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News for 22 June 2016

All the news for Wednesday 22 June 2016

Las Leonas battle past Hockeyroos on Day 3

Argentina, the Netherlands and New Zealand were all winners on the third day of action at the Women’s Hockey Champions Trophy 2016, currently being played at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London, Great Britain.

In the first match of the day, Argentina’s Las Leonas battled to a 2-1 win over Australia’s Hockeyroos to maintain their hopes of defending the title that they won in 2014.

However, it is the Netherlands who remain at the top of the standings thanks to a third successive victory in the competition, overpowering USA 4-1.

A brilliant individual goal from Stacey Michelsen gave New Zealand’s Black Sticks their first win of the event, earning a 1-0 triumph over home favourites Great Britain.

Match 7: Australia 1, Argentina 2

Defending champions Argentina took a huge step towards securing a place in the final of the Women’s Hockey Champions Trophy 2016 in London thanks to a 2-1 victory over Australia in the opening match of day three. The result moved Las Leonas onto seven points from three games having started the day locked together on four points with the champions of Oceania.

Argentina’s goals came from two of their most experienced campaigners, with Noel Barrionuevo firing home a third quarter penalty corner before team captain Carla Rebecchi scored a superb solo goal - her fifth of the tournament - to double the advantage seven minutes from time. A brilliant individual goal from Kathryn Slattery reduced the deficit with three minutes remaining, but Las Leonas held on for the win.

“I am very happy with the result”, said Argentina captain Carla Rebecchi after the match. “The system of the Champions Trophy means that every match is important, so to play in the final means that you have to have more points than the others to get there. Today was a very important match because Australia had the same number of points as us.”

Match 8: Netherlands 4, USA 1

The Netherlands made it three wins from three matches at the Women’s Hockey Champions Trophy in London, with 2015 FIH Player of the Year Lidewij Welten scoring twice in a 4-1 victory over USA. The triumph ensured that it was a day of double celebration for Oranje Head Coach Alyson Annan, the legendary Australian international who was also celebrating her 43rd birthday.

The reigning World and Olympic champions continued their excellent form at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre with a dominant performance against the Pan American champions, who were missing team captain Lauren Crandall through injury. The Dutch needed just four minutes to open the scoring, with Kitty van Male getting a crucial touch in the circle to guide a cross into the net before Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel made the score 2-0 before the end of the first quarter. Although Kelsey Kolojejchick pulled a goal back for USA with a 24th minute penalty corner, a double strike from Welten put the result beyond all doubt to move the Dutch onto nine points and remain top of the standings.

"There is still a lot to improve”, said Welten after the match. "It's not about being there already but getting there and making every game much better. In the first game we got a lot of corners and made them but now you see that we are making our field chances as well."

Match 9: New Zealand 1, Great Britain 0

A first minute strike from Stacey Michelsen proved to be enough to give New Zealand a 1-0 win over host nation Great Britain in the final match of day three at the Women’s Hockey Champions Trophy in London. The result gave New Zealand their first points of the competition, but leaves Great Britain with just one point and facing a near impossible task of qualifying for the event final.

The Black Sticks were outstanding in the early stages of the match and thoroughly deserved their lead, with Michelsen taking advantage of some slack defending to brilliantly weave her way through the GB defence before slotting home with a cool finish. Great Britain had numerous chances to level in the latter stages, but found themselves thwarted by some outstanding goalkeeping from Sally Rutherford to guide her team to victory.

“I think it was good for us to make a good start to today’s game, and we certainly came out with a lot more energy than we had in the two previous matches”, said winning goalscorer Stacey Michelsen after the match. “We almost surprised ourselves with how well we started because we struggled a little bit in the first two games, to be honest. Having a good start was so positive, although we gave them far too many opportunities, particularly in the last quarter.”

#HCT2016 #BestOfTheBest

FIH site

Australia go down fighting

Argentina win 2 - 1

By Holly MacNeil

Georgie Parker battles her way through

Australia have gone down fighting against Argentina at the Champions Trophy tonight. Kathryn Slattery got the Hockeyroos on the board with a field goal, but Argentina took the game out with a 2 -1 victory.

With two minutes to go in the first quarter Argentina had the first chance on a penalty corner, but Australian goalkeeper Ashlee Wells was on fire and neatly knocked the ball away from goal.

Going into the second quarter, the scoreboard had yet to be cracked by either team. The Hockeyroos were up for the first penalty corner five minutes into the quarter, and a powerful flick from Jodie Kenny was hit back by Argentina’s goalkeeper Belen Sukki.

Seven minutes into the second term and it was Argentina’s turn on penalty corner, but again Ashlee Wells knocked the ball high and out of range. With three minutes to go before the half time siren, Argentina notched up another penalty corner opportunity. The ball went high, leaving the score going into half time at nil all.

Australia were a chance for a penalty corner 35 minutes into the game but it was a narrow miss that followed. They had the chance to redeem the shot with another penalty corner only seconds later, but the shot from Jodie Kenny went slightly high hitting the bar and bouncing over the net.

Australia were almost on the board after Georgie Parker nailed a tomahawk into goal, but on referral the goal was overruled leaving the game to continue at nil all.

Argentina claimed their first chance at a penalty corner in the third quarter with four minutes left on the clock. Noel Barrionuevo flicked the ball and it flew into goal at pace giving Argentina a 1 – nil lead.

With only a minute to go in the third, Grace Stewart executed an impressive intercept, and cracked the ball at goal, but the Argentine keeper smacked it out of range.

With seven minutes left of the game Carla Rebecchi socked the ball into the net to claim a field goal for Argentina, extending their lead over the Hockeyroos to 2 – 0.

