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News for 04 March 2017

All the news for Saturday 4 March 2017

Bangladesh welcomes men’s Hockey World League Round 2

Malaysia, China and Egypt amongst eight teams fighting for a HWL Semi-Finals place

After two exciting women’s Round 2 events in recent weeks, focus now switches to the second phase of the men’s Hockey World League, which kicks off this weekend in Bangladesh at Dhaka’s Moulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium. 

The eight-team competition, which takes place between Saturday 4th and Sunday 12th March, will see Malaysia, China, Egypt, Oman, hosts Bangladesh, Ghana, Sri Lanka and Fiji all battling for a top two finish in order to guarantee a place in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, where those coveted berths at the men’s Hockey World Cup 2018 in India are up for grabs.

Like all of the Round 2 events, the competition in Dhaka will witness a clash between teams that came through the first phase of the competition against sides that were automatically given a bye through to Round 2 due to their higher placement in the FIH Hero World Rankings. The highest ranked teams will enter the competition at the Semi-Final stage of the Hockey World League.

The competition will feature two pools of four, with the finishing positions at the end of the pool phase determining the line-up for the quarter-finals, which begin on Thursday 9th March.

Malaysia (FIH Hero World Ranking: 13) are the top ranked team in the event and will be favourites to top Pool A, where they face Oman (WR: 31), home side Bangladesh (WR: 32) and Fiji (WR: 44). Malaysia Head Coach Stephen van Huizen has selected a strong squad for the event, with veteran forward Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin being a notable inclusion. “He has shown that he can still play at the very top level and has been a consistent performer, so he was selected on merit,” said Van Huizen, who will have to cope without attacking talisman Faizal Saari due to an injured hamstring.

Malaysia’s opponents on Saturday’s opening day of action will be the host nation, with Bangladesh looking to upset the FIH Hero World Rankings by claiming what would be a crowd-pleasing victory that could create a platform for a very successful competition. That said, Bangladesh – captained by experienced goal-scorer Rashel Mahmud– will have to be at their very best in order to challenge a strong and talented Malaysia team.

The two other sides in Pool A are Oman and Fiji, who will also go head to head on Saturday. Oman sit 13 places above Fiji in the FIH Hero World Rankings, but an undefeated, table-topping performance at the Round 1 event in Suva provides plenty of evidence that the Fijians should not be taken lightly.

In Pool B, China (WR: 18) and Egypt (WR: 20) are being widely tipped as likely front-runners, although Ghana (WR: 38) and Sri Lanka (WR: 41) will certainly be staking their claim. China, the highest ranked team in the pool, face Ghana in their opening match on Saturday and will be expecting a strong challenge from the winners of the Hockey World League Round 1 competition in Accra. Egypt and Sri Lanka - second place finishers behind Pool B rivals China at the Hockey World League Round 1 event in Singapore - will also be doing battle on the opening day, with Egyptian captain Amr Elhady set to make his 100th international appearance in the contest.

The top two finishers from the men’s Round 2 events in Dhaka, Belfast (11-19 Mar 2017) and Tacarigua, (25 Mar-2 Apr 2017) are certain to qualify for the Semi-Finals, being joined in the World Cup qualifier phase by the two highest ranked of the third placed finishers from those three events.

You can keep track of the tournament in Dhaka on the official competition pages by clicking here and on FIH’s social media channels using the #HWL2017 hashtag.

FIH site

Looking for a blistering start in Dhaka

By Jugjet Singh in Dhaka

TRAINING ... Malaysia having a feel of the field in Dhaka Friday.

NO 1 ranked Malaysia have no one to fear but themselves when they start their World League Round Two campaign against hosts Bangladesh in Dhaka Saturday.

Even though the best players are not available for the pre-World Cup qualifier due to weddings, injuries and family commitments coach Stephen van Huizen's men pack enough power to beat every team assembled here.

Malaysia are ranked 13th, while their Group A opponents Bangladesh (32nd), Oman (31st) and Fiji (not ranked) are way below.

