All the news for Saturday 18 March 2017
Black Sticks settle for draw in second test
The Vantage Black Sticks Men have drawn 2-2 with Pakistan in the second test at the National Hockey Stadium in Wellington.
New Zealand pushed out to a two goal advantage following strikes from Sam Lane and debutant Mac Wilcox before Pakistan powered back to draw level in the third quarter.
Head coach Darren Smith said his side showed definite improvements leading on from Friday night’s performance.
“I thought there were some significant improvements from us tonight, especially our ability to command and move the ball from the back and through the midfield which opened up some good opportunities,” he said.
“I thought Mac was really impressive on debut, he made some good runs and his goal was excellent using his skills to acceleration and open up with a really crisp finish.
“The overall feeling is we made a progression even though it didn’t come with a win. We had four or five mins in the third quarter where we lapsed a bit on defence and that was disappointing as they made us pay. We will be looking to do even better on Monday with a more complete performance.”
Following a goalless opening quarter, the Black Sticks lit up the score board from a 24th minute penalty corner with Lane rocketing a drag flick low to the left.
New Zealand doubled the lead midway through the third quarter when Wilcox put in a stunning solo effort to beat a defender and turn for a hard forehand shot past the keeper.
Pakistan responded just one minute later with a penalty corner flick from Abu Mahmood before Abdul Haseem Khan equalised through a 42nd minute field goal.
The Vantage Black Sticks have a rest day tomorrow ahead of the third test in Wellington at 7:00pm on Monday night, with live coverage available at www.hockeynz.co.nz/video
VANTAGE BLACK STICKS 2: (Sam Lane, Mac Wilcox)
PAKISTAN 2: (Abu Mahmood, Abdul Haseem Khan)
Halftime: Black Sticks 1-0
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Black Sticks surrender two-goal lead to draw with Pakistan in second match of series
The Blacksticks' Harry Miskimmin in action against Pakistan on Saturday night. GRANT DOWN/PHOTOSPORT
New Zealand have surrendered a two-goal lead to draw the second of their five-match series against Pakistan.
Goals to Sam Lane and debutant Mackenzie Wilcox saw them up 2-0 early in the third quarter, only for Pakistan to score two goals in five minutes to earn a 2-2 draw at the National Hockey Stadium in Wellington on Saturday.
New Zealand were the more incisive of the two teams, but let their concentration slip after going up by two.
Mackenzie Wilcox scores a goal agianst Pakistan on his Black Sticks debut on Saturday. GRANT DOWN/PHOTOSPORT
It didn't leave coach Darren Smith too frustrated though, as he focused on the positives of the performance in comparison to their 3-2 win in the first match on Friday.
"I know we won last night [Friday], but it was a bit of a skittery performance and today we were a lot better structured and held the ball better, and I thought we threatened at times.
Black Sticks' Sam Lane celebrates his first half goal against Pakistan on Saturday.
"We had four or five minutes that just weren't up to our standard in the third quarter and they got a couple of good goals. Overall I'm pretty happy with the performance."
After an even, but uneventful, first quarter, the game came to life in the second.
New Zealand won a penalty corner midway through it, which Lane converted with relative ease, low to the right of the Pakistan keeper. It followed on from New Zealand's dominance of set pieces in the first match, when they scored two penalty corner goals.
But just as they did in that first encounter, New Zealand switched off at the back immediately after the goal and it was only a good smothering save from goalkeeper George Enersen which kept Pakistan out.
Enersen made another good save just before halftime, diving low to his right, to deny Pakistan from a penalty corner.
Down 1-0 at halftime, Pakistan came out firing in the third quarter, earning two quick penalty corners which they were unable to convert.
Their momentum was halted five minutes in when Muhammed Aleem Bilal went down in a heavy collision with a Black Sticks player. A squirt of the magic water from his physio couldn't alleviate the pain in his back and upper leg and he had to be stretchered off by the Wellington Free Ambulance staff.
Wilcox made the most of the stoppage, rounding one defender before applying a tidy finish to score within 90 seconds of play resuming.
Smith said it was a moment which typified the potential the 20-year-old has.
"He's an impressive young guy from Poverty Bay, up the farm, and I thought he was really impressive today.
