Welcome to the Fieldhockey.com Archives

Daily Hockey news updated @ 10:00 GMT

News for 11 December 2016

All the news for Sunday 11 December 2016

Austria continue to rock the juniors in Uttar Pradesh

Austria and Australia both claimed significant wins in Pool A while home favourites India took control of Pool D on the third day of action at the Uttar Pradesh Hockey Junior World Cup Men Lucknow 2016, currently being played in India.

In Pool A, Austria made it four points from a possible six with a remarkable 5-2 victory over Korea. Following their surprise draw with Argentina on Friday, the side coached by Cedric d’Sousa produced another disciplined performance, with Pit Rudofsky (2), Marcel Hilbert, Oliver Binder and Franz Lindengrun scoring the goals to put the Austrians top of the pool. “When we performed five weeks ago our quality wasn’t there, but our preparations and performances here in India have been fantastic”, said Austria’s Florian Streyrer. “It’s unbelievable. The fighting spirit is there, as everyone could see, and now we need to rest and recover before a tough match against Australia.” The Australians kicked off their title challenge with a narrow 2-1 triumph over Argentina, with a late penalty stroke from Olympian Blake Govers giving the Burras all three points after Matthew Bird’s opener was cancelled out by Argentine captain Maico Casella. With just one point from their opening two matches, Argentina’s title challenge is currently hanging in the balance. 

There were also two matches in Pool B, with host nation India and South Africa both claiming victories. India’s passionate crowd were silenced by an early goal from England’s Jack Clee before strikes from Parvinder Singh and Armaan Qureshi gave India a half time lead and reason for the fans to cheer. India turned the screw in the second period, with Harmanpreet Singh, Simranjeet Singh and Varun Kumar putting the result beyond all doubt. England rallied in the latter stages with Will Calnan and Edward Horler reducing the deficit, but India were deserving winners and will now look to complete the pool phase with a 100 percent win record when they face south Africa on Monday.  Earlier in the day, South Africa kept alive their hopes of a quarter-final berth with a 3-1 win over Canada. Brandon Pereira gave Canada the lead with a well-executed penalty corner, but strikes from Kyle Lion-Cachet, Ryan Crowe and Walter Pfaff ensured that all three points went the way of the African silver medallists. 

FIH site

Minnows Austria continue impressive run

LUCKNOW: Minnows Austria continued to impress in the ongoing men's Junior Hockey World Cup as they spanked declining Asian powerhouse Korea 5-2 on Saturday to remain in contention for a surprise quarter-final berth from Pool A in the 16-team tournament.

Austria, coached by former India international Cedric D'Souza, impressed all and sundry with twin strikes in the first half through Marcel Hilbert (8th minute) and Pit Rudofsky (21st) before pumping in three more after the change of ends, courtesy Oliver Binder (39th), Franz Lindengrun (60th) and Pit Rudoksky (62nd), who scored his second of the match.

For Korea, Joohan Park (35th, 56th) scored twice from penalty strokes.

In the other Pool A encounter later in the day, mighty Australia had to fight hard to scrape past gutsy Argentina 2-1 in their opening fixture of the tournament.

It was Australia who took the lead through a Matthew Bird field goal in the 31st minute before Argentina equalised in the second half through a penalty corner conversion by Maico Casella (42nd minute).

Thereafter, it was a neck-and-neck battle between Australia and Argentina as both the teams looked to outsmart each other.

In the end, it was Australia who succeeded in breaking Argentina's resolute defence and earned a penalty stroke just a minute before the final hooter which was beautifully converted by Olympian striker Blake Govers (69th).

Pool A is heading for a tight finish as three teams -- Austria, Australia and Argentina -- are in contention for the two quarterfinal berths up for grabs.

Austria, who earlier drew 1-1 with Argentina in their opening game, are now leading Pool A with four points from two games and will next play Australia.

Australia, however, enjoy an advantage over Austria and Argentina as they have played just one game so far.

Argentina, meanwhile, will take on Korea in their last pool match on December 12.

Meanwhile in another game, South Africa beat Canada 3-1 to stay in contention for a quarterfinal berth from Pool D.

South Africa came from a goal down to secure full three points after Canada took the lead against the run of play when Brandon Pereira gave his side the lead in the 21st minute.

But Canada's joy was shortlived as South Africa equalised through a penalty corner conversion by Kyle Lion-Cachet (26th) five minutes later. And then Ryan Crowe (41st) and Walter Pfaff (55th) scored two field goals in the second half to seal the match for the African side.

South Africa will play hosts India in their crucial final pool match on December 12, while already out of the reckoning Canada will face England.

The Times of India

Burras win first game at JWC

Defeat Argentina 2 - 1

Holly MacNeil

The Burras began their campaign at the Junior World Cup with a 2 – 1 win against Argentina tonight, after their initial game v Korea was postponed due to heavy fog in Lucknow, India.

Australia started the game by putting intense pressure on Argentina, the Burras maintaining possession for much of the first half of the game. Twenty-one minutes into the match and Kiran Arunasalam kicked off the goal opportunities by flicking the ball at goal, but it was directly at keeper Emiliano Bosso who kicked it clear with ease.

Argentina were up for the first penalty corner at minute 23, with Burras goalkeeper Ashleigh Thomas saving the flick that went to the left of the net. Australia had their own penalty corner opportunity at minute 28, but it was another excellent save for Argentina by goalkeeper Bosso.

Scoring the first goal of the game was Australian Matthew Bird who slid the ball into goal with a deflection on a free hit from the 25 line, giving the Burras a 1 – nil lead and a much-deserved goal.

With two minutes to go in the first half Argentina were up for a penalty corner, which they went for with a spectacular set play, but Thomas was at it again executing an excellent save on the corner.

Argentina had the first opportunity on a penalty corner in the second half and they used it well. The flick from Argentinian captain Maico Casella deflected into goal from an Australian stick, levelling the score.

In the dying minutes of the game, Australia were awarded a penalty stroke with Blake Govers taking the hit and knocking it straight into the top left of the net and reclaiming the lead and giving the Burras the win.

The Burras next play Austria on Monday at 12.30pm AWST / 3.30pm AEDT, with the game to be live streamed via the FIH You Tube Channel.

