All the news for Monday 25 April 2016
Amsterdam confirm EHL place for 2016/17
AH&BC Amsterdam became the latest side to confirm their return ticket to the Euro Hockey League thanks to their 4-2 win over Bloemendaal on the final day of the Hoofdklasse regular season.
They won a fierce duel, a result that denied Bloemendaal a place in the playoffs. Rogier Hofman opened the scoring but Mirco Pruyser levelled at 1-1 early in the second half before Justin Reid-Ross nailed a corner and Robert Tigges made it 3-1 with 10 minutes to go.
Bloemendaal got one back but Tigges completed the scoring with seven minutes left for a big win that guaranteed Amsterdam finished top of the league table, taking an EHL ticket with it.
Kampong lay seventh at the Christmas break but they secured their playoff place thanks to a 3-3 draw with Den Bosch, ensuring they went 10 games unbeaten. Constantijn Jonker scored a hat trick for the Utrecht club in the draw.
HGC moved into third place thanks to a 3-1 win over Voordaan with Gonzalo Peillat scoring two corners to set the tone. They will play Oranje Zwart in their playoff matches, starting in midweek. The result meant Voordaan were relegated.
OZ beat Rotterdam 3-2 despite Seve van Ass opening the scoring for the latter. Mink van der Weerden scored twice while Bob de Voogd was also in the goals to make it 3-1 before van Ass got his second of the game.
Euro Hockey League media release
Instonians Book Place In EY Hockey League
IHA president Richard Kendrick presents Instonian's Andrew Corry with the winner's pennant Credit: Adrian Boehm
Instonians are back on the national stage as they eventually turned pressure into goals, coming from a goal down to beat UCD 3-1 in the EY Provincial Playoffs final at Grange Road.
They were the dominant force throughout but contrived to be 1-0 down on 33 minutes when Jeremy Duncan fired home from UCD’s first attack of note.
But James Corry’s response was immediate to tie things up before William Robinson’s corner strike and a John Watson tap-in broke the resolve of the students.
It means they will replace Annadale in the EY Hockey League next season having made it through the provincial round-robin and knock-out stages, winning all bar one of their five matches in the last two weeks.
UCD, meanwhile, have a second bite of the cherry next week when they take on Cookstown at Havelock Park in a promotion/relegation playoff for the last remaining place in the top tier.
The students hung tough in the first half of this final, goalkeeper Stephen Dawson making a plethora of fine saves, the first with his shoulder from Watson just a couple of seconds into the game.
When Dawson was beaten, Jazze Henry covered on the line to clear with the goal at Inst’s mercy, the latest in a series of chances that could have seen the game done and dusted early on.
UCD then applied the perfect sucker-punch as David Nolan controlled a long overhead pass which he got in to the path of Andrew Meates. He unlocked the door for captain Duncan to smash home.
But they were unable to maintain the lead for more than a minute as Inst worked a quick free at the top of the circle in to the impressive James Corry and he scored for 1-1 at half-time.
And they continued the momentum into the second half with William Robinson making it 2-1 from his side’s third penalty corner. His first-up shot was well saved by Dawson but went straight back to the sweeper’s path and he finished on his backhand through the goalkeeper’s defences.
Soon after, Watson scrambled in after Corry’s incision, the simplest of finishes at the right post for 3-1. UCD finally broke out of their shell as they sought the goals they needed but spurned their key chances, Andrew Ramsay’s snap-shot fizzing over the bar the pick of them.
Inst showed how much it meant to them on the final whistle with some wild celebrations as they reach the top tier of the game after a year’s absence.
On Saturday, they were thankful to James Dowling’s first half hat trick as they eased passed Bandon in the first semi-final, showing few nerves to see off the East Cork side.
UCD struck twice in the first 15 minutes of their game with Clontarf to take the spoils 2-0, withstanding a serious onslaught with centre back Ben McCrea making a wealth of interventions to keep the lead in tact.
