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News for 02 March 2016

All the news for Wednesday 2 March 2016

Argentina strike back to level Black Sticks series

Photo: Hernan Pablo Barrios

Hosts Argentina have narrowly overcome the Black Sticks Women 2-1 in the fifth test to level the series with one game to play.

Following a goalless first half, striker Olivia Merry scored the lone goal for New Zealand 12 minutes into the third quarter in response to Argentina’s opening goal four minutes earlier.

With the game heading towards a draw, Argentina delivered the game winner with just three minutes remaining through an Augustina Habif strike.

Black Sticks assistant coach Sean Dancer said losing in the last few minutes was tough to digest.

“What was disappointing was our lack of pressure and urgency on the ball and Argentina were dominant throughout the game,” he said.

“I think playing back to back games took some sting out of us today but it’s important that we are able to back up performances better in the lead-up to Rio.”

The result sees the six test series in Mar del Plata at a stalemate with two wins to each team along with a draw.

The sixth test now serves as a potential series winner at 11:00am on Friday (NZ time).

The Argentina series serves as an important part of the team’s build-up to the Hawke’s Bay Cup in April, FIH Champions Trophy in June and Rio Olympic Games in August.

BLACK STICKS 1: (Olivia Merry)
ARGENTINA 2: (Lucina von der Heyde, Augustina Habif)
Halftime: 0-0

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Disappointing loss for women's Black Sticks

By David Leggat

The Black Sticks react during the international women's hockey test against Argentina. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand have a day to reflect on their poorest performance of the six-match series against Argentina before attempting to bounce back and win it on Friday.

Having gone 2-1 in the series on the strength of consecutive 3-2 and 4-1 wins, the world No 4 Black Sticks were well off the pace in losing game five 2-1 in Mar del Plata, leaving coach Mark Hager distinctly unimpressed.

Canterbury attacker Olivia Merry got the only goal for New Zealand against the world No 2 Argentina. The result means the rubber is all square 2-2 with the decider to be played on Friday (NZT).

"We were very poor. We didn't turn up," Hager said.

"We were on the back foot from the start and never really recovered. We got to 1-1 but honestly we were probably lucky with that."

"Because we won last night we thought it was going to happen, rather than making it happen.

"In the end we were our own worst enemies. We've got to learn to be better in those situations and we're not, so it's very disappointing."

The first game was a 2-2 draw, Argentina won the second 1-0, New Zealand took the third 3-2 and the fourth 4-1 before today's setback.

Taking a series win home from Argentina would be a considerable feather in the Black Sticks' cap, especially with everything geared towards being ready for a big campaign at the Rio Olympics in August.

Thursday (NZT) is a rest day and a trip to the beach, but rather than delivering any rockets or hockey's equivalent of naughty boy nets, Hager says much of the responsibility now rests with the players.

"Everybody's just got a bit of soul searching to do," Hager said.

The New Zealand Herald

Argentina hit back against Black Sticks women to level series

Olivia Merry scored New Zealand's only goal in the fifth-test defeat to Argentina. JOHN COWPLAND/PHOTOSPORT

Black Sticks women's assistant coach Sean Dancer was left bemoaning a lack of intensity after his side lost the fifth test to Argentina to set up a potential series decider.

The Kiwis went into the clash in Mar del Plata on the back of an impressive 4-1 victory in the fourth test, but couldn't carry that momentum into Wednesday's match as they conceded a late goal to lose 2-1.

Following a goalless first half, striker Olivia Merry scored the lone goal for New Zealand 12 minutes into the third quarter in response to Argentina's opener four minutes earlier.

With the game heading towards a draw, the hosts delivered the game winner with just three minutes remaining through an Augustina Habif strike.

"What was disappointing was our lack of pressure and urgency on the ball and Argentina were dominant throughout the game," Dancer said.

"I think playing back to back games took some sting out of us today but it's important that we are able to back up performances better in the lead-up to Rio."

Argentina's victory sees the six-test series locked at 2-2 along with a draw, with game six on Friday at 11am (NZ time).

