All the news for Monday 28 March 2016
Black Sticks down Canada again
Gemma Flynn reaches for the ball. Photo: www.photosport.nz
The Black Sticks Women have defeated Canada 5-1 in the second test at the Gallagher Hockey Centre in Hamilton this afternoon.
New Zealand were in control throughout the game against a valiant Canada side which put together some good phases of play against the home side.
Striker Charlotte Harrison scored her second successive brace while Kayla Whitelock, Gemma Flynn and Jordan Grant added to the tally.
Head coach Mark Hager said there were some positives and negatives to take away from the game, but it was a pleasing way to head into the Hawke’s Bay Cup which starts this weekend.
“We went through the motions at times today and were a little bit lacklustre, but it’s always good to score five goals and come away with a win,” he said.
“Canada played well and created a lot of chances so that was another good test for us in the lead up to Rio later in the year.
“We will now go away, reassess and prepare for our first game at the Hawke’s Bay Cup against India on Saturday.”
It was a fast start from the Black Sticks who created plenty of early pressure on attack, with Harrison opening the scoring in the 10th minute through a powerful forehand shot.
The hosts extended their lead three minutes later when Whitelock snuck the ball past the feet of Canadian goalkeeper Rowan Harris.
Canada responded early in the second quarter and pulled one goal back thanks to a cracking shot from the stick of Thea Culley.
Just out from halftime New Zealand pushed the advantage further following a brilliant solo run along the baseline and finish from Flynn.
The momentum stayed with the Black Sticks coming out of the break with another goal from the restart when Kirsten Pearce found Grant in front of goal for a slick finish.
Harrison brought up her double from a penalty corner in the 39th minute when Whitelock found her on the post for a deflection into the net.
The Black Sticks now travel to Hastings for the Hawke’s Bay Cup from 2-10 April, which is important preparation for the Champions Trophy in London (June) and Rio Olympic Games in August.
New Zealand (world ranking 4th) finished runners up at last year’s Hawke’s Bay Cup and this time will battle it out against Australia (3rd), China (5th), Korea (9th), Japan (10th), India (13th), Ireland (15th) and Canada (19th).
CLICK HERE for more on the Hawke’s Bay Cup
BLACK STICKS 5: (Charlotte Harrison 2, Kayla Whitelock, Gemma Flynn, Jordan Grant)
CANADA 1: (Thea Culley)
Halftime: Black Sticks 3-1
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Black Sticks women win second test 5-1 to complete double over Canada
Gemma Flynn scored the Black Sticks' third goal as they beat Canada 5-1 in the second test on Monday. PHOTOSPORT
The Black Sticks women have thrashed Canada for the second day in a row, winning 5-1 in Hamilton.
The Black Sticks women have made it two wins from two against Canada, scoring five goals to one in the second test at the Gallagher Hockey Centre in Hamilton.
Monday's game was a more open affair than the one these teams produced on Sunday, at least in its initial stages, with both sides eager to strike first blood.
After Sunday's 6-0 win, which featured a scoreless first quarter, captain Sam Charlton had called on her side to start faster, and in the 10th minute of Monday's game, she got the response she was looking for.
It was Charlotte Harrison who opened the scoring, finishing off a counterattack with a hard shot from the right side of the circle that went straight through Canadian keeper Rowan Harris and into the back of the goal.
Kayla Whitelock then extended their lead four minutes later, as the quarter came to a close, receiving the ball in space inside the circle, before hitting a weak shot that managed to dribble over the line, putting her side two goals to the good.
Despite having conceded eight unanswered goals in 75 minutes of action at that point, the Canadians continued to fight.
Captain Kate Gillis was particularly impressive, forcing Black Sticks keeper Amelia Gibson to pull off a pair of fine saves early on in the second quarter.
The Black Sticks didn't let up either, however, with a fierce shot from Kirsten Pearce hitting the crossbar down the other end, before Canada finally got on the board when Thea Culley smashed home a shot three minutes into the period.
With the game in the balance at that point, both teams had chances, and there was plenty of action at either end, until just before halftime, when Gemma Flynn went on a solo run to restore the Black Sticks' two-goal advantage.