Four minutes to go, and Australia were finally on the board with a field goal from Kathryn Slattery sailing into the net. The Hockeyroos played hard in the last few minutes, desperate to claw the score back however the final siren went and the score finished up at Australia 1 – 2 Argentina.

Hockeyroos Head Coach Adam Commens said: “It was obviously disappointing to not get the result, but I thought the way that we played and conducted ourselves was encouraging. Gabi Nance has been a great contributor for us and we missed her through the midfield today.

“I thought we still created more than enough chances to score more than one goal and we were a little bit unlucky with the video referral. We need to clarification on that, but ultimately we’re headed in the right direction.

“If we’re going to win in Rio we need to make the most of the chances we get not only with field chances but with penalty corners.”

Gabi Nance has been ruled out of the remainder of the tournament having broken a finger during the Hockeyroos clash with New Zealand on Sunday.

The Hockeyroos next play the Netherlands at 6pm BST / 1am AWST (Friday 24) / 3am AEST (Friday 24)

For full coverage on today’s games visit: http://www.fih.ch/news/

Results today
AUS 1 – 2 ARG
NED   –   USA
GBR   –   NZL
Kathryn Slattery 56 (FG)

Noel Barrionuevo 41 (PC) 
Carla Rebecchi 53 (FG)
Hockeyroos’ squad v Argentina
Madonna Blyth (Brisbane, QLD) 333/70
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA) 99/9
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD) 177/97
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA) 101/9
Georgina Morgan (Armidale, NSW) 43/8
Georgie Parker (Berri, SA), 99/31
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT) 92/13
Casey Sablowski (Albion Park, NSW) 249/44
Kathryn Slattery (South Stirling, WA) 53/15
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW) 154/62
Ashlee Wells (Morwell, VIC) 76/0
Used Substitute
Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT) 112/2
Kirsten Dwyer (Mackay, QLD) 105/2
Georgia Nanscawen (Melbourne, VIC) 180/35
Grace Stewart (Gerringong, NSW) 19/9
Mariah Williams (Parkes, NSW) 47/5

Unused Substitute
Rachael Lynch (Warrandyte, VIC) 148/0
Gabrielle Nance (Kingscliff, SA) 36/2

Hockeyroos’ Fixtures
Thursday 23 June: AUS v NED | 6pm BST / 1am AWST (Friday 24) / 3am AEST (Friday 24)
Saturday 25 June: GBR v AUS | 4pm BST / 11pm AWST / 1am AEST (Sunday 26)
Sunday 26 June: Finals TBC

Hockey Australia media release

1st FIH World Ranked Netherlands Secure 4-1 Win Over the USA

STRATFORD CITY, London – Going head-to-head in Holland only 2 weeks prior, the U.S. Women’s National Team contended against 1st FIH World Ranked The Netherlands again. The location and venue may have changed but the same display of excitement and drama resurfaced at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London at the women’s Champions Trophy 2016. After four, hard-fought quarters of play, the USA lost 1-4 to The Netherlands.

"From our previous matches, we definitely learned the quality of opponent that they are," said Julia Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.). "Those games rose us to the level that we needed to compete today. Although we lost, we had that energy that we may have been lacking in our first two matches here in London. Those prior games were a reminder that we needed to rise to the occasion and because of it, we brought a better energy to today's match."

The game began with strong forward movement from The Netherlands as they swarmed into their attacking 25. It didn’t take long for the red, white and blue to retaliate by transitioning play to their attack where Katie Bam (Blue Bell, Pa.) took USA's baseline with speed, looking to make a connecting pass but couldn’t find an open USA stick. In the 4th minute, the Netherlands persistent, front-foot lead developed a fast breakaway opportunity permitting a sharp strike from Kitty van Male past USA’s goalkeeper Jackie Briggs' (Robesonia, Pa.) grasp to change the score USA 0, The Netherlands 1. The Netherlands' forward line continued to attempt to maneuver around Team USA's backfield, but as a united group the USWNT's defenders cleared the ball out of danger. Applying high, hard pressure on a Dutch player at midfielder, Kat Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.) was able to reestablish possession and dish play to Kelsey Kolojejchick (Larksville, Pa.) that trailed into the center of the circle without a conversion. In the 10th minute, from the left post, The Netherlands’s Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel was able to lift the ball over Briggs, who was laid out on the turf, to change the scoreboard to USA 0, The Netherlands 2.

Attack combinations presented by Team USA were numerous. Play quickly transitioned to the other end of the pitch where, at close range, Jill Witmer (Lancaster, Pa.) launched a hard drive. Again checking The Netherlands’s defense, Sharkey swept the ball from the top left corner to cross the ball into the sweet spot of the circle. But it was only in the 24th minute when Team USA added a goal to the scoreboard. Bam earned USA’s first penalty corner and off of that chance, Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) swept a hard ball from the top of the circle that was then deflected from Kolojejchick's stick and into the mesh. The score transformed into USA 1, The Netherlands 2. During the final minutes of the second half, Briggs guarded the left baseline from an intruding Dutch attacker to deny a shot. However, in the 28th minute, Lidewij Welten was able to send a ball to the backboard from the stroke mark to create a new score of USA 1, The Netherlands 3.

The final 30 minutes began with Witmer driving into the attack circle with electric speed and looked for Alyssa Manley (Lititz, Pa.), who was positioned on her left for a quick give and go in front of The Netherlands’s goalmouth. The series of passes was broken up by the opposition’s stick. The Netherlands continued to develop short, quick passing patterns in front of USA's defending cage but Team USA’s backfield withstood the attack attempts. In the 43rd minute, a side-line to side-line pass opened up a shooting channel for Welten from the left portion of the pitch, that Briggs' stick was unable to block. A new score of USA 1, The Netherlands 4 was posted to the board. Despite frequent flurries of USA challenging The Netherlands defense, the red, white and blue was unable to convert. The final score stood USA 1, The Netherlands 4. 