"I've watched him a little bit over the last 12 months and I thought he was really good at the Junior World Cup. He might have been a bit surprised to get the callup, but we really think he's a good one."
The goal didn't dishearten Pakistan, as they surged back with those two quick goals in the middle stages of the quarter.
First, they finally converted a penalty corner with a drag flick from Abu Mahmood. Then, Pakistan captain Abdul Haseem Khan forced the ball home from close range following a goalmouth scramble.
New Zealand forced a penalty corner, just their second of the match, late in the quarter, but Lane's effort was deflected over the goal.
Both teams had half chances to win it in the final quarter, but neither could find a decisive finish.
AT A GLANCE
Black Sticks 2 (Sam Lane, Mackenzie Wilcox) Pakistan 2 (Abu Mahmood, Abdul Haseem Khan). HT: 1-0.
Good Recovery by Pakistan to Hold New Zealand 2-2
Pakistan drew with New Zealand 2-2 after being 0-2 down.
Down by two goals after eight minutes in the second half, Pakistan rallied back well to make it level within the next six minutes.
In the second test at the Wellington's National Hockey Stadium in New Zealand, Pakistan played a 2-2 draw against the hosts. They trail 0-1 in the 5 test series.
Unlike yesterday, the green shirts appeared a settled side from the beginning, They applied early pressure and earned a penalty corner in the 3rd minute. Aleem Bilal's push was well taken by the goal keeper who also cleared the rebound.
After seeing off Pakistan's offensive in the first seven minutes, the black sticks recovered and soon had an excellent chance. A good cut back from the goal line was misfired by a well placed forward in Pakistani circle.
An even contest ensued. Pakistan were employing some good aerial balls.
In the 23rd minute New Zealand were a goal up off their first penalty corner. Sam Lane's forceful push thundered on the left side of the board.
In the dying minutes of the first half, Pakistan had two back to back penalty corners. But couldn't benefit due to poor trapping at circle's top.
Half Time: 0-1
Pakistan were again out of the blocks quickly and garnered two PCs in the initial four minutes. First, Aleem Bilal's high flick was well palmed away by the custodian. Then the indirect variation failed.
Now, the hosts made a few raids. A blunder by a Pakistan defender handed the ball to an opponent who passed to Mac Wilcox. He beautifully side stepped a player before unleashing an angular top of the circle carpet shot.
So Pakistan were two down after 38 minutes.
It was all even after just five minutes. On their 4th PC, instead of Aleem Bilal, debutant Abu Bakr was given the chance. He didnt disappoint with a superb low flick left of the net miner. Second goal was scored by captain Haseem Khan who capped in a wonderful right side move with a first time touch. Pakistan were sending some long and accurate passes into the circle.
Having let go a two goal lead, New Zealand began the last quarter exerting great pressure. They entered the circle a few times in the first seven minutes but the Pakistani defence held out. The last few minutes saw a good up and down stuff without any shot on the goal.
Final Score: 2-2
New Zealand: Sam Lane (PC) & Mac Wilcox
Pakistan: Abubakr (PC) & Haseem Khan
PHF Media release
Pakistan go down fighting 2-3 in first hockey test vs New Zealand
In the first test of the five match series, New Zealand beat Pakistan 3-2 at Wellington,s National Hockey Stadium in New Zealand. Dilber and Aleem Bilal scored Pakistan's goals
The hosts go one up in the five test series beating Pakistan 3-2 at the picturesque National Hockey Stadium of Wellington.
The black sticks made the early inroads without looking dangerous. They had the first real chance of the evening in the 9th minute but couldn't avail it. Irfan Jr's individual burst earned Pakistan the first penalty corner which was wasted.
Tempo was faster in the second quarter. A fluent right side Pakistan move led to a good opportunity via a goal line cut back but the striker at an ideal position made a terrible attempt.
Soon, New Zealand went ahead with their first PC in the 23rd minute. The goal was netted in by Sam Lane; Pakistani defence was baffled by a slight variation.
The lead was short lived. Within two minute, green shirts equalised via a defensive blunder. An Ali Shan reverse cross from left couldnt be trapped properly by the defender. Dilber showing fine opportunism, flicked into the goal in a flash of an eye.
It was all to play for in the second half.
Pakistan began well. In the 37th minute, a combined raid yielded two back to back PCs. The high flick went out.