BURRAS 2 (1)
Matthew Bird 31 (FG)
Blake Govers 69 (PS)

Maico Casella 42 (PC)

Burras Fixtures
December 12: AUS v AUT 12.30pm AWST / 3.30pm AEDT
December 12: AUS v KOR 2.30pm AWST / 5.30pm AEDT

Burras Squad v Argentina
Name (Home town / suburb)
Kiran Arunasalam, (Doncaster East, VIC)
Joshua Beltz, (Old Beach, TAS)
Tom Craig, (Lane Cove, NSW)
Stephen Gale, (Bulleen, VIC)
Blake Govers, (Wollongong, NSW)
Max Hendry, (Camberwell, VIC)
Tim Howard, (Wakerley, QLD)
Lachlan Sharp, (Lithgow, NSW)
Joshua Simmonds, (Ringwood North, VIC)
Ashleigh Thomas, (Baulkam Hills, NSW)
Corey Weyer, (Biggera Waters, QLD)

Used Substitutes
Matthew Bird, (Coolbellup, WA)
Matthew Finn, (Paddington, QLD)
Frazer Gerrard, (Cottesloe, WA)
Sam Liles, (Tamworth, NSW)
Kurt Lovett, (Parkes, NSW)
Ryan Proctor, (Engadine, NSW)
Jack Welch, (Hobart, TAS)

Hockey Australia media release

Canada scores first but drops second Junior World Cup match to South Africa

Shaheed Devji

Canada’s Harbir Sidhu looks to dispossess the South African player in a 2016 Junior World Cup match in India on December 10, 2016 (By Yan Huckendubler)

Canada’s Under-21 Men’s National Team came up on the short end of a close battle with South Africa, dropping a 3-1 decision Saturday at the 2016 Junior World Cup in Lucknow, India.

With both teams coming off losses in their first matches of the tournament and only the top two nations from each of the four pools moving on to the quarterfinal round, Saturday’s tilt was essentially a must-win game for each side.

Canada looked to be focused from the openings moments, controlling possession initially, but could not mount any offence.

South Africa made its first foray into the Canadian end in the 3rd minute. The ball made its way behind goalkeeper Iqwinder Gill – who was making his second straight start for Canada – but Jamie Wallace swept it off the goal-line to avoid concession of the game’s first goal.

The South Africans then picked up the game’s first penalty corner in the 5th minute after a Canadian turnover in midfield. A drag flick from Ryan Crowe resulted in a calm and collected glove save from Gill.

After some back and forth play in the middle of the field, another corner in the 17th minute for South Africa resulted in another strong glove hand save from Gill.

Throughout the first half, Canada showed spurts of offensive on the counter-attack and in the 21st minute, forward Rohan Chopra carried the ball into the final third of the field, battling a South African defender all the way into the circle and earning Canada’s first penalty corner of the match.

Defender and co-captain Brandon Pereira stood behind the ball and put a low, hard drag flick under the South African keeper’s stick for the game’s first goal and Canada’s first goal of the tournament.

The lead only lasted for five minutes, however, as the South Africans picked up corners in the 23rd and 26th minutes and converted on the latter when Kyle Lion-Cachet put a flick around Canada’s first runner and between the post-man, Pereira, and goalkeeper, Gill, to tie the game 1-1.

Despite the late first half goal, the Canadians played a strong first half and were positioned for a chance to win the game in the second half.

In the second, it was the Canadians who picked up the first chance to scored when Amrit Sidhu poked a ball past the last South African defender at the centre-line. He and Michael MacKenzie then went on a partial 2-on-0 and MacKenzie just failed to put the ball behind keeper Robert McKinley who charged out to make the save.

It was a chance the Canadians would rue as minutes later, South Africa took the 2-1 lead in the 41st minute on a deflection from  Crowe in tight.

After avoiding harm while playing a man-short for five minutes due to a yellow card, Canada went down 3-1 in the 55th minute when Walter Pfaff scored from the baseline.

Canada, knowing it had to at least get a point out of the match, began to throw more players in the attacking end and had many chances to make a game of it.

Jamie Wallace earned a penalty corner in the 62nd minute and took the flick himself, but McKinley was equal to the challenge.

Then, in the 64th minute, nice build-up from Kabir Aujla and Pereira resulted in MacKenzie nearly tapping the ball in that the side of the net.

Canada pressured constantly until the final buzzer, but despite their best efforts, could not equalize.

After the 3-1 loss, Canada now sits in 4th in Pool D, behind India, England, and South Africa, each of whom have 3 points.

Canada faces England in its final pool stage match on December 13th at 10:00am local time (8:30pm Pacific/11:30pm Eastern on December 12th). The game will not have a live stream.

Field Hockey Canada media release

England downed by hosts at Junior World Cup

Chris Proctor breaks away from the India defence

England’s U21s slipped to a 5-3 defeat to hosts India in their second pool match of the Junior World Cup. Despite goals from Jack Clee, Will Calnan and Ed Horler, Jon Belby’s side were left to rue India’s ruthless streak in front of goal as the hosts moved to the top of the pool with one game to play at this stage.

India’s partisan home crowd were silenced in the tenth minute. A great run from Liam Sanford broke through and set up Clee who finished beautifully, lobbing the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper.

Both sides had their chances but on 24 minutes India levelled the scores. A goalmouth scramble was eventually converted by Parvinder Singh who forced the ball home. On the stroke of half time it was 2-1 to Harendra Singh’s side. A left wing cross found its way to Armann Quereshi at the far post and he made no mistake.

After the break India did not give England a chance to settle and within two minutes of the restart Harmanpreet Singh beat Chris Wyver with a low penalty corner to make it 3-1. A fourth soon followed as Harjeet Singh’s run and exchange of passes paved the way for Simranjeet Singh to apply the finish from close range. Varun Kumar’s drag flick made it 5-1 and England were staring down the barrel. To their credit, Jon Bleby’s side refused to roll over and with seven minutes left Calnan’s deflected pass looped in to reduce the arrears. With four minutes to go Horler pinged in another penalty corner for his third goal of the tournament to make it 5-3 but it was too little, too late for England.

England are now second in the pool behind India but level on three points with South Africa. A win against Canada in their final pool game would take Bleby’s side into the quarter finals.

You can see live streaming of the matches on the FIH YouTube Channel. Please note, England's next match against Canada at 430am UK time is not being shown.

India 5 (2)
Parvinder Singh 24 (FG)
Armaan Qureshi 35 (FG)
Harmanpreet Singh 37 (PC)
Simranjeet Singh 45 (FG)
Varun Kumar 59 (PC)

England 3 (1)
Jack Clee 10 (FG)
Will Calnan 63 (FG)
Ed Horler 67 (PC)

England Hockey Board Media release

India supreme against England

s2h team

What seemed initially an even contest changed its contour as the match progressed with India establishing supreme control over England to hand out a heartwarming 5-3 defeat.

India struck through Parvinder Singh, Varun Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh and Simrajjit Singh in a rhythmic fashion.

India conceded two late goals when it was playing a man less with Mandeep Singh, who steered India to a commendable position when it had faced stiff challenge from England in the first 15 minutes, was in sin bin on account of yellow card.

The much expected match between the two titans in Pool D started on a brisk note, Horler missing out a sitter, sweeping the ball wide from close range, and in return Sumit Kumar hitting wide off his forehand.