Argentina 2 (Lucina von der Heyde, Augustina Habif) beat New Zealand 1 (Olivia Merry). HT: 0-0


Green Machine Beat France 1-0

Ireland prevailed on a chilly and wet evening in the Merrion Fleet Arena at Rathdown School. The men in green enjoyed the majority of the possession and looked in control for large parts of the encounter but some loose passing meant the Green Machine didn’t have it all their own way thanks to the pacey French counter attack.

The Green Machine put pressure on France from the starting whistle and the ball rarely crossed the threshold into the Irish half unless it was being duly marshalled by Gleghorne and Gormley. The two sides exchanged half-chances before Mitch Darling broke down the left and into the circle, and fired into the bottom corner on his reverse, 1-0 to Ireland. There were chances aplenty as both Loughrey and Watt swept the ball across the face of goal only for their team mates , Cargo and Lee Cole, to just miss the vital touch on the far post.

David Harte was forced into action as the French were quick to pick up any loose passes by the men in green and break into the circle at pace. Blistering shots by Shimmins, Watt and O’Donoghue all drew strong saves but couldn’t give Ireland the 2 goal cushion they would have liked. France grew into the game and enjoyed periods of possession that mirrored those of the Irish in the first quarter. The game drew to a close with a PC to France that ricocheted off the post, leaving Ireland with the 1-0 victory.

The two sides meet again tomorrow evening at 6pm in the Merrion Fleet Arena at Rathdown School .

Ireland 1 (Darling)
France 0


1.       Jonny Bell – Lisnagarvey
2.       Matthew Bell – Banbridge
3.       Drew Carlisle – Banbridge
4.       Chris Cargo – Racing
5.       Peter Caruth - Monkstown
6.       Stephen Cole – Monkstown
7.       Lee Cole – Monkstown
8.       Mitch Darling – TRR
9.       Stuart Loughrey – H&W
10.   Neal Glassey – Lisnagarvey
11.   Paul Gleghorne – Lisnagarvey
12.   Ronan Gormley – Krefeld
13.   David Harte (GK) – Kampong
14.   Alan Sothern – Pembroke Wanderers
15.   Shane O Donoghue – Dragons
16.   Michael Robson – Annadale
17.   Michael Watt – Lisnagarvey
18.   Kirk Shimmins – Pembroke Wanderers
19.   David Fitzgerald (GK) – Monkstown
20.   Gareth Watkins – Monkstown

Irish Hockey Association media release

Senior Grand Masters to take on England

Scotland Senior Grand Masters (O70) will play England in a friendly international at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre on Wednesday 2 Match (12.30)

Scotland, bronze medallists in the 2015 European Cup in London, have still to beat England who finished in silver medal position following a 2-0 win over Scotland in the semi final.

Coached by Murray Paton and managed by Alan Auld, the Scots will give debuts to Roy Crichton, Nigel Dixon, Alistair Philip and Doug Turner.

Squad: Alan Bremner, David Cassell (Captain), Roy Crichton, Nigel Dixon (GK), Ian Downie, Andy Ferrol, David Margerison, Doug Morrice, Donald Paterson, Alistair Philip, Robbie Robertson, Alan Strachan, Colin Tucker, Doug Turner, Sandy Weir.

Sadly missed from the squad will be keeper Guy Leighton, who passed away suddenly on Friday 27 February. Guy had represented Scotland at Over 60 and Over 65 level over a long period of years and was looking forward to a place in the Over 70 squad.

There will be a minute’s silence before the match in memory of Guy and of Jess Toner, wife of umpire Gerry Toner, who also passed away recently.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Junior and Senior Men camps to commence in Bengaluru

The camps for both the senior and the junior team respectively are scheduled to be organized from 7th March, 2016 – 8th April, 2016 and 7th March 2016 – 2nd April, 2016 at the SAI Centre, Bengaluru.

The coaching camps in Bengaluru will set the tone for the rest of the year for Indian hockey. The 4th Coal India Hockey India League has seen the emergence of many new prospects for Indian hockey, both at the junior and senior level who have also been included in the camp. The importance of the camp increases even more considering that the Rio Olympics and the Junior World Cup are scheduled for later this year. A total of 32 and 33 players have been announced for the junior and senior core probables respectively.

