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News for 03 December 2016

All the news for Saturday 3 December 2016

Netherlands and Argentina to play women’s Hockey Junior World Cup 2016 Final

It will be a Netherlands versus Argentina final for the second successive women’s Hockey Junior World Cup after both teams won their Semi-Finals of the 2016 edition in Santiago, Chile earlier today.

Argentina defeated Australia in the first Semi-Final before Netherlands went on to win against Spain as they continue their title defence.

Earlier in the day Belgium beat USA whilst Germany won their encounter with England in the 5-8th place classification matches.

All of these teams will now enjoy a rest day tomorrow before returning to the field on Sunday 4 December. Then, the final classification matches will take place at 11:45 and 14:00 before Australia play Spain for the bronze medals at 16:15 then Netherlands take on Argentina in the final at 18:30 (all times local CLST).

Tomorrow’s classification matches take place at the following times:

11:45: Zimbabwe v France (15/16 place play-off)
14:00: New Zealand v South Africa (13/14)
16:15: China v Japan (9/10)
18:30: Korea v Chile (11/12)

Here’s a summary of all the day’s action:

Argentina 4, Australia 2
A large crowd turned up to cheer on Argentina in their showdown with Australia’s Jillaroos. Their backing inspired the Pan American champions to a 4-2 victory in a game which was action packed at both ends. Argentina were perhaps the better team for many parts of the match as their skill and flair overpowered Australia. But the Oceania champions did not shy away from the challenge as they fought hard throughout. Bianca Donati gave Argentina fans reason to cheer louder when she scored after four minutes from a penalty corner. That did however prove to be the only goal of the first half, despite numerous attempts on target for both teams. Argentina doubled their lead in the 44th minute through Lucia Sanguinetti before Milagros Fernandez scored from open play in the 57th minute to go 3-0 ahead. Then the comeback was on. Australia’s Greta Hayes pulled one back in the 66th minute before captain Mariah Williams made the score 3-2 with only a minute to go. However, as Australia threw bodies forward in an attempt to find an equaliser Argentina took advantage as they went on to score one final goal in the dying seconds through Julieta Jankunas. Speaking afterwards, Argentina goal-scorer Lucia Sanguinetti said: “We are so happy because we did everything that we planned. We worked so hard today and had a great performance. We knew the game today was going to be hard because Australia is a great team, so we’re really happy to be in the final again.”

Netherlands 4, Spain 0
Netherland will defend their title in the final against Argentina thanks to their impressive 4-0 victory against Spain. Pleun van der Plas scored her fifth goal of the event after only 11 minutes whilst the event’s top goal-scorer, Frederique Matla, extended her lead at the top of the charts after scoring two penalty strokes in this game, the first in the 22nd minute and the second only two minutes from time. That followed Maxime Kerstholt’s goal in the 58th minute. The Dutch performance was further evidence of their dominance at this event, where they have scored 37 goals so far, nearly double that of their next opponents Argentina (21). Sunday’s final should not be missed – with the two in-form teams at this event meeting in the final for the second successive women’s Hockey Junior World Cup. Speaking afterwards, Netherlands captain Maartje Krekelaar said: “I think we did great tonight. We had a lot of beautiful combinations, beautiful goals so it was a great day.” Speaking about their final opponents, Fabienne Roosen said: “Argentina are very good, they are very skilful, have good offence, so it will be a tough game.”

USA 1, Belgium 2
Belgium opened the scoring against USA in fine fashion as Daphne Gose finished off a clever exchange of passing in the seventh minute. Whilst they continued to attack the USA goal they could not find a way through until seconds before half-time when Lien Hillewaert doubled their lead through open play. USA tried their best to get back into the match but struggled with the pace and skill of the Belgian team. However, the Americans did get some reward as Erin Matson scored from a penalty corner with only two minutes left on the clock. But it was too little too late for USA who were unable to draw level as Belgium took the win and progressed to the 5 v 6 classification match against Germany.

Germany 1, England 0
Teresa Martin Pelegrina’s flick over England goalkeeper Miriam Pritchard in the 33rd minute was enough to give Germany the win in what was an evenly matched battle throughout. Both teams had several chances, with Germany perhaps creating the better in both halves. It could have gone either way but for strong defensive performances combined with a lack of finishing from the European rivals. The win put Germany into the 5 v 6 match whilst England will play USA to find out who finishes seventh or eighth.

