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News for 01 February 2017

All the news for Wednesday 1 February 2017

Gormley Makes History And Earns 250th Cap

Tri-Nations Tournament

This afternoon’s match marked a significant milestone for Green Machine stalwart Ronan Gormley who earned his 250th cap today. Gormley became the first Irish hockey player to ever reach 250 caps, firmly cementing his place in Irish hockey history. All at Hockey Ireland congratulate Ronan on a phenomenal achievement.

Spain, ranked 9th in world, very nearly got off to the ideal start when a pass fired in along the baseline evaded the Irish defence to reach the striker on the back-post whose stray foot cost Spain an early opening goal. The hosts enjoyed the bulk of possession in the opening quarter but the Green Machine did well to contain them and the Spanish got very little return for their possession and rarely entered the Irish circle.

Ireland started the second quarter stronger and enjoyed far more possession. Conor Harte charged his way out of the Irish defence and through the middle of the pitch to set up Chris Cargo who saw his high shot parried away by Mario Fernandez. A chance fell to Matthew Nelson at the back post for Ireland but it was Spain who got the scoreboard ticking first. A penalty corner in the 21st minute drew a superb low save from Jamie Carr but the follow up shot by Salva Piera left the Three Rock Rovers keeper with no chance. Peter Brown won a corner moments later for the men in green but Shane O’Donoghue’s drag flick was well saved by Fernandez. Spain doubled their lead in the 25th minute courtesy of Diego Arana as a reverse shot from the top of the circle was deflected goal-bound.

Carr continued with his impressive performance as he sent a high penalty corner strike wide to keep his sides chances alive. Jeremy Duncan did well to win Ireland’s second penalty corner in the 45th minute and the experienced Eugene Magee made no mistake in sending his drag flick to the left of the outstretched keeper. The Green Machine had a chance to draw the game level but Fernandez made an excellent save off a deflection from Sean Murray’s initial ball into the circle. Spain had more chances than their Irish counterparts with most of their shots coming from penalty corners but Carr denied every shot sent his way to keep the score at 2-1. 

Ireland next face France in Benalmadena on Thursday Feb 2nd at 4pm local time.

Spain 2 (Piera, Arana)
Ireland 1 (Magee)

Starting: Carr (GK), J Bell (Captain), Cargo, Murray, McKee, E Magee, O’Donoghue, M Bell, Gleghorne, Nelson, Harte

Substitutes: Glassey, Dale, Ingram (GK), Gormley, Duncan, L Cole, Brown

Match Details

Spain 4vs4 France 29/1/2017 4pm in Benalmadena
France 2vs2 Ireland 30/1/2017 4pm in Benalmadena
Spain 2vs1 Ireland 31/1/2017 4pm Malaga
Spain vs France 1/2/2017 4pm in Benalmadena
France vs Ireland 2/2/2017 4pm in Malaga
Spain vs Ireland 3/2/2017 1pm in Benalmadena
*times listed are local.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Canada skip Bangladesh HWL R2 event over security fears

DHAKA: Canada's field hockey players have become the latest international team to refuse to travel to Bangladesh over security fears by pulling out of an eight-nation Hockey World League Round 2 tournament being held in Dhaka next month.

A senior official said on Wednesday that Bangladesh's national association had been told of the decision by hockey's world governing body in what is the latest blow for the country's sports fans after several other similar pullouts.

"The FIH (International Hockey Federation) has informed us that Canada will not participate in this tournament due to security concerns," the Bangladesh Hockey Federation's general secretary Abdus Sadeque said.

"It's a blow for us because they were the highest ranked team in the tournament."

Canada, who are 11th in the world, had been drawn along with Bangladesh, Oman and Fiji in one of two groups for the World League Round 2 event. China, Egypt, Ghana and Sri Lanka are in the second group.

Sadeque said Bangladeshi authorities had drawn up a comprehensive security plan for all the teams in the tournament which runs from March 4-12 but it had not been enough to allay Canadian concerns.

