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News for 27 October 2016

All the news for Thursday 27 October 2016

When the best is not enough

By Jugjet Singh

MALAYSIA played the best game of the tournament, but were denied a point when India won 2-1 in the Asian Champions Trophy in Kuantan Wednesday.

India will go into the semi-finals as the No 1 team, while Malaysia need to beat South Korea today to remain in the No 2 or No 3 bracke heading into the last four.

Rupinder Pal Singh scored both the goals, to take his tally to 10, and denied a fighting Malaysia their glory.

Goalkeeper S. Kumar said: "We had our chances but could not make it count, and world No 6 India is never easy to beat. We lost fighting, and kept our heads high the entire match and that's what is more important heading into the last match against Korea."

Kumar, who brought off brilliant saves to deny India strikers, knows that the semi-finals is the most important match of this tournament.

"As we are already in the last four, we need to give another good performance against Korea and they give our all in the semi-finals. That's what matters in the end," said Kumar.

For the record, Malaysia finished bronze medallist in the last three editions, and making the final would be a great achievement.

Goalkeeper S. Kumar brought out half a dozen saves to keep Malaysia in the match, going into the half-time breather as India tried every trick in the book but were denied at the last shot by the veteran custodian.

India took the lead, when tournament top-scorer Rupinder Pal Singh was denied his direct penalty corner flick, but he charged up and slammed the rebound in the 13th minute to take his tally to nine goals.

However, Malaysia never broke like their usual self, and attacked relentlessly and got the equaliser in the 18th minute.

Razie Rahim blasted in Malaysia's first penalty corner for his first goal of the tournament.

The crowd turned up in full force, as Malaysia won their last three matches convincingly.

Malaysia played one of their best matches in this tournament, as they pushed India to defend in numbers.

However, with two minutes remaining in the game, Rupinder Pal scored his 10th goal of the tournament -- and Malaysia removed S. Kumar to play a kicking back.

Coach van Huizen's men won their last penalty corner with 26 seconds remaining but failed to score the equaliser.

RESULTS: South Korea 4 Japan 3, Malaysia 1 India 2.

THURSDAY: Pakistan v China (6.30pm), Malaysia v South Korea (8.30pm).


         P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
INDIA    5  4  1  0  25 6  13
MALAYSIA 4  3  0  1  17 7  9
S. KOREA 4  2  1  1  10 8  7
PAKISTAN 4  2  0  2  9  10 6
CHINA    4  1  0  3  6  20 3
JAPAN    5  0  0  5  11 27 0

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

India ends Malaysia's unbeaten run in Asian Champions Trophy

By S. Ramaguru

KUANTAN: Mohd Razie Rahim scored his first penalty corner goal of the tournament but it wasn’t enough to save Malaysia from a 2-1 loss to India in their Asian Champions Trophy match at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium.

Razie’s 18th-minute equaliser came to nought as India struck through their own penalty corner specialist – Rupinderpal Singh, who notched a brace (12th, 58th minutes) – to end Malaysia’s three-match winning run.

India top the standings with 13 points from five matches while Malaysia, who will play their last match against South Korea on Thursday, stay second with nine points.

The Koreans have seven points and can move up to second if they beat Malaysia.

The last semi-finalists are Pakistan.

The Malaysia-India match was played at a fast pace. Both teams wanted to win so that they could top the standings and meet the fourth-placed team in the last four on Saturday.

The match was evenly matched in the early stages. But it was India who drew first blood from their second penalty corner in the 12th minute.

Defender Rupinderpal scored with a direct flick to take his tally to nine goals.

Six minutes later, Malaysia drew level when Razie found the net with his direct attempt from a penalty corner setpiece. It was his first goal of the tournament.

The last quarter saw both teams going for the jugular and it was India’s Rupinderpal who scored again with another direct attempt from a penalty corner.

Earlier, skipper Jung Man-jae also scored a brace to lead South Korea to a 4-3 win over a resurgent Japan.

Kim Ju-hun put South Korea ahead in the fourth minute with a field goal before Japan equalised through a Kazuma Murata penalty corner setpiece four minutes later.

The Koreans went ahead again through Man-jae in the 32nd minute. But Japan struck twice in two minutes through Hiroki Sakamoto (44th) and Kenta Tanama (45th) to go 3-2 ahead.

Undeterred, South Korea hit back swiftly through Kim Seung-hoon (46th) and Man-jae (49th) to seal their semi-final place.

The Star of Malaysia

India comes out clean in another thriller

s2h team

The setting was perfect. Full crowd, maximum so far in Kuantan, did everything possible. As if they were listening to them the Malaysians were putting up a good fight and in the fitness of things were cruising along for a famous draw against higher ranked rival in India.

The last minute moments could not have been less Hitchonian than it was so in Kuantan on wednesday evening.

Faster and fitter India did not work for draw, instead pressed hard for a win, and got last of its four penalty corners. The clock showed 2.16 minutes remaining for the match close. Successful earlier, Malaysia used its referral weapon challenging the penalty corner award by Australian Grime Murray who had a bad day as earlier two of his decision did not survive referral harangue. Thankfully for India, now it did not work out.

Lanky Rupinder Pal turned out the saviour for India. Once again, second time in the match over all, beat entrenched goalie Kumar Subramaniam. Malaysian captain later said that the communication between the first rusher and others let the goal in. Whatever, India went up again (2-1).