Two minutes into the second half, India got their fourth penalty corner of which Harmanpreet Singh enlivened the vast crowd. His drag into the far left cage left the goalie bemused, sheer force doing the trick (3-1)

Photo by kind permission Vino John

Ten minutes later in the second half after Harman's feat, Simranjit Singh gave finishing touches to a mild parallel pass by Gurjant off Harjeet took the English spirit away. It was Harjeet in the centre who outpaced a host of defender before passing gem of a ball to Gurjant (4-1).

England caught Indian defence unawares with an immaculate strike in the 10th minute through Jack Clee and then 15 minutes later Parvinder Singh equalized after futile penalty corner attempt by Varun Kumar.

Forty seconds before Arman Qureshi tapped a slow feed into the empty cage to give lead 2-1.

It was slightly high hit from right flank by captain Harjeet Singh into the D, where Parvinder stopped it with a gently tap. The ball bounced and dangerously reached Arman Qureshi, who just tapped the ball in a quick reflex.

However, England did not allow much time to rejoice the goal, as they will force a penalty corner through the foul by Harmanpreet. However, English penalty corner drill was sloppy, stopper could not stop the fast push.

India thus returned for lemon time on a high

Photo by kind permission Vino John

When things went rough for India in the initial phase, its Mandeep Singh's experience that lent fight chances for India. He could extract first two penalty corners though the colts would waste both.

Fittingly enough, Mandeep was again declared Man of the Match.

with 5-1 lead, India replaced Vikas with young goalie Krishan Pathak, who was received with a well executed England goal (5-2) in the 62nd minute by Wil Calnan. India was this time playing a man less as Mandeep Singh was sitting in the sin bin with an yellow card suspension.

Ina counter attack, new goalie Krishan erred in blocking, leaving the ball to raise dangerously, leading to England's third goal of which Edward Horler struck over the head of Krishan (5-3) three minutes before the hooter.

Earlier, England missed out both penalty corners on weak stopping on the edge of the circle.


Sweet victory leaves bitter aftertaste

Despite sealing a 5-3 win over England, India colts looked largely erratic and scratchy.

by Mihir Vasavda

Out of the 70 minutes, India played 24 with just 10 men after committing some silly fouls. (Source: PTI)

When seen in entirety, India were so good, so irresistible that it’s easy to overlook a few glaring errors sprinkled through the 70 minutes. Break down the performance, and you can focus on the areas that may actually haunt India against an opponent that will be more precise and dangerous than England were on Saturday. India romped to a 5-3 win over the European Championship bronze medallists to enter the quarterfinals of the junior World Cup.

It could easily have been 5-1 in India’s favour or 5-5, depending on how you look at it. Which is why you were left with a slightly bitter taste despite an otherwise dominant performance. But it was discipline, or lack of it, that bothered India more.

Out of the 70 minutes, India played 24 with just 10 men. “It was unwarranted,” coach Harendra Singh said. Manager Roelant Oltmans was more disapproving: “The cards were completely unnecessary. It cost us two goals.” Since bursting on to the scene in 2013, Mandeep Singh has swung between the two extremes, of being fabulous and frustrating. He boasts of a lot of skills. That’s how he has earned India two penalty corners, which were duly converted by Harmanpreet Singh and Varun Kumar.

But at times, he boasts a lot. And the showboating eventually ends up costing the team. On paper, he is from a team which plays a very different brand of hockey than the previous ones. But he gives the impression of belonging to the generation of players that was wasteful and over-dribbled. In doing so, he attracts trouble, which he is unable to dribble past. Easy to get riled, he eventually ends up committing a foul, and gets the consequent card.

On Saturday, he got a needless yellow for making an illegal tackle on an English player in the 61st minute. It was the second time an Indian player was sent off for 10 minutes in the match. In the 47th minute, Nilakanta Sharma received a yellow card for another silly foul in middle of the field, where there was no perceived danger for India.

England failed to capitalise during that phase. But Mandeep’s yellow card resulted in India conceding two late goals, and made the match look closer than it actually was. And it practically cancelled out the two assists he made.

For some reason, Mandeep was named Man of the Match, a decision that Oltmans too did not agree with. “I have nothing against Mandeep,” Oltmans said, despite the fact that he gave the striker a piece of his mind when he was sent off. “But for me, the real man of the match was this man,” the Dutchman added, pointing towards skipper Harjeet Singh. The 21-year-old probably would’ve been an ideal choice. Harjeet once said he enjoys creating goal-scoring chances for his teammates more than scoring them himself. It’s the kind of selflessness that makes him a great leader of an energetic, extremely promising team.

England are a team high on confidence. They earned a podium finish at the European Championships earlier this year, had a string of good performances before landing in Lucknow and, on Friday, received a massive shot in the arm after their funding for the Tokyo Olympics was increased by £2 million to £18 million.

The confidence reflected in the manner in which they began. They created a chance within the first two minutes but an unmarked Edward Horler inexplicably failed to get a shot on target from a couple of feet from the goal. However, England’s persistence paid off in the 10th minute. Liam Sanford’s run sliced open the Indian defence from the middle — cutting through five defenders — laying off for James Gall to tap in an easy goal.

Wobbly India

For the first time in the evening, the crowd lost its voice, and on field India looked wobbly. That’s when Harjeet decided to step up his game. It didn’t take long, either, for things to click. He took control of the midfield, ensuring it didn’t lose its shape. He barked out some orders to his teammates. And suddenly, the 3-5-2 formation started working with fluidity that coach Harendra Singh expected it to.

England had packed the centre of the field, so Harjeet would distribute the ball to the wingers, who made incisive runs to create enough panic in England’s defence. Parwinder Singh on the right, Gurjant Singh in a floating role and Armaan Qureshi in the front started to read their captain’s moves and acted accordingly. It was all happening at such blinding pace that England were often caught unaware.

They tried to fight fire with fire — countering India’s ‘ridiculously speedy’ movements, as described by their coach Jon Blebby, with quick counterattacks of their own. But it hurt them more. In a 20-minute span (last 10 minutes of first half and opening 10 of the second), England’s one-goal lead had turned into a three-goal deficit. Harjeet played role in almost every goal.

Blebby would later rue the strategy adopted by his boys. That, combined with two missed penalty corners at crucial moments – last minute of first half and late in the second period – frustrated Blebby further. But the two goals in the final moments lifted his spirits. “It could’ve been 5-5, you know. We weren’t that bad,” he said. Eventually, it was Oltmans and Harendra who walked off slightly frustrated. India had won. But the lessons learnt from this match were far important than the three points.

Indian Express

India thrash England 5-3, get into quarters

Indervir Grewal

Armaan Qureshi celebrates after putting India ahead. HI

Lucknow: India found the much-needed patience that allowed them to pick away at England and find an equaliser, before steamrolling them with relentless pressure early in the second half, which earned them rich praise from manager Roelant Oltmans.

“I was really impressed by the first 20 minutes of the second half, when they kept the pressure up and were very fast on the counters,” Oltmans said after India’s 5-3 win that secured them a berth in the quarterfinals of the hockey junior World Cup.

