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News for 17 March 2016

All the news for Thursday 17 March 2016

Strong comeback sees Black Sticks draw

Photo: www.photosport.nz

Three second half goals have helped the Black Sticks Men secure a 3-3 draw against Korea in the first of four tests at Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium in Auckland.

Korea scored three unanswered goals to open a handy buffer before a brilliant fightback from New Zealand saw them equalise with just five seconds remaining in the game.

It was a special outing for captain Simon Child who brought up his 250th test cap in front of a vocal home crowd.

Head coach Colin Batch said it was disappointing to let Korea get ahead by three goals but the determination to fight until the final whistle was pleasing.

“Korea had one goal shot and two corners in the first half so their conversion was very good, but we know they are traditionally strong at corners,” he said.

“We were very composed even that far down, it’s not easy to come from behind but we played collectively and there are some good positives there.

“In this game alone we had a lot of different challenges thrown at us and ultimately that will help our progression towards Rio.”

Korea were first to strike in the 20th minute after capitalising on the opening penalty corner of the game when Dong Hyeon Yoon deflected in from the left post.

The visitors extended their lead five minutes later from another penalty corner, this time Jihun Yang putting a flick past the outstretched leg of goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex.

Leading 2-0 at halftime, Korea pushed their advantage out to three goals early in the second half with another corner conversion from Yang.

Following the goal momentum swung New Zealand’s way and the pressure poured onto the Korean defence.

Defender Kane Russell finally got the Black Sticks on the scoreboard in the 35th minute after putting a precision flick into the bottom of the goal.

Late in the third quarter Nick Wilson pegged another one back after muscling into the circle and hitting a loose ball past the grounded keeper.

Then five seconds from fulltime striker Blair Hilton smashed home a bouncing ball to equalise and secure the draw.

The Black Sticks are back in action against Korea tomorrow night, with LIVE coverage from Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium on SKY Sport 4 at 7pm.

Pre-sale tickets are still available for the remaining three tests and are cheaper online that at the gate through www.dashtickets.co.nz

BLACK STICKS 3: (Kane Russell, Nick Wilson, Blair Hilton)
KOREA 3: (Jihun Yang 2, Dong Hyeon Yoon)
Halftime: Korea 2-0

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Hilton seals last-gasp draw for Black Sticks

By David Leggat

Blair Hilton helped New Zealand salvage a draw against Korea. Photo / Getty

A goal five seconds from the end by attacker Blair Hilton gave New Zealand a dramatic 3-3 draw in the opening international of their four-game series against South Korea at Auckland's Lloyd Elsmore Park tonight.

The eighth-ranked Black Sticks were worth a share of the points, but the Koreans, ranked one place lower, may wonder how they managed to squander a 3-0 lead early in the third quarter.

The Koreans, who failed to qualify for this year's Rio Olympics and are in rebuilding mode, were the better side through the first two quarters. Their control was superior, they counter attacked strongly, and were slick and quick in their movements.

However New Zealand were clearly stronger over the last two 15-minute periods. At one point they launched a string of shots on the Korean goal, only to be deprived by fine work from the Korean goalkeeper Doo Pyo Hong and desperate defenders.

The first five goals came from penalty corners.

Dong Hyeon Yoon got the first, having taken the penalty corner, before sprinting in on goal to deflect a drive past keeper Kyle Pontifex.

Jihun Yang got the second and third with slick, powerful drag flicks.

However that third goal acted as a spur to set up New Zealand's best period of the match.

Kane Russell punched a firm, low drive into the Korean goal from New Zealand's first penalty corner and it seemed to give the Black Sticks more self belief and confidence in their link play

Nick Wilson got the second, bundling the ball in from close range after combining well with captain Simon Child, who was celebrating his 250th international tonight.

Then came Hilton's late strike, set up by Nick Ross's drive into the circle.

''We showed really good fight in the second half and got the reward we deserved in the end," Child said.

''They looked after the ball really well (in the first half), had good structure and we were probably guilty of not taking our chances in the first half, but were more creative in the second."

The teams meet in game two at the same venue tomorrow night.

New Zealand are coming off a 2-1 series win over 13th-ranked Malaysia last week. This series continues their buildup to Rio.

The New Zealand Herald

Black Sticks pull off incredible fightback to draw first test against Korea

New Zealand's Blair Hilton (R) celebrates his last-gasp equaliser in the first test against Korea. ANTHONY AU-YEUNG/PHOTOSPORT

The Black Sticks men's side have snatched a stunning 3-3 draw in the opening match of the four-test series against Korea in Auckland.

Down 3-0 early in the second-half, New Zealand stormed home on the back of goals by Kane Russell and Nick Wilson before Blair Hilton found the equaliser with just five seconds left on the clock.

After goalless first quarter at Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium, it was all one-way traffic in the second as Korea raced to a 2-0 lead by half-time.

Dong Hyeon Yoon opened the scoring from a penalty corner before a nice drag flick from Jihun Yang doubled their lead.

New Zealand's hopes of mounting a second-half resurgence took a blow just one minute after the break when Yang grabbed his second to leave the home team in a massive hole.

The fightback eventually came, though, with Kane Russell breaking through to finally get them on the board.

Nick Wilson then muscled his way through the defence to fire a loose ball into the goal and set up a tense final quarter.

The Black Sticks had several chances but Korea seemed destined to hang on.

Enter Hilton, who came to the rescue with a clinical finish to clinch the remarkable result.

"Korea had one goal shot and two corners in the first half so their conversion was very good, but we know they are traditionally strong at corners," New Zealand coach Colin Batch said.