Men’s EYHL Provincial Playoffs Semi-final:
Instonians 3 (J Dowling 3) Bandon 0; UCD 2 (J Duncan, D Nolan) Clontarf 0
Men’s EYHL Provincial Playoffs final
Instonians 3 (J Corry, W Robinson, J Watson) UCD 1 (J Duncan)
Irish Hockey Association media release
Loreto qualify for next seasons EY Hockey League
Ali Meeke celebrates scoring in Loreto's win. Credit Adrian Bohm
Loreto qualified for next season’s women’s EY Hockey League as a superb second half display saw them overcome Belfast Harlequins at Grange Road 2-0, capping a superb campaign for the Beaufort club.
Ali Meeke’s deft volley in the 43rd minute, coupled with Kate Crotty’s touch to Jessica McGirr’s blasted pass with 11 minutes to go were enough to see off a gritty Quins who had their moments in the first half but ran out of legs.
For Loreto, they add this success to their Jacqui Potter Cup and Leinster Division 1 titles while Belfast Harlequins meet UCC for their second bite of the cherry next weekend in Havelock Park for a place in the EY Hockey League.
They made the livelier start in the final but Quins, with Jenna Watt and Lucy Geddes to the fore and Fyona Flinn at the back, were a sparky presence. They earned the first corner which Louisa Healy blocked confidently.
Claire Weir was also denied at the near post by the former international goalkeeper before Watt broke free on the right baseline only for Geddes to tip wide from her cross.
Loreto’s challenge was staccato at times, especially with Lena Tice serving a green and yellow card suspension in the first half. Their best chances did not test Jade Lamont in the Harlequins’ goal with McGirr and Hayley Mulcahy unable to pull the trigger.
The Dubliners, though, showed much greater intent in the second half with Ali Meeke, like on Saturday in the semi-finals, producing a magic box of tricks. She weaved an opening that Mulcahy touched just wide as a warning shot.
And then the opening goal came eight minutes after the break. Tice was twice denied by Lamont after Sarah Evans’ dangerous cross made it to the back post. The second flipped up off the top of Lamont’s pad and Meeke fished the ball out of the air from behind her back and into the goal, a lovely finish.
They continued to apply the squeeze as Quins – who only had three subs on the bench – struggled to retain their first half tempo. Indeed, Loreto controlled the pace even when Tice took her third suspension of the game, a green for dissent, in the 54th minute.
And the clincher came with 11 minutes left when Quins were deemed to have played the ball out of play with a back-stick. The stop from the resulting corner was not smooth but Meeke recovered the ball, laid off to McGirr who lashed it into the mixer where Crotty guided home.
IHA president Richard Kendrick presents Loreto's Niamh Small with the winner's pennant. Credit: Adrian Boehm
Loreto’s fans were ready to pop the champagne corks but the Belfast side gave them some cause for concern with a pair of late corners. Neither were converted and the celebrations were able to begin in earnest.
On Saturday, Loreto reached the final playoff with a 3-1 win over Ulster champions Lurgan. Niamh Small’s close range push and Carly Baker’s effort had them 2-0 up at half-time before Hannah Matthews swept home a corner to make the game safe; Carly Johnston got a late Lurgan reply.
Belfast Harlequins beat Randalstown by the same scoreline with Jenna Watt opening the scoring inside the first minute. Lucy Geddes fired home two more for an imposing 3-0 lead before Randalstown got a consolation effort in the second half.
Women’s EY Hockey League Provincial Playoffs
Semi-finals: Belfast Harlequins 3 (L Geddes 2, J Watt) Randalstown 1 (M Quinn); Loreto 3 (N Small, C Baker, H Matthews) Lurgan 1 (C Johnston)
Women’s EYHL Provincial Playoffs final
Loreto 2 (A Meeke, K Crotty) Belfast Harlequins 0
Irish Hockey Association media release
Butali retain hockey league title with one match left
Okello’s charges win honours with one match left as Police come second.