Group B is no better as China are 18th while Ghana, Egypt and Sri Lanka are not ranked among the world's 35 hockey playing nations.

The national players had a sparring session with China and won 2-1 in two 15-minute halves, and they did not even hit 50 percent of their capabilities.

Bangladesh had a worse outing as in their three friendlies against Ghana, they lost 2-0 drew 2-2 and won 2-1.

"Training matches do not say anything about the strength of teams, its just for warm-up and teams do not push themselves. We have nothing to fear, even without some of our better players as our target here is to play in the final first to qualify for the World League semifinals and the second target is to win gold," said van Huizen.

Both the targets should be easy to reach, if the players believe in themselves like they did in the last World League Round Two in Singapore where they hammered Poland 8-0 for the gold.

Team manager Nasihin Nubli gave an 80 per cent thumbs up to the newly laid blue artificial pith at the 1971 built stadium.

"Its well laid, but for certain parts where it is difficult for players to dribble as they can't drag the ball left to right to beat an opponent as its very coarse.

"It (the pitch) also dries very fast as its very winds and humidity is high. But every team will experience the same and it should pose no problems in our campaign," said Nasihin.

One of the most senior players in the team Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, debut in the 2005 Rotterdam Junior World Cup, said even though many players were not available for Dhaka, the replacements are equally good.

"I would say that those who replaced players who could not make it here are no rookies, as they have played at many internationals before. The only problem i noticed when we played the China friendly was that the team had yet to get their act together.

"This is because we were all playing or our clubs (in the Malaysia Hockey League) and arrived here two days after the final. We might start slow against Bangladesh, but I am confdent we will win," said Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin who scored a total of 13 goals in the MHL and was also pivotal in helping Terengganu Hockey Team win the TNB Cup.

The confidence is also there as Malaysia only have 17 players in Dhaka now, and Faiz Helmi will arrive on March 5, to play against Fiji and hen the knock-out -- as he is getting married first.

FIXTURES -- SATURDAY: Group A -- Oman v Fiji (3.45pm), Malaysia v Bangladesh (6pm); Group B: China v Ghana (11am), Egypt v Sri Lanka (1.30pm).

SUNDAY: Group A: Oman v Malaysia (3.45pm), Bangladesh v Fiji (6pm); Group B: Ghana v Sri Lanka (11am), Egypt v China (1.30pm).


TUESDAY: Group A -- Malaysia v Fiji (11am), Bangladesh v Oman (6pm); Group B: China v Sri Lanka (1.30pm), Ghana v Egypt (3.45pm).
Note: Malaysian time. 

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

There’s no reason for Malaysia to fail in Dhaka tournament

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: As the highest-ranked side in the World Hockey League Round Two tournament, Malaysia should win it hands down, right?

Well, not when it comes to the national hockey team.

Still, there is no reason why world No. 13 Malaysia should not come up tops in the tournament as they open their Group A campaign against hosts and world No. 32 Bangladesh at the Maulana Bisra Hockey Stadium in Dhaka today.

The other teams in Malaysia’s group are Oman (world No. 31) and Fiji (No. 44).

Group B comprises China (No. 18), Egypt (No. 20), Ghana (No. 38) and Sri Lanka (No. 41).

The top two teams will qualify for the World League Semi-Finals, which will be held at two venues – London (June 15-25) and Johannesburg, South Africa from July 9-23.

It is the qualifying tournament for the 2018 World Cup in New Delhi, India.

The only worry for Malaysia is that they will be without four key players in Dhaka.

They are goalkeeper S. Kumar (wife is expecting); midfielder Muhd Haziq Samsul (hamstring injury) and forwards Muhd Firhan Ashaari (getting married on March 11) and Faizal Saari (hamstring injury).

Another defender, Faiz Helmi Jali, will miss the first two matches against Bangladesh today and Oman tomorrow as he is getting married today.

Faiz will only play in the third match against Fiji on Tuesday.