Tickets for the event, which is taking place from 24 November until 4 December, are on sale and can be purchased by clicking here. Those who cannot attend can watch the livestream of all games provided by the hosts by clicking here.

Fans can find scores, standings, photos, videos and more via the official event website on FIH.ch as well as through FIH Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtags #HJWC2016 and #RockTheJuniors.

FIH site

Jillaroos to play bronze medal match

Loss to Argentina in semi-finals

Holly MacNeil

The Jillaroos will play in the bronze medal match of the Junior World Cup on Monday after a crushing semi-final defeat by Argentina today in Santiago, Chile.

The Jillaroos were on the back foot from the beginning of the match after Argentina’s Bianca Donati scored a penalty corner only 4 minutes in with the flick from the top of the circle squarely hitting the centre of the net.

Argentina continued to press, and in the second half they extended their lead to 3 – nil after a penalty corner from Lucia Anguinetti flew from the top left of the circle into the bottom centre of the net, and Milagros Fernandez tapped a field goal into the bottom left of the net after a scramble in the circle.

The Jillaroos regrouped, and with only a few minutes remaining in the game Greta Hayes came through with the goods, knocking a field goal in from directly in front of the net after a pass from the right of the circle.

Australia continued to attack in the final minutes of the game, with Captain Mariah Williams scoring a second field goal for the Jillaroos to bring the score back to 3 -2.

In the final minute of play Australia subbed in an extra field player in lieu of goalkeeper Aleisha Power, but it was exactly the move Argentina needed as they went on to score a final goal in the last 5 seconds of play, the final score 4 – 2.

Jillaroos head coach Tim White said: “Today was a tough encounter. Argentina jumped us at the start and their early goal gave them momentum.

“We defended lots of shots and penalty corners in the first half and did well to keep the score line at 0 – 1. We raised the game a little to start the second half but Argentina pressed their advantage and we were clearly on the back foot at 0 – 3.

“We made some changes that the girls responded to and in the end we were very brave to pull back to 2 – 3 late in the game. We are gutted, but we will be squarely focused on winning the bronze medal.”

The Jillaroos will now play Spain in the bronze medal match on Monday, December 5 at 3.15am AWST / 6.15am AEDT. You can watch the bronze medal match live via Livestream.com. the Netherlands will take on Argentina in the gold medal match.

You can watch today’s semi-final featuring the Jillaroos and Argentina on Livestream.com here.

Greta Hayes 66 (FG)
Mariah Williams 69 (FG)

Bianca Donati 4 (PC) 
Lucia Anguinetti 44 (PC)
Milagros Fernandez 57 (FG)
Julieta Jankunas 70 (FG)

Jillaroos squad v Argentina
Madison Fitzpatrick (Cabarita, NSW)
Kate Hanna (Constitution Hill, NSW)
Greta Hayes Maroubra, NSW)
Ambrosia Malone (Molendinar, QLD)
Kaitlin Nobbs (Newington, NSW)
Mikaela Patterson (Blackbutt, NSW)
Aleisha Power (Clackline, WA)
Michaela Spano (Toorak Gardens, SA)
Grace Stewart (Gerrigong, NSW)
Sophie Taylor (Camberwell, VIC)
Mariah Williams (Parkes, NSW)

Used Substitutes
Kristina Bates (Port Melbourne, VIC)
Laura Gray (Goulburn, NSW)*ACTAS scholarship holder
Rebecca Greiner (Bundaberg, QLD)
Savannah Fitzpatrick (Cabarita, NSW)
Karri Somerville (Kensington, WA)
Renee Taylor (Brisbane, QLD)

Unused Substitutes
Rene Hunter (Wentworth Point, NSW)

Hockey Australia media release

U-21 USWNT Falls to Belgium in Close JWC Match

SANTIAGO, Chile - December 2, 2016 - With the opportunity to play in a higher placement game on the line, the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team and Belgium battled it out on a typical Chilean summer day at the women's Hockey Junior World Cup. While both teams had many chances, Belgium struck first and added another just before halftime while USA responded late and added a goal minutes before the final buzzer. The late effort push wouldn't be enough as the game finished with Team USA falling to Belgium 2-1.