Mandeep Singh was at his pestering best, as he kept finding space in a packed English third with brilliantly-timed runs, winning two crucial penalty corners, one of which led to the equaliser. Mandeep was named the Man of the Match, but Oltmans’ choice for the award was captain Harjeet Singh.

“Nothing wrong with Mandeep’s performance but for me, Harjeet deserved it for the way he marshalled the team and set up the counterattacks,” added Oltmans.

Controlling the pace

England got off to a quick start, trying to find India off-guard. But within no time India grabbed control and increased the pace. England slowed down the pace and tried to hit India with small bursts. The two-paced approach got them an opening and one of the Englishmen ran through a horde of Indian players before setting up Jack Clee (10th minute).

India came hard for the equaliser but their single-paced attack didn’t break the ever-organised English defence. India then slowed down and started building up their attacks patiently.

However, England’s man-to-man marking was excellent as they suffocated the Indian forwards for space. Only Mandeep created the space, and one of his deflections was saved by the goalie. He got on the end of a long ball from Varun Kumar and created a penalty corner. The chance was missed but they earned a corner. A quick take led to a shot, which the goalie padded away, but the ball was shot into the circle again and after the ensuing scramble, Parvinder Singh slapped it in.

India kept bothering England but were not too dangerous. Right at the end of the half, Harjeet tomahawked in a high ball from the left and Parvinder’s reflexive attempt at a deflection brought the ball down and into the path of Armaan Qureshi, who tapped it in to give India the lead.

The 20 minutes

India started the second half with the same intensity that they had in the Canada match. Waves of Indian attacks were complemented by waves of roars from the crowds. Two minutes in, Harmanpreet Singh scored off a penalty corner with a low, hard drive. His angry fist-pump showed how much it meant to him to score his first penalty corner goal.

England tried to step out but the pressure from the Indian forwards and midfielders, led by Harjeet, resulted in counters. One such steal from Harjeet led to Simranjeet Singh (45th) scoring the fourth goal, which effectively ended the contest.

Varun converted another penalty corner in the 59th minute to make it 5-1. India then stepped off the pedal, conceding two goals which, incidentally, were deflected in off the sticks of Indian players after shots from the Englishmen.

The Tribune

Classy India enters quarterfinals

Easy picking: Armaan Qureshi beat goalkeeper Chris Wyver to put India ahead. 

It was an India show all the way as the host stamped its authority to register a comprehensive 5-3 victory over England in its second Pool-D match of the junior World Cup here on Saturday and ensure a spot in the quarterfinals in the process.

India outplayed the opposition in every department of the game. Despite conceding an early goal against the run of play, there were no signs of the team losing control and soon came back to open up the field and score at regular intervals.

For England, it was not an option but a forced decision from an aggressive India. The first five minutes saw the host create several scoring chances but missing out on the finishing.

One defensive lapse in the 10th minute saw James Gall pass through four defenders on the top of the circle for Jack Clee to scoop into the net but that was just about all.

The extremely quick Indian players attacked in waves, opening up the flanks at will and sending the ball right into the centre of the England circle from all sides.

India captain Harjeet Singh stood out as much for his ball distribution and penetrating passes as for his ability to draw defenders and open up gaps in defence.

Varun Kumar’s passing was pin-pointed and the forwards’ trapping was firm. Harmanpreet and Varun, along with Dipsan Tirkey, hardly allowed any English ball to reach the Indian circle. And Parvinder Singh and Mandeep upfront, along with Armaan Qureshi and Gurjant Singh on either wing, formed a combination that England had no answer to.

The results: Pool A: Austria 5 (Pit Rudofsky 2, Marcel Hilbert, Oliver Binder, Franz Lindengrun) bt Korea 2 (Joohan Park 2); Australia 2 (Matthew Bird, Blake Govers) bt Argentina 1 (Maico Casella).

Pool D: South Africa 3 (Kyle Lion-Cachet, Ryan Crowe, Walter Pfaff) bt Canada 1 (Brandon Pereira); India 5 (Parvinder Singh, Armaan Qureshi, Harmanpreet Singh, Simranjit Singh, Varun Kumar) bt England 3 (Jack Clee, Will Calnan, Edward Horler).

The Hindu

Rampaging India continue winning run, beat England 5-3

By Saumojyoti S Choudhury

Lucknow: Favourites India continued their strong showing in the men's Junior Hockey World Cup as they scored a dominating 5-3 win over England in a Pool D encounter to virtually secure a place in the quarterfinals, here today.

India, who had earlier spanked Canada 4-0 in their tournament-opener, scored two goals in the first half through Parvinder Singh (24th minute) and Armaan Qureshi (35th) before finding the net thrice in the second half, courtesy Harmanpreet Singh (37th), Simranjeet Singh (45th) and Varun Kumar (59th).

However, it was England who drew the first blood through Jack Clee (10th) before pumping in two late goals from Will Calnan (63rd) and Edward Horler(67th).

The Indians were slow to get of the blocks as England defence hardly gave any space to the home team forwards in the initial few minutes of the match.

India had the first shy at the goal in the third minute when Sumit showed fine stick work to dodge a few English defenders and cut inside the opposition circle from the right only to find the side netting with his reverse shot.

England who took lead against the run of play in the 10th minute from a counter attack through Clee's field strike. The goal, which stunned the entire stadium, came as a wake-up call for the Indians who thereafter did not concede an inch to the opponents.

Pressing hard in search of the equaliser, India earned their first penalty corner in the 23rd minute. Varun Kumar's try from the set piece was saved by the English defence but from the resultant attack Parvinder drew level from a move that was set up by skipper Harjeet Singh.

Thereafter, it was India all over as they secured back-to-back penalty corners but failed to utilise.

Armaan made the scoreline 2-1 in favour of India just at the stroke of half time. Unmarked inside the circle, he just had to dab the ball inside the goal after being set up by Harjeet's cross from the left flank which got slight deflection from the stick of Parvinder.

In the final seconds of the first half, England managed to earn their first penalty corner of the match, but they fumbled as India went into half time leading 2-1.

India continued in the same vein after the change of ends and earned their fourth penalty corner with the opening move of the second half and Harmanpreet rose to the occasion to extend the home team's lead.

Next it was Simranjeet's turn to register his name in the scoresheet. The move was initiated by Harjeet who intercepted the ball in the mid-half and then passed it on to Gujrant who set it up for Simranjeet to push the ball in an open goal.

Dragflicker Varun then made the scoreline 5-1 favour by converting India's fifth penalty corner.

Towards the end England went full throttle and were also rewarded with two goals -- first through Calnan's field strike and then through a penalty corner conversion by Horler.

