All the news for Friday 24 February 2017
Play-off hopes hang on double header
Wimbledon's Phil Ball in action during last season's final. Credit Simon Parker
Two matches in two days could give East Grinstead’s play-off hopes a big boost in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division – but they must first overcome two tough opponents.
Reading provide the opposition on Saturday before a clash on Sunday with leaders Wimbledon. Currently sixth, East Grinstead could move into the top four if they can win both matches, and potentially even step up to second depending on other results.
"We’ve got some good momentum going at the moment,” said East Grinstead’s first team manager James Leman. “Hopefully we can carry that forward into this weekend.
“Wimbledon will be without four of their internationals as England are away warm weather training, and Reading are missing some too, which is a bonus for us.
“Realistically if we’re going to make the play-offs we need to win all our remaining games. Although Wimbledon are a bit of a bogey side for us, it’s great that the match is at home and we’ll be going all out to cause an upset.”
Elsewhere, Brooklands MU host second-placed Surbiton on Sunday. They will be hoping to display the sort of form which helped them to a 2-0 half time lead over top of the table Wimbledon last Sunday before they fell to a 2-3 loss.
Hampstead and Westminster climbed into the top four thanks to last week’s win over Beeston, and they will be hopeful of maintaining their push for the Finals Weekend when they play at strugglers Canterbury on Saturday.
Holcombe entertain bottom of the table Loughborough Students on Sunday, while Reading’s second game of the weekend sees them take on Beeston at Sonning Lane.
Teddington head to Cambridge City as they bid to keep hold of the lead in the Men’s Conference East. Meanwhile Sevenoaks, who were knocked off the top on goal difference by Teddington last weekend, play host to third-placed Southgate.
The bottom two in the Men’s Conference North, Leek host Cannock on Sunday in a crucial match for both sides. At the top of the table, the University of Durham are at home against Deeside Ramblers. Durham have won all 13 matches to date, leading Olton by 12 points so if they win, and Olton fail to do likewise at Oxton, they will be crowned champions.
At the top of the Men’s Conference West, Cardiff and Met are at home on Sunday, playing second-bottom Fareham. If the result goes Cardiff’s way then the University of Bristol can climb off the bottom of the table when they go to Chichester.
Saturday, February 25
Men’s Premier Division
Canterbury v Hampstead and Westminster 18:00
Reading v East Grinstead 18:30
Men’s Conference East
Richmond v Wapping 18:00
Sunday, February 26
Men’s Premier Division
Brooklands MU v Surbiton 14:00
Holcombe v Loughborough Students 14:00
Reading v Beeston 14:30
East Grinstead v Wimbledon 14:30
Men’s Conference East
Oxted v Indian Gymkhana 12:45
Cambridge City v Teddington 13:00
West Herts v Brighton and Hove 14:00
Sevenoaks v Southgate 14:30
Men’s Conference North
Oxton v Olton and West Warwicks 13:30
Univ of Durham v Deeside Ramblers 14:00
Preston v Sheffield Hallam 14:00
Leek v Cannock 14:00
Bowdon v Doncaster 14:30
Men’s Conference West
Chichester v Univ of Bristol 12:15
Isca v Cheltenham 12:30
Cardiff & Met v Fareham 12:30
Team Bath Buccaneers v Univ of Birmingham 13:00
Old Georgians v Univ of Exeter 14:00
England Hockey Board Media release
Double headers in store for top teams
Nicola White in action for Holcombe. Credit Peter Smith
Title hopefuls East Grinstead and Holcombe play twice this weekend, with the clash between the two on Sunday being the highlight of the programme in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division.
Second-placed East Grinstead host the University of Birmingham on Saturday, while third-placed Holcombe face relegation-threatened Bowdon Hightown. They then face each other on Sunday, in a match which could impact on the play-off hopes of several sides.
“This weekend is massive for us because there’s six points on offer, and when you consider that there are only 18 more points available this season, it’s crucial,” said Jon Rye, Director of Hockey at Holcombe who will be without Shona McCallin and Ellie Watton who are with England in South Africa.
“We have had to manage the girls carefully this week because with two games we need to make sure they’re fit for both, so have trained with a little less intensity this week.
“Every match counts at this stage of the season, and having just broken into the top four we’re determined to stay there.”
Elsewhere, leaders Surbiton travel to Leicester, while Canterbury and Slough will play each other in a match both need to win to boost their hopes of avoiding the relegation play-offs.
And Reading continue their search for a first league win of the season with a home game against Clifton Robinsons on Saturday.
Having drawn with them on the opening day of the season, Buckingham will be hoping to take all the points as they host Swansea City in the Investec Conference West on Saturday.
The second-placed side could pull level with leaders Stourport if they win this game and their rearranged game with bottom of the table Exe on Sunday, depending on how Stourport fare against the Devon team.
In Investec Conference East both leaders Wimbledon and second-placed Sevenoaks face double headers playing games postponed a fortnight ago on the Sunday.
Having secured their first win of the season in the Investec Conference North last weekend with a shock win over third-placed Ben Rhydding, Belper will be aiming for more of the same on Saturday when they go to the University of Durham, who are fourth.
Meanwhile, leaders Brooklands Poynton host Liverpool Sefton and second-placed Beeston entertain Wakefield.