Reaching the byline, she turned towards the goal, making use of a deflection off a Canadian defender's leg to play the ball to herself before putting it into the goal.
The Black Sticks then made it 4-1 shortly after halftime, when Jordan Grant got on the end of a Pearce cross that was fired in from the right edge of the circle, and 5-1 midway through the third period, when Harrison deflected home a penalty corner taken by Whitelock - their first successful conversion of the game at the fifth time of asking.
The series then finished as it started, with a scoreless quarter, and so 5-1 was how it ended.
Coach Mark Hager said the series had served his side well heading into the Hawke's Bay Cup, which begins on Saturday in Hastings.
"We went through the motions at times today and were a little bit lacklustre, but it's always good to score five goals and come away with a win.
"Canada played well and created a lot of chances so that was another good test for us in the lead up to Rio later in the year.
"We will now go away, reassess and prepare for our first game at the Hawke's Bay Cup against India on Saturday."
In the Black Sticks' pool at the Hawke's Bay Cup are Ireland, India and China, with Australia, Canada, Japan and Korea in the other.
New Zealand 5 (Harrison 2, Whitelock, Flynn, Grant) beat Canada 1 (Culley).
Q1: 2-0 Q2: 3-1 Q3: 5-1
Atlètic and Kampong though to FINAL4 for first time
Atlètic Terrassa and SV Kampong have both made it through to the Euro Hockey League FINAL4 for the first time as they swept to victory over KHC Leuven and Rot Weiss Köln, respectively.
The Catalan side Atlètic owed much to the brilliant Jan Malgosa goal four minutes from the end, eventually settling a 3-2 result against Belgium’s last remaining club.
After a scoreless first half, the second burst into life with quickfire goals from Marc Salles, Renaud Pangrazio and Roc Oliva to give the Spanish side a 2-1 lead. Pau Quemada, however, fired a low bullet from a corner to tie things up and Leuven looked on top in the closing stages.
That was until Malgosa picked up a quick free, weaved around the circle before beating two players and shooting in on the backhand.
Speaking afterwards, Jan Malgosa: “It’s unbelievable. To be honest, to score the decisive goal like this, I cannot put it into words. It’s the first time getting to the FINAL4, doing it this way – first against Dragons and then Leuven – it is the best way to do it.”
He is among a large Malgosa contingent, playing in the team with his brother Dani and cousins Oriol and Joaquim and he says this is part of what makes this tournament so special.
“It’s definitely the beauty of the EHL. Especially at Atlètic, we have a very strong family feeling. We are like a big family and we fight until the last minute for our friends.”
Kampong, meanwhile, were much more comfortable as they produced an excellent performance to beat Rot Weiss Köln 5-1 and advance to the semi-finals.
Rob Kemperman’s close range finish was doubled up by Philip Meulenbroek’s clever deflection for 2-0. Christopher Rühr pulled one back with a powerful backhand shot but Kampong were in irresistible form.
But the Dutch team were too hot to handle and played the counter-attack well. Martijn Havenga netted twice from penalty strokes to stretch the lead to 4-1 and Pepijn Luijkx completed the win with a cool finish.
Sander de Wijn was named the man of the match. He admitted he was “really exhausted” despite what looked a one-sided scoreline.
“The score didn’t look like it was that hard but our opponent was the German champion, a great team. But we did a complete team effort, won every 50-50 and one-on-ones which shows how fully focussed we were.”
Atlètic Terrassa and SV Kampong will now meet in Barcelona on May 14 at the Pau Negre Stadium. Tickets for this event go on sale later this week.
KO8: Atlètic Terrassa 3 (M Salles, R Oliva, J Malgosa) KHC Leuven 2 (R Pangrazio, P Quemada); SV Kampong 5 (M Havenga 2, R Kemperman, P Meulenbroek, P Luijkx) Rot Weiss Köln 1 (C Rühr)
Euro Hockey League media release
Jan Malgosa earns Atletic FINAL4 ticket
KO8 Atlètic Terrassa 3 (M Salles, R Oliva, J Malgosa) KHC Leuven 2 (R Pangrazio, Quemada)
Jan Malgosa produced a moment of sublime skill out of the fire to earn Atlètic Terrassa their very first ticket to the FINAL4 of the Euro Hockey League, getting the best of KHC Leuven.