"In the beginning we weren't ready to go out and give everything as a unit," said Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas), U-21 USWNT's goalkeeper. "We were attacking in small groups and defending in small groups and weren't playing together.

The opening minutes saw possession shared between both teams before USA earned a penalty corner in the 3rd minute. Unsuccessful off the attempt, Belgium quickly countered and grabbed a penalty corner of its own. The passing combination off the top finished with a sweep that went wide.

With numbers up, Belgium took advantage of a situation in the 7th minute as they used pristine passing to work the ball behind USA’s defense. Daphne Gose found herself open with the ball on the left post and flicked it in the net to give Belgium a 1-0 lead. USA’s attacking pressure didn’t lag as Margaux Paolino (Villanova, Pa.) worked the ball into Belgium’s circle looking to create an opportunity.

Possession went back-and-forth for a period of time as chances were present on both ends of the pitch. In the 21st minute, Paolino ran onto a ball thrown into space and as she cut it back, she was pushed outside the circle by a Belgium defender. The call was upgraded to USA’s second penalty corner. Multiple chances came off the corner attempt but Belgium’s defensive unit held strong. USA regained possession and earned another penalty corner that finished with no result.

Play continued to change possession as both teams threatened forward. Quick passing by Belgium opened up the field and led to a shot on goal but USA’s goalkeeper Bing was there to make the save. Moments later, Paolino took the ball with speed down the left side of the field, cut the corner and backhand passed it to Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.). On the forehand, Matson’s hard one-time shot went just wide of the goal.

Turnovers seemed costly as USA gave up possession deep within its defending end giving Belgium momentum. With seconds before the halftime horn blew, Belgium worked it into USA’s defensive circle and Lien Hillewaert swept it into the net to give Belgium a 2-0 lead at half.

USA started the second half putting high pressure on Belgium’s outletting unit. The persistence opened more offensive lanes as USA looked to get on the scoreboard. In the 44th minute, Belgium’s Michelle Struijk was given a green card. USA continued to work hard on defense, going in pairs and tackling together. A close chance came for Belgium just under the 50 minute mark when a forward crossed the ball from the left baseline toward the goalmouth where Bing and captain Julia Young (Yorktown, Va.) cleared it out of danger.

Still looking to get on the scoreboard, USA strung multiple passes together in the attacking 25 yards but was unable to connect to finish. Belgium shifted the momentum to the other end where they got of three quick shots in a row but Bing denied all attempts. Not letting up, USA continued to threaten forward looking to break the goal line. With 5 minutes to play, USA earned back-to-back penalty corners. Off the second attempt on a play back to the insert, Matson took the ball and drove around Belgium’s goalkeeper and put it in to cut Belgium’s lead and make it USA 1, BEL 2. Time wound down before USA could counter again leaving the score 2-1 to Belgium.

"The first half was a little unfortunate," said Bing. "We were kind of caught on our heels but I think we pulled it together in the second half. It's unfortunate we didn't get the result we wanted and we can't change much now, but we are looking forward to our next game."

The U-21 USWNT will play their final game of the JWC on Sunday, December 4 against England at 9:45 a.m. EST. Click here to watch all games of the JWC. Follow Team USA on their journey at the JWC by staying tuned to usafieldhockey.com. #SQUAD #HJWC2016 #RockTheJuniors

USFHA media release

England downed by Germany at Junior World Cup

Englands U21 player dejected after defeat

England’s U21 Women will play off for 7th-8th place at the Junior World Cup after losing out in their classification match to Germany in Santiago, Chile. Teresa  Martin Pelegrina’s first half goal proved to be the difference between the two sides, her strike two minutes before the break was the only goal of the game and ensured Craig Keegan’s side will face USA on Sunday to determine who finishes 7th.

The first ten minutes of the match was an even affair with the sides grappling for control of the match. Alice Wills acquitted herself well in the early going, defending stoutly and showing good awareness and distribution.

Germany began to step up the pressure and in the 12th minute they won their first penalty corner. Kira Horn took the shot but Miriam Pritchard in the England goal made a flying save away to her right. Marc Haller’s team forced a series of penalty corners as they searched for the first goal but a combination of the woodwork and some outstanding set piece defence by England kept ht e Germans frustrated.