"There are details we need to now tidy up in both circles," said Reinprecht. "For instance, looking at our pressing and outlet shapes. It's mostly in the details. There was more of a fight in us today but now we need to look at a few tactical items."

The red, white and blue secured a 2-2 draw against Australia at the conclusion of the opening match of the tournament. Team USA's second game was recorded as a 1-4 loss to Argentina. 

The USA will play again Wednesday, June 23 at 3:00 p.m. EST against Great Britain.

USFHA media release

Black Sticks down Great Britain in London

Olivia Merry and Anita Maclaren congratulate Stacey Michelson on her wonder goal. Photo: Planet Hockey

The Black Sticks Women have edged hosts Great Britain 1-0 in a must win match at the Hockey Champions Trophy in London.

New Zealand got off to the perfect start and took the lead inside the first minute after Stacey Michelsen showed her class, grabbing a brilliant solo goal having weaved her way through four players before outwitting the keeper and slotting home.

Great Britain dominated possession throughout the match but were unable to make use of their chances in the face of strong defence across the turf and fast counter attack from the Black Sticks.

Assistant coach Sean Dancer said it was pleasing to come through with the win in such a crucial match.

“It was a very challenging match and both teams had good opportunities but it was great that our girls were able to tough it out and get the result,” he said.

“We know the next game against Argentina will be tough too, but it’s good that we’ve played them a number of times recently and we’re confident we’ll be able to play well against them.”

Shocked from the quick goal Great Britain couldn’t take advantage of an extra player after Kayla Whitelock was shown a green card in the third minute, marking her first appearance of the tournament having missed the first two games with a strained hamstring.

The second quarter saw Great Britain start to work their way back into the match, but resolute Black Sticks defence and some outstanding goalkeeping from Sally Rutherford kept them scoreless with New Zealand taking their 1-0 advantage into halftime.

The Black Sticks came out of the break firing and Olivia Merry almost doubled the lead early on, but a great reflex save from Great Britain’s goalkeeper Maddie Hinch kept the ball out.

Minutes later a crucial goal line save from Great Britain’s last line of defence again kept them in the match after a well worked counter attack culminated in a Gemma Flynn shot that was destined for the goal.

In a fast paced third quarter Great Britain also had their chances to score, but failed to make their opportunities count under strong pressure from the Black Sticks in defence.

New Zealand looked dangerous throughout the match and Great Britain seemed to struggle with the pace of the Black Sticks on counter attack.

Great Britain had a great opportunity to equalise with four minutes left in the match, but at full stretch put their deflected shot wide of the target.

The Black Sticks go on to play Argentina next up on Friday at 1:30am (NZ time), with live coverage on SKY Sport 2.

In other results today, Argentina beat Australia 2-1 and the Netherlands continued their unbeaten streak dismissing USA 4-1.

BLACK STICKS 1: (Stacey Michelsen)
Halftime: Black Sticks 1-0

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Michelsen wonder goal sinks Great Britain

Lily Owsley takes on the New Zealand defence. Credit Simon Parker

A superb individual goal from New Zealand’s Stacey Michelsen handed the Blacksticks their first win of the competition, as their early strike and resolute defence saw off hosts, Great Britain 1-0.
Michelsen weaved her way through the defence to calmly slot home in the opening minute of the match and despite Great Britain’s best efforts to claw the result back, the New Zealand defence stood firm to get the three points.

Michelesen’s slaloming run opened up the defence from the very start of the match. The No31 calmly rounded the goalkeeper to slot home from close range for a dream start. New Zealand, buoyed by their early breakthrough pressed Great Britain with plenty of energy, not allowing their opponents time on the ball. This meant Danny Kerry’s side were unable to create any clear chances in the first quarter and went in at the break trailing 1-0.

New Zealand were first to threaten in the second quarter, winning an early penalty corner. Anita McLaren went for goal but some solid defensive work charged the shot down. New Zealand brought Maddie Hinch into the action moments later but the goalkeeper was up to the task with a fine save.

The hosts worked their way back into the contest and some splendid play from Sophie Bray earned them a penalty corner. Giselle Ansley took the shot but somehow Brooke Neal cleared it off the line. Ansley took the honours from another penalty corner but this time Rose Keddell was out quickly to charge it down. Despite a better second quarter Great Britain trailed at the half way point.

At the start of the third quarter Hinch was called upon to make another save, extending a telescopic right leg to kick clear a fierce shot from Olivia Merry. Moments later, Kate Richardson-Walsh was on hand to clear off the line from Gemma Flynn as both sides searched for the all-important next goal. Great Britain soon forced another penalty corner. An intricate move involving a double dummy set up Laura Unsworth whose pass was deflected agonizingly wide by Bray.  At the other end, Hinch did well to make save from McLaren’s shot and her opposite number Sally Rutherford made a good block from Alex Danson’s deflection.

New Zealand’s deep defence continued to keep Great Britain at bay in the final quarter. Bray had a good chance to level things up but her snapshot on the backhand flashed wide of the target. They went even closer after Bray turned provider, fizzing a low cross in which a diving Townsend deflected just wide. Hinch gloved away a late chance from Petrea Webster but despite plenty of pressure; Great Britain could not break through and were beaten. 

Susannah Townsend told Great Britain Hockey afterwards:

“Conceding an early goal isn’t ideal but that after that we played some really good hockey. They are a really fast counter attacking team but we stopped them at the source. After those first five minutes we were on top. On another day we could have taken our chances and could have taken the win. This is tournament hockey; we have to go out and the get three points but we came away with nothing so we have come away very disappointed.”