Canada is the second country to pull out of a hockey tournament in Bangladesh since militants killed 22 people in an attack on a cafe in Dhaka last July. Most of the victims were foreigners.

Japan withdrew their team from the Under-18 Asia Cup in August on security ground as seven of their citizens were among the victims of the cafe attack.

Australia's cricket team also pulled out of a scheduled tour to Bangladesh in late 2015 over security fears.

England's cricket team did tour Bangladesh in October last year after the authorities accorded them security normally reserved for visiting heads of state.

The Times of India

Canada picks up third win in six games in Australia

Shaheed Devji

Canada picked up its third win in its sixth game against the Queensland Scorchers Tuesday in Gold Coast, Australia.

The six game stretch was meant to replicate Canada’s upcoming World League Round 2 schedule. Through six games, Canada has three wins, two draws, and one loss.

The Canadian women now have three rest days before their final two games against Queensland on February 4th and 5th. They will then return to Vancouver on February 6th.

On Tuesday, the Queensland crowd was witness to a fast game and an attacking spectacle, with end to end play from both teams.

A closely fought first half ended scoreless, despite both teams having chances to score. It was some good goal keeping by both net minders – Rowan Harris for Canada – that game the game tied nil-nil.

In the second half, Queensland converted a penalty corner to take the 1-0 lead.

Canada made some positional adjustments in the 4th quarter and began a push to equalize.

The effort resulted in back to back penalty corner conversions from well worked variations that saw Brienne Stairs score first and Sara McManus follow to give Canada the 2-1 lead.

Canadas penalty corner defence was put to the test with Queensland making a concerted effort to snatch the draw, but the home side was not able to convert, and Canada went on to the victory.

Field Hockey Canada media release

USMNT Ends Successful Training Camp

TERRASSA, Spain – Following 10 intense days of matches and practices, the U.S. Men’s National Team’s training camp in Spain came to an end this weekend. However, for the program, it marked the start of a new era. Not only was it the first time the team had come together since the appointment of a new coaching staff, it was also a first opportunity for some of the current U-21 USMNT team to train and play with the senior squad.

“This was an invaluable experience for all the staff and players that attended the training camp,” said Rutger Wiese, USMNT Head Coach. “It didn’t just provide an opportunity to assess the squad for FIH World League Round 2, it was also crucial that our younger players had the chance to participate at the highest level. We’re always looking to build and always looking to progress, and I believe this training camp has put us on a sound footing to do that.”

The camp began with double sessions, before games against Catalunya and Spanish powerhouse, Hockey Club Atletic Terrassa. The team was challenged physically and mentally by opponents that consistently produce achievements on a European and world stage, but it was a one test the USMNT answered. For USMNT midfielder Michael Barminski (Ventura, Calif.) such competition is exactly what the team requires if they want to compete at the next level.

“Playing against Spanish international athletes that compete for one of the top teams in Europe is what we need if we want to develop as a team,” said Barminski. “Of course, it was difficult to adjust to the speed of the game early on, especially for the younger players that have never played at this level, but we have to be tested and we have to be willing to be tested.”

The second part of the camp included three games in three days against Wales, another team looking to prepare for their respective FIH World League Round 2 competition. But not before the Team USA had chance to sample the sights of Barcelona and the incomparable sounds of the Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona. Alongside nearly 100,000 fans, the USMNT saw one of the world’s great soccer clubs impose themselves with a 5-2 win. 

For the USMNT, such a margin of victory against Wales was unlikely – the two teams are separated by just a few world ranking positions. Combine that with the fact that the group was still formative and the exhaustive nature of their training, it was no surprise there was little to choose between the teams. For Head Coach Wiese, however, it was the performances and the potential on display that were the focus.

“Some of what we were doing in our games against Wales was at an exceptionally high-level,” said Wiese. “The challenge is doing that on a consistent basis for whole games and whole tournaments. We aren’t quite there right now, and I don’t expect us to be there without a lot of work. It’s going to take time but I think this training camp puts us in a great position for the immediate future. Alongside Associate Head Coach, Brian Schledhorn, Steve Danielson, Chris Pothier, Joey Civico, and all the players, we’re going to do everything we can to bring long-term success to the USA Men’s National Team.”