The 33 senior probables: Goalkeepers: P.R. Sreejesh, Harjot Singh, Akash Chikte

Defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, Pardeep Mor, Jasjit Singh Kular, Birender Lakra, V.R. Raghunath, Kothajit Singh, Sumit, Surender Kumar, Gurjinder Singh, Amit Gowda

Midfielders: Danish Mujtaba, Chinglensana Singh, Manpreet Singh, Sardar Singh, Satbir Singh, Dharamvir Singh, S.K. Uthappa, Devinder Walmiki, Nithin Thimmaiah

Forwards: Affan Yousuf, Talwinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, S.V. Sunil, Lalit Upadhyay, Mohd. Amir Khan, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah, Malak Singh, Yuvraj Walmiki.

The 32 junior probables:

Goalkeepers: Pankaj Kumar Rajak, Suraj Karkera, Kishan B. Pathak, Vikas Dahiya

Defenders: Anand Lakra, Dipsan Tirkey, Gurinder Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Neelam Sanjeep Xess, Pradeep Singh, Hardik Singh, Dharminder Singh

Midfielders: Vikramjit Singh, Ajay Yadav, Baljeet Singh Boparai, Manpreet, Nilakanta Sharma, Santa Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Harjeet Singh, Manpreet Singh, Kanwardilraj Singh, Sunil, Shamsher Singh

Forwards: Gurjant Singh, Sumit Kumar, Ajit Kumar Pandey, Armaan Qureshi, Parvinder Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Mohammad Umar.


Women’s hockey takes a hit as strategy coach exits

Sabi Hussain

New Delhi: In a big setback to the Indian women’s hockey team, Mathias Ahrens has resigned as the strategy coach of the team “on personal grounds”, just five months before the Rio Olympics.

Ahrens, who joined the team in May last year, ahead of the World League semifinals, tendered his resignation to Hockey India (HI) chief Narinder Batra last week. “Ahrens has resigned due to some family reasons. He did not want to continue. We have already identified his replacement,” Batra said. While Batra wouldn’t disclose the actual reason behind Ahrens leaving the team, it has been learnt from knowledgeable sources that the Canadian was not comfortable working under chief coach Andrew Neil Hawgood.

Ahrens was originally appointed as the head coach of the women’s team last year, six months after Hawgood had abruptly resigned as the chief coach in November 2014 without giving any specific reason. After Hawgood left, HI had roped in New Zealand’s Anthony Thornton in January 2015. But Thornton failed to turn up to take up his duties, which left the women’s team without a head coach for close to six months before Ahrens arrived.

It turned out that Hawgood had joined as a consultant with the Malaysian Hockey Confederation, overseeing the progress of their men’s national team. But, in an interesting turn of events, the 53-year-old former Australian player returned to India as an assistant coach on October 28. His mandate was to help Ahrens in building strategies for the women’s team in the run-up to the Rio Games.

However, three days after he joined, HI appointed Hawgood as the chief coach while demoting Ahrens as strategy coach after a discussion with the players. Batra had then informed that the players had been finding it difficult to adjust to the coaching style of Ahrens, and also that the decision had not been forced upon on Ahrens.

But, just three months after his role was considerably scaled down by HI, Ahrens has bid adieu to Indian hockey. The Canadian, whose contract was to run until December 2016, has left at a crucial juncture when the team’s preparation for the Olympics is in full swing. Expectations have been raised because of the hype created last year when the women’s team qualified to play in the Olympics for the first time since 1980. The team is slated to play a number of friendlies in the coming months against top-ranked nations such as Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the USA.

HI would rope in a new strategy coach, but experts believe that the change can prove to be disruptive as the new coach would bring in his own methods, which would be different from those of Ahrens.

Australia’s David Ian Bell is likely to replace Ahrens. Bell, a former hockey player, was part of the silver medal-winning team at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

The Tribune

Hockey India gives clean chit to Sardar

Sabi Hussain

New Delhi: Hockey India (HI) president Narinder Batra has thrown his weight behind Sardar Singh with regard to the sexual exploitation charges levelled against him by an England hockey player of Indian origin.