But that was all England could manage as India thereafter managed to hold on to their two goal cushion to pocket full three points from their encounter.
India are now leading Pool D with six points from two wins and next play South Africa on December 12. England are placed second with three points from two games and will finish off the pool engagements against lowly Canada on December 13. SSC AT AT

The Times of India

India get the measure of England

LUCKNOW: Indians brought out their best game when it mattered as they tamed England 5-3 in a crucial Pool D en counter to enter the quarterfinals of the Junior Men's Hockey World Cup at Major Dhyan Chand stadium on Saturday .

Despite a sluggish start and a wobbly finish, they displayed the speed, skill and intelligence inside the rival's circle to fashion an impressive win. The victory now takes India to the doorsteps of topping the pool and avoiding six-time champions Germany in the last eight. They now play South Africa in their final league match on Monday . If they even draw that match, they will emerge as the best from the pool.

Indian forwards Mandeep Singh, Santa Singh and Parvinder Singh started with a flourish, testing the England defenders in waves. However, they slackened a bit and that gave England the chance to get the opening goal of the match. Jack Turner made the spadework by weaving into the Indian circle in the 10th minute, and passed to Jack Clee, who scooped the ball past Indian custodian Vikas Dahiya.

Stung by the reverse, the Indians, cheered by a sizeable home crowd, hit back with purpose. They found the equalizer in the 24th minute when Parvinder found the net after a goal-mouth melee. Few minutes later they were unlucky not to find the target when a 1-2 by Varun Kumar and Mandeep Singh saw the latter's connect clipping the side post and going out.

But India surged ahead at the stroke of breather when English captain James Albery failed to stop a cross from the left. Armaan Qureshi, who was lurking nearby , trapped the ball home. Then, two minutes into the second-half, Harmanpreet Singh pulled down the English defence with a hard and low push to the right of goalkeeper Chris Wyver.

That seemed to open the gates, as Varun Kumar ran in from the right in the 48th minute to side-step an onrushing Wyver and passed the ball to Simranjeet Singh, who took his time and pushed it into the an empty cage. Then again, Varun Kumar beat Wyver off a short corner. He placed his drag-flick high to the right right of Wyver.

England got back two goals late in the game, but Indians had enough cushion to come out unscathed.

Austria continue impressive run

Minnows Austria continued to impress junior Hockey World Cup as they hammered Korea 5-2 to remain in contention for a surprise quarterfinal berth from Pool A in the 16-team tournament.

The Times of India

We played simple hockey today, says captain Harjeet Singh

LUCKNOW: Harjeet Singh might have played like a real leader to guide India to a 5-3 win over England at the men's Junior Hockey World Cup here, but the soft-spoken skipper credited the win to the entire team, saying the hosts played "simple hockey" on Saturday.

Harjeet was in total control of the midfield, snatching balls and creating chances from counter attacks for his strikers, as India virtually assured their place in the quarterfinals.

"We played simple hockey today. We just did simple, simple things. We have to play according to the opposition. England is a good team so we raised our bar," Harjeet told reporters at the post-match press conference.

"Today from the beginning we had good energy. All the players performed their duties on the field.

"After scoring the first goal we kept on putting pressure on them (England) by scoring more goals. Jaise coach sir humesha kehte hain ke murde ko itne keel gardo ke who aur uthne hi nahi paye (as the coach sir always say when a coffin is buried, keep on putting as much nail as possible so that there is no possibility of him getting up from the grave)," he said.

India didn't have a great start as it was England who drew the first blood in the 10th minute but Harjeet said there was no pressure on the team after conceding the goal and they were confident of their victory.

"We didn't have any pressure after conceding the first goal because we were confident. We knew there was plenty of time left and in hockey 2-3 minutes is big," he said.

India's head coach Harendra Singh was satisfied with his wards performance but warned the players to control their emotions on the turf.

Leading 5-1, India gave away too many fouls, which resulted in two yellow and two green cards in the last 10 minutes and in the process the hosts conceded two unnecessary goals.

"They are playing World Cup and you have to accept it that there will be anxiety which was there in the first 20 minutes of the opening match (against Canada). You have to accept that they are youngsters who wait 4 years for a big tournament so excitement will always be there," Harendra said.

"The fouls were unnecessary. We need to control our emotions. Better that it has happened here but we can't afford such mistakes in the knockout stage," Harendra said.

Harendra, however, was satisfied with the overall performance of the team.

"We took a very important step today in terms of tactics as well as technique. We scored field goals, tried variations in penalty corners, counter attacked. Day by day improvement is evidently visible. I would like to congratulate the entire team," the coach said.

Indian men's senior team chief coach Roelant Oltmans was full of praise for Harjeet, who according to him was the player of the match instead of Mandeep Singh.

"Harjeet was outstanding. He was the leader and he showed that on the pitch. He was setting up counter attacks. For me he was the man of the match," said Oltmans, who is the manager of the junior side for the ongoing World Cup.

Oltmans too was mighty pleased with the performance of the India colts, barring the last 10 minutes of the game where they committed to many fouls.

"We always try to play the style which suits these guys. We were 0-1 down which people didn't like but I liked it because all of a sudden it becomes a demanding job and what they did in the last 10 minutes was outstanding," the legendary Dutchman said.

"We put so much pressure on them which created so many opportunities and they way they continued in the same vein in the second half, at least in the first 20 minutes, is heartening to see.

"But we gave away a few unnecessary cards and gave away 2 goals in the last 10 minutes but if we take first 20 minutes of the second half and last 10 minutes of the first half we were brilliant. That is the hockey I enjoy.

"The cards were completely unnecessary. The tackles were half down on the pitch and it occurred because of over excitement. But this is part of the learning process. These are lessons from this game which we take along in the next game," Oltmans added.

The Times of India

Najmi: We’ll fight for every ball against Egypt

by Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Juniors need to show more urgency in the Junior World Cup.

Malaysia got off to a disastrous start in the Junior World Cup – getting thrashed 7-2 by Holland in the opening Group D match in Lucknow, India, on Friday.

Wallace Tan’s boys, who were only called up last week to replace for Pakistan who withdrew from the tournament, will have to show vast improvement in every department if they hope to beat Egypt today at the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium.

Defender Muhd Najmi Farizal Jazlan (pic) agreed.

“Although we are downcast after the disappointing start, it’s not the end of the world. We need to play much better in our next match,” he said.

“My team-mates have vowed to fight for every ball and go all out to secure our first win against Egypt ... and keep our hopes of reaching the second round alive.”

Malaysia last played against Egypt in the Junior World Cup in Johor Baru in 2009, when both teams drew 2-2 in the 9th-12th placing playoff.

Midfielder Muhd Syafiq Syed Cholan is a major doubt for today’s match against Egypt after injuring his left shin against Holland.

Malaysia will wrap up their group fixtures against Belgium, who outplayed Egypt 4-0 on Friday, tomorrow.

Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal described the loss to the Dutch team as a lesson for the Malaysians.

“We have to accept the defeat ... we are in a difficult group. But I’m not giving an excuse as our Juniors are well-prepared for the tournament, having gone on playing tours and featuring in the Sultan of Johor Cup.