Barminski also believes the training camp was a huge success.

“We have a lot of work to do, that’s for sure, but after the training camp we know what the expectation is and what we have to do to,” said Barminski. “We have a great group of men in this team, and that includes the players that have just joined us. I’m excited for what’s next and where the program can go.” For the California native, however, there is another ingredient to the team’s future progression. “What we do need is for people to support us, in whatever way they can. The more people want us to win and the more we can train and participate, the more successful we will be. It’s simple as that.”

USFHA media release

Kalinga Lancers hand Dabang Mumbai their first loss of the season   

Mumbai: Kalinga Lancers overpowered the table toppers Dabang Mumbai to beat the home team 4-3 in a nail-biting encounter here at the Mahindra Hockey Stadium. This was Dabang Mumbai’s first loss in the fifth edition of the Coal India Hockey India League and the man to dent their successful run was Moritz Fuerste with his 32nd and 33rd minute goals to comeback from a 0-2 deficit. Glenn Turner’s 40th minute field goal ensured they sealed the match.

Kalinga Lancers vying for a win, after having lost to Uttar Pradesh Wizards in their previous encounter, opened the game patiently, rotating the ball between themselves waiting for an opening into the Dabang Mumbai’s defence. Despite the several circle penetrations, it took till the 8th minute for the first real chance to materialise, as the visitors won the first PC of the game. The opportunity went amiss though, as Billy Bakker tried an improvised variation from the injection, but his attempt was blocked away by the home team’s defender David Harte. The following minutes into the first quarter saw both teams make several forays into the circle in a bid to convert the chances but it was not meant to be, they went into the first break in a 0-0 deadlock.

A brilliant opportunity to take a 2-0 lead came in the 16th minute for Kalinga Lancers when Lalit Upadhyay racing into the circle found their team’s most successful striker Glenn Turner but unfortunately the lanky Aussie forward could not get his stick onto the ball to unleash a shot on the goal. They missed out another chance and this time it involved their Captain Moritz Fuerste who failed to capitalize on a good assist from Aran Zalewski.

Dabang Mumbai, however, weren’t sloppy when it came to making the opportunities count when their team won a penalty stroke after Kalinga Lancers defender Amit Rohidas obstructed Robbert Kemperman in the striking circle. Ace drag flicker and Junior World Cup hero Harmanpreet Singh was trusted with the job and he rarely disappoints. The 21-year-old found the top corner with a splendid strike to fetch his team a 2-0 lead in the 27th minute. Only seconds before the half-time hooter, Dabang Mumbai had a chance to take the lead to 3-0 when they won a PC, but failed to convert, thanks to a good show of defence by Kalinga Lancers.

Minutes into the third quarter, Dabang Mumbai conceded a PC through Sander De Wijn in the 32nd minute, and Moritz Fuerste made sure they converted this chance taking the score to 2-1. Kalinga Lancers kept up the pressure and secured another PC in the 33nd minute and this time German Moritz Fuerste brought his team back into the game as he equalized with a perfect dragflick.

The frenetic third quarter saw both the teams trading penalty corners, but both teams failed at making a successful attempt. Glenn Turner, however, found his rhythm again when he put one past David Harte in the 40th minute after a good assist from young Anand Lakra from the right flank. This took Turner’s personal score to six goals this season and earned his team a 4-2 lead. As per the new Regulation, a field goal counts as two goals and this helped Kalinga Lancers double the lead.

Dabang Mumbai stayed in the hunt though with a splendid goal by Harmanpreet Singh off a rebound when they won a PC in the 43rd minute. However, they continued to trail 3-4.

The final quarter saw some tense moments with both teams pressing hard but it was Kalinga Lancers who made the first break through when Moritz won his team a PC. Gurjinder Singh was the one to take the strike this time, but was defended exceedingly well by the Dabang Mumbai custodian. Kieran Govers created a PC for Dabang Mumbai after a foot foul by Aran Zalewski in the 55th minute. A brilliant save, however, by Andrew Charter and good defending by SK Uthappa ensured Kalinga Lancers stayed in contention to win. The last five minutes was unnerving for the Mumbai spectators but the home team failed to make a comeback in the last minute unlike their previous matches.