Asserting that Sardar “wasn’t at fault”, Batra said the player had the full backing of the federation on the issue. “First of all, it was their personal matter. HI doesn’t interfere in anyone’s personal life. I’ve the highest regard for women, but HI would have taken action against Sardar had he been at fault,” he said.

“Did Bill Clinton (former US president) resign? Then why are you after Sardar? Leave him alone and let him concentrate on the Rio Olympics preparations. I was aware of this matter for the last one-and-a-half-years, HI is with him.”

But did HI make their own investigations into the matter or even met the girl? It doesn’t seem so. It has been learnt that the complainant did try to get in touch with HI’s senior officials, but she never got an audience.

Speaking on another contentious issue — playing friendly matches with Pakistan in the run-up to the Rio Games — Batra said it was out of question until the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) apologises for its players’ behaviour in the semifinal of the Champions Trophy in December 2014.

The Tribune

Mismanagement mars Pakistan's National Jr Women Hockey opening day

Mohsin Ali

ISLAMABAD - It was complete chaos witnessed at the inaugural ceremony of the 4th U-18 National Junior Women Hockey Championship 2016, which started here at Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.

Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar stayed away from the stadium for the second day in running despite confirming to attend the inaugural ceremony as chief guest while none of the PHF officials and even women wing secretary Tanzeela Amir Cheema bothered to attend the ceremony.

When this correspondent contacted Brig Khalid to the reason behind his absence from the PHF-owned national hockey event, Sajjad failed to give any logical reply. When asked who was responsible at the venue to guide media and others, who, despite security issues due to closure of roads, had reached the venue, Brig replied: “The PHF women wing is looking after the affairs.” In reality, not a single PHF and women wing official was present there, while Naveed Alam reached the Naseer Bunda Stadium from Lahore despite facing a lot of difficulties, but the persons, who were very much present in Islamabad, failed to reach the spot.

The sources present on the occasion lamented that with such pathetic mismanagement and irregularities, how could the PHF officials think about regaining past hockey glory. If the PHF can’t organise the local and national level events in a befitting manners, then they should forget about hosting international hockey teams in the country.”

Further disclosing the sorry state of the national event, the sources said: “The players were wearing socks of different colors, umpiring standard was also highly substandard, while majority of players were looking quite overage.”

When this scribe contacted PHF director development and domestic Naveed Alam, who is also tournament age scrutiny committee chairman, to seek his point of view regarding age scrutiny issue, he said: “We rely on documents and don’t have any other source of confirming the exact nature of age of the players. The PHF should have first made proper arrangements, ensured media persons given proper information and should have deputed someone who could update media on matches.”

When this scribe contacted women wing secretary Tanzeela Amir Cheema to know her whereabouts, she said: “Due to heavy traffic-jam, I couldn’t reach well in time. But I promise computers will be installed properly for media persons who will be duly updated about results and other information. The PHF officials must ensure their presence at the venue to boost players’ morale so that they may perform extraordinary.”

In all, four matches were played on Tuesday. In the first match of pool A, Punjab Colours thrashed KP 10-1, thanks to Rimsha Ilyas’ hat-trick, while Saba Riaz and Aqsa Javed also scored a brace. Tabina, Sarwar, Yusra Khawar and Kinza Azam also scored a goal each for the winners, while Fristha hit consolation goal for KP.
In the second match of the day of pool B, Baluchistan beat Sindh Colors 2-0.

Asma and Saliha scored one goal apiece for the winners. In the third match of pool A played between Punjab Whites and Sindh Whites, Punjab hammered Sindh 7-0. Hoor Zulfiqar was star performer for Punjab netting four goals, while Ayesha Kanwal slammed two and Amina Mumtaz contributed one.

In the fourth and last match of the day of pool B, Pak Board outclassed Islamabad 5-2. Nadia Asghar scored the second hat-trick of the event, while Madiha and Maham Fiaz hit one goal apiece for Pak Board. Fareeha and Khansa converted one goal each for the losers.

A total of four matches will be played today (Wednesday). In pool A, Punjab Colors will take on Punjab Whites, while KP will face Sindh Whites. In pool B, Islamabad will play against Baluchistan and Sindh Colors will vie against Pak Board.