Emma Hessler thought she had scored when the ball found its way to her in the circle after Pritchard had made the initial save. With the goal gaping, Wills appeared from nowhere to block on the line and clear the danger. It looked like that would keep it level at the interval but with two minutes until the break Germany broke the deadlock thanks to Teresa  Martin Pelegrina.

England battled back in the second half Erica Sanders showed good determination to manufacture some space in the circle but her shot was well dealt with by Rosa Kruger.   

The game became a bit scrappy with both sides turning possession over and both sides squandering chances in front of goal. Maxi Marquardt almost added a second for Germany with a superb deflection but Pritchard was alert and made an exquisite save from close range. Ellie Rayer’s pace down the flanks gave Germany plenty to think about and it was her run down the left that almost unlocked the door for Keegan’s team, but her cross just evaded the outstretched stick of Holly Hunt.

Despite throwing everything forwards England could find no way through and were beaten.

Their next match is on Sunday at 1445 UK time. 

Germany 1 (1)
Teresa  Martin Pelegrina 33 (FG)

England 0 (0)

England Hockey Board Media release

India lose to Argentina in warm-up tie

Sharad Deep

India coach Harendra Singh said the team will come up with a different game plan when they play their last practice match against Holland on Monday. (Ashok Dutta/HT Photo)

It was serious business for Indian coaches, Harendra Singh and Roelant Oltmans, and Argentina’s Mariano Ronconi on Friday evening even though it was just a practice match ahead of the Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup, starting here on Thursday.

The two sides went through the routine drills before the game, and the Argentineans were put through a strenuous sprinting session by physio Rivera Victoria, who spoke to each players separately before they went for the warm-up tie at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium under the lights.

Giving instructions and inspiring boys from the sidelines remained routine for the coaches as they chose to make frequent changes in the playing 11 in the 60-minute battle, which saw just two halves instead of four quarters.

“It was quite satisfactory as such a practice match was needed very much before the start of the mega event,” Harendra told HT after India lost to 1-2. “In fact, the match allowed us to assess our planning and its execution. A loss in a practice match makes no serious impact…I am happy the boys really played well.

“Certainly, we came to know about some of the areas in our game where we need to work hard, especially not giving the rivals a chance for counter attack,” said Harendra, adding, “We did miss back-to-back four penalty corners in the dying minutes as we didn’t want to reveal our real weapon. There would be someone else taking the PCs in the real match as we didn’t want to let others know about our variations.”

He, however, admitted that the boys would come up with a different game plan when they play their second and last practice match against Holland on Monday. “You need to have different strategies for different teams, and I find these practice matches quite good for the side to prepare well for the mega event,” he added.

‘A tough side’

Australian coach, in the meantime, admired India’s strength. “We have seen India play at the Australian Hockey League and they look like a strong team to beat,” chief coach Ben Bishop said. “They are clearly one of the favourites in the tournament and a tough team to beat but they will be under pressure playing in front of the home crowd.”

About Australia’s chances in the event, he said they finished third in 2009 and came fifth in 2013, and like others, they too are here to win. “We have had good preparations in the lead-up to the World Cup and the boys are excited to be here. Most of them follow the Hockey India League on TV and they are looking forward to playing some good hockey in front of a big crowd.”

Australia have won the junior World Cup in 1997 while their senior team is ranked No 1 in the world and are also currently the world champions. At the Junior World Cup, the Kookaburras are grouped with Korea, Argentina and Austria.

Hindustan Times

Harmanpreet - the senior among India's juniors

Jaspreet Sahni

CHANDIGARH: The Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Lucknow has never witnessed the buzz it finds all around it these days. The FIH junior men's hockey world cup is around the corner, and as the international teams start arriving, activity in the City of Nawabs will only increase over the next two weeks.

Beginning December 8, the hosts will start chasing a dream, as will 15 other top hockey nations from around the globe. And India will have its hopes firmly pinned on the 2015 junior Asia Cup hero and now also part of India's senior defensive wall, Harmanpreet Singh.

It's only remarkable that in less than four years from his stint at the illustrious Surjit Hockey Academy, Harman, as he is addressed by his team-mates, made his junior Indian debut (2014) and two years later (2016) hit the senior turf. En route, his worth as a drag-flicking defender got stamped when Hockey India League (HIL) franchise Dabang Mumbai shelled out $51,000 to bring him under their ranks in 2015.