It was Faridkot Falcon's TENTH goal, all through PCs

There were tense moments subsequently. In a hurry to clear a building up tension a few yards away from their own D, Sardar Singh played beyond whistle and the Pakistan umpire Hider Rasool would not like it.

He awarded a penalty corner for Malaysia, the team truly disputed it in vain. Hopes renewed for the hosts, the goody crowd, still a chance beckons for the hosts, who really were successful in containing the marauding Indian forwards often, to seek a well deserved draw.

Razie Rahim, who earlier gave Malaysian the wonderful ground shot that neutralized Indian lead, took the drag. India's second goalie Akash Chikte rose to the occasion, warded off the guile flick. This was his fourth save in penalty corners.

Indian coach Roelant Oltmans worked overtime for today's player positioning and sparingly using the trumps.

He played Sardar Singh at midfield for most part of the game unlike so far where he was employed upfront. Nikkin Thimmaiah was sparing used as also Devinder Walmiki. Akashdeep Singh and Talwinder got their fair amount of time on the field. As Ramandeep Singh adn Nikkin getting less time, the intensity upfront, which was all pervasive in the first quarter, was not there.

Malaysians made use of India's ideas, and made numerous inroads. Birendra Lakra did not do well, Jasjeet was brought in for most times as defender rather than as a forward, which was the case so far.

However, there was not any change with regard to Rupinder Pal. He was almost 70-minute player now, it seems. Be it building moves or taking PCs, Rupinder Pal left his indelible mark in the game. He was undoubtedly the hero.

In the first quarter, Rupinder Pal saw his drag blocked by Kumar, but like a hawk he bounced on to the rebound to make cage connection off the second penalty corner.

Three minutes into second quarter Malaysia replied in style (1-1). Though failed with the first PC in the spell, experienced Razie Rahim lived up to the expectation of huge crowd with immaculate corner flick (1-1).

That time Nikkin was serving yellow card suspension for foul he committed moments before the first quarter end.

Indians showed enormous energy and intensity to outplay Malaysia in the opening spells but some sharp attacks were blunted by AHF Goalkeeper award winner Kumar Subramaniam.

At 36, Kumar showed what experience is when fast and furious Nikkin just tapped the ball in a lightening moment in well coordinated right flank attack. He came out equally lightening for clearance much to the relief of the vast crowd, maximum so far in the week long tournament.

In the last quarter in the space of two minutes Malaysia missed two golden chances to go up. First Haril Saabh's strong forehand from top of D, hits his own player Samsul Haziq covering the goalie. He needed doctor to attend on the pitch. A minute later, Joel van Huizen, son of coach Stephen, tore the Indian defence on the right flank, shot from acute angle, only to see the ball rolls agonizingly across the goalmouth without eliciting any touch.

After India took lead in the 57th minute, coach Stephen van Huizen replaced goalie with an additional player. It did not make much difference, as one of their players would get green card!

The game was physical, and was replete with unpleasant incidents. Marker Firhan Ashari cunningly hit Akashdeep Singh on stomach inside D when no play was on, leading to match stopped for a while but got away with it as umpire caught un-sighted perhaps.


India ride on Rupinder's brace to down Malaysia 2-1

KUANTAN: Ace drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh continued to stamp his authority in the ongoing 4th Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament as he converted two penalty corners to clinch India a 2-1 victory over hosts Malaysia on Wednesday.

Opening the scoring in the 12th minute, Rupinder saw Malaysia equalise through Razie Rahim's drag flick in the 18th minute, but got into the goal-scoring act again two minutes from the end to clinch India a win in the crucial outing and top the league standings.

India survived some anxious moments as hosts Malaysia posed a serious challenge and had their citadel under pressure in the second half and even got a penalty corner in the dying seconds, but the defenders held their ground.

Rounding off their five outings with four wins and a draw, India topped the round-robin league standings with 13 points and now await the results of the last couple of games tomorrow to find out who they play in semi-final.

Malaysia, with nine points from four matches, take on South Korea tomorrow, while defending champions Pakistan play China.

Indian captain PR Sreejesh was rested for another game to help recovery from his foot injury, giving the chance to reserve goalkeeper Akash Chikte to play this important match. Chikte justified the faith reposed in him and brought off some fine saves.

Starting with a couple of brisk raids, India forced their first penalty corner in the third minute, but Rupinder's rising drag-flick was deflected out by a defender's stick.

Ace Malaysian striker Faizal Saari had a view of the Indian goal in the sixth minute, but shot wide trying to find an angle past the goalkeeper and under pressure of time from the Indian defenders.

Rupinder put India into the lead in the 12th minute off their second penalty corner, when he slammed the rebound into the net from close range.

His initial drag-flick went off a defender's stick and hit the cross-bar before bouncing back to Rupinder, who had moved up several steps.

Nikkin Thimmaiah could have stretched India's lead two minutes later, but his deflected was saved by custodian Kumar Subramaniam, who played a fine game for Malaysia under the bar by effecting numerous saves.

India had another chance to score in the 17th minute when Akashdeep Singh drew the goalkeeper out and squared the ball to Yusuf Affan, who had an open goal in front but could execute a snap shot. Affan took a short while to seize control of the ball and then shot high over the crossbar.