They dug it out of the fire, striking just when Leuven looked to be holding all the aces, scoring the crucial goal with four minutes to go.
The first half went end to end with chances flashing across the face of goal in front of both goalkeepers. Marc Salles to tip away a dangerous cross for Leuven while Joaquim Malgosa had a huge chance at the far end when Marc Bolto and Roc Oliva combined, leaving Ignasi Guerrero in a great position but his pass evaded the sliding Malgosa.
But the game burst into full life in the third quarter with Salles ripping home a low corner to open the scoring. Within a minute, Hugo Genestet unleashed a brilliant reverse-stick shot from the top of the circle which Renaud Pangrazio was waiting for at the back post to tip in.
No sooner had they equalised, however, than Atlètic replied. Dani Malgosa won the corner and Roc Oliva this time was the man to pick out a similar spot and make it 2-1.
From there, the game became fractured with four cards show in quick succession. Marc Pujal was shown a yellow card during which time Leuven pushed on with menace and they won a corner that Pau Quemada rocketed to the backboard for 2-2.
And Leuven continued to make a huge amount of the play as the game advanced into its later minutes. And it looked like they were under huge pressure when Roc Oliva was shown a yellow card with five minutes to go.
But, within 60 seconds, Jan Malgosa produced a stunning piece of individual skille before reversing a brilliant shot passed Julien Schoo Lans. Leuven had a corner two minutes from the end which Quemada lifted over while they withdrew their goalkeeper in favour of an extra attacker but could find no way through and Atlètic had their first ever FINAL4 place.
Euro Hockey League media release
Five-star Kampong rip Rot Weiss apart
KO8 SV Kampong 5 (M Havenga 2, R Kemperman, P Meulenbroek, P Luijkx) Rot Weiss Köln 1 (C Rühr)
Kampong produced one of the performances of the week to take apart the reigning German champions and reach the EHL FINAL4 for the first time.
They were the dominant force throughout, building a 2-0 half-time lead before they sat back and picked off the chasing Rot Weiss in the second half on the counter and win out in style.
In the early stages, Kampong struggled with stopping their penalty corners, letting three go without a smooth set-up. Their fourth corner was an example of this but Quirijn Caspers, who was superb in the first and second quarters, recovered the ball and worked it into the danger zone where Robbert Kemperman was on hand to finish off.
Sander de Wijn created the second with a powerful backhand cross from the right wing. The diagonal pass went to the near post where Philip Meulenbroek got his stick out in front of two defenders, getting just enough angle and pace on it for the ball to spin around Victor Aly.
It gave Kampong a strong lead which, on the evidence of the first half, Rot Weiss would struggle to break down. But, just a few minutes into the second half the German champions got their lifeline when Mats Grambusch invited Christopher Rühr to race on to a weighted pass and the forward slammed home his eighth goal in four EHL matches.
Any thoughts of a comeback, though, were dashed by a pair of penalty strokes from Martijn Havenga. Both were for hitting bodies on the line as Lark Balk and Meulenbroek saw shots denied illegally by Rot Weiss defenders.
Pepijn Luijkx extended the lead further to 5-1 with a cool finish on the run from Bjorn Kellerman’s slip pass.
Euro Hockey League media release
Amsterdam's Pruyser dumps Wimbledon
By Mike Haymonds
A HAT-TRICK from Mirco Pruyser ended Wimbledon men’s hopes of debut success as they were beaten 3-1 by the hosts Amsterdam at the KO16 stage of the Euro Hockey League.
The defeat meant that both English qualifiers this season failed to reach the last 8 stage after East Grinstead finished bottom of their preliminary group in October. While England should again have two qualifiers next season, improved results will be necessary to maintain this representation beyond then.