But he grabbed headlines with his 15 goals that helped India clinch the junior Asia Cup in 2015. Since then, Harman hasn't looked back and will now power India's assault in the junior World Cup - as the senior among juniors.

"We started as juniors and are playing together for three years now. So the team bonding is excellent. We all understand each other's requirements, which helps in taking the team forward," the 5-feet-10 drag-flick specialist said talking to TOI.

The senior in Harman comes to the fore when asked how he plans to make his senior-team experience count.

"I sat individually with most of my team-mates, shared what I learnt during my time in the senior dug-out. I stressed upon the importance of growing together as a team," he said.

Adding to his growing reputation, the 20-year-old defender is among the five nominations for FIH Rising Star of the Year 2016, the results of which are yet to be announced.

Throw him a tough question on coaching, and he will have his stick in place to tackle it deftly.

"Indian or foreign coach doesn't matter. What matters is whether you can execute the plans, irrespective of whether they are relayed by an interpreter or a coach who knows the language that all players understand," he spelled out his opinion on the issue.

"We all (juniors) have trained under Roelant (Oltmans) sir as well as Harry (Harendra Singh) sir, and the basic coaching structure remains the same. It all boils down to how we use those tactics and strategies on the field of play," he added.

In India, home support can act as the 12th man on the field, especially at smaller venues that have witnessed full houses. Lucknow is expected to be the same.

"It is an advantage to be playing on home soil as the crowd gets behind you. But we do realise that we have the responsibility to respond to that support and put our best foot forward," Harman said.

And then added a rider.

"I can't say anything about the result, which is not in our hand. All I know is that if we play at the top of our game, the result will take care of itself."

The Times of India

PHF advised to contact all major hockey-playing nations

India’s conspiracy against Pakistan

KARACHI: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) should contact all leading countries playing hockey and inform them how India was using FIH to divide hockey fraternity.

India has blocked the participation of Pakistan in Junior World Cup, which is to be organised in Lucknow.

Former Olympians say the PHF should contact Argentina, Australia, Holland, Germany, Britain, Spain, Belgium, China, South Korea and Japan who play international hockey regularly and have weight in the affairs of FIH.

It is interesting to note that PHF had voted for India’s Narindar Batra for FIH president-ship and within a month India stabbed PHF in the back.

Despite trouble in Kashmir and tension on Line of Control, PHF was willing to send the junior team to India. The PHF did not even ask any special security for the team, but still the players and the officials were not given visas.

Samiullah, former Pakistan captain, said that PHF should use the services of Pakistan’s former greats in hockey who had good relations with a number of renowned players of other countries. They can help Pakistan against India’s biased approach.

Samiullah said that a number of important hockey events were going to be held in India such as Asia Cup 2017 and World Cup 2018.

He said that an application could be filed in Court of Arbitration of Sport in Laussane, Switzerland, against FIH and India.

“How can they stop Pakistan’s participation in an international tournament despite its qualification? India did not invite our cricketers for IPL and they have not been playing bilateral cricket and hockey series with us for many years. Now they are stopping us in international tournaments. PHF must do something to stop this,” he said.

Pakistan was once considered a great force in world hockey, having won World Cup four times and Olympics thrice.

Olympian Qamar Zia termed PHF’s decision to boycott events in India correct and said it would expose India’s hypocrisy. PHF should challenge Indian Hockey Federation’s (IHF) steps against Pakistan at every level, he emphasised. “Otherwise we would have to suffer a lot in other international hockey events. India wants to isolate Pakistan in the hockey world,” he said.

The News International

Pakistan to boycott all India-hosted events

By Muhammad Yousaf Anjum

LAHORE: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Shehbaz Ahmed said that after an unfair snub in the upcoming Junior Hockey World Cup, the federation will not send the team to participate in any event in India.

While talking to the media, after giving a briefing to the standing committee, the 1994 World Cup winner said that they will also complain to the International Hockey Federation (FIH) about the way Indian government treated the matter of the issuance of visa of the players. “We will certainly not be participating in any tournament there [in India],” he said. “The way the Indian government handled the matter of issuing visa for our players, it’s definitely damaging for the game of hockey.