However, New Zealand again went ahead courtesy some sloppy work by the opponent's back line. Stephen Jenness took his time to get in a position away from the defender in front before slamming the board with a flat tomahawk.
They extended the lead in the last minute of the third quarter. Off the second PC, Cory Bennett strong high flick went to the upper left corner of the net.
If New Zealand were a better side for most of the first 45 minutes, Pakistan held sway in the last 15 minutes.Ball remained mostly in the hosts' half. The green shirts made it 2-3 off their third PC. Aleem Bilal's well directed drag landed in the right side of the net. They continued to look for the equaliser but the New Zealand defence stood well.
A fair result on the run of play. Pakistan can take heart from their display in the last quarter.
New Zealand: Sam Lane (PC), Stephen Jenness, Cory Bennett (PC)
Pakistan: Dilber, Aleem Bilal (PC )
PHF Media release
Calypso Stickmen regroup for World League qualifiers
T&T senior men’s hockey squad, led by Darren Cowie, will regroup this afternoon in a live-in camp ahead of the eight-team International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) Hockey World League Round Two qualifiers to be hosted by the T&T Hockey Board at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, from March 25 to April 2.
Host T&T, coached by former national goalkeeper Glen “Fido” Francis, will compete in Pool B alongside Russia (#22), Japan (#16), and Switzerland (#30) while Pool A consists of Barbados (#48), Chile (#25), Malaysia (#14), and USA (#27).
At the end of the tournament the top three teams will qualify to the Hockey World League Semifinals (Hockey World Cup 2018 qualifiers) which will be held in June and July this year.
Speaking yesterday, Francis said the team will had a few days home with their families and will now get back into competition mood this afternoon.
“We will regroup in the afternoon and then on Sunday morning we will train from 7 am to 9 am as we fine tune our preparations for what is expected to be a very tough series of matches”.
For the tournament, Francis will have the services of England-based standout Kwandwane Browne (Halmstead & Westminster), along with Tariq Marcano (St Albans), while uncertainty still hangs over the return of forward Akim Toussaint from Australia.
Browne will be making his national team return, his first appearance since a torn Achilles tendon on his left foot in 2015 prior to the Pan American Games in Canada while his last competitive outing for national team was the FIH World League Round Two qualifiers in California, in 2014 and is due to arrive on Monday while Marcano comes in a day later.
With regards to Toussaint, who left just over a week ago for a player/coaching stint at Australia’s Southern River Hockey Club, Francis said there was no confirmed word.
“We are still awaiting the final word on his return as it will be a costly exercise in doing so,” explained Francis.
Prior to its opening match versus Switzerland on March 25, T&T will play three warm-up matches versus Barbados (Monday March 20th), Chile (March 21st) and USA, two days later.
Apart from the overseas trio and Cowie, the other experienced campaigners in goalkeeper Andrey Rocke, Mickell Pierre, Marcus James, Aidan De Gannes, Stefan Mouttet, Jordan Reynos, Jordan Vieira and Shaquille Daniel, son of former national senior men’s hockey player and Commonwealth Games Rifle Shooting medallist, Roger Daniel while the players promoted from the Pan American Junior Men’s Championship team include Teague Marcano, Tariq’s younger brother, and Emmanuel brothers Kwasi, Kristien and Kieron, and Byer duo, Danielle and Lyndell.
This is T&T’s third time participating in the World League after making its debut in 2012.
Darren Cowie (captain), Aidan De Gannes, Kieron Emmanuel, Jordan Reynos, Jordan Vieira, Marcus James, Shaquille Daniel, Marcus Pascal, Dylan Francis, Teague Marcano, Tariq Marcano (St Albans/UK), Kristen Emannuel, Andrey Rocke (goalkeeper), Kwasi Emmanuel (goalkeeper), Stefan Mouttet, Akim Toussaint (Southern River Hockey Club/Australia), Mickell Pierre, Jabari Perez, Daniel Byer, Lyndell Byer.
Reserves: Isaiah Scott, Karlos Stephens (goalkeeper).