"We were very composed even that far down, it's not easy to come from behind but we played collectively and there are some good positives there.

"In this game alone we had a lot of different challenges thrown at us and ultimately that will help our progression towards Rio."

Korea won't have long to dwell on the collapse with the teams meeting again at the same venue on Thursday night.

Black Sticks 3 (Kane Russell, Nick Wilson, Blair Hilton) drew with Korea 3 (Jihun Yang 2, Dong Hyeon Yoon). HT: 0-2.


Kookaburras squad for Azlan Shah

Youngsters Blake Govers, Tom Craig & Flynn Ogilvie return

The Kookaburras’ preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games will step up another gear next month at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia with Head Coach Graham Reid naming a strong squad for the annual invitational.

Reid and the selectors have made six changes to the squad that won the World League Final in India last December, the most notable of which are the returns of young athletes Blake Govers, Tom Craig and Flynn Ogilvie.

Experienced defender and penalty corner specialist Chris Ciriello is also included, as is Jake Whetton, who like Govers was due to play in the World League competition before succumbing to injury. Tristan White is the sixth inclusion.

“It’s a strong team, which reflects the importance we put on the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, particularly this year in our preparations for the Olympic Games,” said Reid.

“The Azlan Shah will provide us with a significant portion of the competition we need ahead of Rio and we’ll be using it to test a lot of the scenarios we might come across at the Olympics. We’ll also be using it to test our off-field staff.”

On the athlete selections themselves, Reid added, “Tom Craig has made good inroads in his development in recent months. He didn’t go to the Hockey India League, which allowed him to spend the time getting his body right after missing a large part of 2015 through injury.

“Flynn Ogilvie has also worked hard and is someone we want to see playing amongst quality players.

“We’re conscious that at this stage, 142 days out from Rio, we need to manage the load on a group of players with niggling injuries and those who have played a lot of hockey in the past 12 months to give them the best chance of being in contention for the Games, which is why there are a number of more familiar faces missing.

“We’ve just returned to full training following the Hockey India League so you wouldn’t really say the players have had much of a break. We’re very happy with how connected they were to us in the national program while they were competing in the Hockey India League and I think we’ve utilised the HIL well.”

The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is an annual invitational tournament, this year featuring seven of the world’s top 16 nations, including fellow Olympic qualifiers New Zealand, India and Canada. Hosts Malaysia, Pakistan and Japan make up the remaining teams.

The tournament, which runs 6-16 April in Ipoh, marks the start of a packed Olympic run-in for the Kookaburras, coming ahead of a series of matches against Great Britain and the Champions Trophy, which was recently moved from Argentina to London.

Blake Govers returns to competitive international hockey for the first time since breaking his ankle, while Whetton also returns after missing out on the World League with a torn quad. Whetton should make his 100th appearance for Australia in the Kookaburras’ opening match against India.

Matt Gohdes is another anticipating a major milestone with his 150th appearance in sight so long as he plays in each of the seven matches, while Jeremy Hayward is expected to make his 50th appearance in the green and gold during the competition.

Eight-times winners of the event, the Kookaburras lost the 2015 final on a shoot-out to New Zealand after a thrilling 2-2 draw.

Amongst those not selected, Kieran Govers is returning from a hamstring injury while Glenn Turner is only just back from a groin injury. Both will continue their recovery in Australia.

Kookaburras’ squad for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
Ipoh, Malaysia, 6-16 April 2016
Andrew Charter (Canberra, ACT)
Chris Ciriello (Melbourne, VIC)
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW)
Matthew Dawson (Central Coast, NSW)
Jamie Dwyer (Rockhampton, QLD)
Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD)
Blake Govers (Wollongong, NSW)
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT)
Fergus Kavanagh (Geraldton, WA)
Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD)
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA)
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS)
Flynn Ogilvie (Wollongong, NSW)
Simon Orchard (Maitland, NSW)
Matthew Swann (Mackay, QLD)
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD)
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW)
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA)

Kookaburras’ Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Fixtures
Thursday 7 April – Kookaburras v India – 6:05pm AEST / 4:05pm AWST
Saturday 9 April – Kookaburras v Malaysia – 10:35pm AEST / 8:35pm AWST
Sunday 10 April – Kookaburras v Pakistan – 8:05pm AEST / 6:05pm AWST
Tuesday 12 April – Kookaburras v New Zealand - 6:05pm AEST / 4:05pm AWST
Wednesday 13 April – Kookaburras v Japan – 8:05pm AEST / 6:05pm AWST
Friday 15 April – Kookaburras v Canada – 8:05pm AEST / 6:05pm AWST
Saturday 16 April – Classification Matches

Kookaburras’ Olympic Preparations
6-16 April – Sultan Azlan Shah Cup (Ipoh, Malaysia)
21-24 May – Kookaburras v Great Britain (Western Australia – details to be confirmed)
10-17 June – Men’s Champions Trophy (London, GB)

Hockey Australia media release

Blake Govers back for Kookaburras

Forward Blake Govers is one of six players returning for the Kookaburras as they ramp up their preparations for the Rio Olympics.

Prominent goalscorer Blake Govers will make his return to the Kookaburras' squad in next month's Sultan Azlan Shah Cup as they ramp up their preparation for the Rio Olympics.

Govers suffered a broken leg in last year's World Hockey League in India, but is one of six players returning for the tournament in Malaysia against the likes of New Zealand, India and Canada.

Jake Whetton, who also missed the Indian tournament with a torn quad, is another to make a comeback from injury, while Tom Craig is also back after overcoming a hip injury which kept him out for the majority of 2015.

