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News for 27 June 2016

All the news for Monday 27 June 2016

Argentina claim record seventh Champions Trophy title

Argentina have claimed a record seventh Champions Trophy title thanks to a 2-1 win over reigning World and Olympic champions The Netherlands in the event final at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London.

First quarter goals from Martina Cavallero and Noel Barrionuevo gave Las Leonas a 2-0 lead to stun the top-ranked Dutch, who were missing team captain and talisman Maartje Paumen through injury. The Netherlands hit back with a high quality penalty corner flick from Eva de Goede just after half time, but Argentina held on to win their third successive Champions Trophy title.

“We didn’t play our best yesterday but we were playing for nothing and it is always different for us in a final”, said Argentina captain Carla Rebecchi, who as well as finishing the competition as top scorer with seven goals was also named as the competition’s best player. “Today was very different to yesterday, there is something inside us that make us play better in finals. We know that when we get on the pitch in the final we have a little bit more than in other matches. We have to celebrate this victory.”

On winning her awards, Rebecchi said: "I'm really happy. But first of all of winning the tournament I thought was great. I've been training really hard this year. I came back from my knee injury last year and in the summer I said I had to train really hard. I want to be very fit for the Olympics and I am doing that.”

As well as Rebecchi’s individual awards double, Netherlands’ shot-stopper Joyce Sombroek was named as best goalkeeper while Rebecchi's 21-year-old team-mate Maria Granatto was named as the best junior player.

In the bronze medal game, USA battled to a shootout victory over Australia, giving the team a first Champions Trophy medal since wining bronze at the 1995 event in Mar del Plata, Argentina. The Americans (FIH Hero World Ranking: 7) bounced back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 thanks to a double from Katie Bam before USA keeper Jackie Briggs kept a clean sheet against the Hockeyroos (FIH Hero World Ranking: 3) to seal a famous victory. Remarkably, USA team captain Melissa Gonzalez scored the only shootout of the contest, with Briggs proving herself unbeatable in the American goal to give her team a brilliant bronze medal ahead of their Olympic challenge in Rio later this year.

We are so excited”, said an understandably delighted Jackie Briggs after the match. “It didn’t matter who we played, we are just so happy with the result. We worked really hard to keep it at 2-2. I made a few mistakes in the game, but I was just really thankful that the team had my back today and I knew that going into the shootout I just had to keep it out.”

Earlier in the day, Great Britain ended on a high with their finest performance of the competition as Alex Danson scored a brilliant hat-trick as the hosts delighted the home fans with a 4-3 victory over New Zealand to secure a 5th place finish.

“We are obviously delighted as it has been a tough week for us so we are pleased to finish with such a solid performance”, said hat-trick hero Alex Danson after the match. “It’s always nice to be on the score-sheet, however it was three really well-worked team goals. The second goal was a really really well worked penalty corner, something that we have worked tirelessly on and it is always really special when those go in. There is no better feeling than a team goal.”

Referring to the constant support from the stands, GB goalkeeper Maddie Hinch said: “A huge amount of thanks to them. They make a huge difference when roaring every time the girls get on the ball, big save or a goal. It gets the buzz going in the team and we’ve missed a bit of that this week. It’s been a little bit flat from our end which comes from the back of results so they have really helped us turn it around.”

Final standings - Hero Hockey Champions Trophy 2016
1: Argentina
2: The Netherlands
3: USA
4: Australia
5: Great Britain
6: New Zealand

Individual Awards
Best player: Carla Rebecchi (ARG)
Best junior player: Maria Granatto (ARG)
Best goalkeeper: Joyce Sombroek (NED)
Top scorer: Carla Rebecchi (ARG) - 7 goals

#HCT2016 #BestOfTheBest

FIH site

USWNT Rise Above Australia to Earn the Bronze Medal at Champions Trophy

STRATFORD, London – With the women’s Champions Trophy 2016 bronze medal within arm’s reach, the U.S. Women’s National Team brought tremendous spirit and fight to their pitch performance against Australia. The end result dubbed the red, white and blue contest winners, with a 1-0 shootout tally; after a draw of 2-2 in regulation time.

Setting the stage early on in the tournament, the two squads encountered each other in the first game of pool play and drew 2-2 tie. Ready to rewrite the script, USA applied their deft skill set and never-say-die American mindset against 3rd World Ranked Australia.

The opening minutes of the match were locked between the 25 yard lines as both national teams settled into the match. Finding entry into their attack circle first, USA fed the ball with through passes in hopes of a final connection to the backboard. Australia quickly grabbed hold of the ball to transition play down field. Kelsey Kolojejchick (Larksville, Pa.) displayed deft defensive skill to guide an incoming Australian forward from the center of the pitch in USA's backfield and stole the ball. Continuing to imply their presence in the offensive end, an Australian attacker wound up to crush the ball from the left baseline, but a perfectly placed stick from Katelyn Falgowski (Landenburg, Pa.) denied the attempt. In the 8th minute, Australia’s aggressive front line was rewarded with their first penalty corner of the match. The flick cruised past the right goal post. Still at zeroes, Australia created a goalmouth scramble but USA keeper Jackie Briggs (Robsenonia, Pa.) remained a solid wall, clearing the shot away.

Moving into their goal scoring territory, USA continued to test Australia’s defense with a quick succession of rapid-fire hits. Australia’s goalie responded in keeping USA scoreless. In the 15th minute, a drive from the top, right portion of the opposition’s attack circle proved successful as Mariah William‘s strike hit the mesh to create a new score of USA 0, Australia 1.

A persistent Australia came full force into their attacking end with an unfinished crossed ball and a shot that went wide of the left goal post. In the 17th minute, Australia earned their second penalty corner of the match with the initial hit from the top going out of bounds. Possession transferred to the USA, where Kolojejchick slid a pass to Kat Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.) who bashed the ball with a reverse strike. Australia’s keeper was quick to react to defend the cage. In the 27th minute, with stick-to-stick passing, Emily Wold (Freehold, N.J.) and Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) maneuvered past Australian midfielders and into USA's attack circle to earn a penalty corner. Michelle Kasold's (Chapel Hill, N.C.) straight sweep was halted by Australia’s defense. The halftime report stood USA down by one goal.