FIXTURES – Saturday, February 25
Investec Women’s Hockey League
Investec Premier Division
Holcombe v Bowdon Hightown 12:00
Reading v Clifton Robinsons 13:30
East Grinstead v Univ of Birmingham 13:30
Leicester v Surbiton 14:00
Canterbury v Slough 16:00
Investec Conference East
Southgate v Harleston Magpies 12:30
St Albans v Cambridge City 13:00
Chelmsford v Wimbledon 14:00
West Herts v Hampstead and Westminster 14:00
Sevenoaks v Northampton Saints 17:00
Investec Conference North
Brooklands Poynton v Liverpool Sefton 11:45
Univ of Durham v Belper 12:00
Timperley v Loughborough Students 12:30
Ben Rhydding v Sutton Coldfield 13:30
Beeston v Wakefield 14:00
Investec Conference West
Isca v Bristol Firebrands 12:00
Oxford Hawks v Trojans 12:00
Buckingham v Swansea City 12:00
Gloucester City v Olton & West Warwicks 12:30
Stourport v Exe 14:30
FIXTURES, Sunday, February 26
Investec Premier Division
East Grinstead v Holcombe 12:30
Investec Conference East
St Albans v Sevenoaks 13:30
Cambridge City v Wimbledon 16:00
Investec Conference West
Exe v Buckingham 12:00
Bristol Firebrands v Olton and West Warwicks 12:30
England Hockey Board Media release
Huge weekend of hockey in National league 1 and Scottish Cup
Cammy Fraser from Grange, Lee Morton from Kelburne
A massive weekend of hockey awaits with the current top two in both the men’s and women’s National League 1 competitions crossing swords, not to mention the men’s Scottish Cup semi-finals on Sunday at Peffermill.
The meeting of Bromac Kelburne and Grange is always a highlight of the season, and when they clash this weekend at Glasgow Green pole position in men’s National league 1 will be the prize for the winner. While both sides have been used to winning in this season`s campaign, this fixture can always be guaranteed to come up with a surprise or two.
The Edinburgh side are two points adrift of the champions but have a game in hand, and whatever the result it is far from a title decider with most of the second half of the season still to be played. David Knipe, Grange`s coach, is content to put the occasion into perspective. "Kelburne are a good side and really either side could win this game, so we have to be ready to fight and see what happens."
What happened when the teams last in October was a 2-1 victory for Grange, Callum Milne opened from the spot and Duncan Riddell scored late on for the winner.
"We created plenty of chances to win the game that day, we need to create and convert this time," said Kelburne coach Gordon Shepherd.
"The game was won by Grange in the last nine minutes when we had two players sent off at the same time, they capitalised on us being short-handed as you would expect a good team to do, so discipline will be important."
Grange have already had an outing since the winter shutdown, they beat Western Wildcats 4-1 in a catch-up fixture. Knipe said: "We were satisfied with the performance against Wildcats, I thought we played with good intent."
If Edinburgh University have aspirations for a top four spot then three points from their away fixture against third placed Grove Menzieshill would certainly advance coach Graham Moodie`s cause. Statistics do not favour the students as they lost the earlier league game 2-1 to the Taysiders, while recent form has revealed three defeats in the four games before the winter shutdown. Defeat on Tayside could push Edinburgh out of the top four depending on other results.
Hillhead are on the same points as the students but with two games in hand, they travel to Auchenhowie to face Western Wildcats. There is a buzz about the present Hillhead squad under new coach Mark Ralph, although they suffered with postponements due to the November frosts, their last three games were comfortable victories. The earlier game in the season however ended in a ding-dong 3-3 draw.
At the other end of the table Watsonians could drag themselves out of the relegation zone with a home win over Gordonians at Peffermill. Watsonians` season has a significant imbalance; they scored 20 goals in their first four outings, then only four in their last five starts. They put five past the Aberdonians early in the season, Scott Sutherland and Mike McKenna both scored twice. The Edinburgh side will hope to kick-start their season with a victory over the bottom team in the division, but Gordonians will have other ideas as they seek to put points on the board.
Uddingston have moved out of the relegation zone and would progress further up the table if they can take the three points from their home fixture with Clydesdale. The Lanarkshire side`s belated good form at the end of the first half of the season included a big 4-2 win at Grove Menzieshill. The penalty corner form of Malaysian Mohammed Faeez was a catalyst in Uddingston`s renaissance, he picked up hat-tricks in the final two outings.
In contrast, Clydesdale occupy second bottom spot, albeit they have a couple of games in hand, but they need to start picking up valuable points to avoid the relegation play-offs.
In women`s National League 1, champions Edinburgh University have the chance to go to the top of the table, all they have to do is to beat Kelburne and then see off leaders Milne Craig Western on Sunday.
Western, who have a perfect record so far, took the three points in the first league encounter when a penalty corner conversion by Jen Eadie separated the sides. They also have the Saturday off, which may or may not work in their favour. Statistically this looks like it will be a close game but victory against Kelburne, who currently find themselves in the tight mid-table pack, on Saturday will give the students the perfect boost going into Sunday. This one could go either way but what is certain is that it’ll produce a fantastic game of hockey.
Also at the top Grove Menzieshill could move up a couple of places if they can take full points in their visit to Watsonians and hope that third placed Wildcats struggle against Dundee Wanderers. Grove Menzieshill have a couple of games in hand over Wildcats so if results go their way this could be a very profitable weekend for them.
Meanwhile Dundee Wanderers are in fifth spot in the table but on seven points they are a long way behind the present top four. Their last outing against the Wildcats wasn’t the most encouraging, they went down 2-1 with Chloe Hardie and Heather Aitken doing the damage.