But it's the inclusion of forward Govers which will make coach Graham Reid most excited.

The 19-year-old made his international debut last year, and was top-scorer with seven goals at last July's Olympic qualifier World League tournament in Belgium.

And his return couldn't have come at a better time, with the Kookaburras set to embark on a whirlwind five months, which will include the Malaysian tournament and June's Champions Trophy in London as they lead into the Rio Olympics.

"The Azlan Shah will provide us with a significant portion of the competition we need ahead of Rio and we'll be using it to test a lot of the scenarios we might come across at the Olympics," Reid said.

Australian squad: Andrew Charter, Chris Ciriello, Tom Craig, Matthew Dawson, Jamie Dwyer, Matt Gohdes, Blake Govers, Jeremy Hayward, Fergus Kavanagh, Mark Knowles, Tyler Lovell, Eddie Ockenden, Flynn Ogilvie, Simon Orchard, Matthew Swann, Jake Whetton, Tristan White, Aran Zalewski.


Irish Senior Cup Finals This Weekend

As the domestic season begins to draw to a close there are no fewer than 8 national cup finals to be played in the coming weeks at the National Hockey Stadium, UCD. The premier event amongst a plethora of a cup hockey is the Irish Senior Cup, one of the oldest hockey tournaments in the world. This year’s women’s final sees Ards take on reigning champions Ulster Elks, while in the men’s final Monkstown must put a halt to Lisnagarvey’s winning streak if they are to lift the cup.

Ulster Elks are the current holders of the women’s Irish Senior Cup and have been in imperious form of late, racking up 5 consecutive wins in the EY Hockey League. They were brought to penalty strokes by Pegasus in the quarter finals before putting 4 past UCD in the semi’s to comfortably book their place in the finals. Currently sitting in 4th place in the EY Hockey League leaves them in a precarious position if they are to make it to the EY Champions Trophy via the league route. However, the Irish Senior Cup winner automatically qualifies for the EY Champions Trophy so if they can retain their title they will be joining the top 3 teams from the EYHL in Banbridge on April 30th/May 1st. Speaking about the upcoming finals, Elks Coach Ricky Lee said “We have always traditionally been a cup team, able to raise our game for one off matches…

​ No matter what team we were to face it will be a very close, tough game and I'm sure that the smallest of margins will decide the winner”.

Ards arguably come into the final as the underdogs but they also hold the title of the first team to put a halt to the Hermes juggernaut this season when they toppled the Dublin club in penalty strokes in the semi-finals. Their quarterfinal wasn’t much easier either as they overcame Railway Union in penalty strokes, all the more impressive when one considers Railway can boast the lowest goals against record in the EYHL this season so far.

The men’s senior cup final between Monkstown and Lisnagarvey could be even harder to call as the two sides have one victory apiece against each other this season. Monkstown cruised to a 5-2 victory over Lisnagarvey back in October but since then Garvey have gone through the gears with some ease and that October loss is their only one to date. They look all but set to be crowned EY Hockey League winners and have their place booked in the EY Champions Trophy.

Monkstown equally look to have guaranteed themselves a place in Banbridge for the EY Champions Trophy as they seem unlikely to relinquish their tight hold on second place. The Dublin side have racked up 29 goals on their way to the finals and Head Coach Jonny Caren is relishing the chance to face Lisnagarvey for a third time this season “The two games this year against Lisnagarvey have been of a high quality, high intensity display of the sport, as it should be with double figure internationals on show. We know we didn’t play our best in the last game against them and are looking forward to putting that right this time round in a cup final”.

Upcoming Cup Final Fixtures

Irish Hockey Challenge (Men) Middleton vs Bray- March 19th 1pm
Irish Hockey Trophy (Men) Bandon vs Kilkenny- March 19th 3pm
Irish Senior Cup (Women) Ards vs Ulster Elks- March 20th 1pm
Irish Senior Cup (Men) Lisnagarvey vs Monkstown- March 20th 3pm
Irish Junior Cup (Women) Queens University vs Loreto Hockey Club- April 3rd 1pm
Irish Junior Cup (Men) Cork Church of Ireland vs Monkstown- April 3rd 3pm
Irish Hockey Challenge (Women) Blackrock HC vs Winner of Coleraine v Galway- April 9th 1pm
Irish Hockey Trophy (Women) Avoca vs Bandon- April 9th 3pm

Irish Hockey Association media release

Monkstown and Hermes hockey clubs set to merge

South Dublin set-ups await approval to unite for player benefit

Johnny Watterson

Monkstown Hockey Club and Hermes have agreed in principle to merge following meeting between the two clubs over the last two months.

Hermes, which does not have a men’s section and Monkstown, who have both male and female members, are expected to agree the move before the beginning of next season with a view to competing as one club for 2016/’17

Approval from Leinster, Ireland and Europe is being sought by the clubs so that Hermes will effectively take their place in next season’s EY Hockey League as Monkstown/Hermes with all of the other teams below that level playing as Monkstown.

In effect the move will make Monkstown one of the super mixed clubs, which is commonplace in Europe. Around 40 new members will make the move, making Monkstown a club with 600 young players and 200 senior players.

Hermes will bring their European level of hockey to Monkstown, which has a thriving women’s section but one that plays several levels below. Hermes will represent Ireland at European level this year.

It will be a huge change for the Donnybrook-based Hermes club, who have been in existence since 1966 but it is one that the clubs have approached in a very positive way. Both told their members on Monday that pending approval for the move it would be happening.