“Holland are the best team in the world and I believe they have a chance to win the Junior World Cup,” said Subahan, who wants to see the National Juniors put up a better performance against Egypt and Belgium.

The Star of Malaysia

More Brinkman power for Dutch

Indervir Grewal

Thierry Brinkman was the Man of the Match against Malaysia.

Lucknow: The Netherlands got off to a cracking start to the tournament with a 7-2 win over Malaysia. They were led by captain Thierry Brinkman, who scored a goal and was named the Man of the Match.

Applauding him from the stands was the Dutch great Floris Jan Bovelander. Later, the Olympics and World Cup gold-medallist went to the edge of the turf and patted the youngster on the back.

“He plays for my club,” said Bovelander, technical director of Amsterdam-based club HC Bloemendaal, where Brinkman, 21, plays. “He is very talented and has also played in the senior team.”

Bovelander has another connection to Brinkman. The penalty corner specialist played with Thierry’s father, Jacques, who is another Dutch great. Bovelander and Jacques were in the team that won the 1990 World Cup and 1996 Olympics gold.

“Yeah, it’s nice to see a son of a teammate play for the Netherlands,” said Bovelander. “His father was obviously a great player but Thierry is a completely different player than his father.”

Jacques, who won two Olympics gold and played 337 international matches, making him the Netherlands’ most capped player, was a “hard midfielder”, according to Thierry.

Has he watched him play or videos of his? “Yes, I saw a few videos of his. I saw videos of the 1990 World Cup in Pakistan, him playing in front of huge crowds,” he said.

Did it change the way he looked at his father? “Yes. And it inspired me, thinking that it would be cool to be there,” added Thierry.

Jacques, a journalist now, lives in Utrecht while Thierry lives in Amsteram. “We have discussions about the game, about what I could have done in a situation,” he said.

“His father comes to almost all of his matches. I don’t know why he hasn’t come here,” said Netherlands coach Eric Verboom.

Does he ever feel the pressure of being such a famous player’s son? “Not at all. He is a relaxed person, really cool,” said Thierry.

The Tribune

Two held for brandishing rifle at Japanese junior hockey team

The Japanese hockey team for the Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup was attacked by goons in Lucknow. (HT Photo)

Lucknow police on Saturday arrested two youth who allegedly trained their rifle on the Japanese junior hockey team on Friday when it was on its way back to the team hotel after playing its match in the Junior World Cup.

The youth, Lovkush and Pramod, residents of Mandiaon police circle, have been arrested under the Arms Act. Following a report in the Hindustan Times on Saturday, the police swung into action and arrested the youth.

Interestingly, the police had on Friday refused to accept that the youth were carrying a rifle. Even the circle officer, Dinesh Kumar Puri, had given a clean chit to the youth, saying that he didn’t find them in possession of any rifle.

Sub inspector Pawan Kumar of Khurram Nagar outpost lodged an FIR only on Saturday when the Japanese team reportedly lodged a complaint with their embassy.

The issue has also been reported to the international hockey federation (FIH) and Hockey India (HI), which is hosting the event in association with Uttar Pradesh Hockey.

On Friday, two youth driving an SUV bearing the Samajwadi Party flag overtook the Japanese players’ bus near Khurram Nagar crossing and intercepted it. One of them jumped out of the vehicle with his rifle and started abusing the bus driver and the team members for overtaking their SUV.

Hindustan Times

Hockey players to fight for world league spot

Peni Mudunavonu

THE Fiji Hockey Federation (FHF) conducted a trial yesterday between the Fiji Warriors and Western Selection at the National Hockey Centre in Suva to select players to be included in the national men's squad for the Hockey World League round two.

The tournament will be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from March 4 to March 12, next year.

Fiji Warriors won the match 3-1.

Fiji will be playing Canada, Oman, Egypt, Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka and Ghana in the next world league.

Fiji men's national head coach Hector Smith, who was a former national hockey representative said: "We are trying our Warriors boys for the second round selection with the western selection team so, we can identify some talents and also to see if some of these Warriors boys can step up to the President's selection."

He said it was a one game trial for them to prove themselves for selection into the national team.

Meanwhile, results from the Oceania tournament during the week ended last night saw the Australian Country women's team beat Fiji President's XI women's team 3-2 on Friday while their men's team beat Fiji Warriors 4-0.

On Wednesday Australian Country women beat Fiji President's XI 2-0 while Australian Country men beat Fiji President's Selection 5-1.

The Fiji Times

Pakistan to participate in two four-nation tournaments next year

By Muhammad Yousaf Anjum

LAHORE: Pakistan hockey team will take part in two four-nation tournaments in March instead of playing a test series with New Zealand and Australia.

Pakistan hockey federation has a comprehensive program to prepare the team for the World Hockey League semi-finals which is going to start from June 15, 2017 in London.

The hockey league will present Pakistan with an opportunity to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in India. Another chance for Pakistan will come through Asia Cup, where making it to the final will help the team to qualify for the World Cup. Asia Cup will be hosted by India in October next year.

“We are focusing now on World Hockey league,” chief coach Khawaja Junaid told Express News. “Our main goal is to play league’s final and qualify for World Cup from thereon. We have planned to develop a pool of thirty one players including five goalkeepers.”

Pakistan hockey team management is now planning a training camp in the second week of February. According to latest information, first four-nation tournament will be staged in New Zealand in early March, and then all teams will travel to Australia for the second event. Pakistan Hockey Federation is also wishing to play a few additional matches, both in New Zealand and Australia.

Junaid added that team is preparing to put up a good show in Sultan Azlan Shah tournament and are ready to tour Europe as well. “Players will learn to handle pressure after playing against big teams and that will help them to perform well in upcoming World Hockey League semi-finals,” he said.

The Express Tribune

MHC moot International U-18 meet

KUALA LUMPUR: Plans are afoot to organise an Under-18 international tournament next year to provide players with exposure for the 2019 Junior World Cup.

Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal (pic) said that while there is an annual Under-21 international tournament – the Sultan of Johor Cup – there is no international tournament for the Under-18 category.

“After the on-going Junior World Cup (in Lucknow, India) is over, there will be no international exposure for the Under-18 players,” Subahan said after chairing the MHC executive board meeting yesterday.

He added that three states – Negri Sembilan, Selangor and Sabah – have shown interest in organising an Under-18 international tournament.

“We have requested MHC competitions committee chairman George Koshy to conduct a study and present it at the next executive board meeting,” said Subahan, who added that the national senior team will take part in five international competitions next year.

The five are the World League Hockey Round Two in Tacarigua, Trinidad and Tobago (March 25-April 2); Sultan Azlan Shah Cup (Ipoh, April 27-May 7); World League Third Round (semi-finals – either in London, England, from June 15-25 or Johannesburg, South Africa, from July 9-23); 10th Asia Cup (venue yet to be decided, Sept 30-Oct 8); and the Australian Hockey League in October.