“We tried to play the right way today. We looked at the performance against Holland and weren’t good enough. We took a step up today and we’ve done everything but score. Unfortunately that is the most important thing when you come into a hockey game. It is not ideal but we will take it away and work on it as we want to get into the medal matches.”

“We are a very fit team so we’ll bounce back. We will go and analyse the game and figure out what went wrong and I think we have a enough time to do that. We are a goal scoring team and we will come back and try to show that. You can see we played well so there is no reason to panic. This is a tournament we are trying to win and we are putting up a good show for ourselves and our fans. We will see what happens in the next game.”

In the other matches of the day Argentina beat Australia 2-1 whilst the Netherlands continued their dominant run, beating USA 4-1. All teams return to action at the Hockey Champions Trophy on Thursday 23 June with GB taking on USA.

Great Britain 0 (0)
New Zealand 1 (1)
Stacey Michelsen 1 (FG)

Great Britain Hockey media release

Britain set to miss out on place in Champions Trophy final after New Zealand loss

By Mike Haymonds

Stacey Michelsen celebrates with her New Zealand team-mates during the 1-0 win over Great Britain. GETTY

GREAT BRITAIN'S hopes of a place in Sunday's final were all but ended by a 1-0 defeat by New Zealand, who had conceded nine goals in their opening two games, at the Ivestec Champions Trophy in the Olympic Park.

New Zealand's goal came 56 seconds into the match when Stacey Michelsen dribbled past four defenders before beating GB goalkeeper Maddie Hinch.

The Kiwis took revenge for a defeat by GB in the bronze medal match at the London Olympics and recorded their seventh win in 19 meetings between the sides.

They defended resolutely throughout,  denying GB any circle penetrations until one second before the end of the first quarter.

The penalty corner count was 3-2 for GB with Giselle Ansley unsuccessful with two strikes in the second quarter after their first corner striker Crista Cullen was sidelined for the rest of the game with a leg injury.

GB created few scoring chances while Maddie Hinch was called  upon to make saves from Olivia Merry, Anita Mclaren and Petrea Webster. GB's closest effort came at the end when Susannah Townsend's full-length dive just eluded a connection.

Townsend said: "We tried to play the right way today. We looked at the performance against Holland and weren't good enough. We took a step up today and we've done everything but score.

"We are a very fit team so we'll bounce back."

GB are now in fifth place and can only reach the final if they win their remaining games against USA and Australia and other results fall in their favour

Daily Express

Black Sticks edge Great Britain for first win at Champions Trophy

By Clay Wilson

NZ midfielder Stacey Michelsen breaks through to score the winning goal against hosts Great Britain at the Champions Trophy. GETTY IMAGES

A sublime individual goal from Stacey Michelsen has allowed the Black Sticks women to open their account at the Champions Trophy in London.

Player of the tournament at the World League Finals in Argentina last year, the defensive midfielder put her silky skills on show to stun Great Britain in the first minute of New Zealand's 1-0 win on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time).

Following a 6-2 hammering from world No 1 the Netherlands and a 3-1 loss to third-ranked Australia, the much-needed victory kept the world No 4 Kiwi team's hopes of playing for a medal alive.

The result took them from sixth and last to fourth in the overall standings on three points with two rounds to play, trailing the Dutch (9), Argentina (7) and Australia (4).

New Zealand next face world No 2 Argentina at 1.30am on Friday, before completing pool play against the seventh-ranked USA at 1am on Saturday.

Wednesday's clash against the hosts was a rematch of the bronze-medal match won by Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics, but the visitors needed less than 60 seconds to silence the home crowd thanks to a superb piece of play from Michelsen.

The 25-year-old Northland player intercepted the ball on the right flank, charged forward and won a free-hit outside the circle, before expertly weaving her way past four defenders and goalkeeper Maddie Hinch and neatly flicking the ball in on her reverse stick.

The score was unchanged at halftime and, although both sides created strong chances in the third quarter, composed defensive work meant Michelsen's goal remained the only one of the contest.

Hinch made a slick foot save to deny a powerful strike from Black Sticks striker Olivia Merry shortly after halftime and Gemma Flynn's angled push was stopped on the line by a British defender, while the hosts also went close when Sophie Bray's penalty corner deflection rolled narrowly outside the post.

Great Britain applied further pressure in the final stanza as they searched for an equaliser, but the last of their chances came and went as Susannah Townsend touched a cross high and wide with four minutes to play and the Kiwi defence held on.

Michelsen said they were pleased to get points on the board after two early losses and felt they came out with much more energy.

"We almost surprised ourselves with how well we started because we struggled a little bit in the first two games, to be honest," she said.

"We just had some really good leading off the ball, which created a lot of space for the girls carrying the ball forward and that was something we didn't do the other day."

While pleased with those aspects of the performance, Michelsen felt her side gave up too many chances as the match wore on and said it was important they made the most of their remaining games in London with the Rio Olympics just six weeks away.

"After the first couple of games we were a bit disappointed and probably a bit deflated given Rio is so close, but the important thing is we still have a good few games against the top teams at this tournament for us to build.

"We definitely will be ready once we get there, but we are certainly not there yet. Today was a better performance from us, but we are not consistent through the game."


Black Sticks beat Great Britain with stunning goal

By David Leggat

Stacey Michelsen scored the only goal in the Black Sticks' 1-0 win over Great Britain. Photo / Getty

New Zealand are on the board at the women's Champions Trophy after a 1-0 win over hosts Britain in London today.

They got the win through a brilliant individual goal in the opening minute by midfielder Stacey Michelsen and were well worth the win, creating more chances, having more circle penetrations and looking more threatening going forward than Britain.