For Monkstown it will mean that for the first time in the club’s history there will be more women’s teams than men’s. The women will jump from four to seven teams with five men’s sides competing.
Top level
For the proposed new club ambitions for both the male and female players to play at the top level in Ireland and in Europe can be met.

“It is agreed in principle,” said a Monkstown spokesperson. “The good thing is there has been nothing negative from either side. It’s a good fit and from a Monkstown point of view it means that the young talent coming through can aspire to play at the top level whereas now it is very difficult to

The Irish Times

Men's Scottish Cup & Plate semi-finals preview

Gavin Byers, left, tussles with Kelburne's Michael Christie in the 2013 Scottish Cup final. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

The last four of the Men's Scottish Cup & Plate competitions will take place at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre on Saturday 19 March.
Men's Scottish Cup

Bromac Kelburne and Grove Menzieshill, the in-form teams in men’s hockey, clash in the first of Saturday’s cup semi-finals (14.45).

There is little to separate these two powerhouses; both sides are locked in joint first place at the top of Division 1, with the Dundonians slightly shading the head-to-head contests in the National League following a 5-3 win in September and a recent 1-1 draw.

The two sides have reached the last four with heavy wins in the competition’s previous rounds. Indeed, Kelburne have rattled in 31 goals in their three matches to date, while the Taysiders have dispatched 23 goals in only two rounds following a first stage bye.

Calling a winner in this match-up is no easy task.

In the second men’s semi-final (16.30), Edinburgh University will entertain PSL Team Sport Clydesdale.

The students progressed from an epic quarter-final against city rivals Grange, winning 4-3, to reach the penultimate stage of the cup. Clydesdale, meanwhile, found the going slightly easier with a 6-2 win over AAM Gordonians at Titwood in the last eight.

Edinburgh University are aiming for back-to-back cup final appearances. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

Recent form may favour the University, who have won their last two matches in the league, in this encounter.

But don’t count out the ‘Dale; they narrowly won the last league game between the two sides by a solitary goal.
Men's Scottish Plate

Early on Saturday, Division 2 rivals Erskine Stewart’s Melville FP and Falkirk GHG will meet in the first of the Men’s Scottish Plate semi-finals (11.15).

Falkirk will head into the match-up with confidence after a 5-2 win over Saturday’s opponents in the league last weekend.

Consequently, the capital outfit will need to raise the bar significantly if they are to progress to the final of this competition.

Falkirk GHG are aiming for another Scottish Plate final berth. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

Granite City Wanderers may consider themselves favourites when they play Stirling University in the second plate semi-final (13.00).

The students sit bottom of Division 3 after mustering only a win and draw in the league to date, while Wanderers comfortably sit within the top four of Division 2 after a solid season.

But the beauty of knock-out hockey is that it can always throw up an upset so don’t count the University out of this one yet.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Women's Scottish Cup & Plate semi-finals preview

Leigh Fawcett, Grove Menzieshill, in action against Dundee Wanderers in the 2010 Scottish Cup Final. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

The last four of the Women's Scottish Cup & Plate competitions will take place at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre on Sunday 20 March.

Women's Scottish Cup

City rivals Grove Menzieshill and Dundee Wanderers will meet in the first of Sunday’s cup semi-final ties (13.00, Pitch 1).

A well-worn cliché is that form goes out of the window in derby contests. However, Wanderers may well fancy their chances of upsetting their local adversaries after enjoying a five-match unbeaten run that includes a recent 3-1 win over Grove Menzieshill and a 3-3 draw with league leaders Edinburgh University.

Yet, Grove Menzieshill player-coach Linda Clement and her squad have an abundance of domestic experience at their disposal having tread the path to the final of this competition many times before, including a runners-up position last season.

Expect a close encounter.

Edinburgh University’s hopes of continuing their quest for a league and cup double will rest on the outcome of the second women’s semi-final against Western Wildcats (15.00, Pitch 1).

The students overcame league rivals Bromac Kelburne, Milne Craig Clydesdale Western and Watsonians to reach the last four and are in good form following a five-match unbeaten run in the league.

Wildcats, under the leadership of Scotland international Kaz Marshall, have a number of young promising players who have progressed rapidly in the past two seasons.

Wins against Grange EL, CALA Edinburgh and Hillhead Ladies have seen them reach this stage of the competitions, but they will need to considerably raise their game to cause an upset against the University, who they recently lost 6-0 to in the league.

Scotland's Kaz Marshall will lead her Western Wildcats side in a tough match against Edinburgh University. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

Women's Scottish Plate

Women’s Championship League rivals Dundee University Ladies and Milne Craig Clydesdale Western II will lock horns in the first of the Women’s Scottish Plate semi-finals (13.00, Pitch 2).

The University defeated Borders Fjordhus Reivers in the last round to reach the penultimate stage of the competition, while Clydesdale Western beat University of St. Andrew’s by a couple of goals to make their way to the semis.

Difficult to call a winner here.

Bromac Kelburne in action in last season's play-offs Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

Division 1 rivals GHK Ladies and Bromac Kelburne clash in the plate semi-final that follows, (15.00, Pitch 2), a second meeting in a matter of days following a crucial league encounter between the two sides scheduled for tomorrow.

Both teams have displayed dubious league form since the return of the outdoor season, with Kelburne losing their last four matches, and GHK losing three of their last five.

Perhaps the prospect of a plate final appearance will bolster both sides’ confidence going into Sunday’s tie.

Another closely fought game will be expected.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Nat U-16: Selangor Boys' edge Negri 2-1

By Jugjet Singh

SELANGOR Boys' edged Negri Sembilan 2-1 in the 1MAS-Milo National Under-16 hockey tournament to top Group C entering into the Second Round Thursday.