Butali Sugar Warriors players react after a past Kenya Hockey Union Premier League match against Nairobi Sikh Union at City Park Hockey Stadium on January 24, 2016. Butali beat Western Jaguars 3-0 on Sunday to retain their league title with a match left. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Star-studded Butali Sugar Warriors on Sunday retained the Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) Men’s Premier League title after a 3-0 win over hosts Western Jaguars at the Kakamega High School grounds.
The Kisumu-based side have amassed an unassailable 74 points and will be crowned next weekend after their final match against Kenyatta University Vultures.
Second placed Kenya Police, who beat Kenya College of Accountancy of University (KCAU) 4-3 at City Park Stadium in Nairobi can only finish on 73 points should they win their last two matches.
In Sunday’s match, international Frank Wanangwe scored the first goal for Butali in the 13th minute before Saidi Okwemba doubled the lead in the 28th minute to give the champions a 2-0 lead at the break.
Seth Oburu sounded the boards in the 69th minute to seal the title for Butali — their second successive and seventh overall (five won as Kisumu Simba).
“We dominated the match and fully deserved the win. Most importantly, the title is ours again. Our last match will be a formality. I thank the boys for the emphatic victory away from home,” Butali coach Cliffe Okello said yesterday in Kakamega.
His Jaguars counterpart, Mike Malungu, bemoaned his team’s missed chances. He, however, acknowledged Butali as worthy champions.
Both teams started the match on a high note with Butali strikers Emmanuel Simiyu, Maxwell Fuchaka and Seth Oburu making dangerous raids at their opponent's goal mouth.
At City Park Stadium, Samuel Wokila scored a last-gasp winner to give Police a 4-3 win over Kenya College of Accountancy University (KCAU).
The law enforcers led 2-0 at half-time courtesy of goals from Wokila and Oliver Echenje. However, the students hit back in the second half with Arnold Marango scoring three goals in the space of 13 minutes to give his team a 3-2 lead after 54 minutes.
The students were, however, unable to hold onto the lead as Police levelled four minutes later, with Wokila grabbing his second of the match.
Buoyed by the goal, Police went in search of a winner and were finally rewarded with a minute to go as Wokila’’s back hand shot sailed in to give his three points.
In another tie at the same venue, two-time champs Strathmore University Gladiators hit Wazalendo 3-2 while Chase Sailors beat Wazalendo Youth 2-0 in the men’s national league.
Ritu Rani, India hockey captain: Haryana people hate to lose
Women's hockey got a major boost thanks to the film Chak De! India (2007), and the captain of the Indian team in real life, Ritu Rani, couldn't agree more. "Thanks to that film, people got to know about women's hockey. Before that, people didn't have much interest in what we were doing. Today, we receive all the help from the administration. I won't say that the film changed everything, but it brought some positive changes. People started calling us the Chak De! India team," says Ritu, who is a midfielder and hails from Kurukshetra, Haryana.
Ask Ritu if she faces hostility from senior players, or if there is actually such a big language barrier as was shown in the film, and she says, "There were communication problems earlier, but in the current squad, most players have known each other for four-five years now. Players from Odisha, Jharkhand used to speak very little earlier. Ab bolte hain. Manipur ke players ko pehle Hindi nahi aati thi, ab seekh gaye hain. Game ke dauran communicate karna zaruri hai."
And what about the marriage-career conundrum? Is that as real too? "Thankfully, no girl has those things to worry about. They all have been given the freedom to choose when they wish to settle down," Ritu replies. About the Indian women's hockey team qualifying for the Rio Olympics, she says, "Our team is as good as any other country's. Our skills are good, but we need to work on our speed. Our aim would be to perform well in the Olympics," she adds. The team is training in Bengaluru these days.