Malaysia need to finish in the top two of the World League Hockey Round Two – which also comprises Japan, Russia, Barbados, Chile, Switzerland, the United States and Trinidad and Tobago – to be able to play in Round Three.

Maybank have been given until Dec 22 to confirm their participation in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) from Jan 6-Feb 26.

The closing date was Dec 2 but Maybank had requested an extension till Dec 15 as their playing budget has yet to be approved.

In another development, Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) have been told that they must play in the Premier Division next year.

SSTMI, who were promoted after finishing runners-up in Division One this year, wanted to continue playing in the lower division as they can’t afford to hire foreign players.

The Star of Malaysia

Dilip Tirkey has done it

K  Arumugam

Many former players ascended to top posts in the politics cashing in on the familiarity the sport of hockey provided to them, but none has ever contributed back to the game.

Dilip Tirkey, a sitting Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), has proved he is different, and is hell bent on improving the game.

First he formed Hockey Gangpur team that plays in the various national championship. Now, he has gone ahead.

Today, when the vice-president of India inaugurated the Biju Patnaik Rural Hockey Tournament in the tribal heartland of Orissa, a new vista is established. Around 1500 teams will play in the tournament.

When it completes it will surely enter every record book being the world’s biggest hockey tournament.

Dilip Tirkey made his international debut in 1995 and played India in every top tournaments since then.

He led India at the Olympics too.

He was first employed in the Railways before moving to Indian Airlines (now merged with Air India).

The suave personality, the solid defender surprised many followers a couple of years ago when opted to resign from Air India and joining politics.

The ruling party of his State, Biju Janata Dal, took him on its wing and got him elected for prestigious Rajya Sabha.

Dilip Tirkey also contested unsuccessfully arliamentary election for upper house two years ago.


Dilip Tirkey launches mega rural hockey tournament in Odisha

K. Keerthivasan

ROURKELA: As one steps inside the Biju Patnaik hockey stadium here, one witnesses a sea of players assembling at the venue.

The playing area has both seniors and juniors occupying every bit of the artificial turf. What is unveiled to the world is a mammoth programme called the ‘Biju Patnaik rural hockey championship’, an initiative by Olympian Dilip Tirkey, now a Rajya Sabha MP.

The inauguration of the tournament on Saturday saw the Vice Prseident Hamid Ansari, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and a host of former and current players, including Ashok Kumar, Michael Kindo, A.B. Subbaiah , Ignace Tirkey, Birendra Lakra among others, wishing the event a huge success.

The Dilip Tirkey Sports Research and Development Foundation is organising one of the largest hockey tournaments in the world for the tribals of Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

The tournament comprises 1500 teams from 900 villages, which according to Dilip, is a Guinness record. The objective of the tournament is to bring about a sports culture in the Naxal-infested regions and ensure that the tribal youth “pick up hockey sticks and not guns.”

Bring back the passion

Speaking to newspersons, Dilip said he wants to bring back the same passion for hockey which was very high during his growing-up years. “Even now the interest is high, but not to the same extent when I was playing,” said Dilip, who hails from Sundargarh district, known for producing many players.

The tournament will be held in 32 venues with the final slated on March 5 here, the day Biju Patnaik was born.

“I understand there is a lot of potential to promote the sport [among rural boys and girls). I want to create awareness. Young players don’t practise and I have told them to practise at least three days a week,” said the 39-year-old.

Speaking at the inauguration, Ansari said, “I’ve never seen such a gathering of players of a single sport. This is remarkable. I am sure the Odisha Government initiative will not go in vain.”

Chief Minister Patnaik said that the tournament would be a big motivation to the tribals.

Terming it as “unimaginable,” former India goalkeeper Subbaiah said the tournament will encourage youngsters to take up the sport.

“There is a similar tournament in Coorg where 300 to 400 teams participate with nearly 30,000 people watching. I am sure this [initiative by Dilip] will broadbase the sport,” he said.

While stating that it is a laudable initiative, Olympian Ashok Kumar cautioned that the tournament shouldn’t turn into a political exercise. He said the best players should be chosen and groomed to face bigger challenges. “[Ideally] you should select 500 players, give them facilities. The idea should be for the betterment of the sport and not politics,” he said.

Dilip, a three-time Olympian and a former India captain, said he is aware of the huge task at hand and said he would do his best to groom young talent.

(Keerthivasan is in Rourkela at the invitation of the Dilip Tirkey Sports Research and Development Foundation)

The Hindu

Festival of 1458 hockey teams begins

Krishnakanta Chakraborty

ROURKELA: The Odisha government flagged off a `hockey festival' featuring 1458 teams from Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha at the SAIL Hockey Stadium in Rourkela.

The tournament has been organised with the intention of keeping the tribal youth away from the growing influence of the Maoist forces in the region.

India vice-president Hamid Ansari and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the championship, which is being held at 32 different venues, involving 25,000 tribal youth. Apart from them, union minister of tribal affairs Jual Oram was also was present there.

Ansari termed the huge gathering as remarkable. "I haven't seen such a gathering of players of a single sport. This is remarkable. I am sure the efforts of the Odisha government will not go in vain," he said.

Former India hockey captain Dilip Tirkey , now Rajya Sabha MP from Biju Janata Dal, is spearheading the state government campaign `drop guns, pick up hockey sticks'.

"We have so many talented hockey players in this region but unfortunately many of them are being forced to take up guns instead of hockey sticks. It has a lot to do with the poverty and the lack of education in the region. This is a unique endeavour and we all hope the scenario will change soon. You see the gathering here today and this will send a strong message to the people who have chosen to pick up weapons and declared war against the state," Tirkey said on Saturday .

Sundargarh, one of the nerve centres of Indian hockey , has been badly affected by the infiltration of Maoists. The area has produced quite a few players who have represented India at the international level.

Current India defender Birendra Lakra feels people of Sundargarh should be made aware of their rich tradition in hockey . "This is a great initiative and we are hoping that the people who diverted themselves will come back and start playing hockey again. We have a rich culture of producing world-class hockey players and I am sure this championship will unearth the best talents who can be groomed for the future," Lakra, who was felicitated here, told TOI.

Dilip Tirkey Sports Research and Development Foundation, which is organising the event under the aegis of Odisha government, will spot 200 talented players and train at the academy . "It is the primary plan. Odisha has not produced the expected number of players in the recent past and we want to change it," Tirkey said.

The Times of India

Vice-President Hamid Ansari optimistic about future of hockey in India

ROURKELA: Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Saturday expressed optimism about a very bright future for the game in the country at the inauguration of Biju Patnaik Rural Hockey Championship here.

"The game of hockey has certainly a very bright future. Never ever I had seen such overwhelming response to a tournament and massive gathering of players at a venue of a championship," Ansari said at the inaugural ceremony at Dilip Tirkey Sports Foundation.