Australia was quick off the starting line and into their attacking circle. In the 34th minute Australia’s Grace Stewart with a straight fast hit nailed the lower left inside panel of the goal changing the score USA 0, Australia 2. The red, white & blue earn back-to-back corners in the 39th minute, after showing true muscle and fight with Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) charging into USA's attack 25 and getting the ball to the stroke.  A deceptive pass to just left of the top of the circle gave Kasold the ball for a shot. But Australia was able to contain the hit. In the 42nd minute of play, off of the penalty corner, a rocket hit from the top of the circle was tipped by Katie Bam's (Blue Bell, Pa.) stick and over the goal line to change the score USA 1, Australia 2. Team USA generated powerful and undeniable attacks, racking up penalty corner chances and getting shots off that tested Australia’s backfield. In the 57th minute, the USA nabbed an equalizer when Falgowski slipped a ball to the left post. Bam dove onto the turf to redirect ball into the cage.

“Our first half was a little slower than we wanted,” said Bam. “When things kept falling in Australia’s favor, we kept our foot on the gas pedal to turn things around. We did an incredible job in the third and fourth quarter. I am so proud of us. I am so proud of this team."

To determine a winner, the teams entered a round of shootouts. The combination of Briggs' unwavering on-point reactions defending the cage and Gonzalez’s goal created a 1-0 score for the USA to win bronze.

Another special feature to this afternoon's game was Wold's landmark achievement of tallying 50 international caps as a Team USA athlete. 

Team USA's second game of the event was recorded as a 1-4 loss to Argentina. The following match against 1st FIH World Ranked Holland resulted in another loss with a score of 1-4. The next matchup proved a 2-0 victory over host nation Great Britain. In the final match of pool play, Team USA drew 1-1 verses New Zealand.

“It has been a good week for us,” said Craig Parnham, USWNT Head Coach. “There have been some good experiences to learn from. As we reflect back it’s going to bode well for the coming weeks as we prepare for Rio. It’s good to come across the finish line with a win at the end of the tournament.”

Team USA will compete one more time before departing for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Join the USWNT on their home turf for the Citi Rio Send-Off Series against India and Canada, at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa.! Single game tickets are $20 for adults ($18 for USA Field Hockey members) and $10 for spectators under age 18, seniors (65+), and active military. A group discount of up to $3 per ticket depending on the size of your group will be available on orders of 10 or more tickets to the same match.

USFHA media release

U.S. Women’s Field Hockey Team Wins First Champions Trophy Medal In 21 years

By Craig Bohnert

Team USA celebrates after winning the bronze medal in a penalty shoot-out during the 2016 FIH Women's Hockey Champions Trophy at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on June 26, 2016 in London.

The U.S. women’s field hockey team will bring home the bronze medal after defeating Australia in a shootout in their final Champions Trophy match Sunday at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The medal is the first for the U.S. at the annual gathering of the world’s top teams since 1995, when they won bronze in Mar del Plata, Argentina. It gives U.S. medal hopes a significant boost heading into the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The U.S. had met the Aussies in the tournament’s opening match and came away with a 2-2 tie. However, instead of matching each Australian goal with one of their own as they did in the opener, the Americans found themselves on the short end of a 2-0 tally four minutes into the third quarter on Sunday.

That’s when the U.S. side went to work, powered by striker Katie Bam (née O’Donnell). A member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, the former University of Maryland Terrapin pulled the U.S. to within one with a goal in the 42nd minute, then found the net again to even the match less than three minutes from its conclusion.

Melissa Gonzalez scored the game winner in the shootout as goalkeeper Jackie Briggs turned away all five Australian tries.

“It didn’t matter who we played, we’re just so happy with the result,” said Briggs after the win. “We worked really hard to keep it at 2-2. I made a few mistakes in the game, but I was just really thankful that the team had my back today. I knew that going into the shootout I just had to keep it out.”

The medal sends a statement that the United States is ready to challenge for a podium finish in Rio. Finishing last in the 12-team Olympic tournament four years ago, the American women entered this year’s Champions Trophy on a roll that would belie their No. 7 world ranking, having split a pair of games against the Netherlands, the world’s No. 1-ranked team, days prior to going to London. During pool play they played even with the world’s best, scoring draws against No. 3-ranked Australia and No. 4-ranked New Zealand and defeating host Great Britain before picking up the win Sunday.

Team USA media release

U.S. women win bronze at Hockey Champion’s Trophy

By Eric Scatamacchia

Mark Palczewski/USA Field Hockey

The U.S. women's field hockey team took home bronze at the Champion's Trophy.

In the team’s final international tournament before the Rio Olympics, the U.S. women’s field hockey team won bronze amongst a strong field at the Hockey Champion’s Trophy in London.

All six participants of the tournament will be headed to the Olympics this summer. The U.S. was the lowest ranked team at the Champion’s Trophy ranked seventh in the world. Each of the other five countries, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and the Netherlands, were ranked in the top six in the world.

The U.S. finished the tournament with a record of 2-2-2, beating Australia in a shootout in the Bronze Medal Match. The U.S. was down by two goals before mounting a comeback to tie the match. In the shootout, goalkeeper Jackie Briggs stopped every Australian attempt to help the U.S. to the victory.

Overall, Katie Bam, Emily Wold and Kelsey Kolojejchick each scored two goals at the tournament to lead the way for the U.S.

In the Gold Medal Match, Argentina defeated the Netherlands by a score of 2-1. Great Britain beat New Zealand in the fifth place match.

Final standings:
Gold: Argentina (World ranking- 2)
Silver: Netherlands (WR- 1)
Bronze: USA (WR- 7)
4th: Australia (WR- 3)
5th: Great Britain (WR- 6)
6th: New Zealand (WR- 4)

The U.S. will play three matches as part of the Citi Rio Send-Off Series before the start of the Olympic tournament. The team will play two matches against India on July 18 and July 20 before its final send-off match against Canada on July 26. All three matches will be played at the team’s training facility in Lancaster, PA.