Technical staff: Glen “Fido” Francis (coach), Kirth Francis (manager), Dwain Quan Chan (assistant coach), Nataki Akii-Bua (assistant manager), Christabella George-Forde (assistant manager), Nicholas Baldeosingh (videographer/I T analyst), Karielle De Bique (physiotherapist), Dr Zynul Khan (doctor).
The Trinidad Guardian
'We did not play well'
National hockey coach Hector Smith believes the players who represented Fiji at the Hockey World League Round 2 in Bangladesh earlier this month had gained a lot of experience and exposure
Fiji finished eighth in the competition.
Smith said the level of the competition was very high.
"We were in a very good competition, but I believe we did not play well in the two matches. The first match was against Oman and in the quarter-final against China. The players were exposed to high level competition and this was the best team available. We are not giving any excuses," he said.
"We did not live up to the expectation that we set and the games are changing and becoming faster and faster. On the day, if you do not perform, you pay the price.
"A lot of new techniques have come in. For me as a coach I took the best available players and when a team does not perform, it is my responsibility. We can improve the game and we went to a competition where there were highly rated teams."
Fiji lost to Oman 0 -7, Bangladesh 1-5, Malaysia 1-11 in the pool matches and lost to China 17-0 in the quarter-finals. The side then lost to Ghana 2-11, Sri Lanka 3 -5 in the fifth to eighth place-off.
"It is easy to sit on the sideline and criticise, but once you come and run on the field and see how quickly the ball can go from one side of the field to another, then people will understand," he said.
The team returned on Thursday.
The Fiji Times
Incompetent PHF fails to feature in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
LAHORE: Due to incompetent management of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), Pakistan hockey has suffered another setback as the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) did not invite the country, for the first time, in the traditional Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to be held next month. The 26th Azlan Shah Cup Hockey Tournament is scheduled to begin on April 26. Since its inception in 1983, the Azlan Shah Cup has featured Pakistan almost regularly. The green-shirts have won the title thrice (1999, 2000, 2003) while remaining runners-up six times, the last occasion being 2011. In its reaction to the scenario, the PHF has written a letter to the country’s High Commissioner in Malaysia urging the official to convey the PHF’s concerns over MHC’s move - of not inviting Pakistan for the event - to Malaysia’s sports ministry. PHF’s controversial secretary general Shahbaz Senior said he had also written a letter to the Asian Hockey Federation to take up the issue with the MHC.
“The MHC decision has disappointed us as participation in the Azlan Shah Cup was a great opportunity for us to prepare our team for the World Cup Qualifying Round to be held in London in June,” Shahbaz said while underlining that Pakistan over the years had played a significant role in promoting the sport of field hockey in Malaysia. As an alternative plan, Shahbaz said, the PHF would now try to schedule some matches for the national team against Argentina, Belgium, Spain and Germany. After the PHF failed to send its team to the Junior World Cup held in India earlier this year -- mainly due to not applying for visa to meet the FIH deadline to confirm participation -- the Azlan Shah Cup is a big blow to the PHF.
The Daily Times
Hampstead prepare for Wimbledon challenge
Hampstead and Westminster's Will Calnan. Credit Tim Reder
Hampstead and Westminster are heading to the Finals Weekend for the first time – and face a trip to leaders Wimbledon this Saturday in what could be a practice run for their semi final clash in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.
The two sides drew 2-2 when they met earlier in the season, but Hampstead will be aiming to beat them this weekend and send out a strong signal of intent to their rivals, then go on to beat Holcombe in their final match in a week’s time.
“These next two weeks will give us a great chance to see where we are,” said Hampstead and Westminster captain Toby Roche. “We don’t mind who we play in what order in the Finals. We want to win it, so we’ve got to beat the best to win championships.
“We’ve got a few players out at the World League, but we haven’t lost since before Christmas so we’re still confident and want to maintain that momentum.”
Elsewhere, Canterbury go to East Grinstead in search of valuable points in their bid to avoid relegation danger, while Brooklands MU entertain bottom of the table Loughborough Students. If both Brooklands and Canterbury win, it will set the season up nicely for the final week of the season when the two sides meet with avoiding the play-offs at stake.
Third-placed Surbiton are on the road to Reading for their penultimate game of the regular season, while Holcombe are at home against Beeston on Sunday afternoon.
Separated only by a one goal difference, the top two will meet on the final day of the season in the Men’s Conference East – but both need to focus on winning their games this weekend to take the race down to the wire.