Moritz Fuerste from Kalinga Lancers was awarded with a prize money of Rs 50,000 for scoring the Coal India Goal of the Match from Dr Sanjay Kumar, Director Personnel, Western Coal Fields Limited.

Harmanpreet Singh from Dabang Mumbai won the prize of Rs 25,000 for being the Hero Young Achiever of the Match from Mr. Anil Aldrin, Olympian.

The Airtel Most Entertaining Player of the Match was awarded to Billy Bakker of Kalinga Lancers that came with a prize money of Rs 25,000 and presented by Mr.  Ram Singh Rathor, Secretary, The Mumbai Hockey Association Limited.

Moritz Fuerste, Captain of Kalinga Lancers was declared the Man of the Match and was awarded a prize money of Rs 50,000 by Mr. Saumya Khaitan, CEO, Dabang Mumbai Hockey Club.

Official HIL site

Lancers halt Mumbai's unbeaten run at home in HIL

Kalinga Lancers secured five points from their third win in five games to take their tally to 15.Kalinga Lancers secured five points from their third win in five games to take their tally to 15.

MUMBAI: Kalinga Lancers brought an end to table toppers Dabang Mumbai's unbeaten streak at home, that included three back-to-back wins, with a come-from-behind 4-3 win in the Hockey India League contest on Tuesday.

The Lancers, who secured five points from their third win in five games to take their tally to 15, thus narrowed the gap between themselves and Mumbai to three points. The hosts still led the table with 18 points to their credit, getting one point from today's loss due to the narrow margin of defeat.

Mumbai, in fact, took the lead against the run of play through a penalty-stroke converted by Harmanpreet Singh who also scored their third goal in the third quarter.

For the Lancers, the goal getters were skipper Fuerste Moritz, who scored two penalty corner goals in short succession, and Glenn Turner who scored a field goal.

All goals for the winners came in the third quarter after they trailed the home team 0-2 at half time.

Mumbai thus ended their home engagements for the season with one draw, followed by three wins and a loss, and will be on the road for the remaining five games in their endeavour to enter the play off for the first time.

The table-toppers are to clash with former two-time winners Ranchi Rays in their first away game on February 2 while Lancers will host defending champions Jaypee Punjab Warriors at Bhubaneswar the next day.

In today's game, Mumbai took the lead against the run of play through a penalty stroke whose conversion is counted as two as per the tournament rules.

Their ebullient forward Robbert Kemperman was about to shoot into goal after an intricate move inside the 'D' by the Mumbai team when his stick was hooked by Lancers' Amit Rohidas.

Harmanpreet made no mistake from the spot as he beat the rival goalie Andrew Charter with a flick to the root of the net.

Mumbai also earned three penalty corners in succession but failed to score and the two teams crossed over with the home team leading 2-0.

Lancers hit back through their captain Fuerste Moritz who converted two penalty corners in as many minutes early in the third quarter to help his side draw level 2-2.

The visitors also took the lead for the first time in the match through a field goal when Turner put his stick forward to deflect in a cross into the circle from the left side by Anand Lakra in the 40th minute.

Mumbai pulled one back just before the end of the 45th minute of play when Harmanpreet scored off the team's seventh penalty corner award to make it 4-3 in the Lancers' favour.

But both the teams failed to score in the final quarter although they each earned one penalty corner award. In all Mumbai secured 8 short corners in comparison to their rivals' seven.

The Times of India

Kalinga reinvents at the cost of Mumbai's unbeaten record

s2h team

Moritz Fuerste played his captaincy role perfectly with two penalty corner strikes while Australian Glenn Turner turned in a known poacher role to post a field goal to reinvent their struggling Kalinga Lancers' fortunes at the cost of hitherto defeat less Dabang Mumbai. Thus, Dabang Mumbai completed its all home matches with three wins and a draw and still tops the pool with 17 points two more than today's winners.