Six teams each from the Girls' and Boys' tournament, top-two teams from each of the three groups, were re-drawn for Round Two yesterday.

They will play two more matches each in Group X and Y, and the champions of each group will then play in the final, while the runners-up in third-fourth placing.

RESULTS: Boys' Group C: Kelantan 1 Perak 2, Selangor 2 Negri 1.

Girls' Group C: Perak 0 Penang 3, Sabah 4 Pahang 1.

Second Round: Boys Group X: Selangor, Sabah, Malacca; Group Y: Pahang, Terengganu, Johor.

Girls Group X: Negri, Malacca, Penang; Group Y: Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Kedah.

THURSDAY: Boys' Group X: Selangor v Malacca (KLHA, 4.15pm); Group Y: Terengganu v Johor (KLHA, 5.30pm).

Seventh-Ninth: Penang v Kuala Lumpur (MOE, 7.30am); 10th-13th: Kelantan v Kedah (KLHA, 3pm), Negri v Perlis (MOE, 3pm).

GIRLS' Group X: Penang v Malacca (MOE, 4.15pm); Group Y: Selangor v Kuala Lumpur (MOE, 5.30pm).

Seventh-Ninth: Sabah v Johor (KLHA, 7.30am); 10th-13th: Perak v Perlis (KLHA, 8.45am), Pahang v Kelantan (MOE, 8.45pm).

NOTE: All matches at Ministry of Education (MOE) and Kuala Lumpur HA (KLHA) stadiums at Jalan Pantai.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Selangor in second round of 1MAS hockey tournament

by S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: Selangor have picked up the last ticket to the second round of the 1MAS-Milo Under-16 hockey championships after edging Negri Sembilan 2-1 in their final Group C match at the KL Hockey Stadium.

The narrow win was enough for the Klang Valley side to pip Perak on goal difference after both teams were tied on nine points. Selangor join Johor in the next round while Perak, who defeated Kelantan 2-1, have been reduced to playing for minor placings.

Only the top two teams from each group advance to the second round.

Selangor scored through Mohd Arif Baharin (34th) and Al-Matin Danial Ramzi (47th) while Mohd Faiq Nazwan scored for Negri with a penalty stroke in the 43rd minute.

Selangor manager S. Tangaswaran admitted that his team did not perform to expectations “as they were tired”.

“It’s the heat. The players were lethargic, but we were lucky to take our chances. We managed to top the group ahead of Johor on goal difference.

“We have some minor injuries to worry about.”

Selangor head Group X in the second round and will have Malacca and Sabah for company. Group Y comprises Johor, Terengganu and defending champions Pahang.

Tangaswaran described it as a fair draw, with all teams having a fair chance of making the final.

“It’s going to be another tough outing for us against Malacca. We’re down to play again tomorrow (today) ... that doesn’t give us much time to recover. The humidity is making it tougher and the players are feeling the heat,” he said.

“We need to get ready and hope that the players can pace themselves during the game. There’s no room for error.”

In the other match, Perak needed a big win to make the second round, but it was Kelantan who went ahead in the 31st minute through Mohd Adam Daniel.

Perak drew level through Mohd Syazwan Syafiq in the 41st minute before Mohd Akram Hakim struck the winner six minutes later.

In the girls’ category, defending champions Penang and strong contenders Kedah have been kept apart in the second round.

Penang are in Group X with Malacca and Negri Sembilan while Kedah are in Group Y with Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have decided to include classification matches for teams (7th-13th) so as to give more playing time to the losing teams.

The Star of Malaysia

PHF says decision to skip Champions Trophy taken after thorough deliberations

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Khalid Sajjad Khokhar has said that the decision not to participate in the FIH Champions Trophy was taken after thorough deliberations. “The decision not to send our team to England to take part in the FIH Champions Trophy was not taken in oblivion as we held thorough discussion before pulling out of the event,” the PHF president said Wednesday. The timing of the Champions Trophy did not suit us, he said, arguing that Pakistan hockey was passing through the revival stage. “We’ve have selected some really talented players from the recently-held player identification and trial camps in different cities. But these young men, many of whom have no international exposure, need some time to settle down before featuring in important events as we don’t want to shatter their confidence,” Khalid reckoned.

The Champions Trophy considered as one of the most awaited events is held every two years with Britain being the hosts for this year’s Champions Trophy scheduled to take place from June 10 to 17 in London. It is important to remember that the FIH had given Pakistan a wildcard entry for the event and its president Leandro Negre in an interview has expressed disappointment over PHF’s decision not to send team for the event. However, Khalid said that he would talk to FIH president to explain the reasons behind staying away from the event.

“Leandro is a nice man. We are thankful to him for offering us a wildcard entry. However, I will apprise him about the reasons behind our decision of not fielding our team and I am sure he will understand our view point,” he maintained. He further said that the incumbent federation having taken over in August last year had clarified that it would need at least two to three years to raise a good outfit and bring Pakistan hockey at par with international standard. “We’ve clearly stated that we can’t change the situation overnight and will require some time to put our hockey back on track,” he maintained. “We’ve set a target for us and that is preparing a formidable side for the 2018 World Cup. The nation has shown trust in the federation and we don’t want to disappoint people by taking part in an event we know we won’t be able to finish at some respectable place,” Khalid stated.

The Daily Times

Chasing The Dream with USWNT Athlete Julia Reinprecht

At the keystone, the perfectly crafted wedge that holds together an ever-evolving mini galaxy of personal and professional life, of Julia Reinprecht’s foundation, you’ll find family. The Perkasie, Pa. native and USWNT defender hails from a home that maintains an incredibly tight bond.