But National coach Stephen van Huizen has told his men that they have nothing to fear despite playing in the tournament without some of their better players.

“Our target here is to play in the final to seal a place in the World League Semi-Finals ... and also to win the tournament,” said Stephen.

Veteran forward Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin tried to play down expectations by saying that “we may have a slow start against Bangla­desh because this is the first time we will be playing together since the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) ended last week”.

“We are confident of a winning start, though,” he added.

The Star of Malaysia

Indian women beat Belarus 2-1 in second hockey Test

BHOPAL: The Indian women's hockey team continued their fine run in the ongoing five-match Test series, scoring a 2-1 victory over Belarus in the second match on Friday.

India got off to a good start by earning a penalty corner in the 9th minute. It was striker Rani Rampal who successfully converted the PC to give her team a 1-0 lead.

However, Belarus did well in the next two quarters to contain the Indian women and not allow them too many chances in the striking circle with strong defence.

The visitors equalised in the 36th minute when Sviatlana Bahushevich, who also scored the lone goal for Belarus on Thursday, struck a fine field goal.

They continued to hold the Indian eves right till the end but a 60th minute penalty corner proved to be crucial as India managed to seal the game with Lalremsiami converting the opportunity.

India are now 2-0 up in the Test Series.

The Times of India

Scotland men’s squad announced for World League 2

The Scotland men’s international hockey squad has been announced to compete at World League 2 in Belfast.

The tournament, held on 11-19 March, will see the top two qualify for the next stage of World League where there will be the opportunity to qualify for the Hockey World Cup.

Scotland has been drawn in Pool B where they will face France, Poland and Wales. The Scots feature in the opening match of the tournament against the French, who were the recent opponents for Scotland in a series of close test matches. Last year Scotland won a four-nation tournament in Poland ahead of both France and Poland. Scotland faced Wales in the final of World League 1 last year with the Welsh taking the victory on that occasion. It is set to be a very competitive Pool.

Pool A will see Ireland, Italy, Ukraine, and Austria compete for places in the quarter finals with final positions in the Pools determining who each team will face in the quarter finals.

It’s another big year for Scotland’s men’s team as the team will then compete in August when they play at EuroHockey Championship II held in Glasgow. The ultimate goal for the squad this year is to qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Derek Forsyth, Scotland Men’s Head Coach, said: “There has been some change in the men’s squad over the last few years, and we are all very excited by the potential of this squad who will play at World League 2, building on performances in World League last year.

“There were some tough selection decisions to make, and now that we have announced our squad I know that everyone is looking forward to tournament hockey.”

Scotland’s squad for World League 2 in Belfast:

David Forrester, Edinburgh University
Tommy Alexander, Reading
Wei Adams, Canterbury
Russell Anderson, Cannock
Tim Atkins, Reading
Michael Bremner, TC Blau-Weiss
Gavin Byers, Grove Menzieshill
Ben Cosgrove, Grove Menzieshill
Dan Coultas, Edinburgh University
Callum Duke, Hillhead
Alan Forsyth, Surbiton
Cammy Fraser, Grange
Ed Greaves, Nurnberger HTC
Willie Marshall, Surbiton
Lee Morton, Kelburne
Nick Parkes, Surbiton
Duncan Riddell, Grange
Jamie Wong, Edinburgh University

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Double-header weekend in National League

Results at the top and bottom of this weekend’s men’s and women’s National League competitions could be significant.

Bromac Kelburne have opened a gap in their bid for a 13th consecutive men’s first division league title, they lead Grange by five points although the latter do have a game in hand.

Like many clubs, this weekend is a double-header for the Paisley side - on Saturday they travel to Auchenhowie to face a Western Wildcats` side they beat 4-0 in the first league encounter. On Sunday they entertain a Grove Menzieshill side who are at present in third spot.

Last weekend`s 3-0 defeat of Grange at Glasgow Green provided the champions with a cushion at the top. There is a feeling that it may in fact take a supreme effort by one of the chasing pack to dislodge Kelburne from their perch.