In the final game of Saturday bottom sides Hillhead and CALA clash, in the opening game of the season the former won 4-1 to give them their only points of the season so far. Victory on Saturday would put daylight between the two, but a win for CALA would make for a very interesting start to the second half of the season.
There are two mouth-watering men`s Scottish Cup ties on Sunday at Peffermill, the first game brings together Kelburne and Edinburgh University.
Although many would regard the Paisley side as favourites, after they won the league clash 5-1, but coach Gordon Shepherd is too long in the tooth to be taken in by such suggestions.
He said: "I expect a very tough game, Edinburgh are at home and will get a lift from this, and it will be competitive as a semi-final should be."
The other tie between Grange and Grove Menzieshill is a difficult one to call, both sides are doing well in the league.
The league clash between the sides on Tayside earlier in the season is not much help either. The home side were coasting at 3-0 with only ten minutes left, but inexplicably allowed Andrew Brogdon, Duncan Riddell and Frank Ryan to claim a share of the spoils in the end.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
It’s anybody’s game in chase for TNB Cup final berths
by S. Ramaguru
KUALA LUMPUR: The battle for berths in the final of the TNB Cup is still wide open.
Wednesday’s first leg saw close battles with defending champions Terengganu being held to a 4-4 draw by Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) while recently-crowned Premier Division champions KLHC edged Tenaga Nasional 1-0.
And there are chances that the two second-leg matches – at the Tun Razak Stadium – will go to penalty shootouts.
To avoid the shootout lottery, Terengganu coach Sarjit Singh has called on his side to go on the offensive.
“We have a good attacking formation and, hopefully, get the goals. And we need to buck up, especially in defence. We let ourselves down by conceding a number of soft goals in the first leg,” said Sarjit.
Again, Terengganu can always rely on South Korean penalty corner specialist Jang Jung-hyun. He scored twice, including a last-gasp equaliser, on Wednesday. He’s the leading scorer with 25 goals.
For UniKL, they will again count on goalkeeper Thomas Matias Santiago. The Argentine was the unsung hero in the first leg draw, making many crucial saves to keep UniKL’s final hopes alive.
UniKL coach A. Arulselvaraj said they would go all out for a win.
“We’ve nothing to lose. The first leg has shown that we’ve the ability to match them. But we need to minimise our mistakes, play a disciplined game and close down the space quickly.
“It’s still anybody’s game. If we can get an early goal then the pressure will be on them.
“I don’t want to sound over-confident but Terengganu are vulnerable at the back,” said Arulselvaraj.
KLHC can count themselves lucky to have a one-goal lead. Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof was the hero, scoring the winner in the dying seconds in the first leg.
Tenaga coach Mohamed Amin Rahim believes they still have a chance to reach the final.
“We were unlucky to concede a last-gasp goal on Wednesday. Our aim is to score an early goal on Friday. We’ll attack right from the start,” said Amin.
Tenaga assistant team manager Adam Izamry Idrus added: “Our failure thus far is due to our poor finishing. If we can correct that, we are good for the final.”
The Star of Malaysia
International Hockey Federation awards: John-John Dohmen, Naomi van As best
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) awards were given away in Chandigarh on Thursday. John-John Dohmen of Belgium (right) and Netherlands’ Naomi van As were adjudged the best male and female players, respectively.(FIH)
Belgium skipper John-John Dohmen, who guided the team to silver medal in last year’s Rio Olympics, and Netherlands’ Naomi van As, who was part of the Rio Olympics silver medal-winning women’s team, were adjudged the international hockey federation (FIH) male and female Player of the Year at the gala FIH Hockey Stars Awards Ceremony held here on Thursday.
It’s for the first time that a ceremony was held to honour the best outfield players, goalkeepers, rising stars, coaches and umpires by FIH.
PR Sreejesh, the India skipper and goalkeeper, narrowly missed out.
There were two Indians in the fray with Sreejesh among nominees for the best goalkeeper while 20-year-old Harmanpreet Singh, who was part of the junior World Cup-winning squad, was a nominee in the ‘Rising Star of the Year’ category.
Award winners pose after the FIH Hockey Stars Wards 2016 in Chandigarh on Thursday. (HT Photo/Keshav Singh)
Ireland’s David Harte was conferred with the male Goalkeeper-of-the-Year award for the second time in the row. David helped Ireland qualify for the Olympics for the first time ever at Rio. He is the most expensive goalie in the ongoing Hockey India League, retained by Dabang Mumbai.
In the women’s section, Great Britain’s Olympic gold medallist Maddie Hinch, won the ‘Goalkeeper of the Year’ award.
Belgium’s Arthur Van Doren was named the male ‘Rising Star of the Year’ (23 years and under) and Argentina’s Maria Granatto the female Rising Star of the Year.
Coach Karen Brown, who guided Great Britain’s women team to gold in Rio was the women’s Coach of the Year award and compatriot Danny Kerry got the honour in the men’s section.
Germany’s Christian Blasch was the Umpire of the Year in the men’s category while Belgium’s Laurine Delforge was named the top umpire among women.
FIH president Narinder Batra, India’s triple Olympic gold medalist Balbir Singh Senior, 1968 Olympics bronze medalist, Col Balbir Singh, and former India skipper Rajpal Singh were present at the function.
Dohmen, Naomi van As win FIH awards
It isn’t often that Olympics-winning team members get sidelined at a function to honour the best in the business. But at the first-ever FIH Hockey Stars event here on Thursday, Argentina was conspicuous by its absence among the men even as Belgium swept the awards. Among the women, though, the awards were more equally distributed.