“My family is extremely close,” said Julia. “I don’t know what it is, but we always had that dynamic growing up. My sisters and I always bickered growing up, but that phase has passed.”

As a child, Julia not only shared her wardrobe with her two sisters in typical sibling fashion, but also a vast love for hockey. This hobby turned into an incredible journey that swept all three Reinprecht sisters to Princeton University. Throughout her colleague career, the fire to succeed was only fanned and as the flames grew higher, Julia knew there was only one other direction to go – up.  Watching her older sister Katie dominate on Team USA and hearing her votes of encouragement, Julia envisioned herself representing the United States. She reached and received. In 2010, her name was printed on a national team uniform. In 2012, her name flashed upon the London 2012 Olympic Games scoreboard as USA roster was announced. Was conquering these massive milestones a solo effort? Hardly.

“My family is really the reason that Katie and I are on this team together,” said Julia. “They raised us to pursue what we wanted and pushed us to our passion of field hockey.”

Endless amounts of support pour in from Julia’s sisters and parents. And for the Reinprecht’s, family also includes fur.

“When I grew up my parents raised us with a lot of pets,” said Julia. “We had rabbits, dogs, hamsters, turtles, birds – an unlimited amount of animals. My grandparents owned a farm which helped draw on this and my aunt now runs this farm in New York.”

Being exposed to animals made Julia naturally fall in love with them. However, her busy schedule of training and practice with Team USA does not permit much wiggle room to take care of critters.

”Though my animals are at my parents' house, I enjoy the extra burst of energy they give or when they cuddle up with me when I am resting on the couch,” said Julia.

As the Champions Trophy and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games draw even closer, Julia reflects on one of the team’s mantras: united.

“United means family,” said Julia. “This group of girls and this united theme we have been embodying has made us a family. It’s holding each other accountable, enjoying moments together and struggling together. With family being such an important part of who I am, having these girls as sisters means the struggles are a little easier and creates a powerful environment. United is everything for me with this team, having each other’s backs.”

When it comes to jerseys, there are two kits that bare the name Reinprecht on the back, but there are 26 jerseys that bare name USA on the front, forging another kind of family. And so, for Julia, home and hockey have become so intricately intertwined that it become difficult to tell the difference.

USFHA media release

Margaret is the new kid on the block

Sarah Juggins

Margaret Pham (Canada)   

Margaret Pham is a rising star in the Canadian hockey team. She was 15 years old when selected for the junior national squad for an U21 match against the USA. She says of that experience: “I was so nervous and was afraid to make a mistake but I reminded myself to work hard and be proud to represent my country. Wearing the red and white is now one of my favourite feelings.”

That match was in the USA women’s team spiritual home in Pennsylvania, which added to the intensity of Margaret’s debut match. She says: “I remember playing my first couple minutes against USA and thinking, ‘wow this is what international competition is like’.  The game was a high intensity and very fast pace. It was a shock but after that, I knew I wanted to play at that level.”

With the Pan Am Junior Championship just around the corner, Margaret will have her opportunity to really shine in the red and white of Canada as they seek to prove the giant steps the nation’s hockey teams have been making in recent years. With the senior men off to the Olympics and the senior women winning through to the HWL semi-finals last year, there is a positive vibe around Team Canada at the moment.

With only a few weeks to go, Margaret’s excitement about the forthcoming event is palpable: “I am excited and nervous and am not really sure what to expect, as it will be my first international tournament. I can’t wait to get back with the team and play outdoor hockey again.”

And that is a salient point when it comes to realising how hard the young player has worked to force her way into the team. Margaret lives on the eastern side of Canada in Ontario, where the main form of hockey takes place on ice and Margaret spends a lot of her time training indoors because of the deep snow fall. However, she is far from alone in this respect, with 11 of the squad named for the tournament in Trinidad and Tobago hailing from Ontario.

A typical day for the teenager takes the form of school in the morning – she is a 12th grade student – from 8am to 2.30pm. She usually goes to the gym after school and works mainly on cardio and some strength training, then the weekends are filled with two intense hockey training sessions.

Margaret is encountering a steep learning curve at the moment. She was part of the squad that recently played test matches in Chile, an experience that she says has made a real impact. “Going on the Chile tour was the first time I had left North America and I got to experience a completely different culture from where I’m from.”

She is also learning just what it means to be part of a travelling squad, where you get to spend all day, every day with your teammates. “Being on tour and spending every moment with your teammates is so much fun. It’s quite a comedown when the tour ends because we are all like one big family.”

Like athletes in any sport, becoming an elite player has inevitable consequences. For Margaret, it has changed her plans for her future, meaning she will take a different university route to the route she had planned and, ultimately, a different career path.

“Becoming an international player has changed my whole future. It has been influential on me choosing a different path for my university then I had originally planned. I was looking at playing in the states on scholarship, as this is primarily the best option to continue playing at the highest level possible. But, since I was introduced to the national program, I decided that playing on the Canadian national team is my main goal. So I decided the best way to achieve that goal is to centralize with the national team in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“I was accepted to the University of British Columbia for the kinesiology program and I will be moving to BC as soon as I finish high school to train all summer. I am really excited and I know I am making the right decision.”

Certainly, for the foreseeable future, Margaret’s attention and focus is very much hockey-shaped. She is realistic and knows that as a new member to the squad this is very much a ‘honeymoon’ period, but, she says: “I am still young and just beginning in the program, but after capturing a glimpse of what it’s like to represent your country with teammates, there’s nothing else I’d rather do.  