Grange coach David Knipe is hoping that lightning strikes twice, last weekend his charges gave Grove Menzieshill an 8-1 defeat in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup, and now the Taysiders revisit the capital on league business this time.

A similar result is perhaps a little optimistic but the three points are essential if Grange are to keep in touch with Bromac Kelburne at the top. Knipe said: "It`s not often you play teams back-to-back, so this is a new challenge for us."

The Edinburgh side are only three points ahead of the Taysiders in the table, so there is no room for error by Knipe`s charges if they are to hold on to second spot.

Last time out Grange and Grove Menzieshill fought out a curious 3-3 draw, the latter were strolling home with a comfortable three goal lead, then allowed the Edinburgh side to grasp a share of the points, all in the final ten minutes.

Knipe`s charges have another league assignment at Hillhead on Sunday, that will also be an interesting challenge as the Glasgow side have made strides forward under the coaching eye of Mark Ralph.

Ralph was left frustrated last weekend, his side coasted into a 2-0 lead against Western Wildcats only to throw it away and finish 4-3 down. "It was a bit frustrating, but we need to learn about being in those situations and finishing off games," said Ralph.

Knipe remarked: "We played a close game against Hillhead in the cup earlier, so we know their quality." In the end Grange won that match 4-2, although that was in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh University are still in fourth spot and will hope to consolidate that position with six points from outings against Gordonians and Clydesdale, both in the lower reaches of the league.

Graham Moodie`s squad held Kelburne to 2-2 in normal time in last weekend`s Scottish Cup, that sort of form could see the students in good stead. In addition, Edinburgh`s lethal penalty corner routine with Dan Coultas seems in good working order, four goals in last weekend`s league and cup matches.

In the relegation play-off zone Gordonians, despite picking up their first point this season, are still detached at the bottom, but further up only three points separate the next four sides.

After a promising start to the league campaign Watsonians have slipped into the zone, so their clash with Clydesdale could be a chance to reverse that trend. However, the Glasgow side have home advantage and returned after the winter shutdown with an impressive 2-1 away win at Uddingston.

Wildcats have also started the second half of the season on a positive note, a 4-3 win over Hillhead last weekend has lifted some of the concerns. This weekend may not be the time to consolidate that progress as they are at home to leaders Kelburne, they lost 4-0 the last time the teams met.

Uddingston recorded a couple of good wins just before the winter shutdown and lifted themselves up to sixth in the table, but last weekend`s 2-1 defeat at the hands of Clydesdale was a cause for concern for the team management.

Western Wildcats v Aberdeen

In Women’s National League 1, Wildcats` player/coach Kareena Cuthbert believes that her side are on the verge of mounting a serious challenge to the country`s top outfits, encounter with league leaders Edinburgh University will test her confidence.

The Auchenhowie side are only three points behind Edinburgh but with a game less played.

Cuthbert said: "I am delighted with the progress the girls have made this season, and for a brief hour we even sat top of the league which is a first in the history of the club."

Wildcats should have taken the points in the earlier league encounter, they led through a Catriona Booth strike, but then Sam Judge levelled for the students with the last hit of the game.

There is no rest for Cuthbert`s charges, they then take on third-placed Milne Craig Western on Sunday to complete a massive double header weekend.

"We will play our own game against both Edinburgh and Western and we have no doubt we can take points. Of course it will be tough, but we are ready for the challenge," Cuthbert said.

However, an Edinburgh victory on Saturday would retain pole position, but the chasing pack have games in hand and could start to put pressure on the students.

Grove Menzieshill are now the only unbeaten team in the division and will hope to take six points from this weekend`s outings against Erskine Stewart`s Melville and bottom side CALA. That could take the Taysiders to within a point of the Edinburgh and still with two games in hand.

Western could also make up some ground, as well as playing Wildcats the Titwood-based outfit have a league encounter against Hillhead, they will hope three points here are on the cards.