In an evenly contested match, Mumbai had first half lead with a Harmanpreet Singh's stroke goal (counted as two) but on resumption Kalinga Lancers did not give up. They got a flurry of penalty corners out of which twice Moritz converted to bring parity on scoreboard.

Shortly after Moritz's feat, Glenn Turner, who missed a couple of chances earlier, tucked in a cross from Anand Lakra to suddenly turn the tide against the Mumbai team (4-2). Harmanpreet again posted a goal through penalty corner, bouncing on to a goalie rebound, which survived umpire Sevattoo's self referral for back stick (3-4)

Both teams tried hard to change the scoreline in the last ten minutes with no avail.

Both teams got seven penalty corners each Harmanpreet Singh's astute penalty stroke conversion that came five minutes before the half time kept the hosts Dabang Mumbai on a high pedestal at the half time.

At the stroke of half time, Dabang Mumbai got three penalty corners continuously, but visitor's defence tenaciously stood out.

After Kalinga missed out some sitters, notably when Glenn Turner swept the air without connecting a short pass of hardworking Lalit Upadhyay, gave in when Amit Rohidoss applied his stick from behind to trip Kepperman leading to umpire Deepak Joshi to award the fateful stroke, which is considered twice for being field goal.


Mumbai suffers first home defeat

Dabang retains first place with 18 points from five games, followed by the visitors in second place with 15 points

Nandakumar Marar

Surging ahead: Kalinga Lancers players mount an attack against Dabang Mumbai in the Hockey India League match.   | Photo Credit: Prashant Nakwe

Glenn Turner capped a dynamic show in the rival half with a stunning deflected field goal for Kalinga Lancers against Dabang Mumbai in the Coal India-Hockey India League here on Tuesday.

The Aussie’s strike in the third quarter resulted in a hard-earned 4-3 win and handed Dabang Mumbai its first defeat in five matches hosted at the Mahindra Stadium.

Turner turned home a fierce carpet drive by Anand Lakra into the Dabang goalmouth, giving no time for the goalkeeper to react to his first touch.

Twelve penalty corners were forced collectively; two classy drag-flicks by Moritz Fuerste for the visitors standing out. Harmanpreet Singh smashed home a rebound from a penalty corner with a reverse hit after the first drag was blocked. Kalinga’s penalty-corner defence was noteworthy with its goalkeeper Andrew Charter padding away many attempts.

Dabang retains first place with 18 points from five games, followed by the visitors in second place with 15 points.

Fuerste powered home twice via the direct route as the visitors drew level at 2-2. The home team earned two more corners in the third quarter, but did not get the desired results.

The result: Kalinga Lancers 4 (Moritz Fuerste 32, 33 PCs, Glenn Turner 40 FG) bt Dabang Mumbai HC 3 (Harmanpreet Singh 27 PS, 43 FG).

The Hindu

Testing weekend for UniKL

by S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) face a tough week as they aim to halt a two-match losing streak in the Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

The early pace-setters suffered two straight losses last week – 2-0 to Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) and 3-0 to Terengganu.

And UniKL know that this week will be all about consolidating their position in the top four when they face Maybank on Friday) and UiTM-KPT on Sunday.

Having led the standings in the opening week of the MHL, the university side are now fourth, with 12 points from four wins and two defeats.

Terengganu lead the eight-team standings with 16 points, followed by KLHC (14pts) and Tenaga Nasional (13pts).

UniKL coach A. Arulselvaraj, however, is not about to put undue pressure on his team.

“Yes, it is a crucial week for us as it could go a long way towards determining our final standings in the league,” he said.

“We need to get full points from these two matches to stand a chance of making the top-four.

“Playing these teams is never easy ... they have shown vast improvement.”

He was especially wary of Maybank, their opponents on Friday.

The Tigers had beaten UniKL in the quarter-finals of the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Knockout Trophy last month.