Wimbledon scored in the fourth minute when Ian Sloan’s pass found Phil Ball on the baseline and he drew a foul, leading to a penalty stroke which Phil Roper converted. But the lead only lasted four minutes before Billy Bakker set up Pruyser to fire home a fierce backhand shot.
In the 23rd minute Pruyser scored his second with an identical shot, finishing off a classy move involving Klaas Vermeulen and Valentine Verga.
Ball had the chance to narrow the lead when he found himself with only the goalkeeper to beat but Laurens Goedegebuure came off his line to thwart the danger.
In the third quarter Wimbledon keeper James Bailey was required to make saves from Robert Tigges, Pruyser and a corner save from Justin Reid-Ross before Pruyser struck his third after a build-up by Verga and Jan-Willem Buissant.
Wimbledon staged a late rally but were unsuccessful from three penalty corners and chances for Jonny Kimber, Sloan and Steven Ebbers were not converted.
Egara and Kampong into ABN AMRO Junior EHL final
Picture: Philippe Demaret
Club Egara and SV Kampong reached the final of the ABN AMRO Junior EHL as they both went unbeaten in today’s preliminary phase of the competition.
Egara’s Under-14s topped the table with two wins and a draw, starting off with an impressive 3-0 success against UHC Hamburg, Jan Borras scoring twice from penalty corners while Jan Carreras also weighed in.
And they confirmed their final place with a 6-0 success against Dragons, Borras again scoring twice while Pau Broto netted a hat trick. Jan Clapes recorded the other goal.
It meant they were already through to the final by the time they play Kampong who needed a draw or better to join them in the decider. Hjalmar Voskuil’s penalty stroke gave the Dutch club a seventh minute lead but they were forced to endure some nervous times in the closing minutes after Pol Vilanova equalised.
But Kampong secured the 1-1 draw that saw them through ahead of Dragons. Those two sides had drawn 1-1 as well earlier in the day with Kampong’s Ivo Visser’s goal cancelled out by an immediate response from Tom Nobel.
Both sides went on to beat UHC Hamburg but it was Kampong’s vital draw with Egara that won them through to the final.
It will take place on the main pitch in the Wagener Stadium at 10.15am ahead of the weekend’s final two KO8 games. KHC Dragons and UHC Hamburg meet at 9am in the third/fourth place playoff.
The prize-giving will take place at 12pm with the winning team also being paraded to the crowd at half time of the KO8 match between Oranje Zwart and Harvestehuder THC.
ABN AMRO Junior EHL results
KHC Dragons 1 (T Nobel) SV Kampong 1 (I Visser); Club Egara 3 (J Borras 2, J Carreras) UHC Hamburg 0; UHC Hamburg 1 (F Holstein) SV Kampong 5 (I Visser 2, H Voskuil 2, D van der Meer); Club Egara 6 (P Broto 3, J Borras 2, J Clapes) KHC Dragons 0; Club Egara 1 (P Vilanova) SV Kampong 1 (H Voskuil); UHC Hamburg 1 KHC Dragons 7
9am – third/fourth playoff: UHC Hamburg vs KHC Dragons
10.15am – Junior EHL final: Club Egara vs SV Kampong
Euro Hockey League media release
Promising signs for Scotland's youth internationals
Two goals from Fraser Moran, left, give Scotland a vital win over Ireland. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray
Scotland's youth international squads were in action in their final matches against Ireland and in the HDM tournament in the Netherlands today.
We round-up the results below.
Scotland U16 Boys v Ireland
Two penalty corner goals from Fraser Moran gave Scotland U16 Boys a 2-0 win over Ireland this morning.
As a result, the Scots win the three match series 2-1.
Moran was on target right on the stroke of half-time, dispatching a fierce drag-flick into the bottom left hand corner to put the home side 1-0 up.
Five minutes after half-time, Moran executed a carbon copy drag-flick to put Scotland 2-0 up, much to the delight of the home support.
The Western Wildcats forward narrowly missed out on a hat-trick, his penalty flick striking the post.