Leaders Teddington go to Oxted this Saturday, while Sevenoaks are at home against Richmond.
At the other end of the table, strugglers Indian Gymkhana, who have been in the league since its inception in 1988, need a win against third-placed Southgate and hope Brighton and Hove do not beat Wapping, if they are to avoid relegation play-offs.
In the Men’s Conference West Cardiff and Met take on Chichester at Sophia Gardens, and will want to get back to winning ways following last weekend’s loss to Team Bath Buccaneers.
For their part, Team Bath go to Old Georgians as they continue their push for the title. University of Exeter retain an outside chance of finishing champions if Cardiff and Team Bath slip; they travel to Cheltenham.
Fareham host the University of Bristol with both sides battling relegation, while Isca and Chichester are also not safe – Isca are at home this weekend against the University of Birmingham.
The University of Durham will want to maintain their impressive 100 per cent record when they travel to Sheffield Hallam in the Men’s Conference North.
Meanwhile, the bottom two do battle with ninth-placed Oxton hosting bottom of the table Leek. Both are desperate for the win to avoid relegation danger.
FIXTURES – Saturday, March 18
Men’s Hockey League
Men’s Premier Division
Brooklands MU v Loughborough Students 13:30
Wimbledon v Hampstead & Westminster 17:30
East Grinstead v Canterbury 18:00
Reading v Surbiton 18:30
Men’s Conference East
West Herts v Cambridge City 14:00
Indian Gymkhana v Southgate 14:00
Brighton and Hove v Wapping 15:30
Sevenoaks v Richmond 17:00
Oxted v Teddington 17:00
Men’s Conference North
Olton & West Warwicks v Bowdon 13:30
Preston v Deeside Ramblers 14:00
Oxton v Leek 14:30
Cannock v Doncaster 18:00
Sheffield Hallam v Univ of Durham 18:30
Men’s Conference West
Old Georgians v Team Bath Buccaneers
Isca v Univ of Birmingham 12:30
Cardiff & Met v Chichester 12:30
Cheltenham v Univ of Exeter 13:00
Fareham v Univ of Bristol 13:30
Sunday, March 19
Men’s Premier Division
Holcombe v Beeston 13:30
England Hockey Board Media release
Bowdon Hightown face Leicester tester
Lily Wolstenholme of Bowdon Hightown. Credit Tim Reder
Bowdon Hightown head to Leicester on Saturday as their bid to avoid the drop reaches what could be a critical point in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division.
Currently ninth, Bowdon must climb above Slough who are four points above them if they are to avoid having to go through the play-offs to preserve their top flight status.
Meanwhile, Leicester are four points adrift of the top four and will be going all out for the win to boost their hopes of reaching Finals Weekend.
Bowdon’s only league victory this season was a 2-0 win over Leicester earlier in the season, but it was a match Leicester feel they should’ve won.
“We dominated the game at Bowdon,” said Leicester Team Manager Sue Holwell. “But in the last ten minutes we hit the self-destruct button, so we owe them one for that.
“We’ve had a good run of results recently so we’re confident about this weekend, even though Bowdon are a bogey team for us.”
And Bowdon Hightown chairman Carl Tennant said: “We’re very much up for this game. As a team we’ve been fighting really well and performing well, but just not getting the results we deserved.
“Looking at the results Leicester have been up and down a bit recently, so the pressure is really on them.”
Elsewhere, Clifton Robinsons are also hoping to scrape into the top four and will need a win over Slough – and other teams to lose - to keep their hopes alive.
The University of Birmingham currently occupy fourth place and will want to hold on to that position. They entertain second-placed Holcombe in what could be a practice run for their semi finals clash.
East Grinstead have a home game against Canterbury as they bid to stay in the top four, while leaders Surbiton go to bottom of the league Reading.
Leaders Wimbledon face third-placed Hampstead and Westminster in the Investec Women’s Conference East, and could wrap up the title depending on how second-placed Sevenoaks fare in their home clash with fourth-placed Harleston Magpies.
At the other end of the table, bottom club Northampton Saints go to St Albans, and ninth-placed West Herts play Cambridge City with both all but mathematically assured to remain in those positions.