Belgium, which finished runner-up at Rio, saw its captain John-John Dohmen named ‘player of the year’ while compatriot Arthur van Doren, currently participating in the HIL, was named the ‘under-23 player of the year’. This is the first time a Belgian has won the award in either category.
Irishman David Harte, meanwhile, was named ‘goalkeeper of the year’ for the second year in a row.
It was, however, surprising to see the Argentine men’s team — that won its maiden Olympic gold in 2016 — go completely unrepresented in the winners’ list. The team had two nominations for the ‘player of the year’ and one among the goalkeepers but remained empty-handed.
India had two nominations — P.R. Sreejesh and Harmanpreet Singh — but couldn’t win any either.
The changing dynamics in world hockey can be gauged from the fact that among the men, the powerhouses — Germany, the Netherlands and Australia — had no winners. Australia, in fact, had just a single nomination across all categories —Kathryn Slattery in the young player category.
Among the women, Naomi Van As, who announced her retirement after Rio, became the third Dutch woman in as many years to be named the ‘player of the year and was joined by Rio gold-medallist ’keeper Maddie Hinch of England and Maria Granatto of Argentina as the ‘young player of the year’.
Though the annual awards have existed for almost two decades, this is the first time such an event has been organised to recognise the achievements of players and coaches.
Till now, the awards were handed over on the sidelines of the season-ending Champions Trophy.
‘Player of the year’: Men: John-John Dohmen (Bel); Women: Naomi van As (Ned).
‘Goalkeeper of the year’: Men: David Harte (Ire); Women: Maddie Hinch (Eng).
‘U-23 player of the year’: Men: Arthur van Doren (Bel); Women: Maria Granatto (Arg).
‘Coach of the year’: Men: Danny Kerry (Eng); Women: Karen Brown (Eng).
‘Umpire of the year’: Men: Christian Blasch (Ger); Women: Laurine Delforge (Bel).
Europeans sweep FIH awards
Dohmen, Van As named best players as 9 out of 10 awards go to Europeans
The award winners with FIH president Narinder Batra (3R) during the ceremony in Chandigarh on Thursday. Tribune photos
Chandigarh: It was a European sweep at the FIH annual awards, with Belgium’s John-John Dohmen and retired Netherlands star Naomi van As bagging the respective male and female Players of the Year awards for 2016.
Out of the 10 awards on offer at the inaugural ceremony held here today, only one went to a non-European.
Argentina’s Maria Granatto was adjudged the female Rising Star of the Year. She had a hugely successful year — with the senior team, she won the Champions Trophy, where she won the Best Junior Player award; she was also part of the team that won the Junior World Cup in November.
Belgium’s midfielder Dohmen, the team captain, produced a string of flawless performances in his team’s march to the Rio Olympics final. Dutch striker Van As was instrumental in her team’s success in the Rio Games and Champions Trophy — the Netherlands grabbed silver medals at both the events. Van As had earlier shared the award with Argentine legend Luciana Aymar in 2009. “It’s a great honour to win this award. We were obviously disappointed with the way the 2016 season ended because we lost the Olympics final in Rio via shoot outs to the Great Britain. But winning this individual award gives our silver medal from the Rio Olympics a little more shine,” Van As said.
“Looking back on my career, I am very thankful, very proud and see it all as a great experience. Although it was serious, it was also always driven along with a sense of fun — with my teammates, the coaches and, of course, the fans,” she added.
Indians miss out
Another Belgian, Arthur Van Doren, was named the male Rising Star of the Year.
Among the youngsters Doren pipped was Indian defender Harmanpreet Singh. India had to return empty handed from the maiden awards ceremony as goalkeeper PR Sreejesh was left behind by lanky Ireland custodian David Harte, who was crowned the best in the world for the second successive year.
Under Sreejesh’s captaincy, India won the historic silver medal at the Champions Trophy. He also led India at the Rio Olympics. Harmanpreet’s performance at the Champions Trophy secured him a place in the team for the Rio Olympics, making the 20-year-old the youngest player in the squad. He also played a key role in the junior team becoming world champions.
The women’s award went to Great Britain goalkeeper and Olympics gold medallist Maddie Hinch.
The coaching team which guided Great Britain’s women to their first Olympics gold medal was also recognised as Danny Kerry and Karen Brown picked up the male and female Coach of the Year awards, respectively. Brown received the award for the second consecutive year.
Christian Blasch from Germany was adjudged the best male umpire, while the award in the women’s category went to Belgium’s Laurine Delforge.
Best of the Best: Award-winners and nominees
Male Player of the Year
John-John Dohmen (BEL)
Pedro Ibarra (ARG)
Gonzalo Peillat (ARG)
Moritz Fuerste (GER)
Tobias Hauke (GER)
Female Player of the Year
Naomi van As (NED)
Alex Danson (UK)
Kate Richardson-Walsh (UK)
Stacey Michelsen (NZ)
Carla Rebecchi (ARG)
Male Rising Star of the Year
Arthur van Doren (BEL)
Timm Herzbruch (GER)
Christopher Ruhr (GER)
Harmanpreet Singh (IND)
Jorrit Croon (NED)
Female Rising Star of the Year
Maria Jose Granatto (ARG)
Florencia Habif (ARG)
Kathryn Slattery (AUS)
Nike Lorenz (GER)
Lily Owsley (UK)
Male Goalkeeper of the Year
David Harte (IRE)
Juan Manuel Vivaldi (ARG)
Vincent Vanasch (BEL)
PR Sreejesh (IND)
Jaap Stockmann (NED)
Female Goalkeeper of the Year
Maddie Hinch (UK)
Belen Succi (ARG)
Kristina Reynolds (GER)
Joyce Sombroek (NED)
Jackie Briggs (USA)
EHL-bound van Doren and Harte win FIH Star awards
EHL-bound stars Arthur van Doren and David Harte along with regular EHL umpire Christian Blasch were all honoured as members of the very best this morning at the FIH’s Hockey Stars event in Chandigarh, India.
