chance, saved by David Fitzgerald. Monkstown countered, however, and John Guilfoyle’s reverse-stick shot for 4-0 and his first senior goal with 22 minutes gone.
Caruth completed his hat-trick from a well-taken corner variation in the third quarter before Annadale rallied in the closing phase. They cut the deficit with goals from Paul MacDonnell and Matthew Allister but will go into the Christmas break knowing they have work to do to close the gap to safety, sitting on just two points.

Credit: Rowland White/PressEye

Cork C of I 1 (John Jermyn) Pembroke 1 (Ronan Flannery)
Pembroke brought four former Cork C of I players to a misty Garryduff but there was to be no homecoming heroes as the sides played out an entertaining draw.
The first quarter had a number of chances at each end with Pembroke coming closest only for Richard Sweetnam to clear off the line with a brilliant diving save.
In the final minute, a David Hobbs free found a Pembroke foot in the circle and John Jermyn dispatched his tenth goal of the season from the resulting corner. They went close to doubling the lead when Adam Pritchard was forced to take one off the line while Pembroke keeper Mark Ingram made a great reflex save to keep the score unchanged.
Pembroke stepped up the pressure with a series of waves of attacks initiated by Jason and Karl Lynch. Justin Sherriff and Patrick Good had good chances while Harry Spain’s first penalty corner effort went just wide.
The Dubliners maintained their pressure until the 53rd minute and won their second corner which drew their equaliser – a clever, disguise-move tht Ronan Flannery dispatched.
C of I had the best of the closing minutes but Simon Wolfe, twice, and Hobbs saw their efforts go wide while a final corner from Jermyn was blocked. The hosts move up to sixth place as a result while Pembroke stay in eighth.
Cookstown 1 (Paul Thompson) Three Rock Rovers 2 (Fred Morris 2)
Fred Morris’s double, allied to a Jamie Carr penalty stroke save at the death, saw Three Rock Rovers finish the first half of the season with a 2-1 win over Cookstown to stay in fourth place in the men’s EY Hockey League.
It was a tighter affair than Rovers recent Irish Senior Cup win over the same opponents but the Rathfarnham side did take an early lead when Morris got on the end of a James Walker pass and slammed through Ian Hughes.
Hughes was the slightly busier of the two goalkeepers but his side did bounce back to level in the second half from a superb counter-attack move that ended with Paul Thompson sliding at the right post.

Morris grabbed the winner, though, in the closing quarter from another fine move as Mark Samuel charged down the right wing before picking out the striker who deflected home. Carr then saved the stroke in the closing stages after a rough Rovers’ tackle to claim the three points.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Women’s EY Hockey League – day 10 round-up

Hermes completed the first phase of the women’s EY Hockey League season with another significant victory over their nearest rival, Railway Union, to carry a mammoth nine-point lead in to the Christmas break.
It means they are odds on to claim top spot at the end of the regular season which brings with it a European place as well as a spot in the end of season playoffs.
Railway, though, have given them their toughest ride in both of their meetings so far this season. They led at St Andrew's in the third quarter via Kate McKenna off the back of Zara Delany and Julia O’Halloran’s approach work.
But quick-fire goals from Naomi Carroll and Sally Campbell swapped the lead and the Hermes defence was resolute to hold on to the 2-1 win – nine wins from nine outings. Railway sit second nine points back but with a game extra played.
Pegasus and UCD continued their resurgent form to move into the top four with wins over Greenfields and Pembroke, respectively.
Pegs had just one point from their first four outings but have since won five out of six matches. Katie Morris and Hannah McMillan’s goals laid the base for this result before Alex Speers closed out the win. For Greenfields, this was their strongest showing of a tough campaign but they did welcome Brenda Flannery back into the fold.
Deirdre Duke’s double powered UCD to their win over Pembroke and lifts them to fourth with a game in hand over the two sides directly above them. They had just one win from their first four games but recovered to rise up the rankings.
UCC, meanwhile, won the Cork derby with Harlequins for just the second time in the last decade to give their hopes of avoiding a relegation playoff a big boost.
Clodagh Moloney gave them the lead before former Quins’ players Antonia McGrath and Claire O’Sullivan struck to record a famous 3-1 win. UCC stay in ninth but are within reach of Ards now. Harlequins drop two places to fifth with five wins and five losses on their record.
Ards and Ulster Elks' tie was postponed until the New Year while the rest of the league will now take a break until late January.