Noting that hockey is ingrained deep in the life of the people in this region, the Vice-President said "I am really impressed with the kind of response this tournament has received. The game is not only the soul but has presence in the pani and hawa (surroundings) here."

"I have met Olympians from time to time but never got the opportunity to meet so many at one place and I am thankful," he said.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik said hockey has always brought pride to Odisha and the tournament is a new addition.

MP and Olympian Dilip Tirkey spoke about the objective of the tournament.

'It will not only find talents but will also help in generating interest amongst the youth to follow the game. And above all it will persuade the youth to pick up hockey and not gun," he said.

Union Tribal Affairs Minister and Odisha's Minister for Sports Sudam Marandi also spoke on the occasion.

Five Olympians - Michel Kindo, Ashok Kumar, K Subbayah-manager Kalinga Lancers, Ignace Tirky and Birendra Lakra - were present.

Benedict Tirky a former player and organiser said, "such events will definitely help the game."

Peter Tirky, Coach SAIL Hockey Academy said, "there will be far reaching impact of the tournament on the game."

The long-winded tournament, to end in next March, has participation of 1458 teams from three states with Odisha having maximum participation followed by Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

The matches will be played at separate venues in their respective states and finally 32 teams will come for the final round at Rourkela.

The Times of India

T&T Schools indoor hockey gets under way

FATIMA PAIR: Teague Marcano (right in red) and Marcus Pascal (left in red) representing the U21 national team in the Junior Pan Am quarterfinal against Canada earlier this year.

Reigning champions Fatima will start their defence of the Male U-20 title when the Trinidad and Tobago Hockey Board (TTHB) flicks off its Primary and Secondary Schools Indoor tournament at the Woodbrook Youth Facility, tomorrow.

The competition runs until Friday, with games being run off between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on each day.

This year the U20 competition will be fierce, as a number of junior national players will represent their schools with the hopes of being crowned champions.
Fatima will look to junior and senior national players Marcus Pascal and Teague Marcano to spearhead their challenge, especially since Marcano is coming off of a stellar 2015-2016 school season cemented by his selection as TTHB Male Schools Player of the Year.

The U20 girls division will receive a much-needed boost as junior national players were barred from competing last year due to the closeness of their Junior Pan American Championships, held in March 2016. St Joseph’s Convent (POS) ran away winners last year, led by TTHB female schools player of the year Lauryn Pounder. This year, they will be even stronger as junior national players Cyan Lue Sue, Amanda Tang Nian, Lisa Benjamin and Kayla Escayg will all join an already strong team in hopes of retaining their title.

Teams will compete in the following divisions: Primary School Boys (Monday), Primary School Girls (Tuesday), Secondary School U15 Girls (Tuesday), Secondary School U15 Boys (Thursday), Secondary School U20 Girls (Thursday) and Secondary School U20 Boys. Wednesday will be the only rest day.

Trinidad & Tobago Express

Great Britain’s Kate Richardson-Walsh: You’re not playing hockey to be a star

The captain of Britain’s gold-medal winning women’s hockey team in Rio admits it is still a surprise to be nominated for Sports Personality of the Year

Jacob Steinberg

Kate Richardson-Walsh (centre), flanked by team-mates Susie Townsend (left) and Sam Quek, shows her emotion at winning gold in the women’s hockey in Rio. Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Kate Richardson-Walsh has been practising her smile. “The famous Oscar-losing smile,” she says, revealing that she has barely given any thought to the possibility of being named Sports Personality of the Year next weekend, despite the role she played in helping Great Britain win women’s hockey gold at the Olympics, and is concentrating more on how she will react if one of the other 15 athletes on the shortlist walks on stage to collect the award.

Richardson-Walsh was GB’s redoubtable captain when they beat the Netherlands on penalties in a memorable final in Rio but she does not expect to win this one. “The odds are low,” she says, although she does allow herself a moment of cheery optimism, self-deprecatingly noting that 2016 has been the year of the underdog.

Mostly, however, she is having a hard time accepting her nomination. “I find it a bit strange because I come from a team sport,” she says. “In our team it was all about everyone doing their job, so if one person gets pushed out I find that a bit strange. To be honest, I’m just going to be really happy to be there. I just love Sports Personality. I watched it as a little girl and every year growing up. To be in the audience is a thrill but to be nominated is amazing.”

But there is no reason for Richardson-Walsh to feel out of place on a shortlist that contains athletes as famous as Andy Murray, Gareth Bale, Nicola Adams and Laura Kenny. She was GB’s captain for 13 years, almost retired from international hockey two years ago and bowed out as an Olympic champion. She and her wife and team-mate, Helen, also made history in Rio, becoming the first same-sex married couple to win an Olympic gold in the same final.

That is not a bad CV, then, although the win over the Dutch has not quite sunk in yet. “Having retired after the Olympics, there’s been more reflection over the whole career and just looking back at all the ups and the downs,” Richardson-Walsh says. “When you speak to people and think about it, I smile. The emotion is still very high.”

Richardson-Walsh and her team-mates were not to know it at the time but GB’s stubborn performance against the Netherlands captured the mood back home. That hit home only when they saw the crowds waiting to greet them at Heathrow and since then Richardson-Walsh’s main focus has been on keeping hockey in the limelight.

“Hockey has become a bit more front and centre,” she says. “We are professional athletes. We’re privileged in Britain to have lots of sports we’re good at and we want lots of media coverage of that. I love sport, all of the sport, I want to read about it all. I think it’s the time for hockey to try and wedge ourselves in there with the other big sports.

“You’re not playing hockey to be a star, to be out in the papers. But we want to do the very best job we can and we want people to see that. We go out into the country and talk about what we do, what it takes to be an Olympic athlete. We’ve shown our worth. As an association I think we’re very well run. I think we should push ourselves.

“Football has always been huge. Rugby and cricket have become professional sports that are on TV on a regular basis, constantly on the back of the papers, and I don’t see why hockey can’t make that leap. There’s something we need to change within the domestic level of our sport to make it marketable and more commercial. But other than that, why can’t we mix it with other sports?”

Richardson-Walsh, who is heading to the Netherlands to play club hockey and coach two days a week, is also conscious about promoting women’s sport. “I’m on the board of the Women’s Sport Trust because they, after London, came to speak to me about the struggle we have to get women’s sport out in the media,” she says. “Around Olympic time, we’re very fortunate. There’s a surge of interest in female athletes and sport every four years.

“I saw an open letter from Serena Williams the other day. She wanted a young girl to be seen as an athlete, not a female athlete. Just an athlete doing the best she can. I want a balanced view. I want a young person to turn on the TV, open the paper and have a balanced view of the world.

“Not all female athletes look like this, not all male look like that. There are lots of broad areas in so many sports that people can get involved in. If you narrow it down, it’s not healthy. Keep things broad and open.”

The Guardian

Fieldhockey.com uses cookies to assist with navigating between pages. Please leave the site if you disagree with this policy.
Copyright remains with the credited source or author