KHC Dragons van Doren was named the Male Rising Star of the Year following his brilliant performances at the base of the Belgian defence, helping them to break new ground and win the silver medla at the Rio Olympics.
Speaking about the prize, he said: "It is a huge honour for me to win this award, even more so if I look at the previous winners. Hockey is still a team sport so the biggest piece of this goes to my team mates. We had an amazing 2016 year with the silver medal, the biggest highlight of our careers.”
SV Kampong’s David Harte was named the FIH Goalkeeper of the Year for the second year in a row for his performances in Ireland’s first appearance at the Olympic Games in over a century.
Speaking at the ceremony, Harte said “To win this award truly is an incredible honour and one which I am very proud to receive.
“Even to be nominated for a second time was more than I could have hoped for, especially given the world class goalkeepers involved such as Juan Vivaldi – the gold medalist – Vincent Vanasch, Jaap Stockman and PR Sreejesh, all of whom are deserving of the title in this category.
“Although it is an individual award, it partly belongs to my teams at both club and country level as I would not have made it here without them.
“When I was starting to play hockey as a teenager, I told my family that I didn’t want to just play, I wanted to be the best. I am pretty grateful they didn’t laugh at me! My parents have always instilled in me a belief that if you want something bad enough, don’t be afraid to go after it. And if you work hard enough, anything is possible.”
German whistle-blower Christian Blasch was named the male umpire of the year while Waterloo Ducks’ John-John Dohmen was the male player of the year.
On the women’s side, Europe also dominated the awards with Naomi van As rewarded for her brilliant performances in the Olympics with the female player of the year. Maddie Hinch was the simple choice for the goalkeeper of the year following her integral role in Great Britain’s gold medal while her coachs Danny Kerry and Karen Brown were also honoured.
Argentina’s Maria Granatto won the women’s rising star of the year gong while Belgium’s Laurine Delforge was the female umpire of the year.
Euro Hockey League media release
GB & England sweep the board at FIH Awards
Goalkeeper of the year, Maddie Hinch
Great Britain and England Hockey have the world's best male hockey coach, best female coach and best female goalkeeper- that is the verdict of hockey players, coaches and fans around the globe, with Danny Kerry, Karen Brown and Maddie Hinch voted as respective winners at the International Hockey Federation's prestigious Hockey Stars awards ceremony in India.
The trio of FIH awards is further recognition of Great Britain's historic Olympic success in Rio last summer, and all three received these gongs as the result of a fantastic team effort in Brazil. With a raft of team awards, continued domestic growth, sellout events and a home Hockey World Cup in London in 2018, these are hugely exciting times for the sport.
Danny Kerry was again named the world's best male hockey coach, having led GB's women's team to a first ever Olympic gold medal. His side won all eight games and displayed the very best values of team sport - unity, mental strength and quality when it mattered most. Having also led England to UniBet EuroHockey gold in 2015 and Olympic bronze in London in 2012, Kerry has cemented his place in hockey history and has already set about the task of 'winning after winning' as he looks ahead to the next cycle of major tournaments.
As one of his assistant coaches, Karen Brown played a pivotal role in the team's success and has today been named the world's best female hockey coach. The award supplements a glittering career as a player and coach, adding to Olympic bronze, European gold and Commonwealth silver medals from her playing days, plus Olympic gold & bronze, European gold, Commonwealth silver and World Cup bronze as a coach. Her achievements on and off the pitch are therefore unsurpassed in the sport in this country.
Last but certainly by no means last, Maddie Hinch has been named the world's best female goalkeeper. She proved truly unbeatable in the Olympic final shoot-out against Holland, repelling all of the Netherlands' attempts, having already kept out a penalty stroke in normal time. Her impact on that game and on the country's gold medal cannot be underestimated, and she has rightly been crowned the best in the world. She flew to India to receive the award and received fantastic applause from the hockey family.
England & Great Britain Hockey would like to congratulate all three of our winners, and also every player and member of staff who contributed to the squad's success over the Olympic cycle, it was truly a team effort.
Chief Executive Sally Munday said, "It is fantastic to see our coaches and players recognised with awards. Maddie's heroics at the Olympic Games will be remembered by millions who watched our women win gold. She is the goalkeeper no player wants to face when taking a penalty and I am thrilled to see her receive this award.
"Karen's contribution to the team's success over the last ten years has been invaluable. She has now stepped away from coaching our senior women and this is a well deserved tribute to her as she moves into our coach development team.
"It is totally justified that Danny should be awarded coach of the year. His meticulous planning, attention to detail and insight into what would create a gold medal winning team is phenomenal. This, coupled with his outstanding technical and tactical knowledge of the game gave our players the best possible chance of becoming Olympic champions and I am so delighted for him that he has been recognised in this way."
England Hockey Board Media release
Hockey needs support from state governments too: Narinder Batra
CHANDIGARH: Asserting that future of Indian hockey was bright, FIH president Narinder Batra on Thursday said that state governments too should do their bit to ensure that the sport further flourish in this country.