Women’s EY Hockey League: Hermes 2 (N Carroll, S Campbell) Railway Union 1 (K McKenna); UCC 3 (C Moloney, A McGrath, C O’Sullivan) Cork Harlequins 1 (Y O’Byrne); UCD 2 (D Duke 2) Pembroke 0; Greenfields 0 Pegasus 3 (K Morris, H McMillan, A Speers)
Extended Day 10 match reports

Hermes 2 (Naomi Carroll, Sally Campbell) Railway Union 1 (Kate McKenna)
Hermes came from a goal down to record their ninth successive women’s EY Hockey League victory, doing the double over their nearest rivals Railway Union.
The win extends their lead over the pack to a massive nine points with a game in hand over the Christmas break. Hermes started well but found Railway keeper Grace O’Flanagan a formidable foe in the early stages to keep the score sheet blank in the first half.
The game came to life in the third quarter when Railway took the lead following a great break down the right between Julia O’Halloran and Zara Delany to set up Kate McKenna. The lead was short-lived with Naomi Carroll scoring from Hermes’ fifth penalty corner, following up a Sarah Greene shot on goal.
Four minutes later, Sally Campbell scored the winner from another penalty corner rebound, firing home from close range. Railway tried to push on in the final quarter but found themselves susceptible to counter-attacks and required O’Flanagan to make a few more saves. A couple of late corners gave Railway chances to level but Hermes held on for a hard fought win.

UCC 3 (Clodagh Moloney, Antonia McGrath, Claire O’Sullivan) Cork Harlequins 1 (Yvonne O’Byrne)
UCC recorded a rare win over city rivals Cork Harlequins to close the gap on eighth-placed Ards and aid their chances of escaping from a potential relegation prospect.
In rough weather conditions, Clodagh Moloney got the only goal of the first half from a corner won by Holly Lehane. It was part of a fine overall performance from Moloney in defence, working in tandem with Emma Barber.
Harlequins had plenty of pressure with six penalty corners going awry before the big break. Former Quins player Antonia McGrath scored from another UCC corner while Yvonne O’Byrne was on the mark for Quins to progress the score to 2-1 at the end of the third quarter.
Claire O’Sullivan –another former Quins player – made the game safe for the students in the closing period, stretching the lead out to 3-1. Quins did pile on the pressure but UCC defended with a real relish to keep out all attacks.
Quins drop to fifth after the day’s play while UCC remain ninth but within reach of Ards.
Greenfields 0 Pegasus 3 (Katie Morris, Hannah McMillan, Alex Speers)
Pegasus continued their excellent run of form as they moved up to third place in the table, a fine turnaround having earned just one point from their opening four games.
This win in Dangan was based on a strong first quarter with Katie Morris and Hannah McMillan both scoring from penalty corners in the opening six minutes. They created a few more chances which Sinead Collins did brilliantly to keep out and steady Greenfields with Brenda Flannery building from the back.
The second quarter was a more even affair with play swinging from end to end with Alex Speers testing the Galway side’s defence. The hosts had a couple of good attacks with Rebecca Gilligan and Kate Hennessy making waves. Most of the third quarter was played between the 23s with both defences on top.
Siobhan Divilly was the driving force for Greenfields but Pegasus dealt with the home team’s attacks. Pegasus almost got a controversial third goal at the start of the fourth quarter when they took tip off while the Galway side were still in a huddle with the quick reactions of Hennessy, with a spectacular dive, saving on otherwise open goal.
Pegasus piled forward in the closing quarter and got their third goal in the 50th minute when Alex Speers scored a corner rebound after an initial Collins save.
While they fell 3-0, this represented Greenfields’ best performance to date in the competition. They sit bottom with no points to date while Pegasus are up to third.
UCD 2 (Deirdre Duke 2) Pembroke 0
Deirdre Duke’s double saw UCD rise to fourth place in the Christmas standings with a smart 2-0 win over near neighbours Pembroke and, should they win their game in hand in the New Year, leaves them in reach of a possible second place.
Early in the second quarter, Duke battled with a pair of defenders before winning a free. She took it herself and managed to get into the circle unopposed before applying a clever dummy-shot that the anticipated would go across goal but managed to sneak in at the near post past Stella Davis.
Pembroke did have a couple of half chances and a corner shot to equalise before half-time but nothing stuck, leaving it 1-0 at the break.
The second half, though, was more strongly in favour of the Belfielders, creating lots of space down the right flank with Davis called on to make some serious saves against her former club. The picked of them came from an Aisling Naughton shot destined for the top corner but the international goalie tipped it over the bar.
The pressure eventually told when Naughton drove around the back defence to the baseline and put the ball across for Duke to score her second. The victory left coach Miles Warren content with his developing side’s efforts after a tricky start to the campaign.
Pembroke, meanwhile, sit in seventh place overall after ten rounds of matches.
Irish Hockey Association media release