The Nation

35th Under-21 National Hockey Championship rolls into action today

LAHORE: Sixteen departmental and provincial teams will feature in the 35th Under-21 National Hockey Championship which is starting at the National Hockey Stadium here on Wednesday (today). Four matches will be played on the opening day. "The championship is a very important event of the annual calendar of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, which helps to spot future talent for the national team. The championship will also help the PHF to select the national team for the Junior World Cup 2016," said a spokesman for the PHF on Tuesday.

The participating teams have been divided into four pools. Pool A comprises National Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan Police, Pakistan Board and Punjab Whites. Pool B has Balochistan, Pakistan Railways, Khyber Paktunkhawa Colours and Pakistan WAPDA. Pool C includes Sui Southern Gas Company, Pakistan Army, Sindh and Islamabad. Pool D has Punjab Colours, Pakistan Customs, Pakistan Ordnance Factory and Khyber Paktunkhawa Whites. The quarterfinals will be played on March 8 and the semifinals will be held on March 10. March 11 will be the rest day. The final of the championship will be played on March 12. During the national event, an exhibition match between Olympians XI and Lahore Media XI will be played on March 9.

Meanwhile, the manager of the Pakistan Whites hockey team, Shahid Pervaiz Bhandara, will address a press conference at the National Hockey Stadium on Wednesday (today) at 3:00 pm. Pervaiz Bhandara will share his observations of the Indian tour with the national media. The coaches of the Pakistan Whites team - Olympians Mohammed Saqlain and Rehan Butt - will also attend the press conference. Pakistan won gold medal in the recently concluded 12th South Asian Games at Guwahati, beating India 1-0 in the final.

Today's matches:

Punjab Colours vs Pakistan Ordnance Factory
Sui Southern Gas Company vs Sindh
NBP vs Pakistan Boards
WAPDA vs Railways.

The Daily Times

Fiji ready to host

Pravin Narain

THE Fiji Hockey Federation is working hard to bring the Oceania series to Fiji later this year.

National coach Hector Smith said Fiji had what it took to host the tournament.

"We are working on plans to bring World Series (Oceania) to Fiji,"

"There are two other Pacific Island countries Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu trying to take the tournament to their country.

"We will be informed where the tournament will be played in mid March."

This year also marks the 100 years of hockey in the country and there are big plans for the celebration.

FHF has sent invitations to China and India and they are still waiting for their reply.

Smith said with the tournament venue not confirmed yet Fiji was ready to play anywhere.

"We are not sure where it will be held but the players are ready to play either in PNG or Vanuatu," he added.

"We also have good facilities and accommodation in Fiji which should not be a problem for us to host.

"In the past we have never won a sliver or bronze apart from gold in every South Pacific Games. We have come a long way in the past 100 years."

The tournament will be held in June.

The Fiji Times

USA Field Hockey Announces Board Coach Director

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Field Hockey is pleased to announce and welcome Richard Hayden to the Board of Directors. Hayden will be serving on the board through 2016 as the Coach Director.

“Congratulations to Richard on being elected by his coach member peers,” said Simon Hoskins, USA Field Hockey Executive Director. “Richard has had a lifelong involvement in field hockey and brings a wealth of organizational planning and marketing experience to USA Field Hockey that will help us at the strategic and governance level as we focus on our mission to serve members, grow the game and succeed internationally.”

Hayden was introduced to field hockey 40 years ago in Ireland and for him it has been a lifelong passion. He is very involved in the sport and has and continues to coach in the Futures Program, at the National Futures Championship and AAU Junior Olympics. He is involved in a new high school program in Loudon, Va. and also works with athletes at the grassroots level. He also plays for the dcDragons and represented Team USA on the O-50 team at the Master’s World Cup in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Hayden has also umpired at the club, high school and college levels. He is currently the Senior Vice President of Product Management and Marketing at Unanet, a fast-growing software company in Washington D.C.

“I am delighted to join USA Field Hockey’s Board of Directors and look forward to contributing my business and management experience to help strengthen and grow the organization,” said Hayden. "With my life-long passion for field hockey as player, coach and umpire, I am excited to work with all members of USA Field Hockey to develop the sport in U.S.”

USFHA media release

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