“I know there will be up and downs along the way, which are necessary to getting anywhere. So I sincerely believe that if I work hard, all the sacrifices and disappointments will be rewarding.”

With less than three weeks to go before the Junior Pan Am Championship bursts into life, all the players are finding that hockey is becoming the only thing they can think about. As a student, who spends six hours a day at school, finding any kind of balance between school, hockey and social life must be pretty tough.

Margaret agrees. “It’s difficult to find a balance because I do spend the majority of the day at school. Time management is very important to balance training, school, and fun. After school, I make time to work-out and do my homework.  It’s also important to give myself breaks and in my spare time, I like to hang out with friends, go out to eat, Nordic ski, and chill at home.  I do enjoy very much spending time with my teammates whether at practice or in non-training environments.”

When it comes to the opposition, Canada have the prospect of meeting Argentina in the cross-over semi-finals if other matches go true to form. In past tournaments, only one team has ever beaten the blue and white team – Chile in the semi-finals in 2008 – but this is a new era of hockey and Margaret has high hopes of a spot in the final and a subsequent appearance at the Junior World Cup. “As a team, we definitely want to play in the final. It will be difficult but ultimately, we want to qualify to JWC and I think it’s possible. Personally, I want to be able to compete at an international pace and execute on the forward lines as much as possible.”

Margaret, who plays her hockey for A&C Field Hockey Academy, is not averse to the odd superstition, not least her pre-match ritual: “Before each game, I take time to rest and have a snack; usually my favourite cereal, Vector. I go over my personal objectives and responsibilities for the game. Then I like to listen to music and get pumped up with the team in the change room.”

So, with three weeks to go, a heap of training under her belt and a box of Vectors in her suitcase, Margaret is all ready to embark on her first overseas hockey tournament and the biggest adventure of her life so far.

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

Scottish Hockey secures EuroHockey Nations Championship II hosting rights

Scottish Hockey is pleased to announce that the European Hockey Federation (EHF) has awarded it competition rights to host the Men’s EuroHockey Nations Championship II at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre in 2017.

The tournament will take place from 6-12 August 2017 and will feature Scotland, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, France, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine and Wales.

Following confirmation of the tournament being awarded to Scotland by the EHF, Scottish Hockey Chief Executive David Sweetman, said:

“Scottish Hockey is delighted to have been awarded the hosting rights for the men’s EuroHockey Championship II competition.

“The organisation is committed to supporting the objective of Scotland securing promotion to the Championship division in 2019 so providing a home advantage will help the senior men’s squad further its ambitions in this regard.

“Since the National Hockey Centre opened in 2013, we have actively sought opportunities to bring domestic, European and World level events to the city of Glasgow, with the objective of growing the sport’s profile and giving our athletes the best opportunity to succeed.

“We have also worked effectively in partnership with Glasgow Life, EventScotland, the International Hockey Federation and the EHF to demonstrate that Glasgow is a fantastic location for hockey supporters of all ages and that the 2014 Commonwealth Games hockey venue has a clear legacy.”

“We look forward to welcoming all seven nations to Glasgow and Scotland in 2017.”

Birdseye view of the venue

The Scots will be targeting a top two finish in the tournament’s second tier in order to secure promotion to the Championship division in 2019, where Europe’s best hockey nations compete.

Head Coach Derek Forsyth and his charges narrowly missed out on promotion in the Championship II division last year, when they finished third behind Poland and Austria.

The draw for the two pools will be confirmed by the EHF at a later date.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Cardiff to host Women's European Championships

Welsh Captain Abi Welford

Next summer top hockey teams from across Europe will descend on Cardiff for Women’s EuroHockey Championship Division II, following the announcement today by the European Hockey Federation (EHF) that Hockey Wales will host the event in 2017.

Hockey Wales CEO David Phenis said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be awarded such a prestigious international event. The tournament is not only fantastic news for our national women’s team and hockey fans, but also for Cardiff. It provides the opportunity to watch yet more world-class sporting action, and we are excited to be welcoming our European guests to this wonderful city.”

Hockey Wales last hosted a EuroHockey tournament in 2009 and for Dan Clements, Hockey Wales Head of Performance, the return of this major sporting event will be invaluable for hockey in Wales, as well as providing as excellent showcase of elite-level women’s sport:

"We are delighted to be hosting such a high-status event here in Wales in what promises to be a fantastic year of major sporting events in Cardiff. Hosting, and participating in major events is crucial to the promotion of our game to inspire the next generation. Furthermore, to have such a high profile female sporting event coming to Wales shows great strides in the profile and recognition of women's sport and we are excited about the platform this will provide."

The announcement comes at an exciting time for the Welsh women’s team with the recent appointment of Kevin Johnson as the new head coach. Johnson’s wealth of experience, which includes roles with England and GB Hockey, will be instrumental in the team’s on-going development and preparation for next summer’s tournament.

The tournament will see eight European teams, including Wales contesting to be crowned champions and earn promotion to the Championship. These teams include Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, France, Italy, Poland, and Russia. Wales International and Athlete Ambassador for Hockey Wales Natasha Marke-Jones said:

“You don’t get many chances to play international hockey on home turf, it is going to make it a very special EuroHockey Championships for all the team. European’s is the height of the competitive calendar next season and so there is lots at stake for us as a team, which will make it a really exciting spectacle. Putting on the shirt and singing the anthem alongside a passionate home crowd will be phenomenal!”