Magnificent 7 can't handle clubs

By Jugjet Singh

On the recently named coaching set-up, MHC clarified that only the top coaches can't handle clubs from next year onwards, while the other coaches named by the MHC on Saturday can still coach in the JHL and MHL.

To avoid conflict of interest, the MHC have barred seven coaches who have been appointed for top level coaching to handle clubs while the rest can still be hired by JHL and MHL clubs.

The seven are Tai Beng Hai, Stephen van Huizen, Lim Chiow Chuan, Wallace Tan, K. Dharmaraj, K. Gobinathan, Lailin Abu Hassan.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

JHL 2016 : Foreign entries and girls tournament

By Jugjet Singh

THE Junior Hockey League (JHL) entries close Monday, and the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) are keeping their fingers crossed for foreign entries to make their debut.

MHC sent out JHL invitations to Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea to make the league much more competitive and a bigger crowd puller.

Even if one country takes up the offer, it would be a new milestone for the JHL which was incepted in 1995.

And while the Under-19 boys have been enjoying their moment under the spotlight for 20 years, the girls will finally get a chance to compete in their own JHL.

MHC are ready to host the girls JHL next year.

"We have invited neighbouring countries to play in the JHL and hopefully some of them reply in the positive. This move is to make the junior tournament more competitive and also bring back the crowd to stadiums," said MHC competitions committee chairman George Koshy.

Koshy, who is also the MHC deputy president, said after the boys entries close they they will call for the girls entries.

"We will call for the girls JHL entry soon, and even though we do not expect many teams to compete in the first season, its a start in the right direction to develop women," said Koshy.

The men are ranked 13th in the world while women are a close 20th.

"we have yet to decide on the JHL format because we need to wait for entries to close and see if any foreign teams register. If there are foreign teams, we need to have a different format so that it is not too long and taxing," said George.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Junior hockey league to welcome foreign teams next year

by S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) will open the doors for foreign teams to compete for the first time in the Malaysia Junior Hockey League (MJHL) next season.

MHC competitions committee chairman George Koshy said the move was to add glamour and provide greater competition for the Malaysian juniors.

“We have sent invitations to a few countries – India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia – to see if their teams are willing to come and play in the MJHL. So far, there are no replies yet,” said George.

Next year’s MJHL, which is likely to start on Jan 15, will be the 22nd edition. It will again be an Under-19 affair although earlier there were calls to make it an Under-21 league.

A record 29 teams, divided into two divisions, took part this year with SSTMI-Thunderbolt capturing their fourth straight double.

Koshy said the league’s format would remain the same with two divisions.

“But we may make some changes if there is an overwhelming response or if we get foreign teams to play,” he added.

The Star of Malaysia

MHC roll out programmes for women hockey

by S. Ramaguru

The triumphant Malaysia women hockey team at the Singapore SEA Games in June. They beat Thailand in the final. - The STAR Filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: Female hockey players in Malaysia need not despair any more.

From next year onwards, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) will pay the same attention to the women’s game like they do the men’s.

For the first time in the game’s history in Malaysia, four programmes – from junior to senior levels – were approved after the MHC’s executive board meeting on Saturday.

MHC deputy president Prof S. Shamala was elated with the move.

“I am happy that the women’s game has been given the due attention to develop. Previously, most of the programmes were on an ad hoc basis. I believe in four years’ time we will move ahead and have good players coming through the ranks,” said Shamala.

The good news coincided with the senior women team’s rise to their best-ever 20th ranking in the latest International Hockey Federation rankings – up two places.

The MHC also appointed K. Dharmaraj, the former men’s national coach, to take the women’s team to greater heights.

Under previous coach Mohamed Nasihin Nubli, Malaysia won three SEA Games gold medals in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

Said Shamala: “The main objective of the team now is to break into the top four in Asia and make the cut for the FIH elite tournaments. Nasihin did a good job and we are confident that with Dharmaraj we can go to the next level.”