NBC Olympics

USA delegate Hockeyroos to fourth

USA claim bronze on shoot-out

By Holly MacNeil

Rachel Lynch at full stretch

The USA have defeated Australia in a sudden death shoot-out at the Champions Trophy after the Hockeyroos held the lead for the majority of the game; with USA captain Melissa Gonzalez scoring the winning goal for her team.

The first quarter began with a fight for possession of the ball, with it travelling up and down the pitch before remaining with the Hockeyroos for the majority of the term. The Hockeyroos made the first chance on a penalty corner, but it went just wide missing the net.

The Hockeyroos were all over the ball making USA goalkeeper Jackie Briggs work hard in the last three minutes of the quarter with a number of attempts on field goals.

In the final minute of the quarter Mariah Williams came through with the goods, scoring a field goal for Australia in her 50th game for the team, and leaving the Hockeyroos with a 1 – nil lead going into the quarter time break.

Two minutes into the second term and the Hockeyroos were up for another penalty corner. Casey Sablowski injected, Emily Smith trapped and Jodie Kenny went for the goal but it just missed the target.

Kathleen Sharkey broke free from the Hockeyroos and stormed into the USA circle, flying the ball at the net with Australian goalkeeper Rachael Lynch making the job of knocking the ball away look easy during her 150th cap for the Hockeyroos.

With three minutes left on the clock before half time, the USA was up for a penalty corner. The goal was easily defended with Jodie Kenny flicking it straight back down to the waiting Hockeyroos.

USA player Katie Bam was sent off with a ten minute yellow card two minutes before the end of the second half for a tackle that sent Hockeyroos Captain Madonna Blyth flying across the pitch.

Going into the third quarter and Australia maintained the 1 – nil lead over the USA. Slattery went for a diving goal after a deflection from Casey Sablowski and just missed the mark on what would have been a spectacular goal.

The ball travelled through the midfield with passes between Casey Sablowski and Mariah Williams, before ending up with Grace Stewart who sprinted it into the circle and sent it straight into goal.

Six minutes remaining in the third term and the USA had a double chance on penalty corner. The Hockeyroos were having none of it and successfully defend both attempts. With five minutes to go they had another chance after an obstruction in the circle, but Australia were defending in numbers.

The ball went flying down to Jane Claxton in the midfield who passed to Georgie Parker who went in for her trademark tomahawk, which narrowly missed the net.

Forty-two minutes into the game and the USA finally made their mark on the score board with a penalty corner from Katie Bam sailing into the net.

The final quarter began with the Hockeyroos out in the lead. A double penalty corner opportunity a few minutes in was missed, and the teams were both desperate to gain control of the ball.

The USA were up for a penalty corner five minutes in. The first opportunity was quickly succeeded by a second and third, and with Australia determined to hold onto the lead the chances remained unconverted. Minutes of scrambling for the ball followed, with Kirsten Dwyer given a five minute yellow card.

The USA sprinted the ball down to their scoring circle, and Rachael Lynch flew out of the net to knock the ball out of range. With only minutes on the clock, Katie Bam managed to get one past the keeper, knocking a field goal into the net and levelling the score at 2 – 2.

At full time the score remained tied at 2 all, with the bronze medal to be decided by a shoot-out.

The shoot-out saw only one goal, and one was enough with USA captain Melissa Gonzalez scoring the first and only goal for the shoot-out, giving the USA the bronze and delegating Australia to fourth position.

Hockeyroos Head Coach Adam Commens said: “It’s a disappointing result for us. I thought we dominated the game for the first three quarters, and then our last quarter was poor. We started making decisions that we hadn’t been making all game, people not presenting for the ball and we went away from the objectives that we had for the game.

“I think that the frustrating thing about it is that you put in a great performance, and then you let a team into it. I’ve something that I’ve spoken about throughout this tournament that we need to be better at and today unfortunately we weren’t as clinical as I would have liked in that last quarter.”

Earlier in the day Great Britain took out their first win of the competition to finish in fifth position ahead of New Zealand. Argentina and the Netherlands will compete for the gold and silver medal positions later this evening.

Results today
GBR 4 – 3 NZL
AUS 2 – 2 USA (0 – 1, SO)

Mariah Williams 15 (FG)
Grace Stewart 34 (FG)

USA 2 (0)
Katie Bam 42, 57 (PC, FG) 

*USA win 1 – 0 against Australia in sudden death shoot-out

Shootout details

Melissa Gonzalez (USA) Goal
Georgia Nanscawen (AUS) Miss
Katelyn Falgowski 23 (USA) Miss
Madonna Blyth (AUS) Miss
Michelle Vittesse (USA) Miss
Georgie Parker (AUS) Miss
Kelsey Kolojejchick (USA) Miss
Mariah Williams (AUS) Miss
Rachel Dawson (USA) Miss
Casey Sablowski (AUS) Miss

Hockeyroos’ squad v USA
Madonna Blyth (Brisbane, QLD) 336/70
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA) 102/9
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD) 180/98
Rachael Lynch (Warrandyte, VIC) 150/0
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA) 104/9
Georgina Morgan (Armidale, NSW) 46/8
Georgie Parker (Berri, SA), 102/32
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT) 95/13
Casey Sablowski (Albion Park, NSW) 252/44
Kathryn Slattery (South Stirling, WA) 56/17
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW) 157/63
Used Substitute
Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT) 115/2
Kirsten Dwyer (Mackay, QLD) 108/2
Georgia Nanscawen (Melbourne, VIC) 183/35
Grace Stewart (Gerringong, NSW) 22/10
Mariah Williams (Parkes, NSW) 50/6

Unused Substitute
Gabrielle Nance (Kingscliff, SA) 36/2
Ashlee Wells (Morwell, VIC) 77/0

Hockey Australia media release

Danson hat-trick fires Great Britain to New Zealand win

Danson celebrates HCT2016

A stunning hat-trick from Great Britain’s Alex Danson fired them to a 4-3 win over New Zealand in the women’s Hockey Champions Trophy. Danson’s treble in addition to a strike from Lily Owsley handed Danny Kerry’s team their first win of the tournament and fifth place in the competition. Despite goals from Anita McLaren, Olivia Merry and Kelsey Smith, the Blacksticks were condemned to the wooden spoon.