Scotland U16 Girls v Ireland
The series between Scotland U16 Girls and Ireland finished all square at 1-1 after a 2-0 for the Irish.
Two goals in three minutes by Caoimhe Perdue (43', 48'), were the difference between the two sides.
Scotland U16 Girls in action against Ireland. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray
Scotland U18s v Ireland
Goals from Aidan McQuade, James Nairn and Cameron Golden provided Scotland U18 Boys with a 3-1 win over their Irish counter-parts in Belfast.
However, it was enough to prevent a 2-1 series defeat overall.
Scotland U18 Girls were defeated 6-2 in their final match against Ireland, losing the series 3-0.
Millie Steiger and Lucy Findlay were the scorers.
Scotland U16 Development HDM
Goals from Lucy Bliss and Lucy Murray gave Scotland U16 Girls Development a 2-0 win over hosts HDM.
Goalkeeper Jessica Smith won GK of the Tournament. U16
Scottish Hockey Union media release
Police stop Parkroad in Kenya Hockey Union league match
Samson Kibirir of Kenya Police controls the ball during their Kenya Hockey Union Premier League match against Kenyatta University at City park Stadium on February 14, 2016. Kibirir’s strike gave Police a 3-2 win over Parkroad Hockey Club on Saturday. PHOTO MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Samson Kibirir’s strike two minutes from time gave Kenya Police a 3-2 win over Parkroad Hockey Club in a Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) men’s Premier League matches on Saturday at City Park Stadium, Nairobi.
The 2013 champions were two goals down after 47 minutes after an Andrew Kamau brace had given his team a 2-0 lead. However, the law enforcers, who had a woeful first half, hit back through goals from talismanic striker Moses Cheplaiti and midfielder Willis Okeyo to level the scores before Kibirir grabbed the winner.
“We never gave up and our tenacity saw us walk away with the three points, we did not play in the first half and improved after the break. This win gives us confidence in our quest to win back the title,” Kibirir told Daily Nation Sport.
With champions Butali having earlier beaten Greensharks 1-0, Police had no option but to win their match as they seek to reclaim the title. Parkroad who have won their last eight matches will feel let down by the result after dominating for large spells of the match.
UNABLE TO CREATE CHANCES
The Ngara-based side were the first to settle in the match and tested the Police defence in the opening quarter, Kamau proving a handful for Police defence. He created the team’s first chance after seven minutes, beating two Police players before firing wide.
Police struggled with their midfield unable to create chances for striker Cheplaiti and it was no surprise when they fell behind after 18 minutes. Parkroad broke after foiling a Police attack and Ian Oyale fed Kamau who fired low past keeper Martin Agesa.
Two minutes into the second half, Kamau got his second of the match blasting the ball past Agesa to make it 2-0. The goal sprung the cops into action and they started playing with more urgency perhaps sensing defeat which would wreck their title ambitions.
Cheplaiti pulled one back to reduce the deficit in the 47th minute after wonderful finish past Parkroad keeper Maurice Musyoka. Willis Okeyo restored parity in the 59th minute via a penalty stroke after a foul on Brian Saina. Kibirir slotted in the winning goal in the in the dying minutes of the game to break Parkroad hearts.
In another men’s premier league match, Wazalendo drew 3-3 with USIU-A, while Kimathi University drew 1-1 with JKUAT.
Police edge past Parkroad
Former league champions rally from behind to beat opponents 3-2
By Elizabeth Mburugu
Butali vs Strathmore Strathmore derrick Kuloba(l) and Butali Kenneth Nyongesa fight for the ball when they played premier men at City park on 05/03/16. PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE
Former men’s hockey premier league champions, Kenya Police, came from two goals down to beat Parkroad 3-2 at City Park.
Samson Kibirir’s 68th minute goal was what made the difference between the law enforcers and Parkroad.
Police, who are seeking to reclaim the title they lost to Butali Sugar Warriors last season, were caught off-guard as they trailed the hard-fighting Parkroad for the better part of the match. It was not a start they were expecting though.
The Ngara-based side has made a good account of themselves this season. For them, it has been a well-calculated battle. Picking points at will and containing pressure as true champions would.