A huge gap is developing between the top four and the other sides in the first division, it has now increased to 14 points.

Apart from CALA who have yet to break their duck in the campaign, only one point separates the next six sides in a bottom half of the table log-jam. The sides most likely to avoid the end-of-season relegation play-offs could become clearer after this weekend`s action as several are involved in head-to-head engagements with teams in a similar predicament.

Watsonians versus Hillhead on Sunday already looks set to be a game of massive importance, with Hillhead currently leading their opponents by just one point. Kelburne’s meeting with Dundee Wanderers is also a tasty prospect with both sides level on points.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

EHL by the Numbers: The Teams

In the second of our looks at the EHL stats, we focus on some of the great teams that have graced that the competition in its 10 year history and the numbers behind what made them great.

Most FINAL4 appearances
When it comes to the Euro Hockey League, UHC Hamburg stand alone on three victories of the Alain Danet Trophy, one win ahead of HC Bloemendaal. They also are the only side to reach the FINAL4 on five occasions in the first nine years. AH&BC Amsterdam and HC Rotterdam both have been regular visitors to the FINAL4 but have yet to win the big crown. Harvestehuder THC, meanwhile, have been the most efficient side, winning gold and bronze in just three EHL campaigns.

1. UHC Hamburg 5 (3 gold, 2 silver)
2. AH&BC Amsterdam 4 (2 silver, 2 bronze)
3. HC Rotterdam 4 (2 bronze, 1 silver)
4. HC Bloemendaal 3 (2 gold, 1 bronze)
5. Oranje Zwart 3 (1 gold, 1 silver)
6. KHC Dragons 3 (1 silver, 2 bronze)

All-time highest scoring clubs
Dutch sides dominate the all-time top-scoring club records list with Bloemendaal leading the way following some huge wins in the competition. UHC Hamburg’s only sit fourth despite playing more games in the EHL than the four sides above them, showing their ability to win close games.

1. HC Bloemendaal – 138 goals (31 games)
2. HC Rotterdam – 128 goals (31 games)
3. AH&BC Amsterdam – 117 goals (28 games)
4. UHC Hamburg – 115 goals (34 games)
5. Rot Weiss Köln – 93 goals (22 games)

Most goals conceded
The two sides with the most goals conceded are the two sides who played the most EHL campaigns of all. The ever-present WKS Grunwald Poznan and Dinamo Kazan are both level at the top of this table, having played in every edition of the EHL with the Polish side conceding their 78 goals in one fewer game than the Russian champions. UHC Hamburg, once again, make a top five but their average goals conceded comes in at under two goals a game. Belarus’s Stroitel Brest have the worst goals conceded per game total, letting in 47 times in six games.

1. WKS Grunwald Poznan 78 goals (20 games)
2. Dinamo Kazan 78 (21 games)
3. Bromac Kelburne 74 (18 games)
4. Atlètic Terrassa 65 (28 games)
5. UHC Hamburg 63 (34 games)

Highest goals per game ratio
As relative newcomers to the EHL, SV Kampong do not feature heavily in the totals lists but, now in their fourth EHL season, the Utrecht side are the most deadly when it comes to goals per game. They average a massive 4.69 each time they play. This is just ahead of Holcombe, albeit after just two games, with Bloemendaal and Rot-Weiss Köln others to keep the scoreboard busy. Other honourable mentions got to Berliner (3.75 from four games) and Royal Leopold (3.63 from eight games).

1. SV Kampong 4.69 (13 games)
2. Holcombe 4.5 (2 games)
3. HC Bloemendaal 4.45 (31 games)
4. Rot-Weiss Köln (22 games)
5. AH&BC Amsterdam 4.18 (28 games)

Most matches won
Surprisingly, UHC Hamburg does not top this table despite being a more frequent winner of the competition and playing more games than their rivals Bloemendaal. It is partly down to their ability to succeed in shoot-outs. Indeed, Bloemendaadl have only lost two games in normal time in EHL history out of 31 games. Kampong and HGC, meanwhile, have the best records on a percentage basis. Kampong have won 11 of 13 EHL games while HGC won 10 of 12 that they have played in two EHL campaigns.