“The Tigers are wounded ... their pride is hurt after they lost to a lower-ranked team (TNB-Thunderbolt) last weekend,” said Arulselvaraj, who was grateful for the Chinese New Year break as it gave his team time to recover and focused on the task at hand.

“The players are aware how crucial these matches are ... we will not take anything or anyone for granted.”

The other big match on Friday sees Terengganu facing Tenaga Nasional.

A Tenaga win will surely make the title race a more open affair.

The Star of Malaysia

EHL by the numbers – the goalscorers!

In the EHL’s 10-year history, the competition has played host to some of the world’s greatest goalscorers. But have you ever wondered who are the competition’s best? Wonder no more as we give you the lowdown on all the numbers that matter!

All-time top scorer
Jeroen Hertzberger’s mammoth 35 goal total puts him top of the pile, netting all his goals for Rotterdam in six different seasons in the EHL.

He leads the prolific Marco Miltkau by three goals. The German forward is also the highest scorer from open play, shining in brilliant runs with both UHC Hamburg and Rot-Weiss Köln.

WKS Grunwald Poznan’s Tomasz Dutkiewicz and Reading’s Richard Mantell, meanwhile, are the most effective from penalty corners with 19 each. Hertzberger and Christopher Zelle have scored the most penalty strokes with 5.
1. Jeroen Hertzberger – 35 goals
2. Marco Miltkau – 32 goals
3. Ronald Brouwer – 26 goals
4. Christopher Zeller – 26 goals
5. Gabriel Dabanch – 23 goals

Most goals in a season
Michael Körper may have only played in three seasons of the EHL but his performances in winning gold in 2013/14 and bronze in 2015/16 have made him one of the most feared net-busters in the EHL. He scored six in the former season including the winning shoot-out goal in Eindhoven in the Grand Final.

The Austrian striker followed up with 13 goals last season, firing a brilliant hat trick in the elimination of Oranje Zwart. That total is level with Christopher Zeller’s 13 for Rot-Weiss Köln in 2009/2010, scoring a hatful against HC Bra in what was, ultimately, a slightly curtailed run to the EHL KO8.

1= Michael Körper (Harvestehuder THC) – 13 goals
1= Christopher Zeller (Rot-Weiss Köln) – 13 goals
3. Guillermo Schickendantz (Club Egara) – 11 goals
4. Tom Boon (HC Bloemendaal) – 10 goals
5= Mirco Pruyser (AH&BC Amsterdam) – 9 goals
5= Jeroen Hertzberger (HC Rotterdam) – 9 goals

Most goals in a game
Italian opposition have proven a happy hunting-ground for strikers on the goal-hunt witb both Christopher Zeller and Gabriel Dabanch running up seven strikes in a single game.

1= Christopher Zeller – 7 goals (ROT-WEISS KÖLN vs HC Bra)
1= Gabriel Dabanch – 7 goals (ROYAL LEOPOLD vs SG Amsicora)

Goal-scoring average per game
While others may have scored more, Belgian star Tom Boon has the highest goals per game following a couple of fruitftul season with Racing Club de Bruxelles and HC Bloemendaal.

It owes a lot to his 10 goals in four games in the 2014/15 season, netting five times against KS Pomorzanin Torun and another five in the next three games, including the goal in the bronze match in a 1-0 win over Royal Daring. It leaves him with an average of 2.25 goals per game.

Christoper Zeller is second on the list with a 1.63 average while other notable mentions go to Michael Körper with 1.46 and Roderick Weusthof with 1.33 for his 12 goals.

1. Tom Boon (HC Bloemendaal/Racing Club de Bruxelles) – 2.25 (18 goals from 8 matches)
2. Christopher Zeller (Rot Weiss Köln) – 1.63 (26 goals from 16 matches)
3= Thomas Becuwe (Lille MHC) – 1.5 (3 goals in 2 games)
3= Harry Trusler (Holcombe) – 1.5 (3 goals in 2 games)
3= Brandon Panther (Pembroke) 1.5 (3 goals in 2 games)

Euro Hockey League media release

Sreejesh: National anthem gives me proud moments

Tazeen Qureshy

He has been talked about at length, his antics discussed several times and hailed by everyone in the hockey fraternity, but India hockey skipper and goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, continues to wow the people with the same energy and enthusiasm everytime he sets out on the field.