Ritu says that though things have improved for hockey, the attention that women's sports get is still a far cry from the attention showered on men's sports. "Delhi mein jab hamare matches hote hain, koi dekhne nahi aata. Public humein support kare toh bahut achha hoga. Aur agar ek women's league bhi ho hockey ki, toh help hogi. Domestic season mein bhi hamare matches bahut kam hote hain. More tournaments and bigger prize money are the key to improve hockey," she says.
Talking about her personal life, Ritu says that in her town, Shahabad, she gets a lot of encouragement. "The sporting culture of Haryana owes a lot to its diet. People like to stay fit, and then the state government over the years has done a lot to promote sports. Plus Haryana walon se haar bardasht nahi hoti. Woh sochte rehte hain ki yaar, haar kaise gaye. Woh ek jazba bhi hai," she says.
Unlike the character of Chak De!'s Komal Chautala, Ritu says she is very calm. "Deepika Thakur (another Haryana girl) is the most aggressive, and being a senior player, she has the authority to reprimand the young players," she says. Though Ritu has been to Gurgaon only a few times, she says she has met some talented players from the city.
The Times of India
Indian hockey doesn't need foreign coaches: Mohammed Shahid
NEW DELHI: Mohammed Shahid, one of the greatest names in Indian hockey and part of the team that won gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, has criticised the string of foreign coaches being employed to oversee the national side and expressed fear that the sport will nosedive further in years to come. The Indian men's team, coached by Dutchman Roelant Oltmans, has qualified for this year's Rio Olympics but according to Shahid, there is no chance of a medal this year.
"If those foreign coaches are so good then they would have been coaching their own country. We are eight-time Olympic champions and we are proud of that fact but as per the current scenario we should not expect any medal from the team in the upcoming Rio Olympics," the Arjuna Award and Padma Shri recipient wrote in his column for a newly launched Hindi sports magazine, Khel Today.
"The world has learnt hockey from Indians and from my point of view this is totally absurd that foreigners can teach us the game of hockey better. Why should we learn from them? A lot of foreign coaches have been changed in the last two decades and the outcome is that neither the players have adjusted with the coaches nor have the coaches hit the right tone with the players."
According to Shahid, whose abilities as a forward during the 1980s marked him out as an exceptional talent, what was holding Indian hockey back was an obsession with strategic plans instead of getting more opportunities to play at the international level.
"We have to really work hard to win a medal in the Olympics and as far as the development of hockey is concerned, I can only say that instead of making long-term plans for the game, we should play more hockey rather than making plans. Also the Indian team needs to bring out positive results as things can only become better when they start winning consistently," he wrote.
Reflecting on India's failure to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 56-year-old Shahid said he had been stunned back then.
"I felt very sad as it was the worst day in the history of Indian hockey. I was so distressed as I have never thought of that situation in my wildest of dreams. The day has come that we won't be playing in Olympics," he wrote.
The Times of India
Development team picked to play in Sultan of Johor Cup hockey
by S. Ramaguru
KUALA LUMPUR: The national development hockey team will represent Malaysia at the Sultan of Johor Cup in Johor Baru from Oct 31-Nov 6.
Previously, Malaysia were represented by the national juniors or project squads. But the Project 2016 team were disbanded following their failure to qualify for the Junior World Cup Finals in India from Dec 1-11.
All of the players were then roped into the development team to act as a feeder to the national senior side.
Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) chief executive officer K. Logan Raj confirmed that coach Wallace Tan’s development team would play in Johor Baru.
“But we will ensure that the players are all under 21 years of age. There are some players in the development team who are above 21. We will leave it to Wallace to decide on the make-up of the team,” said Logan.
Besides Malaysia, the other teams taking part are defending champions England, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Japan. The five foreign teams are using the seven-day tournament to prepare for the Junior World Cup Finals, slated to be held in December.
Meanwhile, Logan also said the development team will join the national senior squad to play in the Australian National League (ANL) later in the year.
“The ANL is part of our plans for the development team. We believe the players also need a programme and competitions to mature,” added Logan.
The Star of Malaysia