1. HC Bloemendaal 24 wins (31 games)
2. UHC Hamburg 23 wins (34 games)
3. AH&BC Amsterdam 20 wins (28 games)
4. HC Rotterdam 19 wins (31 games)
5. KHC Dragons 16 wins (25 games)

Most EHL campaigns
There is a huge variation from country to country regarding how many EHL teams have taken part in the competition. From Russia and Poland, one club dominates the scenery. In Spain, their representatives come primarily from four clubs while Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, England and Ireland are much more varied.

1. Dinamo Kazan (10 seasons)
1= WKS Grunwald Poznan (10 seasons)
3= Atlètic Terrassa (9 seasons)
3= Real Club de Polo (9 seasons)
5= UHC Hamburg (8 seasons)
5= Saint Germain (8 seasons)
5= Bromac Kelburne (8 seasons)

Most different clubs from one country to appear in the EHL
1. Germany – 9 clubs
2= Belgium – 7 clubs
2= England – 7 clubs
2= Ireland – 7 clubs
5. Netherlands – 6 clubs

First minute goals
Seven clubs have been successful in scoring within a minute of the first whistle.

- Santi Freixa, AH&BC Amsterdam - Oct 2008
- Alan Sothern, Pembroke - Oct 2009
- Ronald Brouwer, Bloemendaal - Oct 2010
- Cedric Charlier, Racing Club de Bruxelles - Oct 2013
- Sam Ward, Beeston - April 2014;
- Michael Korper, Harvestehuder THC - May 2016
- Constantijn Jonker, SV Kampong - Oct 2016

Euro Hockey League media release

C. Mitchell Applauded for Dedication and Energy to Elevate Organization's Growing Event Landscape

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Field Hockey extends its sincere gratitude to Chelsea Mitchell for her outstanding contribution to USA Field Hockey’s Events Department as she announces her decision to transition into another career path. As the Event Marketing Manager, Mitchell has left a positive impression on the hockey world.

“Chelsea has been a huge asset to USA Field Hockey in her four years with us and will be greatly missed,” said Simon Hoskins, USA Field Hockey’s Executive Director. “She has made a major positive impact on our programming in Futures Program and in events as well as been a great all round team player. Chelsea’s passion for her role combined with her astute business skills have helped advance her ambition for our organization and for our sport.”

Field hockey is a personal and professional interest of Mitchell’s. As a 2012 Ball State University graduate, she dedicated her time to tearing up the pitch as a goalkeeper for the Cardinals.

Joining Team USA in December 2013, Mitchell was USA Field Hockey’s Futures and Olympic Development Coordinator. She was responsible for the data management and marketing of USA Field Hockey’s Olympic and Athlete Development programs. Her central focus was providing premier programming, which enabled athletes to train at high quality training venues and train with quality coaches all under a professional delivery system.

In August 2015, Mitchell transitioned to Event Marketing Manager role where she was charged with planning, strategizing and marketing USA Field Hockey's premier events to its over 25,000 members by focusing in on key groups within the membership. Developing strong relationships with club organizers, college coaches and club teams throughout the country, Mitchell helped shape events to provide for all participants’ needs. Mitchell not only added to the logistics of USA Field Hockey events, but to the heart of it as well.

"It was such a great experience working for a sport that gave me as well as my family so much,” said Mitchell. "I will miss everyone at USA Field Hockey, but I am confident in the path the sport is going and am excited to see what happens in the future."

USA Field Hockey wishes Mitchell the very best in her new role at as a territory manage at  ICG Consulting in Denver, Colo.

USA Field Hockey’s Justin Miller and Karen Collins will be absorbing Mitchell’s responsibilities until her role is filled.

USFHA media release

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