"Hockey or any sport, besides cricket, cannot survive without government support. Sports being a state subject, states also need to get active. We have couple of states during my period - like governments of Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, they are the ones who support hockey," he said.
"Others do have teams, but I don't see any support coming from these state governments, whether it is infrastructure or whether it is development or whether it is coaching. States also need to get a bit involved. When we call hockey a de facto national game, I think states also have a little bit of commitment and if they get involved, the pace at which we want hockey to grow will be a bit different," Batra said.
About the nurseries of hockey, he said, "Nurseries of hockey they are in control, things are moving well, whether it is Punjab, Haryana, Odisha, Jharkhand, certain places in Karnataka, then Bhopal and Lucknow have also picked up. So, hockey is growing, but places like Hyderabad and Tamil Nadu, Mumbai and Maharashtra, we are not getting much of development of players from these areas."
He, however, pointed out that future of Indian hockey was bright.
Recently, India had won the junior hockey world cup.
"I do see Indian hockey coming up. Development has to start right from the 12 year old right up to entering the Indian team. Things are moving in right direction, but one needs to build up on that and make sure one carries with that".
When asked what was FIH stand on Pakistan not playing in India, Batra replied, "that is not my decision, these are political decisions, when it comes to India and Pakistan. I am no one to take any call or decide on that. As far as FIH is concerned, Pakistan is part of every event, whether they come to country A or they don't come to country B, political decisions are between the countries."
About home and away league, he said, that will start from 2019. "It is going to be nine countries in men's and equal number in women's."
The Times of India
Dear Simon Orchard… Love an official!
This week there was an article released by a top Australian player about officials and their accountability in the game. The original article can be found on UK site The Hockey Paper. In it, Simon Orchard provided his viewpoint on the role and approach that officials have in top level club, National and International hockey from his experiences as a Kookaburra.
Below is a response to Simon Orchard’s article ‘It’s time umpires learnt the game’ re-written from the perspective of an official. I hope it provides food for thought, and another side to this very complex story.
I am proud to be an official. I am part of a team, a part of a club just like any player. My club colours are fluro yellow & pink. And as dorky as my skirt and long black socks can be, I love them. I take pride in my performance on the field and I am always accountable for my game. If I make an error, you better believe that I will stew on it for the rest of the week until I get a chance to hit the field and redeem myself the next weekend.
The article written by Orchard was ignorant and self-indulgent. Umpires will make mistakes, so do players. Mistakes are how we learn. We need to work together to close the gap and realise that all of us are out there to have fun and be involved in the sport we love regardless of what level we play at.
Orchard characterises aspects of weak umpires and generalises for the whole community, ignoring that many of these same characteristics are present in the players (and even himself) who engage with umpires on the pitch.
“The trouble with referees is that they know the rules, they just don’t know the game”, the great Bill Shankly once said. I have to say I agree with the former Scottish footballer and ex-Liverpool manager wholeheartedly.
“The trouble with players is that they know the game, they just don’t always understand the intent of the rules”, the great Keeley O’Reilly once said. I have to say I agree with the current Premier League umpire wholeheartedly.
Many top whistle-blowers have a general understanding of the rules of hockey. However, a large number of them severely lack the ability to consistently apply, enforce or define them in the pressure-cooker environment that can be elite sport.
Many top players have a general understanding of the rules of hockey. However, a large number of them severely lack the ability to understand that they might not have seen things correctly from their position, or that something else that they missed might have happened while they were completing an action. In a pressure-cooker environment that is elite sport, they sometimes become so focussed on their own performance that they forget that the officials and their opponents are also working just as hard to achieve perfection.
‘But without referees, we wouldn’t have ourselves a game’, I hear many say. What a cop out.
That’s just a common cliché that oh too often absolves officials of having to provide an acceptable performance.
‘But without referees, we wouldn’t have ourselves a game’, I hear many say. This isn’t true – we would, but would you want to play a lawless game of hockey? You know that people carry around long pieces of carbon fibre right? Surely you get how potentially dangerous honesty rules would be? But good luck to you wanting to play a game sans officials. I like my face, knees, shins and my expensive lump of carbon fibre too much for that.
Don’t see this piece as misguided frustration at officials, rather a plea for increased standards of officialdom across our sport. Because at the risk of sounding rather exaggerated, umpires have been the bane of my existence as a hockey player.
Don’t see this piece as misguided frustration at players, rather a plea for increased standards of player behaviour and education across our sport. Because at the risk of sounding rather exaggerated, players have been the bane of my existence as an umpire.
My weakness. My Achilles heel. My kryptonite. The only real variable that has consistently, and at times severely, distracted me from my hockey career.
I don’t even know what to say to this… Maybe you’re just letting the umpires affect your game too much. Just get on with it, like an official has to do after copping a spray from a player.
Today, I will attempt to dissect the most unrewarding role in sport, from a perspective that frequently places me in the official’s crosshairs.
Today, I will attempt to rebut the assertions made by Simon Orchard about the most unrewarding role in sport, from the perspective of someone who knows what it feels like to be screamed at, belittled and abused for making a split second decision.
It’s no secret I constantly find myself in strife with the powers that rule our game, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but don’t be fooled. I have a certain sense of disdain for many umpires, and here’s why:
It is no secret that umpires constantly find themselves in strife with the player of a game, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but don’t be fooled. I have a certain sense of disdain for many players who speak with such ignorance, and here’s why:
1) Lack of accountability
What happens after each match? Review meetings? Do they watch video of controversial decisions? Are umpires presented with feedback reports?