Malaysia's efforts as quick counter-attacks earned them the first penalty corner in the 18th minute and Razie Rahim produced the equaliser with a stinging shot that went shoulder high into the net.

Experienced shooter Razie had opened the angle with a step forward to his right and the measured shot was not to be denied.

Malaysia came close to scoring again eight minutes later when diving Joel van Huizen deflected a cross by Shahril Saabah from the right flank, but the Indian goalkeeper exhibited his good reflexes by covering for the shot and blocking it with his body.

In the first minute after half-time, Ramandeep Singh got a lone top of the ball on the right flank and dribbled to e circle. H had only the goalkeeper in front and his marker-defender in chase, but lost control of the ball and the feeble shot went awry.

Soon after, it was the Indian goal that was in danger as Firhan Ashari intercepted a flank-changing square pass from defender Rupinder. Firhan quickly moved up and into the scoring zone, but he did not pass the ball to the other striker in the circle and sent a wayward shot wide.

Malaysian goalkeeper leapt to his left to slap away Rupinder's penalty corner shot in the 37th minute before the hosts enjoyed a period of sustained pressure in which they had a couple of cracks at the Indian goal and also forced two penalty corners in the space of three minutes.

The Indian goalkeeper came into the picture and brought off two fine saves. India had to play the last 10 minutes with 10 players after Surender Kumar was sent off.

Malaysia's brisk attacks were posing danger to the rival citadel when India earned their fourth penalty corner that Rupinder converted with a rasping drag-flick into the roof of the cage.

The Times of India

We enjoyed a stroke of luck, says Oltmans

KUANTAN: Indian hockey team coach Roelant Oltmans on Wednesday said that his side enjoyed a stroke of luck to clinch the 2-1 victory over Malaysia that secured them the top spot in the round-robin league of the fourth Asian Champions Trophy tournament.

India survived some anxious moments when they were down to 10 players and their defence came under immense pressure from hosts Malaysia, who were spurred by their vociferous supporters to go for a match-winner when scores were level in the last quarter.

India rode on Rupinder Pal Singh's second penalty corner conversion with two minutes left to secure the victory that ensured them stay ahead of Malaysia in the league standings.

"I would say we were a bit lucky to get things in our favour in the end," Oltmans said after the game.

"Down to 10 players in the last quarter, we could only try to force the pace and try to keep up the pressure. Then on a counter toward the end, you get a penalty corner and get the match-winner. That's lucky," said Oltmans.

Rupinder had earlier opened the Indian scoring with a penalty corner conversion in the 12th minute, but Malaysia equalised through Razie Rahim's penalty corner flick six minutes later.

Rounding off their five outings with four wins and a draw, India topped the round-robin league standings with 13 points and now await the results of the last couple of games tomorrow to find out who they play in the semifinals.

Malaysia, with nine points from four matches, take on South Korea tomorrow, while defending champions Pakistan play China.

Malaysian coach Steven van Huizen was disappointed to end on the losing side despite his boys giving a fine display.

"I'm certainly not happy with the result, but quite pleased with the way we played this game," van Huizen said.

"The experience of the Indian players to control the ball and the counter-attack to earn the late penalty corner is what won them the day," he said.

The Malaysian coach said he wanted the players not to be disheartened by this loss and to go out to win the last league outing against South Korea tomorrow, who also today secured their place in the semifinal with a narrow 4-3 win against Japan.

The Times of India

Malaysian Coach: A bitter lesson for my boys

s2h team

Malaysian Coach: It’s a bitter lesson for my boys Crestfallen, yet trying to be composed and willing to smile. It was Stepehen van Huien, Malaysian coach who saw his team doing so well against World No. 6 team India yet conceding a goal in the dying moments to lose full points. So near yet so far for Stephen, who took over Malaysian coaching for one more of many spells he had so far, recently and is moulding a crack outfit.

He spoke to www.stick2hockey.com exclusively after the India-Malaysia match witnessed by full stands.

”We worked hard. We played well enough. We fought well. We were one man down in the last quarter. We deserved a draw. Unfortunately, its international hockey where experience counts. We should have put pressure on India in the last quarter and extracted a draw at least”.

On conceding goal in the last moments, polite Stephen has a different but holistic view.

”Last moments, oh, it always happens so. Everybody talks about last minute. Nothing special. We should exercise control and put it away like Rupinder did for India. But I would say that it happens in sports, nothing new. Pakistan, Korea won here scoring in last minutes, aren’t they?

Stephen also sees positives in the last spell this way:

”India is an experienced side. They are a different class than we are at the moment. Now we talk about missing a point or losing in last minutes means boys are putting out very good efforts, and moving in right direction. In terms of effort, my boys were second to none today, not less than India’s. It a bitter lesson for my boys, and it’s the way things are”.

The match was fought on penalty corners whether one uses it or misses out. Malaysia has got more penalty corners than India, but did not score enough.

Stepehen reflected on this: “Yes, we did not score many through penalty corners. We had ideas what to do, the plans in place but in execution we have to go a long way. Rupinder got a chance and he put it away, and we will also be doing that way. Its hard lessons for my boys”.

On mentioned about Kumar Subramaniam’s goalkeeping that kept rampaging Indians at bay in the first quarter and then generally thorough out rest of the match, Stephen agrees and goes beyond individual to paint a full picture.

”Kumar is always a strong point for us, he is important in our plan. But not just Kumar, entire defence worked very hard today”.