Great Britain started the match with a real hunger and Sophie Bray was causing plenty of problems in the opening exchanges.  Bray did well to set Owsley free down the left but her cross just evaded Susannah Townsend. It wasn’t long until the deadlock was broken, however. Bray was again involved, threading a lovely pass into the circle for Danson to slam in a backhand strike to make it 1-0. 
Immediately after the goal, Maddie Hinch was called into action, saving well from Charlotte Harrison, once from open play and then again from a penalty corner. Danny Kerry’s side were looking dangerous and Owsley almost added another but her shot from Danson’s pass flashed wide. Bray was terrorizing the Blacksticks’ defence and the No19 robbed the defender and played in Owsley who brought a fine stop from Amelia Gibson in the New Zealand goal.

New Zealand hit back early in the second quarter and levelled the scores. The ball broke to McLaren inside the circle and she needed no second invitation to smash home a lovely finish to make it 1-1. Parity was restored for just four minutes. Danson crossed for Owsley who slotted home at the second attempt to make it 2-1 at the half time interval. 

Three minutes into the third quarter Great Britain scored again. A slick penalty corner routine involving a double dummy set up Laura Unsworth to find Danson with a slapped pass, the No15 did the rest to make it 3-1. Hinch had to be on alert as she made a good save to deny Harrison from close range and then moments later the goalkeeper was brave, blocking a thunderbolt from Merry.

Merry got the better of the home defence in the 39th minute from a penalty corner, smashing in a powerful strike that found the net via the goalkeeper’s pads.

The game was nicely balanced heading into the final quarter and within two minutes of the restart, New Zealand equalised. Kayla Whitelock's penalty corner was deflected in by Kelsey Smith to tie it up once again.

Undeterred, Great Britain pushed forwards again. Roared on by a fanatical home crowd, Danson broke through and with the goalkeeper closing her down, produced a sublime finish to loft the ball over Sally Rutherford to complete her hat-trick and put Danny Kerry’s side 4-3 up. New Zealand went to a kicking back for the final five minutes as they aimed to salvage the game, but some strong defensive work by the ever-reliable Sam Quek and her team mates kept the Blacksticks at bay and clinched the game for Great Britain.

The bronze medal match between Australia and USA is currently in progress. The final between Argentina and Netherlands starts at 1830. 

Alex Danson told Great Britain Hockey afterwards:

“It was a fantastic game. Thank you to everyone who has come out and supported us this week, I don’t think anyone has lost faith in us and we haven’t lost faith in ourselves. To have a fantastic atmosphere like that on our home turf in the Olympic Park is pretty special. After a hard week we are delighted to come away with that last win.”

“The first goal was a fantastic ball though from Sophie Bray that gave me a clear shot on goal. The second goal was a very well worked short corner. A fantastic ball from Laura Unsworth and there wasn’t a lot I needed to do apart from lay my stick flat and let it go in. The third one was another great ball through from Bray which just enabled me to get one on one with the keeper. They were three really nice team goals which is fantastic. The third one I remember thinking the keeper comes out pretty quick so I needed to get something in the air and hope it popped in, which it did!”

“It was really important to get the win today but even though it has been a difficult week the one thing that hasn’t been lost is that sense of togetherness. We know what we are about, we knew coming into this tournament it could go brilliantly well or not so well but it would have no impact on what we can achieve going into Rio. We will go back to Bisham Abbey now, we have a few weeks to consolidate our final preparations. I believe we have the best programme out there, the best staff and the best players. It is pretty exciting moving into the final period of time before the Olympics.”

“Sometimes a little set back is mark of strength, when a team can come back out and perform it shows great belief. We never rest on our laurels. We are a very, very tight team and we know exactly what we want to achieve. We believe in each other and we will go and get the job done.”

Great Britain 4 (2)
Alex Danson 10, 33, 52 (FG, PC, FG)
Lily Owsley 26 (FG)

New Zealand 3 (1)
Anita McLaren 22 (FG)
Olivia Merry 39 (PC)
Kelsey Smith 47 (PC)

Great Britain Hockey media release

Black Sticks finish sixth at Champions Trophy

Charlotte Harrison in action. Photo: Planet Hockey

The Black Sticks Women have finished sixth at the Hockey Champions Trophy in London after being beaten 4-3 by hosts Great Britain.

Great Britain came out firing in front of a vocal home crowd and were fuelled by a hat-trick from Alex Danson.

The Black Sticks created more shots on goal and circle entries but struggled to capitalise against a scrambling defence.

Anita McLaren scored a first half field goal while Olivia Merry and Kelsey Smith converted from second half penalty corners.

Head coach Mark Hager said his side wasn’t consistent enough through the tournament and conceded too many goals.

“Great Britain wanted it today and we didn’t do well enough at stopping them,” he said.

“Playing at home against Great Britain is always tough, and in the first half their energy was better than ours.

“We fought back in the second half and played some of our best hockey at the tournament but unfortunately couldn’t score the goals we needed.

“Moving forward we know we need to be better for Rio and learn from some key lessons from this tournament.”

Great Britain opened the scoring in the 10th minute when Alex Danson fired a good backhand shot through goalkeeper Sally Rutherford’s legs.

The Black Sticks responded midway through the second quarter with Anita McLaren pouncing on a deflection and smashing into goal on her reverse stick.

Great Britain then put the foot down either side of halftime with goals from Lily Owsley and Danson to push their advantage to 3-1.

New Zealand clawed back to equalise once more thanks to goals from Olivia Merry in the 39th minute and Kelsey Smith in the 47th, who both slotted from penalty corners.

But Danson struck again eight minutes from fulltime, scoring her hat-trick and ultimately sealing the result for the hosts.

In other results Argentina edged the Netherlands 2-1 in the gold medal match while USA defeated Australia 1-0 in a shoot-out to take out the bronze medal.