“We also hope that hockey authorities all over the world will be taking notice of Indian government’s attitude, and we will also try to convince FIH of not letting India host any major hockey event in the future.”

Shehbaz also went on to show his anger on the way Indian authorities issued visa to the Malaysian team in three days to participate in the mega. “It’s extremely disappointing that they[Indian government] issued  visa to Malaysia within three days to make sure we won’t be able to participate in the World Cup.”

The Express Tribune

Shaw Names Green Army Squad For World League 2

Graham Shaw, head coach of Ireland women’s hockey team, has today announced his squad of 18 players for World League 2 in Kuala Lumpur (14th-22nd January). The tournament is the side’s first round of qualification for the 2018 World Cup and they will be targeting a top two finish in order to qualify for World League 3, where they could play in either Belgium (21 June-2 July) or South Africa (8-23 July) depending on rankings.

The Green Army will be the second highest ranked team in the tournament as they sit 16th with only Italy, 15th, ranked above them. Ireland will be joined by hosts Malaysia, Kazakhstan and Hong Kong in Pool B; ranked 21, 33, 37 respectively. Pool A see’s Italy joined by Thailand, Wales and Singapore with rankings of 15, 31, 32 and 43 respectively. The tournament will mark the first opportunity in over a year for the Green Army to earn vital FIH World Ranking points as they bid to climb the rankings once more.

Speaking about the upcoming tournament, head Coach Graham Shaw said “Selection for World League 2 was incredibly competitive showing how much our full squad has grown and developed over the past year. We are looking forward to getting to Malaysia where we will set up a pre camp to prepare fully for the conditions in Kuala Lumpur”. The squad are taking no chances with the testing conditions in Kuala Lumpur where highs can reach 32 degrees centigrade in January along with challenging humidity.

Shaw added “Our No 1 goal for 2017 is qualification for the World Cup as we have not qualified since 2002. Likewise we are very much looking forward to competing at the Eurohockey Championships in Amsterdam, our first time competing in the A Division since 2013. We feel we have a strong squad which must start with a successful World League 2”.


1. Ayeisha McFerran- University of Louisville- GK
2. Clodagh Cassin- UCD- GK
3. Hannah Matthews- Loreto- Defender
4. Cliodhna Sargent- Cork Harlequins- Defender
5. Yvonne O Byrne- Cork Harlequins- Defender
6. Shirley McCay- Ulster Elks- Defender
7. Zoe Wilson- Harvestehuder- Defender
8. Lena Tice- UCD- Defender
9. Roisin Upton- Cork Harlequins- Midfield
10. Lizzie Colvin- Loreto- Midfield
11. Gill Pinder- UCD- Midfield
12. Chloe Watkins- Hermes/Monkstown- Midfield
13. Nicci Daly- Muckross- Midfield
14. Katie Mullan- UCD- Midfield
15. Anna O Flanagan- Hermes/Monkstown- Forward
16. Naomi Carroll- Cork Harlequins- Forward
17. Nikki Evans- Hermes/Monkstown- Forward
18. Rebecca Barry- Cork Harlequins- Forward

Non-Travelling Reserves

1. Sinead Loughran- Munchner SC- Forward
2. Emma Russell- UCD- Forward
3. Emily Beatty- KHC Dragons- Forward
4. Ali Meeke- Loreto- Forward

Unavailable For Selection

1. Megan Frazer- Mannheimer HC
2. Deirdre Duke- UCD
3. Chloe Brown- Ards
4. Grace O’Flanagan- Railway Union

Irish Hockey Association media release

Women's National Team wraps up 2016 at Year-End Camp in Vancouver

Shaheed Devji

Brienne Stairs and Hannah Haughn compete for the ball in a Women’s National Team scrimmage during year-end camp in Vancouver on December 1, 2016

With 2016 coming to a close and winter fast approaching, Canada’s women’s field hockey program held its Year-End Camp this week in Vancouver.

The four-day camp – which included fitness testing, team meetings, and on-field sessions and concluded Friday afternoon at the University of British Columbia’s Wright Field –  brought to an end a fourteen-week stretch of training for the Women’s National Team.

“It’s a little different than having a lot of tournaments back to back,” says veteran midfielder Brienne Stairs. “But it’s kind of nice because we’re all centralized, so it’s really good to all be together.”