”We working towards preparing for the Qualifiers. Anytime you play against strong teams, you keep improving, work harder. Results matter, and will come”.


Malaysian Captain: India is one level up

s2h team

Malaysia played a hard game against India on Wednesday. It held the higher ranked Indians on level score till two minutes before Rupinder Pal Singh came with a winner in the last penalty corner that India got. Malaysian captain Mutalib Sukri feels that his team really played a great game.

“We played a great game today. India pressed hard. Just due to some communication gap between first runner and others, we just gave away the second goal in the penalty corner and lost the match. Our first rusher is a fresher, and the miscommunication resulted in losing. But we will improve herein after”.

The 30-year old captain also lamented that the team missed many scoring chances.

“We missed lot of chances. We have to find out, why we failed so, especially in penalty corner attempts, and why our PCs did not work.

“We played well for most part of the match”.

The stoutly built charming leader considered that India is one level up currently and their experience came in time to post the winner.

Having played Olympics and other major tournaments, India is experienced. And their game is one level up than us. We have to catch up with them. Its their experience that undid us today, we learn and will only improve”.

“When we play our last match tomorrow this will be in our minds: to avoid India in the semis. Therefore we will go for points against Korea tomorrow”.

He also had a good word for the huge crowd that turned out to support them.

“Crowd was fantastic. I appreciate them as they support whether we are down or up. us, win or lose. They stand by us.


RUPINDER PAL SINGH: I enjoy playing here

s2h team

Rupinder’s date with Malaysia continues. Its in Malaysia the novice made his international debut in Ipoh. Six years later the lanky defender is calling the shots in every game he played in another city in the same country, Kuantan.

He leads the over all scorer’s chart in the Asian Champions Trophy. Significantly, his timely goals turned out game changers for India which right now is sitting pretty at top of table with 13 points. The Faridmot’s falcon agrees and feels his best comes out in Malaysia. Happily recollecting his sojourns in Malaysia, he said that he thoroughly enjoy playing in Malaysia:

“For me Malaysia is the best place, favourite place. My best comes out here. I can only say I enjoy here, play well but cannot explain beyond. Its just happening”, Rupinder Pal Singh said with happiness written all over his face and moments after his 58th minute goal settled the Malaysian challenge on Wednesday.

Asked about his mood as he stepped out to negotiate the last of India’s penalty corner when the goal was tantalizingly poised at 1-1, he reflected: I enjoy such situation. At the same time I am happy the goal gave my team the much needed victory”.

Satisfied on his personal performance he said: “I am happy I struck many goals, more so when my goal today helped us win”.

Rupinder conceded that today was a difficult match, as Malaysia they had full support and playing hard.

“We could still win”.

Asked whether he expected such a tough match considering India’s top rank, he said it depends on how we start and play. “They made good turn over, they were fully dominating. Sardar came out with some good moves which helped us”.

Rupinder Pal Singh struck the first goal off second penalty corner after Kumar Subramaniam, rival goalie, blocked his first drag, but latched n to the rebound that flew near him on the top edge of the circle. Subsequently, Kumar would not let in his further PC attempts.

Rupinder had to say about this: “Kumar is a good goalkeeper, he employed good strategy, and blocked some of my penalty corners. I used a different style to score the winning goal”.

As the event meanders to next phase of knock-out, Rupinder cautioned:

“Important Phase now. We should be careful and do better and better”.

Despite being defender, he is often seen pepping up attack. Does he take overload and whether it taxes him?

Smiling Rupinder responded this way: “Yes I overlap whenever and wherever I felt necessary. Team sometimes go in to defensive mood I try to go up. To help and improve the team’s cause”.

His energy, precision, willingness to go for the kill, sweating for extra mile has endeared him here in Kuantan. That this edition of Asian Champions Trophy is going to be written on his name is understatement.

Vital stats:

BORN 11.11.1990
PRODUCT OF Chandigarh Hockey Academy
MATCHES PLAYED IN ACT 17 as of 26th Oct.
GOALS SCORED IN ACT 17 as of 26th Oct.
GOALS SCORED FOR INDIA SINCE 2014 43 in 80 matches


South Korea edge past Japan 4-3 to secure semi-final spot

KUANTAN (Malaysia): Captain Jung Manjae scored two goals to lead South Korea past a resurgent Japan 4-3 and into the semi-finals of the fourth Asian Champions Trophy at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium on Wednesday.

Trailing by a goal at the start of the last quarter of their preliminary league match against the team that had lost all the matches, the Koreans went all out into the attack and were rewarded by two goals, with the winner coming from skipper Jung.

With one match to go, South Korea now have seven points from four outings and are assured of a spot in the semi-finals of the six-nation event.

The semi-final lineup will only be decided after the last bunch of round-robin games on Thursday.

Japan finished their matches with five successive losses, despite a fine show in the last two outings that they lost by one goal each to defending champions Pakistan and South Korea. Kim Juhun gave South Korea the initial lead in the fourth minute with a field goal, only to see Japan equalise through Kazuma Murata's penalty corner conversion four minutes later.

The Koreans went ahead again in the 32nd minute when captain Jung scored the first of his two open-play goals.