The EuroHockey Championships are a biannual tournament and at the last competition in France, Wales overcame a number of higher ranked teams to finish in a highly respectable 5th place, an impressive feat having only been promoted to that league in 2013.

Participating nations for 2017 qualified from their ranking in the 2015 competition and pools for next summer will be announcement later this year.

More information on the Women’s EuroHockey Championships Division II will be released in due course.

Hockey Wales media release

England Hockey picks up four nominations

Be a game changer shortlist

England Hockey have been nominated across four categories at the prestigious The Women’s Sport Trust #BeAGameChanger Awards.

The awards, now in their second year, are designed to showcase the incredible talent from across women’s sport, and to highlight the need for media, sponsors and the public to invest at all levels. The awards are organised by The Women’s Sport Trust, a charity that raises the visibility and increases the impact of women’s sport through the promotion of role models, increasing media coverage and improving funding.

England Hockey’s nominations come in four different categories: Sponsor Partnership of the Year (Investec and England Hockey), Sporting Role Model – Individual (Kate Richardson-Walsh), Sporting Role Model – Team (England Women’s Hockey) and National Governing Body of the Year (England Hockey).

The Sponsor Partnership of the Year nomination is a real show of recognition that the relationship between England Hockey and Investec has gone from strength to strength. Investec recently announced an extension to the deal until Tokyo 2020. Their support has had a positive effect on women’s hockey in this country from grass roots all the way up to the international team. This nomination is recognition for the hard work on both sides of the partnership.

National Governing Body of the Year (England Hockey).
As a National Governing Body England Hockey has shown commitment to driving the profile of women’s sport and growing participation of females taking part. Following the bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games (the only team sport that medalled), EH has used the profile and their Olympic medal winning role models to drive an engagement programme that has seen an increase of 65% of under 16s playing.

England Hockey’s decision making has also focused on maximising the opportunity to profile the women’s game. When hosting the European Men’s and Women’s Championships together in 2015 the women’s finals were placed in the most prestigious time slot as the last fixture (one that is traditionally given to the men) and as a result of the BBC2 broadcast saw a TV audience of 1.5m.

Encouraging women back to playing hockey with a highly successful Back to Hockey progamme (approximately 12,000 since its inception) England Hockey now has the support of 300 clubs around the country running back to hockey sessions and as a result has developed a thriving club network.

Sporting Role Model – Team (England Women’s Hockey)
The England Women’s Team swept to glory in the European Championships in the summer of 2015, winning the gold medal in front of a packed home crowd at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. With the bulk of the squad making up the unbeaten Great Britain team who secured Olympic qualification just a few months before Danny Kerry’s team were in unstoppable form.

Sporting Role Model – Individual (Kate Richardson-Walsh)
Kate Richardson-Walsh continues to astound and impress in equal measure. The captain recently became her country’s most capped female player of all time and hopes to compete in her fourth Olympics in Rio. Richardson-Walsh, who was awarded an MBE in 2015 has inspired generations of players and more than done her bit for women’s sport.

There’s unstoppable momentum behind the development of women’s sport. England Hockey is proud to have a role to play in continuing to develop this even further. Through a commitment to maximising the positive financial impact of this progress, the Women’s Sport Trust is working with investors and sporting groups to accelerate change.

For the 2015 #BeAGameChanger awards, over 25,000 public votes were received across eight categories, with 16 finalists from almost 150 nominations. Within the media, athlete, business and political communities, the event helped drive growth in awareness, funding and equality in women’s sport.

The event was oversubscribed, reached an audience of 11 million people in the pre-event activity and close to 103 million post the event. Footage from the evening was used by the BBC and Sky Sports in the celebration of Women’s Sport Week. BT Sport described the #BeAGameChangerAwards as making a “compelling case for future investment, encouraging increased media coverage and bringing together the decision makers who can help make this happen.”

The winners will be announced at the Women’s Sport Trust #BeAGameChanger Awards in Central London May 12 2016.

For full details on the nominees visit the Women's Sport Trust website here.

England Hockey Board Media release

Former Canadian junior, field hockey ambassador Mark Roydhouse passes away

Shaheed Devji

Photo: Mark (left) and Chris (right) Roydhouse. Courtesy of Chris Roydhouse (Facebook).

Field Hockey Canada joins the British Columbian and Canadian field hockey community in mourning former Canadian Junior National Team player, and local field hockey volunteer Mark Roydhouse, who passed away suddenly last week.

Roydhouse competing with the Canadian Junior National Team in the 1970s and 1980s and has always been a large advocate of Canada’s National Program. His son, Chris (also knows as CJ), followed in his father’s footsteps and played for the Junior Canadian Team when it participated in the 2014 Junior World Cup.

“He was a very loving man and he was always the first person to make someone laugh if you were with him,” said Chris in a statement on his Facebook page. “I will always think of my dad and the impact he has had on my sporting career and especially field hockey.”

Mark was always quick to support Canadian field hockey. He served as a coach, umpire, manager, and volunteer. He was a positive figure and mentor to many of the athletes involved.

In addition to his involvement with the Canadian National Program, Roydhouse was a member of the Vancouver Rowing Club Jokers field hockey team and was a member of the Field Sport Federation with the Vancouver Park Board, advocating for field hockey.

“Mark was a long-time Joker, and played for BC and Canada. Many of you may have known him more recently as a coach or an umpire,” the Jokers said in a statement. “He was well known and respected throughout the field hockey community and he will be greatly missed.”

Mark’s life will be celebrated in a service at 7pm on Friday, March 18th in the Harbour Room at the Vancouver Rowing Club. Everyone is welcome.

Field Hockey Canada media release

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