BLACK STICKS 3: (Anita McLaren, Olivia Merry, Kelsey Smith)
GREAT BRITAIN 4: (Alex Danson 3, Lily Owsley)
Halftime: Great Britain 2-1

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Danson hat-trick against New Zealand sees Britian claim fifth spot in Champions Trophy
By Mike Haymonds

Great Britain;'s Alex Danson celebrates after scoring against New Zealand in the Champions Trophy

A HAT-TRICK from Alex Danson helped Great Britain's women to win the fifth place match, 4-3 against New Zealand, in the Investec Champions Trophy in the Olympic Park.

It was their first win of the tournament, after a draw and four defeats, and restored some confidence in their last competitive activity before the Rio Olympics. It also improved their previous poor statistics, almost doubling their goal tally and scoring their first penalty corner goal after 18 attempts.

Danson opened the scoring in the 10th minute, firing through the keeper's pads from a pass by Sophie Bray.

The Kiwis equalised midway through the second period when Anita Mclaren fired home their second corner before Danson set up Lily Owsley to net at the second attempt.

A dummy double switch at GB's first corner after 33 minutes saw Laura Unsworth's slapped pass deflected home by Danson. But Olivia Merry reduced the deficit from the Kiwis' third corner and Kelsey Smith levelled six minutes later from their fifth corner with a deflection of Kayla Whitelock's strike.

With eight minutes left Danson completed her hat-trick with a gem of a goal, taking Bray's pass and lifting the ball over the advancing keeper.
Alex Danson said: "It was important to get the win today but, even though it has been a difficult week, the one thing that hasn't been lost is that sense of togetherness

"We know what we are about, we knew coming into this tournament it could go brilliantly well or not so well but it would have no impact on what we can achieve going into Rio.

"I believe we have the best programme out there, the best staff and the best players."

Daily Express

Black Sticks finish last at Champions Trophy after loss to hosts Great Britain

Black Sticks Pippa Hayward, left, and Julia King close in on Great Britain's Lily Owsley during the playoff for fifth at the Champions Trophy in London. GETTY IMAGES

The New Zealand women's hockey team have completed a disappointing Champions Trophy on a losing note in London, beaten 4-3 by Great Britain to finish last.

After an earlier 1-0 win against the hosts, the world No 4 Black Sticks were unable to repeat the dose on Sunday (Monday NZ time) as Alex Danson scored the winner and sealed her hat-trick eight minutes from fulltime.

The British striker's third goal, which came after New Zealand had fought back from 3-1 down early in the second half to level at 3-3 at the start of the final quarter, resigned the Black Sticks to their fourth defeat in six matches at the prestigious six-team tournament.

Head coach Mark Hager said his side wasn't consistent enough through the tournament and conceded too many goals.

"Great Britain wanted it today and we didn't do well enough at stopping them.

"Playing at home against Great Britain is always tough, and in the first half their energy was better than ours. We fought back in the second half and played some of our best hockey at the tournament, but unfortunately couldn't score the goals we needed.

"Moving forward we know we need to be better for Rio and learn from some key lessons from this tournament."

The team's overall performance not only left Hager with plenty to ponder as he prepares to name his squad for the Rio Olympics next week, it was also somewhat unexpected in the wake of the team's strong form over the last six months.

New Zealand were runners-up at the World League Finals in December, followed that with a series win against the world No 2 side in Argentina and twice beat third-ranked rivals Australia on-route to tournament wins in the lead-up to the Champions Trophy.

But, after losses to both those teams, world No 1 the Netherlands and a draw with the seventh-ranked USA, the Black Sticks did not enter the playoff for fifth against the hosts with momentum on their side.

Danson opened the scoring in the 10th minute, before Kiwi midfielder Anita McLaren drove the ball between British goalkeeper Maddie Hinch's legs to lock the match back up midway through the second quarter.

Four minutes late, though, Lily Owsley scored with a reverse stick strike to give the hosts a 2-1 halftime lead and shortly after the resumption of play Danson knocked in her second from a penalty corner for a two-goal buffer.

The Black Sticks responded with a set-piece goal of their own to Olivia Merry to reduce the margin at three-quarter time and when Kelsey Smith deflected in from a penalty corner two minutes into the final stanza a come-from-behind win beckoned.

But it was the British who held their nerve the better over the closing 10 minutes, Danson producing a fine individual goal to restore the lead and her side hanging on for victory as New Zealand's Stacey Michelsen hit the post from a penalty corner in the dying stages.

Great Britain 4 (Alex Danson 10', 33', 52, Lily Owsley 26) New Zealand 3 (Anita McLaren 22', Olivia Merry 39', Kelsey Smith 47'). Halftime: 2-1.


Black Sticks end Champions Trophy on losing note

Still there's plenty of work ahead for coaches Mark Hager and Sean Dancer, once the squad for the Rio Olympics is named next week. Photo / Getty

New Zealand's disappointing Champions Trophy campaign ended on a losing note in London today.

Playing off for fifth and sixth spots in the six-team tournament, the Black Sticks were edged out 4-3 by Britain, whom they had beaten 1-0 in round robin play.

That meant the world No 4 Black Sticks leave the tournament with just one win, one draw and four defeats.

They had more shots on goal and circle penetrations than sixth-ranked Britain and could even have snatched a draw, and forced a penalty shootout, four minutes from the end, but Stacey Michelsen's close range shot at a penalty corner hit an upright.

Attacker Gemma Flynn had squandered a glorious opening in the first quarter, however Britain had taken a 3-1 lead early in the second half, after two goals from star striker Alex Danson and one from Lily Owsley.

As with Owsley's backhand shot, New Zealand's first goal, by Anita McLaren was driven between the goalkeeper's legs.

A firm drive from a penalty corner by Olivia Merry, and a neat deflection by Kelsey Smith from another got New Zealand level at 3-3, before Danson completed her hat-trick with a fine individual goal, ending in a sprawl and nudge over advancing goalkeeper Sally Rutherford.