Japan shot back to score twice in in successive minutes to then go ahead as captain Hiroki Sakamoto (44th minute) and Kenta Tanama (45th minute) made flash strikes to give them a 3-2 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Pushed back, the Koreans bounced back to draw 3-3 parity within a minute of resumption of play as Kim Seung-Hoon scored with a snap shot.

Captain Jung fired his team's match-winner in the 49th minute in open play. The Koreans then denied Japan another equaliser with some resolute defence.

The Times of India

Semi-final berth on the line as Pakistan face China

By Nabil Tahir

Pakistan are almost certain to qualify for the last four, but can still be knocked out if they lose by seven goals to China in their final group game today. PHOTO COURTESY: AHF

KARACHI: Pakistan are hoping to register a win in their final pool match against China today to secure a place in the semi-final of the Asian Champions Trophy taking place in Kuantan, Malaysia.

The Greenshirts are currently ranked fourth in the standings with six points, having registered two wins and as many losses. South Korea lie above them with seven points (two wins, one draw, one loss) followed by Malaysia (3 wins, one loss) on nine and leaders India (4 wins, one draw) on 13.

China and Japan are currently ranked fifth and sixth with three and zero points respectively.

The Greenshirts lost their opening match 4-2 to hosts Malaysia but made amends for that loss by winning the next match 1-0 against South Korea. They then took on India in the third match and despite leading 2-1 at one point, ended up losing 3-2 before registering a 4-3 win over Japan.

The top four teams will qualify for the semi-finals where the top-ranked team would face the fourth-ranked and the third-placed team will take on the second.

Defending champions Pakistan need to avoid losing by seven goals to China if they are to make it to the semi-finals. If Pakistan win and South Korea end up losing their match against Malaysia, Pakistan would finish third and face the hosts, but if South Korea are victorious, then Pakistan will face India.

Pakistan head coach Khawaja Junaid, however, has no qualms over coming face-to-face with India in the semi-finals.

“It really doesn’t matter to us who we face in the semi-final, whether it be India or Malaysia. We have been playing really well in the tournament and except for a few defensive lapses, we have managed to handle the opposition really well,” he said before further adding that the India game could have easily finished in the Greenshirts’ favour.

“We were leading against India at one point and had them under control for the majority of the match. We lost because we lost concentration and have worked on that aspect. If we face India again, I’m confident of a better performance.”

Defender Rashid Mehmood, 29, echoed his coaches’ sentiments claiming that the team is eager to retain the trophy.

“The only thing on our minds is winning the Asian Champions Trophy. We will try our best to overcome any opposition and have been working really hard for that,” he said.

The Express Tribune

200 internationals and counting for umpire Murray Grime

Australian official becomes only the fifth umpire to reach the double century milestone

Murray Grimes (pictured left) celebrated his 200th international umpiring the India v Pakistan game last weekend

Sunday 23 October marked a special day for Australia’s Murray Grime, who became only the fifth person in the history of the sport to umpire 200 senior international matches.

Murray joins legendary officials Alain Renaud (France - 1991), Santi Deo (Spain - 1995), Marelize de Klerk (South Africa - 2011) and John Wright (South Africa - 2016) in the 200 club.

Murray reached his landmark on the fourth day of action at the QNET Men’s Asian Champions Trophy, currently taking place in Kuantan, Malaysia, when he took charge of one of the most famous fixtures in world hockey - India versus Pakistan.

Ahead of the match, he was honoured in a special presentation by Asian Hockey Federation CEO Tayyab Ikram and Ged Curran, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) appointed Umpires Manager at the event.

Murray began his stellar international umpiring career on 3 November 1994 before being promoted to International Grade 1 in 1997 and to the elite FIH World Panel in 1999. In 2005, Murray was awarded his Golden Whistle for umpiring 100 senior international matches, a figure that he has now doubled.

Over the past two decades, Murray has umpired at four Olympic Games (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016), two Hockey World Cups (Kuala Lumpur 2002 and Mönchengladbach 2006) and six Hockey Champions Trophies (Madras 1996, Adelaide 1997, Lahore 1998, Brisbane 1999, Rotterdam 2001 and Auckland 2011).

Speaking about his achievement, Murray said: "I’ve been an umpire for 23 years and this is an amazing milestone. Doing something that only four people have ever achieved before is very special. When I think back to my first international in 1993 in Malaysia I never realised it would play such a big part in my life. Having said that I always felt I was good enough to be one of the best. But I knew I would have to work had at it. I have always set very high standards for myself in everything I do and umpiring was no different.”

"As I said, being only the fifth is special”, continued Murray. "When I started out, I was just 23, and I looked up to Alain and Santi as role models. In my early years they helped with advice and guidance. Santi, Alain, John and Marelize are legends amongst us umpires and to join that amazing group is more than I could have ever believed possible. I’m very proud of my achievement and hugely grateful to the FIH for all the opportunities umpiring has given me.”

On behalf of the hockey family, the FIH would like to say congratulations to Murray on his monumental achievement.

This milestone encompasses one of the FIH's 10-year Hockey Revolution's strategies Big Goals. With an aim of making hockey a global game that inspires the next generation, one of the ambitions set out in this strategy is to increase the degree of professionalism across the sport. Committed officials like Murray are a great example of this ambition being realised.

FIH site

SOJC: England in JB to get it right

By Jugjet Singh

England return to Johor Bahru after a two-year absence but there is unlikely to be any unfamilarity at the Sultan of Johor Cup (SOJC) as several players played under the Great Britain banner for the past two years.