The other programmes are for the development team (a feeder to the national team), Project 2020 (Under-19) and 1MAS (Under-16).

As for competitions, its committee chairman George Koshy said: “We are going to launch a women’s junior league next month. We will be calling for entries soon.

“We already have a women’s league in place and we will also review the RNA Cup (equivalent to men’s Razak Cup). In addition, we want to organise two tournaments for the women, just like the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup (for men) and Sultan of Johor Cup (for boys).

“We would like to get it off the ground next year.”

The Star of Malaysia

‘Need to learn tactics from the Europeans but also back our strengths’

S. Dipak Ragav

Shiv Jagday. Photo: M. Vedhan

In a bid to improve the hockey scene in the state, the Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu has invited Indian-born Canadian FIH Hockey Academy coach educator Shiv Jagday to train coaches and players from Sunday till December 24.

Jagday coached Canada to its first Pan Am Games gold and developed a national team programme that resulted in Canada qualifying for two successive Olympics and World Cups.

In a chat with The Hindu, Jagday speaks about Indian hockey, coaching in general and his plans for the camp.

What is your agenda for the camp here?

I am here to run a coaching course. One is a basic level and the other an intermediary level. The objective of the course is coach education and player development.

From the coach education point of view, we will focus on what to coach a young under-12 and under-14 hockey player, what the technical and tactical components to cover are and how to teach them game sense.

What are the areas you will be working on with the coaches here?

The whole objective is how to develop elite hockey players. The key focus is on technique and how to execute the skills correctly.

From my experience, we have technical skills, be it stick work or ball control but we struggle in match situations when executing. That’s where I will concentrate.

Why do we struggle in match situations?

After the 80s, we did not keep up with times while the European and Australian teams advanced very much in the tactical areas and worked hard on fitness which has put us back.

Another problem is we don’t have an elite youth development programme. We concentrated on short-term gains instead of focussing on short-term pains for long-term gains.

You have been a regular to India. What is your take on Indian hockey?

The Indian team at the national level is doing well, and you can see the progress; we are doing well against the big teams.

But when we look at the grassroots level, I don’t see a systematic coaching and development programme. We need a proper feeder system.

Player development happens between the ages of 10-14 and not at the elite level.

The key period is between the ages of 12-14, and that is when you make or break a player.

What’s your view on India’s chances at the Rio Olympics?

It is very hard for me to say. We beat the Dutch in the World Hockey League, which is good. But a lot of these big teams send developmental teams before a big event which can gives us a false sense of the pecking order.

There is also a burnout factor with our players, and they hardly get any rest.

Your opinion on the constant chopping and changing of coaches: does it help, especially so close to a major event like the Olympics?

It is difficult for me to say. It depends on how soon the coach adapts to the players and how the player-coach relationship is. The foreign coaches have the biggest challenge of understanding the culture.

An Indian coach will be very successful in motivating the players. And with the foreign coach, sometimes it is my way or the highway and it doesn’t help. It is a delicate thing.

Are Indian coaches capable of training the senior Indian teams?

Absolutely! Michael Nobbs said a few years back that Indian coaches are ready and he knows it well. Frankly speaking, the foreign coaches have not delivered, and we are too hard on our Indian coaches.

The European and Australian coaches are good in tactical areas but not so much on soft skills like individual flair, dodging and doing everything on the run — things which are our strengths. We seem to have lost it.

We should learn the tactical areas from Europeans but also back our strengths. With foreign coaches, we give them everything they want in terms of support staff and trainers but we don’t back our Indian coaches the same way.

The Hindu

Hoping for hockey

It’s been years now since hockey fell off the radar in Pakistan. The country’s national sport, which was once regarded as a chief source of national pride, has over the years lost its sheen and now fails to capture the attention of the masses like it used to do back till the 1990s. Over the years, from a team that rode roughshod over its rivals and captured major international titles almost at will, Pakistan has been reduced to the status of a second-tier side that even failed to qualify for World Cup 2014 in Holland and next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. But the good news is that, after years of turmoil and infighting, the Pakistan Hockey Federation has found leadership that seems serious to put our team back at the very top of the international hockey rankings. The new PHF top brass, which includes a former Pakistan hockey legend and an ex-army team captain, has already initiated a campaign to put hockey on the right track. Though it’s too early to make any predictions one can safely say that early signs are looking good.