It was Britain's first win in the tournament but as Danson pointed out "what we didn't lose throughout was our belief. It was a fantastic performance".

New Zealand scored 10 goals but conceded 18 in their six matches, far too many.

They were handicapped by the absence for the tournament of senior figures in their defensive planning Emily Gaddum and Sam Charlton, and an injury which sidelined Liz Thompson for the last two matches.

Still there's plenty of work ahead for coaches Mark Hager and Sean Dancer, once the squad for the Rio Olympics is named next week.

Attention now switches to the men's Black Sticks, who start a six-nation tournament in Valencia, against the hosts early on Tuesday, their last significant preparation for Rio.

The United States took the bronze medal with a penalty shootout win over Australia, after the scores were level 2-2.

The Netherlands and Argentina were playing off for gold later this morning.

Hager pointed a finger at defensive frailties as he reflected on a disappointing Champions Trophy campaign.

"We have to tidy up defensively," he said. "You can't give teams a head start then try and chase them all the time. A couple of defensive lapses cost us today.

"That's the rub of the green. We haven't had a good tour and have to regroup and do some soul searching. It's been a big wake up call."

The loss of Gaddum, Charlton and Thompson - who had an MRI scan which revealed no major issues - undermined the defensive strategies.

"That hurt, and we had to reshuffle a bit. Unfortunately it didn't quite gel for us," Hager said.

Hager would not be drawn on whether New Zealand players may have significantly hurt their chances of Olympic selection so soon after the final trophy game.

"We will reassess everything and make decisions from there.

"We want to take the emotion out of it when making these decisions. We kow we have a quality team and have some good players. Unfortunately it was one of those tournaments when things didn't fall our way."

The New Zealand squad arrive home on Wednesday. They have several days off before returning to training.

Hager thinks the players will relax once the Olympic squad is named, and wondered if there had been some anxiety over selection, which may have affected form.

''We're frustrated how we played. All are fixable things but the coaching staff and players all have to make slight adjustments.

The New Zealand Herald

Helen awarded Marjorie Pollard Salver on comeback

By Patrick Rowley,

Helen Richardson-Walsh was today named by the Hockey Writers Club as Britain’s best player at the women’s Champions Trophy when the world’s top six event ended at Queen Elizabeth  Park in East London today.

She was the most consistent player in a British team that failed to live up to expectations.

She started the tournament by scoring both GB’s goals in a 2-2 draw with Argentina who today won the trophy for a record seventh time by beating the Netherlands 2-1 an intense final.

She finished the tournament with some inspiring link play as Britain won a thrilling game against New Zealand by 4 goals to three to take fifth place.

Helen won the Marjorie Pollard  Salver, a trophy in memory of one of England’s finest forwards who was equally well renowned as a journalist.  It has been presented annually after a selected major event since 1985.

The presentation was made at the Olympic media centre by Lisa Wilson, whose husband Graham, the HWC Chairman, passed away recently a few weeks after their 22-year-old  son Tom tragically died after a freak accident while at hockey training. Lisa was joined by her daughter Pippa (20).

Lisa said she was especially pleased to be presenting the trophy to Helen who has shown the courage to fight her way back to the British team after what seemed a never ending series of injuries. 

It was Helen and her married partner Kate, the GB captain, who were the first to send condolences to Lisa, despite the fact that they were just about to take the field at a match in Argentina.

Helen and Kate who were married two years ago, are expected to be named this week to take part in their fourth Olympics. The pair both played at the Sydney (2000),  Beijing and London Olympics. Only Jane Sixsmith has played in more Olympic hockey events.

Helen is 34 years old and has been playing internationals since 1999. She now has now made over 280 international appearances.

The late Tom Wilson was a registered organ  donor and his mother and sister take great consolation that 20 people have benefitted.   They have set up the Tom Wilson Memorial Fund  to support medical related charities. https://crowdfunding.just giving.com/l-wilson

Hockey Writers Club media release

Graham Wilson Media Centre

Daughter Pippa and Wife Lisa in front go the Graham Wilson Media Centre

The media centre the Hockey Champions Trophy has been named after journalist Graham Wilson who sadly passed away earlier in the year from cancer.

Graham was the chairman of the Hockey Writers' Club, a hockey journalist for the Daily Express and former Club President at Havering Hockey Club.

Wife Lisa commented on the naming of the centre; “It is an incredible tribute because Graham loved international hockey as well as grassroots at his club Havering. This is a real tribute because the pinnacle of his career was following international hockey."

Sadly this was not the first tragedy to hit the Wilson family as only a few months earlier they lost their hockey playing son, Tom after a freak accident on the pitch.

“What Graham wanted is that Tom's memory is kept alive. It was unprecedented what happened in December on the pitch. It just doesn’t happen. We are very proud that he was an organ donor and hopefully this can highlight to others in the hockey world to sign up. We hope in the future that Graham and Tom's memory will be kept alive in the international events and through the hockey family."

“The hockey family have been so important to us in our tragic couple of months from messages from across the country and Great Britain captains to messages from across the world; it has meant so much to us.”

Register to become an organ donor here.

England Hockey Board Media release

6 Nations Tournament Streaming Live

The 6 Nations tournament, running from June 27th until July 3rd, will see the Green Machine face off against the world’s best in their final tournament before the Rio Olympic Games.

Ireland will face no fewer than 4 of the world’s top 10 teams, as well as Spain who, at 11th, sit marginally above the men in green. The Green Machine will open their tournament against Argentina before a quick turnaround sees them play India the following day. Close contests should be the nature of this tournament as the boys in green play the hosts on June 30th before meeting the Blacksticks (New Zealand) on July 2nd. Rounding out the tournament against the world number 3 Germany will be no easy task as the Germans recently finished third in the FIH Champions Trophy.

All of these matches will be streamed live! The links to these games can be found below.

27/06/2016 17:00 Argentina - Ireland
28/06/2016 15:00 Ireland - India
30/06/2016 19:00 Spain - Ireland
02/07/2016 09:00 Ireland - N. Zealand
03/07/2016 09:00 Germany - Ireland

Irish Hockey Association media release

Watch the Black Sticks Men LIVE in Spain

Watch the Black Sticks Men in action at the Six Nations tournament in Valencia LIVE and on demand.