With the Junior World Cup just around the corner, England - especially head coach Jon Bleby and players James Gall and Chris Proctor - will hope they find better rhythm than in 2013 at Taman Daya Stadium before travelling to India for the world meet in December.

The trio were part of the English set-up that finished last in Johor before a dismal 14th place at the Junior World Cup.

Proctor and several others were also part of the Great Britain side that won the SOJC last year after playing bridesmaid to India in 2014. Among those absent in this year's squad include Ed Horler, James Albery, Jonty Griffiths and now-overage Luke Taylor.

Gall, who is among the handful 20 years and above players Bleby have named for the tournament, is perhaps lucky to even be on the pitch again after a career threatening fall in July 2015.

Gall fell on his head in an accident, suffered a fractured skull which caused severe swelling to the brain, and fractured his spine.

The SOJC is the final chance for players to catch the eye before the 16-team Junior World Cup in Lucknow, India between December 8-18, an event that is only held every four years.

England qualified for the world meet after finishing third at the 2014 EuroHockey Junior Nations Championship, the first time they finished on the podium since 1998.

England are scheduled to play Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Pakistan and New Zealand in the Sultan of Johor Cup starting Monday, before a final classification game on November 6.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Bradley Shaw calls time on Black Sticks career

Photo: www.photosport.nz

Veteran Black Sticks defender Bradley Shaw has announced his retirement from international hockey following a career spanning more than a decade.

The 33-year-old Cantabrian made his debut at the 2004 Champions Trophy in Pakistan and over the following 12 years played 192 tests for New Zealand.

Shaw’s final tournament for the Black Sticks was at the recent Rio Olympic Games, with his focus now on spending more time at home with his wife and two children.

“For me it’s been a long career and one I have enjoyed immensely, but it’s time to move on to the next phase of life,” he said.

“There are a lot of people who I need to thank for making this journey possible, especially my wife who has put a lot of her ambitions aside to support me. My parents, family and sponsors like Just Hockey and Gryphon really gave me the ongoing assistance to keep going for so long.”

“I’m still keen to be involved in hockey, so will still be out on the turf for my club as well as be available for Canterbury in the national league next year if selected.”

There are plenty of highlights for Shaw, including representing New Zealand at three Olympic Games (Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016) and two Commonwealth Games (2006, Glasgow 2014).

One moment which will stick in everyone’s mind is when he scored the winning goal against Argentina in the final of the 2008 Olympic qualifying tournament at North Harbour.

“That Olympic qualifying tournament was a huge highlight for me, but more for what we achieved as a team rather than me scoring the winning goal. We were suddenly thrust into the Olympic frame and realised we could do something special.”

Head coach Colin Batch said Shaw was a quality defender who was renowned for his defensive intensity whenever he got out onto the turf.

“Bradley managed the difficult task of balancing his work, family life and often training in isolation from the national squad to become a world class player,” Batch said.

“I would like to thank him for his service to hockey in New Zealand and also to his family for supporting him along the way. I wish them all the very best for the future.”

Hockey New Zealand Media release

So much to play for!

Ten teams from the Americas in FIH Hockey World League Round 2 events

Sarah Juggins

Chile, winner WL R1 in Chiclayo, Peru. Photo: Talia Vargas - PanAm Hockey

With a place at the World Cup in 2018 the ultimate prize, five women’s teams and five men’s teams from the PAHF region will be contesting the HWL Round Two events taking place between January and April next year.

All the women’s teams will be appearing at the same venue in Vancouver, Canada, from 1 to 9 April. Contesting the top two places, which gives automatic qualification to the prestigious HWL Semi-Finals, will be host nation Canada (World ranking 18), Mexico (WR: 30), Trinidad and Tobago (WR: 34), Uruguay (WR: 24) and Chile (WR: 23). The five PAHF representatives will be joined by India (WR: 12), Belarus (WR: 19) and France (WR: 24).

The men’s teams will be competing over two venues. Canada (WR: 12) will be travelling to Dhaka, Bangladesh, where they face Oman (WR: 31), Egypt (WR: 20), Bangladesh (WR: 32), China (WR: 18) Sri Lanka (WR: 40), Ghana (WR: 43) and Fiji (WR: 51).

Meanwhile, the other PAHF teams will be staying on home continental soil. The event will take place in Tunapuna, Trinidad and Tobago, where the host nation (WR: 33) will compete alongside USA (WR: 27), Barbados (WR: 48) and Chile (WR: 25). These teams will be joined by Malaysia (WR: 14), Japan (WR: 16), Russia (WR: 22) and Switzerland (WR: 30).

Assessing the chances of each of the teams, based on the past few seasons, all the signs would suggest that Canada men and women should enjoy a good showing at the HWL Round Two events. Both the men and the women won through to the last HWL Semi-Final, which would have provided a great deal of experience in playing tournament hockey against high ranked teams. Canada men also qualified for the Olympics and that is an experience that will be very fresh in the memory for many of the players as they take to the pitch in Dhaka.

Canada women will be without their top scorer from the 2015 HWL competition, as Thea Culley has recently announced her retirement from the national squad. Coach Ian Rutledge said he hoped the prolific scorer and role model had passed on knowledge gleaned from her experiences to the next wave of players wearing the red and white of Canada.