Police forward Moses Cheplati lauded Parkroad’s good show in the match, saying they are getting better with every match.
“They were worthy opponents in this match. They have become stronger because it is like we played a totally new side as compared to our previous encounters,” Cheplaiti said.
Cheplaiti also commended his team for their effort that saw them launch the remarkable comeback into the match.
“They have fought a good fight and deserved the three points. We did not imagine we could trail that early in the match, but the comeback was what made all the difference.”
The match was a balanced affair in the opening minutes. However, after 17 minutes of fruitless efforts, the tide changed as Parkroad’s Andrew Kamau put his side in the lead. Police tried to draw level, but Parkroad guarded their lead jealously.
Two minutes into the second half, Parkroad’s Kamau made another successful attack as he sounded the boards past a well-beaten Martin Agessa to make matters 2-0.
Police were stung with that second goal. They had a mountain to climb with little time remaining. Being the real fighters they are, Police tightened their defence and pressed deeper into their opponents’ territory. Their struggle bore fruit as Cheplaiti pulled one back to reduce the deficit in the 47th minute.
Willis Okeyo restored parity in the 59th minute from a penalty stroke Brian Saina was fouled. And it was game on, before Kibirir scored the winner in the dying minutes of the game.
In men’s match, Wazalendo drew 3-3 against United States International University of Africa(USIU-A).
The Standard Online
Priceless friendlies in Changzhou
By Jugjet Singh
THE Malaysian women's hockey team ended their five-match series with a 2-0 defeat to China Juniors in Changzhou Sunday.
The closest they came to beating the China team was a 2-2 draw, but lost the other four 4-0, 2-1, 2-1 and 2-0.
The Malaysian women's team have played in two World Leagues but always fail to progress into the Semi-Finals. Their campaign always ends at Round Two.
"The China friendlies has shown that the team is dedicated and disciplined even though I have only had a short stint with them.
"The girls progressed in every match after starting with a 4-0 defeat, after which, they did not let China score more than two goals in each match," said women's coach K. Dharmaraj.
Dharmaraj's charges are preparing for the World League Round Two which Malaysia will host at the end of this year. The International Hockey Federation (FIH) have yet to confirm the dates.
"I believe these girls have potential to move into the WL Semi-finals, and with more training matches, they can break the ceiling and move higher on the world rankings," said Dharmaraj.
"Youngsters like Hanis Nadiah and Wan Norfaezah were fantastic here. They have the talent and tenacity required to carve a name for themselves internationally. This provides much promise for the future", added Dharmaraj.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have finally started to recognise women's hockey by hosting the inaugural Women's Junior Hockey League this season.
And taking another step, MHC will also hold a Women's Razak Cup, alongside the men's tournament, for the first time this year. The Raja Noora Ashikin Cup will no longer be held.
Jugjet's World of Field Hockey
Australia bring strongest team for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
by S. Ramaguru
KUALA LUMPUR: World champions Australia have named an experienced side for the 25th edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh from April 6-16.
As they are preparing for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August, the Kookaburras have included only three youngsters - Blake Govers, Tom Craig and Flynn Ogilvie – in their 18-man squad for the 11-day tournament at the Azlan Shah Stadium.
Govers has featured 17 times for Australia while Craig has 16 international caps. Ogilvie is a relative newcomer, but has the experience of playing for the Australian indoor hockey team in 2014.
Forward Jamie Dwyer, a veteran of 351 international matches, leads the charge with defenders Chris Cirrello (177 caps) and Mark Knowles (275 caps).
Australia have won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup eight times. Last year, they were beaten 3-1 in a penalty shootout by New Zealand after a thrilling 2-2 draw.
Having seen Australia demolished Malaysia 7-1, 5-0 and 4-0 in the three friendlies in Perth earlier this month, national coach Stephen van Huizen picks the Kookaburras as favourites for the title.
“The Australians have a very balanced team with a lot of depth. A lot of their players have over 100 international caps.
“It’s good to see that they will be bringing their best players to the tournament. We look forward to the game with them,” said Stephen.