Hockey New Zealand has arranged streaming of the tournament through hockeynz.co.nz/Video

New Zealand (ranked 8th in the world) go up against Germany (3rd), Argentina (6th), India (7th), hosts Spain (11th) and Ireland (12th).

The Men’s Olympic team of 16 players will compete at the tournament, while Nick Haig, Marcus Child and Richard Joyce will also play during the tour.

The Black Sticks open their Six Nations campaign against Spain on Tuesday 28 June at 6am (NZ time).

CLICK HERE for the full Six Nations match schedule (in Valencia time)

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Canadian women pleased with continued progress through first three matches in Japan

Shaheed Devji

PHOTO: Courtesy of 2016 Hawke’s Bay Festival of Hockey

Canada’s women field hockey team has one more match remaining in its four-game series against Japan, and heading into the final tilt the team is pleased with its overall performance against one of the world’s best.

Despite a 5-1 loss in the third match of the series, the team has made progress in each of its first three matches.

Sunday in Japan, Canada scored its first goal of the series when Holly Stewart scored a field goal in the 41st minute.

After a scoreless first quarter, Japan scored two goals in the second quarter to open up a 2-0 lead. They added another early in the third to go up 3-0 before Stewart’s tally made the match 3-1.

It remained that way until the final moments of the game when Japan added to quick goals in the 55th and 56th minutes.

“Today I thought we where structurally better than yesterday,” says head coach Ian Rutledge. “It’s a shame the final score blew out in the final 5 (minutes).”

Each game between the 19th ranked Canadian and 10th ranked Japanese has been close for the majority of the game. Having the opportunity to learn and get back on the field in quick succession has afforded Rutledge and the Canadians the chance to improve in each test.

“Japan, as a top team, are continually asking questions and pressuring us,” he says. “Developing a tolerance for this type of intensity and discomfort will serve us well the near future.”

Tuesday’s final match is scheduled to be played at 7:00pm local time (3:00am PT/6:00am ET).

Field Hockey Canada media release

Solomon Islands Hockey squads jet out


The SI Hockey teams prior to their departure.

The national hockey squads jet out to Fiji last Saturday for the Hockey World League Round One, set to kick off from the 28th June to 3rd July.

The squads comprised of 18 players for both men and women’s team, with six officials.

Hockey President Nihal Senevirantne told Sunday Sports prior to their departure that the squads are in good spirits and ready to take on all the teams in the tournament.

 “Yes, we are ready to take on our opponents,” he said.

“We know we carry the nation’s hopes; we will fight right to the end,” he added.

He also called for the nation’s support as they participate in the tournament.

Men’s team captain Gary Edaward Nuopula also shared similar sentiments.

“We learned a lot from our Pacific Games debut last year in PNG and with the Oceania Hockey Federation’s advices we are well prepared for this competition,’’ he said.

 “I am confident that we can do it in this game,’’ he said.

 Nuopula also called on all Solomon Islanders living in Fiji to get behind the national teams and support them during the competition.

Meanwhile, the national squads have been receiving overwhelming support from business houses and the government for this competition.

“We would also like to thank our major sponsors who made this trip possible for us,’’ president Senevirantne said.

 He thanked the   Ministry of Home Affairs, Samlinsum Ltd, Cowboy Bar & Grill Restaurant, Low Price Enterprise, Quanchee Motors, QQQ Holdings, Global Investment, Central Bank of SI, Heritage Park Hotel, Wings Supermarket, Jadoo Clothing, Solomon Sheet Steel, AUSMART, KC ENTERPRISES, SOL TUNA LTD, ELITE TIMBER, George Wu & Company, Fangs & Company, and E WORLD TECHNOLOGY.

“Without their support we will not be able to make it in this competition,’’ he added.

The Solomon Star

India will win hockey medal in Rio Olympics: Olympio Fernandes

TORONTO: Olympio Fernandes, goalkeeper of the World Cup winning team in 1975, has asserted that the Indian hockey is set to recapture its past glory and the national team will definitely return home with a medal from the Rio Olympics.

Having watched India's run to their maiden final at the just-concluded Champions Trophy where they came close to winning the gold medal, Fernandes is buoyed by the performance and insisted that it was not a fluke.

"I have been watching the performance of the Indian hockey team and they played to a plan despite their depleted strength in the Champions Trophy. India hockey has found the right formula to reach the top once again," Fernandes, who is settled in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga and works for Nissan Canada, told IANS.

"India has hit the right formula by adapting to play 'rotating hockey'. Full credit to coach Roelant Oltmans . Under him, India have learnt the art of playing rotating hockey or possession hockey. It means that every Indian player is now capable of playing in any position. That's a big change in the Indian style of playing hockey on astroturf," he added.

"Even more importantly, Indians now not only play 'rotating hockey' but also 'power hockey'."

The Goa-born goalkeeper, who represented India from 1975 to 1980, pointed out that the reluctance of India and Pakistan to adapt to astroturf played a major role in the decline of hockey in the sub-continent.

"When astroturf was introduced, India and Pakistan declined as top hockey powers because our players couldn't match the muscle power of European and Australian players."

"On grass surfaces, Indians used to play skill hockey and there was no need for muscle power. But on astroturf, it is very difficult to control the ball (because synthetic grass doesn't bend as easily as natural grass) unless you have the muscle power. But Indian players are now physically as powerful as other European opponents. Their diet is well controlled," Fernandes explained.

"The combination of 'rotating hockey' and 'power hockey' can now propel India to the top of the hockey world. The way Indian players have been playing over the past couple of years, I will be surprised if they don't return home with a medal from the Rio Olympics. They will," he added.

Fernandes said current national coach Roelant Oltmans is the best thing that has happened to the Indian hockey in recent years.

"Roelant has impeccable credentials as a player and as a coach. He is a great listener and understands players very well. He is not changing their style of playing. His style is total hockey -- skill and power," he remarked.