The result keeps the fourth-ranked Black Sticks in the hunt to be playing for medals later in the week, after they had lost their first two matches, 6-2 to the world No 1 the Netherlands and 3-1 to Australia.

Michelsen showed why she's rated among the game's finest players when she picked up possession about 25m out from the British goal.

She weaved past five defenders before rounding goalkeeper Maddie Hinch to push the ball into the net.

New Zealand's defence generally coped well with Britain's attacking moves and they were distinctly sharper on the counter attack with the pacy Anita McLaren, Gemma Flynn and Sophie Cocks causing Britain plenty of problems.

Goalkeeper Sally Rutherford was rarely challenged, although she pulled off one important save shortly before the end of the third quarter, which was Britain's best, after strong work down the right from their best attacker Sophie Bray.

Rutherford also had to be alert in the final minute and combined with Rose Keddell to do enough to put off Susannah Townsend as she dived forward to try and nudge the ball into the Black Sticks' goal only to push it wide.

The defensive operation was solid, anchored by Brooke Neal, Liz Thompson and Julia King and captain Kayla Whitelock made her first appearance in the tournament, after resting a minor leg injury.

By the end of the match, New Zealand had made 18 circle penetrations to 10 by Britain; had made 11 shots on goal compared to six by the hosts.

In the day's other games, the Netherlands beat the United States 4-1 and Argentina toppled Australia 2-1.

"In the first quarter we were sensational, then we had to scramble a lot," Black Sticks coach Mark Hager said.

"Our defence scrambled well and sometimes when you're not playing well that's what you want.

"We put our chance away and they didn't, but we've got to be better holding the ball. They hurt us through the middle of the field for most of the game and we didn't handle it well."

Michelsen paid tribute to her team mates for their part in her goal.

"The good thing was we had really good leading off the ball which created a lot of space for us girls carrying the ball forward, which we didn't have the other day," Michelsen said.

"The pleasing thing was we had better spacing up front today."

Strikers Olivia Merry and Gemma Flynn both had chances early in the second half while Petrea Webster was unable to capitalize on a clear chance, a mishit ruining the opportunity to cement the win three minutes from the end.

Michelsen reckons they are on the right track, after a poor start to the tournament.

"After the first couple of games we were feeling a bit deflated, given that Rio (Olympics) are so close.

"But the important thing is realising we still have a good few games against the top teams for us to build. We definitely will be ready once we get there, but we are not there yet."

New Zealand next face world No 2 Argentina early on Friday morning.

The New Zealand Herald

Moment of brilliance may be tournament changer

By David Leggat

Kayla Whitelock. Photo / Paul Taylor

A moment of individual brilliance could prove to be a tournament changer for the Black Sticks at the Champions Trophy in London.

The Black Sticks, ranked fourth in the women's game, had started the six-team trophy poorly, beaten 6-2 by world No1 the Netherlands, then 3-1 by Australia. Things were going badly awry in the final pre-Olympic shakedown among six of the world's top seven teams.

However, Stacey Michelsen changed that with a stunning goal inside the first minute to prove the difference against Britain in yesterday's 1-0 victory.

Northland midfielder Michelsen is among the world's leading players and she showed why yesterday. Picking the ball up about 30m out from Britain's goal, she slalomed her way past five tacklers before rounding classy British goalkeeper Maddie Hinch to score with a reverse stick shot, and all seemingly done with relative ease.

Her captain, Kayla Whitelock, has been around a long time but reckoned this was the best goal she'd seen Michelsen score.

"Rose [Keddell] and I looked at each other and couldn't believe it," Whitelock said yesterday. "It was an awesome goal. She's a very skilful player and it got us on a roll."

New Zealand should have won more comfortably against a plucky, but clearly second-best British outfit. The key numbers - shots on goal, circle penetrations - were all in New Zealand's favour.

But at least they're on the board, going into their final two round robin games, against world No2 Argentina tomorrow morning, then the United States on Sunday morning (NZT).

New Zealand are an entertaining team to watch, blessed by speedy players through the park.

"Pace is what our game is based on, having speed through the midfield and attackers and whenever possible once we win the ball we want to counter-attack with speed," assistant coach Sean Dancer said last night. "We're an attacking-style team, so when we get the ball we want to go, go, go."

Whitelock got through her first game back from a quad strain, suffered in a warmup game against Belgium a week ago, in good shape. Her influence on the team is significant.

"We had a scan and there wasn't too much damage but we wanted to make sure it was 100 per cent," she said. "The goal had been to try and play on Thursday [against Argentina] but obviously I ticked all the boxes and I'm pretty happy."

The defensive unit, shorn of injured pair Sam Charlton and Emily Gaddum, had a good day, after leaking 10 goals in the first two games.

"The girls were under a lot of pressure but most of the time they were scrambling well," Dancer said.

The Dutch are clear of the field on nine points, but a win over Argentina, who are second on seven, would have New Zealand well-positioned to challenge for the gold on the final day of the tournament early on Monday.

The New Zealand Herald

Black Sticks in tight battle with Netherlands

New Zealand captain Simon Child. Photo: www.photosport.nz

The Black Sticks Men have been edged 1-0 despite a valiant performance against world number two the Netherlands in Groningen.

It was a tight defensive game in which New Zealand created good goal scoring opportunities but weren’t able to put them into the back of the net.

The hosts scored the only goal of the match in the 37th minute with Seve van Ass putting one away from a penalty corner.

The best chance of the game for the Black Sticks came in the opening minute when a great attacking play saw Blair Hilton shoot at goal but hit the cross bar.

Head coach Colin Batch said the way they played against such a strong team was a pleasing way to open the three test series.