Uruguay women also qualified for the HWL Round Two event in 2015, where they won the hearts and minds of the hockey supporters in Valencia, Spain, with their dashing hockey skills and willingness to fight for every ball. That they came 10th out of ten will not worry the team, they took points off South Africa, who sat 19 ranking points ahead of them and each match was a learning curve for the team.

At the recent HWL Round One event in Chiclayo, Uruguay produced a virtually flawless performance in the women’s competition to claim four wins from four matches, scoring 19 times without conceding on their way to a first place finish and a safe passage through to HWL Round Two. However, they were pushed hard by Chile, who were ranked one place higher and had beaten Uruguay into fifth place at the Pan American Games in June last year. That Uruguay held their nerve to win a must-win match by a 1-0 goal margin on the final day of the event shows that if nothing else, their previous HWL experience has given captain and goal keeper Rosanna Paselle and her team nerves of steel.

With both teams through to the next round and only one ranking point separating them, the outcome of any meeting between Uruguay and Chile in Vancouver should be totally absorbing for the neutral hockey fan.

Chile men are another team hoping that the upwards trajectory continues. A third place finish at the Pan American Games last year has been followed up by a dominant display in the recent HWL Round One competition. The team ranked 25th in the FIH World Rankings were on blistering form in Chiclayo, powering to five straight victories with 44 goals scored and none conceded to reach Round Two in some style.

Opposition will be aware that Chile’s goal scoring potential is spread across this exciting squad. Among the players who found their way onto the score sheet in Chiclayo were Ignacio Contardo, Matthias Dummer, Juan Amoroso, Jan Berczely and Axel Richter. With this depth of goal scoring ability, the South Americans will certainly pose a threat to all comers in Tunapuna.

Two teams who garnered praise for their performances at the HWL Round One event in Salamanca, Mexico, were USA men and Mexico women. Both the men and women were in unstoppable form as they racked up huge scores in their respective competitions.

In the women’s event, Mexico’s Michel Navarro was out and out top scorer as she found the back of the net 13 times, while her compatriots Marlet Correa and Arlette Estrada both scored six goals apiece. That Mexico dominated the goal scoring statistics is not surprising – they scored 46 goals in four games.

USA men were equally ruthless in front of goal with William Holt topping the goal scorers’ table on 11 goals – seven from penalty corners.

USA coach Chris Clements said that he was delighted with his team’s performance, adding: “We scored some high quality goals with several different goal scorers. We will look to take this momentum forward.” But Clements and his team will not be satisfied with anything less than a top place finish in the next round: this is a team of ambitious players led by a coach with equally big ambitions.

One of the surprise entries for HWL Round Two is the men’s team of Barbados. A second place finish at Salamanca means the team coached by Dominic Hill can continue to push for higher levels of performance. This was beginning to happen at the HWL Round One event as Che Warner, Akeem Rudder and Mario Moore led a goal charge that wiped Guatemala off the pitch and also ended the ambitions of the host nation. The 3-1 loss to USA was a blot in their copybook, but this is another team on the rise.

For Trinidad and Tobago men, the prospect of playing on home soil against nations that they know they can beat on a good day will be a great occasion for both the players and spectators. For the women’s team the task will be tougher. They are the lowest ranked in their event, with Mexico the next lowest ranked team. In their HWL One encounters, Mexico beat Trinidad and Tobago 3-0 and 4-1 and it will take some serious work between now and then by head coach Brian Garcia and his team to reverse those results.

A lot is at stake for teams participating in these Hockey World League Round 2 events. Whilst vital FIH Hero World Ranking points will be awarded depending on final standings, eight teams per gender will qualify for the Hockey World League Semi-Finals. These will be the top two teams from each event plus the two highest placed teams in the FIH Hero World Rankings of the teams that finish third. So much to play for: so much for the PAHF region to look forward to on hockey’s global stage.

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

2016 Hockey Revolution Awards shortlist announced

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced the shortlist for all of the Hockey Revolution Awards which will be presented at the Hockey Revolution Part 2 Conference in Dubai.

On Friday 11 November, when the discussions, meetings and activities draw to a close after an inspirational day at the Conference, delegates in Dubai will be drawn to the spectacular No Limits Ball. The Armani Hotel will host this prestigious event which will, for the first time, feature public presentations of the Hockey Revolution Awards (formerly FIH Honorary Awards).

Below is an outline of all the Awards and Trophies that will be presented during what is set to be a truly memorable evening celebrating the achievements of hockey's stars, beneath the stars.

The Pablo Negre Trophy
The Pablo Negre Trophy is presented to a National Association that has made a significant mark either through innovative programmes and initiatives or by embracing the spirit of hockey through exceptional sportsmanship.

Nominations: Ghana Hockey Association; Hockey Association of Malawi; Pakistan Hockey Federation; Peru Hockey Federation; Sierra Leone Hockey Association; Solomon Islands Hockey Association; Thailand Hockey Association; USA Field Hockey.

Guust Lathouwers Memorial Trophy
This award celebrates an individual who has made an outstanding contribution towards the development of umpires. The nomination for this award comes via the umpiring committee and will be revealed on the night.

Theo Ykema Award
The Theo Ykema Award is presented to a National Association who has inspired, developed and enriched hockey in its homeland through projects and initiatives.