Fernandes also credited the Indian Hockey League with rebuilding the game from the grassroots.

"The advent of the Indian Hockey League has revived this sport. It is getting players from the grassroots and giving them the opportunity to play with top international players. Players also get paid lots of money and there is no dearth of astroturfs in India today. I am hopeful that India is now capable of regaining the past glory," he opined.

India, the former superpower of world hockey, won gold at the Olympics from 1928 to 1956. The first serious challenge to their superiority came from arch-rivals Pakistan who won an acrimonious final at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. A couple of bronze medal performances followed before India regained the Olympic title at the Moscow Games in 1980.

Since then, several factors, including the introduction of astroturf in the mid-seventies and poor management and corruption by the national federation saw Indian hockey plummet to abysmal depths. Indian hockey reached its nadir when the national team could not qualify for the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and finished 12th and the last at the London Olympics in 2012.

The Times of India

Punjab hockey on the move, three more boys set to make India debut

Indervir Grewal

Varun Kumar

Chandigarh - The announcement of the junior men’s Indian team on Saturday has again underlined Punjab’s dominance in Indian hockey. Out of the 18-member team selected for the EurAsia Cup and England tour in July, nine players are from Punjab. Apart from them, Manpreet and Santa Singh, who is a product of the Namdhari academy, are from Haryana.

More importantly, though, the inclusion of three new names shows that the graph of hockey in Punjab is moving in the right direction.

Out of the nine Punjab players, six are regulars in the Indian team — Varun Kumar, Vikramjit Singh, Gurinder Singh, Gurjant Singh, Parvinder Singh and Simranjeet Singh. Gurinder is making a comeback after an injury layout that forced him to miss last year’s Sultan of Johor Cup and Junior Asia Cup.

The inclusion of Hardik Singh, Shamsher Singh and goalkeeper Kishan Pathak, who will be making their India debuts, is encouraging.

“These three are younger than the others and from a later batch. Hardik and Shamsher were included in the national camp only late last year. To get into the team in such a short time is a big achievement,” said Avtar Singh, a coach at Surjit Academy, Jalandhar.

All except Gurjant are either current or former trainees of the Surjit Academy. Hardik and Shamsher were included after the national camp was hit by a shortage of players — more than 10 boys were excluded from the camp because they were found overage.

“Our aim is to try and produce India players from every batch. These three players getting debuts at such an early stage is a good sign; Punjab hockey is moving forward,” added Avtar.

“This is a great opportunity for these three players; they will get incomparable exposure.”

Varun named vice-captain

It will also be a new experience for defender Varun, who has been named the vice-captain. In the absence of captain Harjeet Singh, vice-captain Dipsan Tirkey has been promoted to captain, while Varun has been given the additional responsibility.

“I feel flattered by this opportunity. In hockey every player has to share responsibilities, so there is no extra pressure on me. But the title makes me want to take my role as a senior player more seriously,” said Varun.

“Many seniors are being rested and new players are being given exposure. My main role will be to handle the inexperienced players,” he added. “I am happy for the three debutants from Punjab. They worked hard and excelled during the camp.”

India will travel to Yekaterinburg, Russia, for the EurAsia Cup in early July. They will return before leaving for England. The exposure trips have been scheduled keeping in mind the World Cup, to be held in Lucknow in December.

Meanwhile, the senior team selected for the six-nation tournament in Spain includes seven players from Punjab — Rupinderpal Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Manpreet Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Talwinder Singh and juniors Harjeet and Harmanpreet Singh. Sardar Singh is from Haryana. Mandeep Singh, who was a part of the team in Champions Trophy, has been rested.

The Tribune

PHF’s planned league faces legal obstacle

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Hockey Federation’s plan to hold the first-ever league in November this year may face problems, as a petition has been filed in the Islamabad High Court raising questions over the procurement process adopted by the federation for the said league.

According to reports, a private company in its petition has raised questions in the court over the process of procurement. It is believed that the PHF had already given understanding for awarding the league to a consortium led by a Lahore-based local investor who has remained involved in domestic T20 cricket tournaments. The same investor, according to reports, owns a team in PCB’s Pakistan Super League, adding the procurement process adopted for the hockey league was merely a window decoration meant to appease the masses.

Only one bid was received and since there was no substantial interest and owing to various other reasons the tendering process has been scrapped, reports claim.

Meanwhile, a PHF spokesman has been quoted as saying president that the league would be held as per the schedule and that there was nothing serious in the petition filed in the IHC. He further said that many elements might not be in favour of the league; therefore, they would try to create hurdles in the way. But he assured that the league would be held as scheduled.

The Daily Times

Team up

England Hockey, the ECB and England Netball are delighted to announce we will be working together on an landmark project called Team Up for our upcoming home Women’s World Cups.

The next three years are a unique period for women’s team sports. England will host three consecutive Women’s World Cups; 2017 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, 2018 Women’s Hockey World Cup and the 2019 Netball World Cup.

All three National Governing Bodies are working together to build a fan base for women’s team sports and host the best possible World Cups, not only with packed crowds but also by maximising on the legacy they leave behind.

The initiative was launched at a special event at the finals day of the Hockey Champions Trophy, with Alex Danson and CEO Sally Munday representing England Hockey. This a significant date as it is exactly one year to go until the start of the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2017 and we are really looking forward to what we can collectively achieve for women’s sport.

It is vital that we use the World Cups to develop a participation legacy for our sports and we recognise that schools play a large part in the development of a sporting habit for girls. Since London 2012, hockey participation has grown hugely, and today's announcement is another milestone for the sport.

As part of this Team Up project we want to support schools to deliver our sports to ensure all girls get the opportunity to take part and love playing a team sport.

To do this we are currently developing an affinity scheme in which we want schools to sign up to be a ‘Team Up School’ and through this scheme we will provide support in the form of resources, training, as well as a number of other ways in which they can build up affinity points towards ‘golden ticket’ opportunities such as being ball girls for a World Cup Final!

If you know anyone interested in becoming a Team Up school, please register an interest here to be the first to find out more!

England Hockey Board Media release

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