“We played a good game defensively, there weren’t a lot of opportunities for either team. We created more goal scoring chances but need to improve at converting them into goals,” he said.

“All in all I think it was a good start to the series for us, we have some things to work on for the next game and going forward to next week’s Six Nations but there are some positive signs.”

The Black Sticks have a rest day tomorrow before match two of the series against Netherlands at 4:30am on Friday (NZ time).

Following the Dutch series the Black Sticks head to a Six Nations tournament in Valencia where their opening game is against Spain on Tuesday 28 June at 6am (NZ time).

Hockey New Zealand have arranged for all Black Sticks games at the Six Nations to be streamed LIVE through www.hockeynz.co.nz and www.blacksticks.co.nz

NETHERLANDS 1: (Seve van Ass)
Halftime: 0-0

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Black Sticks men narrowly beaten by the Netherlands in first test

Black Sticks coach Colin Batch was satisfied with his team's performance in the first test against the Netherlands. MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ

The Black Sticks men have begun their pre-Olympic tour of Europe with a 1-0 loss to the Netherlands.

A 37th-minute penalty corner goal to Seve van Ass proved the difference in Groningen on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time), with New Zealand unable to capitalise on their chances in a tight, defensive clash.

The Kiwi side's best chance came in the opening minute when Blair Hilton's shot hit the cross-bar after some slick build-up play.

Despite coming out on the losing side, Black Sticks head coach Colin Batch said the way his eighth-ranked team played against a strong world No 2 Dutch outfit was a pleasing way to open the three-test series.

"We played a good game defensively, there weren't a lot of opportunities for either team, he said. "We created more goal-scoring chances but need to improve at converting them into goals.

"All in all it was a good start to the series for us, we have some things to work on for the next game and going forward to next week's Six Nations, but there are some positive signs."

Thursday is a rest day for the two teams before match two of the series on Friday (4.30am NZ time).

At the completion of the series, New Zealand head to Valencia, Spain for their opening game of a Six Nations tournament against the hosts on Tuesday.

Germany, Argentina, India and Ireland are the other teams taking part in what will be the Black Sticks' final event before the Rio Olympics start in August.

Netherlands 1 (Seve van Ass) New Zealand 0. Halftime: 0-0


Dutch delight for GB U23 Men

GB U23 Men v Ned, June 21 2016

A hat-trick from Ed Horler was the highlight of a great team performance from Great Britain Under-23 Men as they beat the Netherlands 6-1 at Nottingham Hockey Centre in the first of their matches in the Futures 2020 Invitational Tournament on Tuesday.

Level at half time, GB hit back with a purple patch shortly after half time to earn the praise of their coaches.

“It was a really pleasing performance,” said Assistant Coach Zak Jones. “We were pleased to see the guys executing some aspects we’ve been working on in training.

“We’re delighted with the result but we feel there’s even more to come from this group of players.”

The Netherlands took an early lead with captain Bram Van Grosesen scoring from an 11th minute penalty corner, and it took GB until the 32nd minute to hit back, Robbie Gleeson scoring at a penalty corner.

After the break Great Britain came out strongly and took the lead when Peter Scott linked up well with Ed Horler to score from open play on 46 minutes.

Horler scored his first goal from a 51st minute penalty corner, and Gleeson then tapped the ball into the net at the back post a minute later.

Horler bagged his second on 58 minutes, but the Netherlands threatened a comeback as GB took their foot off the gas a little. Thankfully, their defence was up to the task and kept them at bay.

And GB had the last word, with Horler completing his hat-trick from a penalty corner in the final minute.

After a rest day on Wednesday, GB are back in action on Thursday with their second match against the Netherlands.

Great Britain U23 Men 6 (1)
Netherlands U23 Men 1 (1)

Great Britain Hockey media release

Marshall: tournament win a ‘confidence boost’ for Scotland

SCOTLAND skipper Willie Marshall scored two goals in the triple-header in Gniezno to help take Scotland to a tournament win in the Four Nations tournament, held in Poland.

It was a successful tournament for Paisley-born Marshall, a former Kelburne player. First he slotted a crucial goal following a penalty corner to level at 3-3 against Poland, ranked eight places ahead of Scotland in the world - the goal helped spark a 5-4 win for the Scots; then against Italy his penalty corner counter to make it 3-0 ended Italian hopes as Scotland dominated to collect a 4-0 victory. Italy are No 34 in the world.

Scotland, ranked No 26, made their entry into the tournament with a 2-2 draw against France, who are nine places above them. The result could have been better as coach Derek Forsyth’s men rebounded from a 1-0 deficit with two goals in nine second-half minutes to lead 2-1 until four minutes from time.

30-year-old Surbiton defender Marshall, who collected his 141st cap at the weekend, said: “I was worried about the France game which opened our campaign but we came away disappointed that we lost a goal late-on, and we should have won more comfortably against Poland.

“These are teams we should be beating and we know that there is always room for improvement. However, we did really well over the weekend when we introduced four new caps. Sean Hadfield was really good against Italy (on his debut) and made some solid saves when we needed them. Duncan Riddell played in defence and attack and players now need to be versatile. Patrick Christie looked comfortable on the ball and Ed Greaves scored two goals.”

Scotland are building towards the World League Round 1 in Glasgow from September 6 to 11 when Switzerland, Wales, Portugal and Slovakia visit. Marshall said: “All the new players stepped-up which is good for the development of the squad. The tournament win was a confidence boost but it is, however, important to realise that we are still work in progress and we need to continue to move to the next stage.”

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Hockey squad boosted


Low Price manager Henry Kwan (R) hands over the SI Hockey National team gear to SIHF president Nihal.