After every match, officials are taken into a room with their coach to discuss how the game went, strengths, weaknesses, ways to improve. They have a review meeting. Where their meager funding allows (or where they can get access to videos prepared by others that aren’t perfectly fit for purpose) they watch back controversial decisions and discuss what happened. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they aren’t. It happens. Umpires at all championships are presented with feedback reports, and they are graded and ranked.
Other sports constantly review their officials, assessing them on things like decision-making, management of players, general skill, communication, and how well they help their co-umpire.
Just like other sports, Hockey constantly reviews their officials, assessing them on things like decision-making, management of players, general skill, communication and how well they help their co-umpire.
My reasons for this train of thought are usually centred on garnering the clarity and accountability that players, coaches and spectators crave and deserve.
The umpire is aware of the importance of every single game, and every single event, and they work hard to be their best for the players, the coaches, the spectators, the sport, their co-umpire and themselves. The umpire is always aware that a poor performance will affect their ranking, score, and potentially their opportunity for future appointments. Umpires do not get three trials, and a training squad or twice-weekly pitch time, before a tournament or competition match. Mistakes or areas for improvement are played out in the competition environment, and their opportunities for their next appointment are judged solely on that.
*Exhibit A: Wave away the protests: South African players gather round to contest the umpire’s decision
*Please now look at exhibit A, you have 3 players clearing being really ‘courteous’ to an official. Respect and courtesy is a two-way street.
2) Poor communication skills
The worst officials can’t engage with players in the right manner, some can’t engage at all. Walking onto the field with a whistle doesn’t put you on a pedestal where you are immune from acknowledging those around you in a courteous manner.
Let’s flip this a second. The worst players can’t engage with officials in the right manner, some can’t help but engage consistently throughout a match. Walking onto the field with a stick doesn’t put you on a pedestal where you are immune from acknowledging those around you in a courteous manner.
In my opinion, you earn respect with how you treat and speak to the players before, during and after the match. Poor umpires will meet any questions during the match with a figurative brick wall of dialogue.
In my opinion, you earn respect with how you treat and speak to the officials before, during and after the match. Disrespectful players will not always get answers to questions in a match if they come up screaming in the officials face. A player who asks a reasonable question, in a polite way is far more likely to have an umpire listen to them, and respond. It should be noted that officials are actively encouraged to be approachable after the match, after emotion that clouds the issue can be removed.
It’s amazing how much back and forth happens in sport around the world between players and officials, which naturally helps to build rapport. Not in our world, the precious umpires of the hockey scene can’t and won’t tolerate much discussion at all.
It is amazing how back and forth happens in sport around the world between players and officials, which naturally helps to build rapport. In the hockey world, the fast-paced nature of the game means that the officials can’t do so on the pitch. As officials, we agree that conversations, not yelling matches or stony silence, are where the greatest benefit is gained from both parties. Most umpires in Australia are humans with personalities who are more than happy to engage in reasonable conversation at the appropriate time.
3) Remove the emotion and lose the ego
The biggest predicament that I believe umpires must overcome is how to remove the emotion that comes with refereeing.
The biggest predicament that I believe players must overcome is how to remove the emotion that comes with playing.
I always believe high-level players make the best umpires. They understand the game; they have a great knowledge of the rules and of how to implement them; they have dealt with the pressures associated with top-flight hockey, but most importantly, they know it feels to be playing at that level.
I tend to agree that high-level players can make great umpires. But very few of these people transition into umpiring, and the two skills are not mutually exclusive as there are plenty of amazing umpires that have never played at the top level. What is it about umpiring that prevents top players from making it as top umpires? Time and sacrifices (particularly after a demanding playing career), perhaps? A low appetite for abuse from players?.
The pressure. The stakes. The potential importance of each and every decision.
The pressure. The stakes. The potential importance of each and every decision.
The worst referees don’t understand this and tend to escalate situations, instead of defusing them. They referee with a chip on their shoulder and almost go looking for retribution, any chance to stamp their authority on a troublesome player. A big no no if you wish to maintain the status quo with both teams.
The worst players don’t understand this and tend to escalate situations, instead of just getting on with their game. They play with a chip on their shoulder and almost go looking for retribution, any chance to prove the umpire is out to get them. They get frustrated about a decision that they didn’t agree with and then take that frustration out (verbally) on the official or get distracted from their role in the team, a no-no if you want to stay on the pitch.
Make a mistake, and get chastised from pillar to post, pinned to the wall by pundits and players until your next match. Make no mistakes and just disappear into the background.
Make a mistake (as a player), and get chastised from pillar to post, pinned to the wall by pundits and umpires until your next match (oh wait. Nope, that is just umpires that get that kind of treatment). Make no mistakes, or in fact, do something amazing and no one would even acknowledge that in the dying minutes of the game you played the best advantage from the defensive 25 which actually landed the team that is 1 goal down a chance to attack and maybe even get a shot on goal or a PC. But boy did that player get a cheer.
The best umpires will help to raise the standard of the game, thus increasing the enjoyment for players and spectators.
The best umpires will help to raise the standard of the game, thus increasing the enjoyment for themselves, the players and the spectators.
This can easily be achieved if umpires do four simple things: stay accountable; communicate well; keep your emotions in check; and learn the game.
This can easily be achieved if players and umpires together do four simple things: stay accountable, communicate well, keep your emotions in check; and learn the rules and the game.