Besides Malaysia and Australia, the other participating teams are New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Canada and Japan.
The Australian squad
Goalkeepers: Andrew Charter, Tyler Lovell.
Defenders: Chris Ciriello, Matthew Dawson, Fergus Kavanagh, Mark Knowles, Matthew Swann.
Midfielders: Simon Orchard, Tristan White, Aran Zalewski, Eddie Ockenden.
Forwards: Tom Craig, Jamie Dwyer, Matt Gohdes, Blake Govers, Jeremy Hayward, Jake Whetton, Flynn Ogilvie.
The Star of Malaysia
‘Fissures develop between selectors, manager’
LAHORE: Manager of the Pakistan senior team and former Olympian Hanif Khan will decide soon whether or not to remain associated with the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) after developing differences with the national selection committee over the selection of players for the upcoming Azlan Shah Cup to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia.
According to sources, Hanif is not happy with the selectors over the induction of one Karim Khan into the national squad and dropping his nephew Haseem Khan apart from being in discord with them over dropping of 10 senior players in order to raise a new-look team.
On the other hand, the training camp has been in progress at the National Hockey Stadium but the team manager Hanif has left it for Karachi to take part in Chehlum activities of his wife who died a few days before his appointment as manager of the Pakistan team.
Hanif’s act to depart for Karachi is being dubbed as “his protest against the selection committee.”
When contacted, head coach Khawaja Junaid rubbished the reports that the team manager has left the camp in protest against the selectors, stating that Hanif would return to see the last match between Pakistan Seniors and Juniors scheduled to be held in Lahore on March 31.
The head coach said Pakistan captain Rashad Mahmood and Rizwan Senior would also join the camp after March 31 as they were playing league hockey in Europe for which they had sought the NOC from the PHF.
Both had requested their respective clubs in Europe to relieve them for the Azlan Shah Cup, Junaid maintained.
Men's Hockey League: Meet the contenders
Holcombe celebrate scoring vs Surbiton
Last year's Men's Hockey League Finals gave us plenty of goals and plenty of action. Now with the qualifiers known for this year's showpiece event we look forward to more of the same at Lee Valley this year. We introduce you to the contenders.
P: 18 W: 13 D: 5 L: 0 F: 57 A: 24 GD: 33 PTS: 44
Sam Ward (15)
Gareth Andrew (7)
Holcombe have enjoyed a stunning debut season in the top flight, going undefeated across the regular season to secure top spot and European Qualification for their first time in their history. With a number of the Great Britain squad plying their trade at Holcombe Park they have a squad that would make most envious. The meanest defence and the second top scoring side, thanks in part to Sam Ward’s 15 goals, Holcs have strength in all areas and will be confident going into the playoffs.
P: 18 W: 12 D: 1 L: 5 F: 67 A: 46 GD: 21 PTS: 37
Alan Forsyth (21)
Andy Hayward (11)
Surbiton are the division’s great entertainers. The league’s top scorers net an average of almost four goals a game. Todd Williams’ team play an open, attacking style that also means they have conceded 46 goals at the other end – the most of the playoff contenders. Scotland duo Alan Forsyth and Chris Grassick have proved to be hugely influential with Forsyth the division’s top scorer with 21. In New Zealand star Andy Hayward they have a potent penalty corner threat. Goals are a given when Surbiton play, can they find the strikes to fire them to glory?
Reading's Simon Mantell
P: 18 W: 10 D: 2 L: 6 F: 51 A: 41 GD: 10 PTS: 32
Tom Carson (12)
Richard Mantell (8)
The Sonning Lane outfit have spent all bar one week in the top four in the division. Their credentials stand up to scrutiny with two wins over Wimbledon and draws against Holcombe in the regular season. Their semi-final with Surbiton should prove entertaining: the two sides played out a 5-4 thriller early on in the campaign with The Sugden Road side prevailing. The experienced heads are still going strong with Richard Mantell in his usual imperious defensive form and Simon Mantell rejuvenated after injury. Youngster Ben Boon provides flair and excitement whilst Tom Carson certainly knows where the goal is. Reading will be a real danger.