Nominations: Bangladesh Hockey Federation; Peru Hockey Federation; Solomon Islands Hockey Association.

Etienne Glichitch Award
Presented to an individual, National Association or Continental Federation who has developed hockey through innovative ideas or the professionalisation of their organisation.

Nominations: German Hockey Federation (Deutscher Hockey-Bund); Norman Hughes; England Hockey.

The Super Fair Play Trophy Rene G Frank
The Super Fair Play Trophy Rene G Frank is awarded to a team or individual who has upheld the spirit of hockey and shown exemplary sportsmanship on and off the field.

Nominations: Argentina men’s hockey team; Guyana men’s and women’s hockey teams; Laura Pigretti, Argentina.

HRH Sultan Azlan Shah Award
The HRH Sultan Azlan Shah Award acknowledges actions and achievements of individuals within both hockey and their professional careers.

Nominations: Fumio Ogura, Japan; Usama Javed, Expatriates Association of Saudi Arabia.

In addition to the above awards, three awards for individuals will be presented at the No Limits Ball. These awards are the Order of Merit, the Diploma of Merit and Honorary Member. Each of these awards recognises and celebrates outstanding commitment and contribution to hockey by an individual.

For more information about the Hockey Revolution Awards, click here.

FIH site

In a New Role, Parnham Will Look to Raise Quality of Coaching in U.S.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - From being the head coach of the U.S. Women's National Team and moving into the new role of Director of Coach Education and Learning, Craig Parnham will look to utilize various techniques and tools to build coach education within the United States. Transitioning into the position in 2017, Parnham along with Liz Tchou, USA Field Hockey's Senior Manager of Coaching Education, have a plan in place to engage coach educators, raise the quality of high level coaching and delivering consistent quality instruction.

USA Field Hockey: In a nutshell, what does this brand new USA Field Hockey role entail?
CP: Essentially the role will focus on developing coaches throughout the coaching pathway. The aim is to ensure we deliver quality instruction from grassroots through to our international players. This will be done by investing in our coaches and, importantly, our coach educators.

USA Field Hockey: What are some of the short term goals you hope to achieve that will funnel into the department’s overall all long term objective?
CP: One of the first objectives is to identify and engage with our coach educators. They will be key to imparting consistent and high quality coach learning experiences to our current and future coaches.

USA Field Hockey: In your opinion, is there a one-style fits all approach that instructors of hockey should apply to coaching? 
CP: No, I believe there can be conceptual thinking and agreement in relation to coaching and coach education, but it is important to have room for individuals to express their own delivery style. This is all part of a coach’s development and requires coaches to establish his or her own philosophy.

USA Field Hockey: What are a few of the new education and development tools will your department look to provide for coaches?
CP: We will be looking to utilize the Mobile Coach App to share content and information to the coaching community. I think the video platform can be very beneficial to accelerate understanding.

USA Field Hockey: Are you focusing primarily on the grassroots level or the collegiate level?
CP: It’s important for us to work across the breadth of coaches working within the USA. There is a need to spend some time with our grassroots and high school coaches as I see this as critical to the long term success of player development.

USA Field Hockey: What are you most excited about within this new position?
CP: Working with the coaches. The goal of delivering consistent quality instruction across our player pathway will no doubt be challenging, but I’m sure very rewarding.

USA Field Hockey:  How will this shift from being the USWNT Head Coach to the Director of Coach Education and Learning be an easy transition for you?
CP: I think the transition will be smooth; the roles are in fact very similar—the same ideas and methodologies that are used with players can be transferred to the world of coach development.

Visit usafieldhockey.com to keep up-to-date with all things regarding field hockey.

USFHA media release

USA Field Hockey Extends Thanks to 5 Club Advisory Task Force Members for Their 2 Years of Service

COLORADO SPRINGS – USA Field Hockey would like to express its sincerest gratitude to the Club Advisory Task Force for their time given to the sport of field hockey. We are very appreciative of their council and highly value their perspective on issues within our hockey family. As of today, there will be five openings on the Club Advisory Task Force because of the expired terms for some of our members. We would like to thank Joan Johnson (The Gaels Field Hockey Club), Lynn Hoeppner (Element Athletics), Miki Osherow (Charlotte Ambush Field Hockey Club), Plunket Bernie (Tidewater Field Hockey Club) and Yasser Hayat (IFHCK) for the past 2 years for representing our member clubs. USA Field Hockey truly appreciates their dedication to our sport and with the opportunity to reapply for another term, we hope these individuals consider rejoining the task force by going through the application process again.

Starting today, Wednesday October 26, 2016, USA Field Hockey will be accepting applications from club administrators interested in serving on our task force. All interested applicants must submit an application to Justin Miller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Chelsea Mitchell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Wednesday, November 2, 2016. Applicants must provide information on their hockey background and write a short essay. USA Field Hockey requests the following information to be written out in a Word Document and to be submitted as an attachment by email:

    Applicant’s first name
    Club name
    Number of years operating club
    Number of years playing, coaching or umpiring hockey
    A short essay on, “How do you plan to help USA Field Hockey grow the sport of field hockey during the next 2 years?”

Please use the subject line “Club Advisory Task Force Application.”

USA Field Hockey truly appreciates the service of Johnson, Hoeppner, Osherow, Bernie and Hayat and looks forward to selecting quality candidates to continue the positive growth achieved during the past few years.

USFHA media release

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