The Low Price Enterprise Company has embraced The Solomon Islands hockey national squads with sporting gears yesterday ahead of their departure for Suva, Fiji this weekend.

The Hockey World Round One League will be staged in Suva, Fiji from June 28th to 3rd July and Solomon Islands will be represented by both men and women’s teams.

Low Price Enterprise Manager Henry Kwan said they were no strangers to supporting sports having been the major sponsor of the current hockey school league and had been supporting other sports with sport gears in the past.

“Hockey is one of the new sports lately introduced in the country and we believe that hockey can be taken to new heights with our support,’’ he said.

He stressed there is a potential that the sport can be improved and further developed in the country.

“With those ideas in mind we are more willing to support our national teams with this sporting gears,’’ he said.

Henry also wished our national sides all the best and urged them to make this country proud of their involvement in the competition.

Meanwhile SIHF president Nihal Seneviratne said they were grateful for the contribution of the company as they continuously sought sponsorship to help the team towards FIJI.

 “We are very happy and very proud that Low Price has come on board,’’ he added.

Solomon Star News

Brave new India hockey team awakens awe in old-timer Dhanraj Pillay

India settled for silver after losing to World Champions Australia 3-1 in the shoot-out in the final of Champions Trophy.

Written by Shahid Judge

Dhanraj Pillay-m Dhanraj Pillay still has medal regrets after India’s performance in Champions Trophy against Australia. (Source: File)

It’s been a few days since India’s historic achievements at the Champions Trophy. A case of a silver medal won rather than gold lost. That too against mighty Australia. There are still many who are yet to digest what transpired a few nights ago. Former India captain Dhanraj Pillay is one of them. “Even when I was playing, I don’t think we played that consistent level of hockey for 60 minutes,” he asserts.

The silver medal, won after the drama of a penalty shoot-out, went one better than the previous best bronze-medal finish at the 1982 edition of the tournament. But the achievement went beyond just winning the silver. It was more about the way in which Indians held Australians to a 0-0 scoreline, frustrating, and even dominating the highest ranked team for a majority of the game. “You can’t keep pace with them. India has never kept up the pace with them. But in this tournament, Australia was nowhere compared to where we were in terms of fitness and ball possession. In the last quarter itself, we had 79 percent of ball possession,” mentions the 47-year-old.

The dominance of the 14-time Champions Trophy winners stems from their physical superiority over others. Along with their tactical game-plan, the Kookaburras often adopt a strategy that tires out the opposition with their speed and movement. On the night nonetheless, the Indians matched their opponents, and to a certain extent, even exceeded them. “Our fitness has gone up by 110 percent,” exclaims Pillay. “In the last six months, the way we’ve performed at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and now the Champions Trophy, you can tell they’re on the right track for the Olympics.”

Head coach Roelant Oltmans has devised and implemented a strong defensive structure that focuses on the team working as a single unit, rather than on individual flair. Earlier Indian teams were guilty of setting a high forwardline and deep backline, resulting in a large gap in midfield for oppositions to exploit. The first change was to encourage the forwardline to track back to defend. In midfield, the coach set up anchors to cover any gaping holes that would threaten their defence. Then there is the prospect of pushing the defenders upfield during attack. It’s this very mentality and structure that caught the Australians off guard.

“Oltmans is very good in creating a strategy and game-plan. He didn’t take all senior players to Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, and now rested a few for the Champions Trophy. He’s going in the right direction to experiment and see what the team is lacking. That will strengthen the squad when Sardar is back in the team,” says Pillay, who lead the national team to the Asian Games gold in 1998.

One drawback Pillay sees is in the field goal conversion. “You need to be sharp in the goal mouth and convert chances so that you don’t regret later. I still regret that I couldn’t win a medal.” Penalty-corner conversion rates too are alarming, yet it is a prospect that has dogged most international teams. Though it may also be the case of improved goal-keeping rather than deteriorating drag-flicking. There’s a bright spark that Pillay sees in the team. “This team can do anything at the Olympics.” Nonetheless, even in Brazil there is the prospect of facing Australia again.

“Play to your strength and don’t be overconfident. Australia is fitter than any team. It’s hard to beat them. But now we know that we can hold them,” he concludes.

Indian Express

Don't regret like me, Dhanraj Pillay tells hockey team

MUMBAI: Congratulating the Indian hockey team for its fine display in recent times, former captain Dhanraj Pillay said that they should not end up regretting like he does even now after missing the chance of clinching a medal at the Olympics after four attempts.

"I congratulate the Indian team. They created history as it was the first time that we played in the final of the Champions Trophy against Australia (in London)," Dhanraj told reporters when asked about the team's performance and its chances at the upcoming Rio Olympic Games.

"Winning and losing are part of the game, but they have given a very tough fight (to Australia). When I was playing, I don't think we played as consistently as they did for 70 minutes (against Australia) although we had beaten them in their own country," said the four-time Olympian.

India lost 1-3 to Australia via the penalty shootout in the summit contest, after tying goalless in regular time, to end up with their first silver medal in the annually held tournament that began 36 years ago.

Asked where he felt the team needs to improve to climb the podium at the August 5-21 Olympics, Dhanraj said the players need to be extra sharp in front of goalmouth.

"It's in field goal scoring. You need to be very sharp at the goalmouth. Whatever opportunity you get, you need to convert it 100 percent. Don't take a chance and don't regret later as how Dhanraj Pillay is regretting. After playing in four Olympics, I still regret I could not win even one medal for my nation."

The four-time World Cupper who also represented the country in four Asian Games, complimented the team for the fitness level it has shown and also gave credit to the team's Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans.

"With their performance over the last six months at the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament (in Malaysia where they reached the final and then lost to Australia) and in the Champions Trophy they have shown they are on the right track for Rio," said the 47-year-old one-time mercurial forward.