After a series of big setbacks, Pakistan qualified for the Junior World Cup in Malaysia last month. More recently, a new turf has been installed at the iconic Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium in Karachi. The facility, once regarded as the best in the hockey-playing world, was a picture of neglect for years but will now be hosting the National Championship starting next week. These are all positive developments and it is hoped that the PHF bosses will build up on them and continue reaching more goals as Pakistan hockey needs to achieve a series of targets – including expanding player base, establishing academies, enhancing the volume and standard of domestic competitions and improving the performance of national teams at the international level. The popularity of hockey, which once rivaled cricket as a national pastime, has really gone down in Pakistan. But all hope is not lost and with a concerted effort hockey can bounce back. It might take a few years but it is something that has to be done.

The News International

Harris resigns from Hockey New Zealand

Hockey New Zealand’s chief executive Malcolm Harris has announced his resignation.

Having taken on the role in 2013, Harris says the sport is in a strong position and it’s pleasing that participation continues to increase and the Black Sticks are performing with excellence on the world stage.

“Hockey in New Zealand is well placed. Both the Black Sticks Men and Women have qualified for the Rio Olympics, a four year agreement for an annual trans-Tasman series has been signed, plans are underway for a national hockey stadium and we have a packed national and international programme that is continually growing the game,” said Harris.

“Hockey is well-regarded at both Sport New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand for what has been achieved in recent years.

“We have continued to exceed Sport New Zealand’s expectations at a grass-roots level which is a good indicator that we have successful nationally-aligned programmes and fantastic people throughout the sport.”

Harris will be moving on to pursue another career opportunity and is confident that Hockey New Zealand is well-positioned to deliver on its recently drafted 2016-2020 strategy.

Hockey New Zealand chairman Dean Ellwood says Harris has led positive outcomes during his time with the sport.

“We are confident the 2016-2020 strategic plan will provide the framework for another five years of growth and success.

“The relationship between Hockey New Zealand and the regions, associations and clubs has been positive over recent years and our strong family of commercial and funding partners has assisted us to deliver not only on the international stage but importantly, at a grass roots level as well,” said Ellwood.

Ellwood confirmed that a recruitment process to replace Harris will commence shortly and the Board had appointed Ian Francis, Hockey New Zealand’s general manager community sport and events, as the acting chief executive.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Malcolm Harris resigns as chief executive of Hockey New Zealand video

Malcolm Harris has resigned as Hockey NZ chief executive to pursue another career opportunity. ANDREW CORNAGA/PHOTOSPORT

Hockey New Zealand (HNZ) chief executive Malcolm Harris is confident he has left the sport in a strong position after announcing his resignation.

Harris, who took on the role in 2013, is moving on to pursue another career opportunity.

Ian Francis, HNZ's general manager community sport and events, will step in as the acting CEO.

Outgoing Hockey New Zealand CEO Malcolm Harris believes he leaves the sport in a strong position. PHOTOSPORT

Harris pointed to increased participation levels and the national sides' performances on the world stage as signs that HNZ is on the right track.

"Hockey in New Zealand is well placed. Both the Black Sticks Men and Women have qualified for the Rio Olympics, a four year agreement for an annual trans-Tasman series has been signed, plans are underway for a national hockey stadium and we have a packed national and international programme that is continually growing the game," Harris said.

"Hockey is well-regarded at both Sport New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand for what has been achieved in recent years.

"We have continued to exceed Sport New Zealand's expectations at a grass-roots level which is a good indicator that we have successful nationally-aligned programmes and fantastic people throughout the sport."

While both national teams are competing at the Rio Olympics, the Black Sticks men only qualified after South Africa decided not to send a side over fears they would not be competitive.
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The men's outfit twice failed to gain direct qualification this year, firstly through the World League and then at the Oceania Series, and as a result lost $50,000 in funding in the latest round of high performance allocations.

Hockey New Zealand chairman Dean Ellwood confirmed a recruitment process to replace Harris will commence shortly, while praising his work during his time in charge.

"We are confident the 2016-2020 strategic plan will provide the framework for another five years of growth and success," said Ellwood.

"The relationship between Hockey New Zealand and the regions, associations and clubs has been positive over recent years and our strong family of commercial and funding partners has assisted us to deliver not only on the international stage but importantly, at a grass roots level as well."


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