P: 18 W: 10 D: 2 L: 6 F: 41 A: 35 GD: 6 PTS: 32
Phillip Ball (7)
Johnny Kinder (7)
The reigning champions left it late, but in the end they took the final qualification spot with something to spare. As you’d expect for the trophy holders, their squad has plenty of quality. Phil Ball and Johnny Kinder have supplied goals whilst Ali Brogdon, Phil Roper, Mikey Hoare, Henry Weir, James Bailey and Ian Sloan give the Wombles a touch of international class. Perhaps they will struggle to spring the goal laden surprise they did in last year’s final, but Wimbledon have enough firepower to be a real danger.
England Hockey Board Media release
Investec Women's Hockey League: Meet the contenders
Jo Hunter takes on Maddie Hinch
The regular season has come to an end and now, with the four best teams in the land confirmed it is time for the playoffs and time to crown the Investec Women's Hockey League Champions. with Surbiton going for their third consecutive title can any of Canterbury, University of Birmingham or Holcombe stop them?
League record: P: 18 W: 14 D: 4 L: 0 F: 53 A: 11 GD: 42 PTS: 46
Jenna Woolven (8)
Jo Hunter (8)
Giselle Ansley (5)
The reigning champions are back to the finals to defend their title, hoping for a third consecutive crown. As was the case last season, they have once again gone through the regular season unbeaten. Surbiton are a formidable team with quality in every area of the pitch. They have the pace and guile of the likes of Rebecca Middleton, Jo Hunter, Sarah Haycroft and Jenna Woolven in attack, the class of Georgie Twigg in midfield and of course the rock-solid Hollie Webb and Giselle Ansley at the back. Add to that two of the best goalkeepers in the league in Abi Walker and Amy Gibson and it is clear the Sugden Road side will take some stopping.
League Record: P: 18 W: 12 D: 4 L: 2 F: 45 A: 18 GD: 27 PTS: 40
Grace Balsdon (8)
Sarah Kerly (7)
Dirkie Chamberlain (6)
Once again Canterbury’s solid defence has laid the foundations for their assault on the title. Their total of seven clean sheets is only bettered by the nine Surbiton have registered. Captain Grace Balsdon is maturing into a top class player and as well as being a defensive rock, Balsdon has chipped in with eight goals from penalty corners. Canterbury’s strong backline allows their powerful, pacy attackers licence to cause havoc at the other end.
UOBHC v Leicester UOBHC celebrate 1st goal
University of Birmingham
League Record: P: 18 W: 11 D: 3 L: 4 F: 37 A: 20 GD: 17 PTS: 36
Erica Sanders (11)
Hannah Martin (7)
Holly Hunt (4)
Birmingham led the table until the first week of February when they were knocked off top spot by Surbiton. They have endured a tough second half of the season, winning just twice since Christmas, but with much of the heavy lifting done before the festive break, they were able to qualify with something to spare. Erica Sanders has proved to be a fine addition in attack alongside the outrageously talented Hannah Martin and another rising star in Holly Hunt. With Tina Evans and Amelia Andrew resolute at the back Phil Gooderham’s side will be keen to show what they can do.
League record: P: 18 W: 9 D: 3 L: 6 F: 28 A: 31 GD: -3 PTS: 30
Emily Maguire (6)
Sarah Jones (5)
Steph Elliott (4)
It took the Kent side a while to get going this season. With a number of new faces taking time to settle it wasn’t until game five that they registered their first win. Their form second half of the season has been outstanding, winning five out of the last six to see off a strong challenge from East Grinstead to secure the final playoff spot. Sarah Jones has developed a handy knack of scoring important goals, whilst Emily Maguire has hit a purple patch, netting penalty corners for fun. With the likes of Maddie Hinch, Sarah Robertson, Sam Quek, Lucy Wood, Steph Elliott, Nicola White, Shona McCallin and Maguire in the ranks, all from the central programme, theirs is a side that if it clicks can beat anyone.
England Hockey Board Media release