"They did not have some senior players like (goalkeeper) Sreejesh in Azlan too and some seniors were not here (in Champions Trophy) Sardar (Singh) and Rupinder Pal Singh. I think the coach is going in the right direction and experimenting to see where we are lacking. Sardar's return will now strengthen the team," said Dhanraj.

Dhanraj was very impressed with the fitness level of the team and its ability to not only keep pace with the speedy set of Australians but even outshine them.

"110 per cent I can say our fitness level has improved. Frankly, Indians could never keep pace with Australia. But in this tournament, I could see Australia were nowhere compared with India in terms of fitness or ball possession.

"We had 79 per cent possession in the last quarter. We also dominated all the quarters and overall I also could not give the sort of performance these boys have given in recent times."

Dhanraj advised the players to be very careful in their intake of medicines as the wrong ones could land them in trouble in Rio.

"Only one month is left and my request to the players is - don't fool around with your body, don't take any unnecessary risk because if you take 2-3 days' rest it will take four days for you to recover, concentrate on fitness, eat the right food at the right time and don't take any medicine which is going to harm you in the Olympics."

He said anyone from the team could be asked to give urine samples for dope testing.

"Nobody knows who will be called for dope test in the Olympics. I have given samples in all the Olympics, World Cups, Asian Games. They had called me for dope test. So my advise to the players is - be careful."

He also felt the Indian team should take it one game at a time and target the weaker teams in the group.

"It's (introduction of quarter finals stage instead of direct semis after group stage) is going to benefit all teams and especially India. We can concentrate on 2-3 teams which are weaker than us. We should concentrate on those 2-3 teams as Germany and Australia are also there (in India's pool).

"We should make a strategy in such a way that we should not lose also and also keep points. Oltmans is good in making strategy and my advice is - take it one match at a time."

The Times of India

Our boys should keep fitness level high for Rio: Dhanraj Pillay

Shailendra Awasthi

MUMBAI: Indian hockey legend Dhanraj Pillay says Indian team needs to keep their fitness level high if they wish to do well in the upcoming Rio Olympic Games.

Talking at National Sports Club of India, Pillay said the fantastic performance in the recently concluded Champions Trophy hockey in London was possible only because Indian team was extremely fit. "I was surprised to see our boys play and match mighty Australians step for step for the entire duration of 60 minutes match. Australia are most fit side in world hockey and we could put them under pressure throughout the match was possible only because our team was extremely fit," said the four-time Olympian.

Giving full credit to coach Roelant Oltamns, Pillay observed that he had a plan for each opponent. "He is a master strategist. It was his match-to-match strategy that did the trick for the Indian team," said former India skipper.

Pillay felt the current Indian team is capable of bringing laurels to our country at Rio. "Just remember the team that did well in London was not our full strength team. Most of big stars like Sardar Singh, Danish Mujtaba etc. were missing in London yet we performed so well. I am sure we will be at full strength at Rio and this team can do wonders," said Pillay.

Pillay also told Indian players to be watchful about what they eat ahead of the Summer Games. "With just over one month to go for Rio, our boys should be watchful about what they eat to keep fit. And also they should be very alert about not taking any medicine which is prohibited in the list of World Anti-Doping Agency," said the veteran.

The Times of India

Be cautious about doping in Rio: Pillay

Shailendra Awasth

MUMBAI: Indian hockey legend Dhanraj Pillay has warned Indian players to be very cautious about possibility of getting caught in doping net at the Rio Olympics. Former India skipper has told them to be very watchful about what they eat with just over a month to go for the Summer Games.

"With just over one month to go for Rio, our boys should be watchful about what they eat to keep fit. And also they should be very alert about not taking any medicine which is prohibited in the list of World Anti-Doping Agency," said 47year-old on the sidelines of players' auction of the Mumbai Super League table tennis at National Sports Club of India on Tuesday. Pillay has also become a co-owner of one of the 10 teams, Blazing Bashers.

"At Rio we have to ensure to do well against lowly teams in our pool while putting major emphasis on major teams like Germany and Netherlands. We should take one match at a time," observed four-time Olympians.

Pillay felt that India has a good chance of doing well at Rio because we will be at full strength. "Just remember the team that did extremely well in London (Champions Trophy) was not our full strength team. Most of big stars like Sardar Singh, Danish Mujtaba etc. were missing in London yet we performed so well. I am sure we will be at full strength at Rio and this team can do wonders," said Pillay.

Former India skipper felt that the fantastic performance in the recently concluded Champions Trophy was possible only because Indian team was extremely fit.

The Times of India

Triple EHL winner Jonas Fuerste retires from UHC

UHC Hamburg’s triple EHL winner Jonas Fuerste announced he has decided to hang up his hockey stick after a glittering career with the Hamburg club.

Speaking about the decision, he said: “Hockey and UHC has been the centre of my life since I was four years old. I have found in my 25 years with UHC so many friends who were always there for me, and are still there today.

“UHC has accompanied me in many extremely difficult phases of my life and given me thousands of unforgettable, wonderful moments. I have, however, come to a point where other things in my life are becoming more important than the hockey."

He says that he is now setting different priorities in his life, both professionally and privately and often “lacks the time for certain things that are damn important to me”, adding that the decision “has not really been a difficult one” to step away.

“Here ends a period of life for me and I would like to thank you all. Whether players, coaches, referees, opponents; all of you have given me unforgettable moments. We have together won titles. I look back with pride on a sensational time!"

Philip Witte is another player to finish up with the club but they welcome back Jonas Swiatek following a year with Pinoke in the Netherlands while Julius Schmid arrives from TC1899 Berlin.

Euro Hockey League media release

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