Togetherness has been a strong theme throughout the Women’s National Program this year.

Prior to this final training block of the year, the Canadian women played a competition schedule chock full of opponents in the Top-10 of the World Rankings.

It was a complement of games that gave a group with a core that has been together for the better part of the last four-year cycle yet another level of experience.

“It’s good that we do have a lot of core players that are still together which has been really great,” Stairs adds. “We’ve got to play many years together and get a lot more caps.”

“We do have a lot of new players that are joining, so it’s been good that we’ve all been together for the last 14 weeks so we can integrate them into the program.”

But the unity has not been limited to the players on the team with years of experience.

Throughout the year and during the fall, training with the Seniors has been a contingent of Junior athletes hoping to make a more permanent jump to the senior level in 2017.

“All the girls are super supportive,” says Sara Goodman, an 18 year-old defender from Vancouver Island, who spent parts of the year training with the Senior team. “I really like the atmosphere here.”

With the selection of the 2017 Senior and Junior squads around the corner, the Year-End Camp was a final audition for spots ahead of a busy and historic year ahead during which Canada’s women will host World League Round 2 – an event part of the 2018 World Cup qualification process – in April.

“Everyone is just competitive and you can tell that there’s a lot of belief in the program,” says Goodman, who competed for Canada at the 2016 Junior Women’s Pan American Championship in Trinidad and Tobago this past April.

“I just want to be a part of it. I really enjoyed just training and to be able to play would be super exciting.”

Field Hockey Canada media release

Raghunath all praise for Hockey India and Oltmans

Sudheendra Tripathi

MUMBAI: A massive change in approach by Hockey India (HI) has helped the national team perform better against tough opponents like Australia and Germany. HI, which was until recently headed by Narinder Batra (now president of the International Hockey Federation), has become thoroughly professional.

When SV Sunil was out of a job for close to a year, HI paid the India striker a salary. Good performances by players are rewarded handsomely. In short, the players, coaches and the support staff are all well taken care off unlike in the past.

"If the player knows he has a strong backing, obviously he goes that extra yard to perform better," India defender and one of the most dangerous exponents of the drag-flick, VR Raghunath told TOI after his team India Oil got the better (4-2) of Central Railway in a Bombay Gold Cup match at the Mumbai Hockey Association on Friday.

"Earlier, we had to do most of the stuff ourselves. But that isn't the case anymore. Everything is in place before we regroup for a camp or are going to play tournaments abroad. We can completely focus on training and our matches," said Raghunath who had led India in Australia recently.

Speaking about the transformation, the 28-year-old said: "Since the time Roelant Oltmans has come in, the mindset has become very professional. He has divided the team into three groups and has appointed a team leader. The team leader will pass on the instructions to his team. The coach basically communicates with the team leaders and the team leader subsequently passes on the instructions to his team.

The introduction of team activity has also been very beneficial. The whole bunch travels together, trains together, eats together. This has allowed us to bond extremely well off the field.

When we are relaxed off the field, obviously our effort shows on the field."

Although India has done well against formidable teams like Australia, Germany of late, Raghunath feels that a bit more consistency is required. "We are defeating big teams but we need to be a little more consistent. Fitness wise we are right up there. But if we start defeating the big teams in big tournaments it will be very good. We are currently No. 6 in the world. Our aim is to come in the top four."

The Times of India

Australian tour was a good learning experience for us, says Indian hockey team forward Poonam Rani

Poonam Rani 2Chandigarh: Poonam Rani Malik, one of the key members of the Indian women hockey team that came back from the Australia tour after putting in a good performance there, said the exposure they got playing the higher ranked team will help them a lot in improving their own game.

“It had been good training matches for us. We managed to win one of the three matches that we played against them. It was a good experience. They have a young team and are ranked fourth. We are ranked 12th. So playing against them was a challenge. But by winning a game, we proved that ranking does not matter if you play to your potential,” said Poonam, who was in all praise for the Australians.

“They have better speed and high fitness level. We have to learn these things from them. Their conversion rate was also quite high. So in all it was a great learning experience,” said the Indian forward, adding that she was quite satisfied with her performance in the three-match series.