Uncovering The Hatred Towards Umpires
Over the last few days there has been an article making the rounds. Simon Orchard, a current international player with Australia aka the Kookaburra’s, recently penned an article titled, “It’s Time Umpires Learnt The Game“.
Up until now I haven’t really provided any comment or shared my thoughts on the article because I felt that there was no benefit to doing so. However, what has eventually pushed my buttons and got me to craft a response is the sentiment that has clearly been simmering below the surface for quite some time, and this article has allowed to it flourish.
What sentiment is that you might ask? The horrid sentiment that somehow umpires aren’t good enough and that they don’t know the game. Now before we dive into the merits of that, and we will do, I want to shed some light on the type of players that appear to be sharing this concern. Some of the top players, both locally, nationally, and around the world are supporting this argument. Unfortunately, it is the players who always have the most to say about decisions in the game, but yet have never umpired a game in their life. Not even a school game, never mind provincial or international game. I find it ironic that all the loud-mouths are sharing this, and I haven’t heard a single peep from the players that just get on it with regardless of their thoughts on how bad the decision was.
Let’s clear something up quickly:
JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE A GOOD PLAYER DOESN’T MEAN YOU KNOW THE RULES, OR HAVE ANY CLUE HOW TO UMPIRE.
I strongly suggest that some of the players sharing this article learn to control their tempers, keep their mouth shut and actually read a rule book. If the umpire is affecting your game that much, then I suggest you spend more time on the mental aspect of your game as that is clearly hindering your progress. 8/10 times that you think an umpire got the call wrong, I can almost guarantee you that it is correct and you just have a different angle, or don’t understand the interpretation of the rules.
Let’s dive into the merit of Simon’s article shall we?
First off, I ignored everything said before the first bullet point. It becomes difficult to find validity in an article, even from a current international, when the opening two hundred words are simply attacking umpires. “‘But without referees, we wouldn’t have ourselves a game’, I hear many say. What a cop out.” No Simon, that isn’t a cop out – that is the truth. “My weakness. My Achilles heel. My kryptonite. The only real variable that has consistently, and at times severely, distracted me from my hockey career.” Like I said previously, maybe it is time to focus on your own game and remove a variable that you can’t control and accept that? But I guess everyone is human, just like an umpire…
Now that we have dealt with his pathetic attempt at an opening, let’s dive into the points that he makes as they are actually half decent if you ignore the commentary below each point.
1) Lack of accountability
Ummmm….have you ever umpired at a tournament? You get a debriefing at the end of every game, and a group meeting at the end of every day discussing issues and performance as individuals and as a group. Those debriefings at the end of your game are harsh. Every Umpire’s Manager that I have had, some of them really good, long time friends, don’t hold back.
“You missed a stick shield in the 14th minute on the half way line. Go watch the video.”
“That penalty corner you gave should have been a stroke.”
“You missed something 50 metres off the ball.”
It is very difficult to appease an Umpire’s Manager, and if you have a bad game, you definitely suffer in terms of allocations for the next day and the rest of the tournament. I have never umpired on the international stage so I can’t comment on what the review process is there, but to get to the top of the game, you have to be seriously good. No, in fact you have to be impeccable, outstanding, remarkable, and more importantly, consistent.
However, I do feel there is room for improvement, especially in the Western Cape and the league structure at the moment. Don’t worry, Hockey Point is in the process of addressing this issue so that there is clear communication and feedback, but my expectation is that 99% of feedback will be unjustified complaints, and zero positive feedback.
2) Poor communication skills
I am not even going to address this from an umpire’s perspective, because I find this point laughable. I have met very few umpires who aren’t approachable, who won’t explain things, or who won’t have a little bit of banter on the field. Even listening to the international games where the umpires have microphones so you can hear everything, you will hear them engage with the players. The problem is that players almost never engage with umpires in the correct manner or at an appropriate time. As soon as the ball is live, the chance for engagement or discussion about a decision is gone. Learn to accept decisions as they are, and if you aren’t happy, use your review in the 23’s.
If a player shouts at me or disrespects me I automatically don’t give them the time of day. However, umpires will always give you the a chance and that right until you lose it. Oh, there is also the other factor that technically only the captain can speak to the umpire. I wonder why that rule came in…
Mr Orchard, I suggest you perhaps change your tone and approach to the umpire and perhaps you will get a better response?
3) Remove the emotion and lose the ego
“I always believe high-level players make the best umpires.”
I can’t debate this point because so few top players umpire. Seriously, it is embarrassing how few top players give back to the game and umpire. Across the Western Cape, I can’t name one player that plays in the top league that is involved in umpiring in anyway. ANY. SINGLE. WAY.
“They referee with a chip on their shoulder and almost go looking for retribution, any chance to stamp their authority on a troublesome player. A big no no if you wish to maintain the status quo with both teams.” <- that sentence describes the job of an umpire. Without someone taking control, that “troublesome player” can ruin an entire game, and keeping the status quo across both teams and implementing the rules is our JOB.
Overall, I think Simon needs to reread this article, but replace every mention of an umpire or “referee” (by the way, the fact that you use that word shows that you don’t even understand what to call use and what the difference between a referee and an umpire is) and apply it to himself. How convenient that someone actually rewrote it for him then. “Dear Simon, Love An Official.”
- Be accountable for your actions when you abuse an umpire
- Learn to communicate with an umpire in a respectable manner and at an appropriate time
- Remove the ego and understand that you aren’t above umpires. The game needs both players and umpires to go ahead.
- Unfortunately, one of the players that I looked up to just went down considerably in my opinion.