This Republic Day, the goalkeeper, touted as the ‘Wall of Indian Hockey,’ added another feather to his cap after he was selected for the ‘Padmashree’ award, the fourth highest civilian honour. undefined Undoubtedly thrilled by the announcement, he opened up in a quick special chat with s2h and spoke on getting accolades, HIL and being a hockey player.

You have achieved innumerable feats. But, what is more important to you – ‘Padmashree Sreejesh’ or ‘Olympian Sreejesh?’

“Whatever accolades or titles gets associated with my name are important for me. Each of it has its own value. Whenever a player joins any sport, his dream to represent his country at the highest level, which, for me, is the Olympics.

Padmashree, on the other hand, is recognition by the Government to a player’s contribution to the nation. It is good boost for the individual’s game. As far as I am concerned, the efforts of my team members has been recognized and attached to my name.”

And right after the announcement was made, you HIL team UP Wizards trounced Kalinga Lancers 10-0 in your second match. You couldn’t have asked for better celebration?

In our first match, we lost in the dying seconds against Mumbai. So a win was important to boost the morale. Of course, I not conceding any goals can add to the celebration.

You have been clinical in giving India many wins. Do you have any superstitious belief when you come out on field to play?

“Nothing actually. I look forward that whenever my team enters the field of play, everyone is smiling. That brings the necessary positivity and helps us start well. Of course, then there is God as well.”

You have many good matches to look back to. Any moment in particular which makes you feel proud?

“Whenever the team stands on the podium and the national anthem plays, is the proudest moment for not just me but all the players. It is a very special moment and I hope to give more such moments to my country.”


Black Sticks secure Vantage as naming partner

Hockey New Zealand is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Vantage Windows & Doors as the naming rights sponsor of the Vantage Black Sticks Men and Women.

The four year deal gives both teams a major boost as they now focus on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, officially named the Vantage Black Sticks Men and Women.

Over more than 45 years, Vantage has become the biggest selling brand in the market for parent company APL, who are New Zealand’s largest supplier of windows and doors.

APL are based in Hamilton where they maintain a major design, production and warehousing facility developing, extruding, surface finishing and distributing profiles to over 70 manufacturers around the country.

The team at APL are hugely engaged partners and sports fanatics, with other sponsorships including the Kiwi rowing pair Eric Murray and Hamish Bond, Avantidrome, Cycling NZ, Chiefs rugby team, Magic Netball team, New Zealand rally drivers Emma Gilmour and Ben Hunt, Josh Coppins Motocross Team, Altherm Jetsprint Team and the New Zealand Jetsprint Championship.

Hockey New Zealand CEO Ian Francis said the partnership was a huge step forward for the Black Sticks and the sport of hockey in New Zealand and has capitalised on the success the teams showed in Rio and to go further in Tokyo 2020.

“We are absolutely delighted to have APL behind the Vantage Black Sticks Men and Women as they continue to hunt success on the world stage.

“It is clear to us that the Vantage brand and parent company APL are a fantastic fit for our teams as both share the drive to be the absolute best in their field while fostering the importance of being people centred, world class and with a community focus.

“It is significant for our teams to have a naming rights partner for an extended period through an Olympic Cycle and it is certainly a game changer as the Vantage Black Sticks Men and Women eye medals at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.”

APL CEO Craig Vincent said it was exciting to partner with the Black Sticks, who are high achieving both on and off the turf.

“This is a great fit for our Vantage brand as we see in the Black Sticks two teams who share our values of hard work and giving back to the community through being fantastic role models.

“We are looking forward to the journey over the next four years in a true partnership which will see us support the Black Sticks in their quest for Olympic gold.”

The first international competition as the Vantage Black Sticks comes with the New Zealand Women heading to Argentina for a test series from 10-22 February.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

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