Poonam is also of the view that such tours are going to improve their game a lot. “Such exposure tour is the need of the hour. It’s good that Hockey India has been doing its bit to arrange such tours. And see the results. We have performed well under the foreigner coach and have won more medals. We won the Asian Champions Trophy and the Asia Cup. So such tours should be arranged on a consistent basis,” she said, hoping that with Dr Narendra Batra been as President of World Hockey Federation (FIH), it would do a lot of good to Indian hockey.

“We hope of getting more international tournaments in Indian itself. Now major tournaments can happen in our own country and we can get the right kind of exposure here itself,” said Poonam.

Indian Sports News

Who will blink first? Gladiators tackle Butali in hockey league final


Strathmore University Gladiators players celebrate their victory over Kenya Police during their Kenya Hockey Union men's Premier League play-off semi-final match at City Park Stadium on November 27, 2016. Gladiators tackle Butali Sugar in the final on December 3, 2016. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Will Strathmore University Gladiators finally get one over Butali Sugar Warriors and clinch the coveted Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) men’s Premier League title?

This is the big question as the two teams clash in the much-awaited play-off final at the City Park Stadium on Saturday.

The final was meant to be played last Sunday, but heavy rains saw the match moved to this weekend. Ahead of the high-stakes clash, Gladiators coach Meshack Senge does not mind his team’s underdogs tag as the 2016 season comes to a close.

Gladiators upset the 2013 champions Kenya Police 3-2 on post-match penalties to seal their place in the final, while Butali overcame a stubborn Greensharks side 2-1 in their last four encounter.

Senge, who led Gladiators to the league title in 2006 and 2009, is hoping to pull off another upset and guide the university side to their third title.

“Butali are a very experience side and have quality players in their ranks. We want a good start and possibly score an early goal that will disrupt their game plan,” the tactician told Saturday Nation Sport.

“We also need to be solid in defence because they will definitely come all out in attack but this is a final and we are confident we can win it.”
Full-back Joseph Obare, who limped off against Police, is fit to start and will line up alongside Constance Wakhura, scorer of the winning penalty against Police, in defence. Goalkeeper Simon Odhiambo, who saved three penalties in the semi-final, will start in goal.

The university side’s greatest strength is in their pacy forwards led by Festus Onyango, who has scored eight goals this season.

Champions Butali are aiming for a hat-trick of titles and are overwhelming favourites to retain the gong. The lakeside team beat the university side 3-1 during the preliminary round and will be looking to complete the double.


Butali coach Cliffe Okello is confident his charges can defend their title after another impressive season.

“We were guilty of not converting the many short corners we had last weekend (against Greensharks) and that put us on the edge. We have worked on that and I trust the lads to deliver the title,” Okello said.

Butali, formerly Kisumu Simba, have not lost to the Gladiators in the last two season and will be out to extend their dominance over the scholars.

The tactician has revealed that he will stick with the side that beat Sharks meaning lethal forwards Emmanuel Simiyu and Frank Wanangwe will lead the attack with veteran midfielder Zack Aura playing behind them.

The trio have been instrumental in Butali’s impressive run this season. At the back, the experienced Saidi Okwemba and Kennedy Nyongesa will offer a shield to keeper Evanson Ngoya. The match will be preceded by the play-off tie between Kenya Police and Greensharks.

The women’s champions Telkom Orange and men’s national league winners will be coroneted after the final.

Daily Nation

Former international hockey umpire Sujlana dead

MUMBAI: Former international hockey umpire and veteran administrator, Phulel Singh Sujlana, passed away on Friday due to old age, according to Mumbai Hockey Association Limited.

Sujlana, who was born in undivided Punjab, is survived by three daughters.

The jovial Sujlana, who was also secretary of the MHAL for four years from 2000-2004 after being its vice president from 1997, donned quite a few hats in hockey, officiating first at the international level as an umpire at the 1978 Asian Games in Bangkok.

Later, he was a judge at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, at the 5th World Cup hosted by India at the Wankhede Stadium here in 1981-82 and in the 1982 Asiad in New Delhi and the 1996 Champions Trophy.

He had also been the technical director at the four-nation tournament in Brussels in 1993 and in a few past hockey nationals and national games.

Sujlana was the chairman of the erstwhile IHF (Indian Hockey Federation) Umpires Board from 1985 to 1993 and chairman of its Technical Committee in 1985.

The Times of India

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