Brooklands Poynton could secure their place in the promotion play-offs – and the Investec Conference North title – if they can avoid defeat at second-placed Beeston on Saturday.
Meanwhile, it’s tight at the foot of the Conference North. Bottom club Belper host Sutton Coldfield as they look for a win to move off the bottom, while Timperley and Liverpool Sefton play the University of Durham and Loughborough Students respectively as they try to avoid the relegation play-offs.
And in the Investec Conference West, Buckingham head to Oxford Hawks for their penultimate game of the regular season, knowing that a win could give them the title.
Second-placed Stourport, who trail Buckingham by three points, go to Gloucester City as they bid to keep their promotion hopes alive.
Bottom club Bristol Firebrands host Trojans on Sunday as they aim to avoid automatic relegation, while Exe host local rivals Isca University in their battle against the drop.
FIXTURES – Saturday, March 18
Investec Women’s Hockey League
Investec Premier Division
Univ of Birmingham v Holcombe 12:30
Clifton Robinsons v Slough 13:00
Leicester v Bowdon Hightown 14:00
East Grinstead v Canterbury 16:00
Reading v Surbiton 16:30
Investec Conference East
Sevenoaks v Harleston Magpies 12:00
St Albans v Northampton Saints 13:00
Wimbledon v Hampstead & Westminster 14:00
Chelmsford v Southgate 14:00
West Herts v Cambridge City 14:00
Investec Conference North
Belper v Sutton Coldfield 12:00
Loughborough Students v Liverpool Sefton 12:30
Timperley v Univ of Durham 12:40
Ben Rhydding v Wakefield 13:30
Beeston v Brooklands Poynton 14:00
Investec Conference West
Swansea City v Olton & West Warwicks 12:00
Gloucester City v Stourport 12:00
Oxford Hawks v Buckingham 12:00
Exe v Isca 13:00
Sunday, March 19
Investec Conference West
Bristol Firebrands v Trojans 13:00
England Hockey Board Media release
Butali launch league campaign under new coach
By BRIAN YONGA
From left: Butali Sugar Warriors players Zack Aura, Rijsen Joost, Bernebus Odhiambo and Bran Musasia celebrate a goal during their Africa Cup of Club Championships match against Ghana Police at City Park Stadium on January 9, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Former champions Butali Sugar Warriors have vowed to win back the Kenya Hockey Union men’s Premier League title in honour of their late coach Cliffe Okello.
The Kisumu-based side get their season underway on Saturday against Western Jaguars at the City Park Stadium in one of the nine matches lined up for this weekend.
In the women’s league, newcomers University of Nairobi take on Sliders on Sunday with this weekend’s first match pitting United States International University of Africa (USIU-A) against Kenyatta University (KU) Titans.
Focus will however be on Butali, who will be under the tutelage of Godfrey Wakachunga. The former Butali Sugar player replaces Okello, who died on January 24 this year.
Okello led Butali to back to back league titles in 2014 and 2015 before they were dethroned by Strathmore University Gladiators last year.
According to Butali team manager Kamal Sembi, Wakachunga is the right man to lead the club back to glory.
“Cliffe can never be replaced because he was simply one of a kind but Wakachunga understands the clubs and its vision and we have confidence he can lead us to success,” Sembi said on Friday.
With champions Strathmore and fellow title challengers Kenya Police all winning their first matches, Butali have no room for error.
“Last season’s disappointment still hurts but we have picked ourselves up and ready to fight for the title,” he added. Butali have recruited three new players- goalkeeper Pius Ratori from Mvita XI and the duo of Constant Wakhura and Derrick Kuloba (all Strathmore University).
The trio, who made their debut during the Africa Cup of Club Championship in January, are in contention to start. However, attackers Frank Wanagwe and Barnabas Odhaimbo have failed to recover from knee injuries.
Jaguars, who were set to play in the second tier league this season, will be looking for a better season. The Kakamega based side won a four team mini-play-off that was organized after Wazalendo Youth declined promotion to the top-tier.
“It is tough opening match but we are up to the challenge. Our target this season is to finish among the top five,” Jaguars coach Mike Malungu said. Allan Malit, Williss Malesi and Dan Simiyu will be the key players for Jaguars.
Butali have won the last five meetings between the clubs. In another men’s clash, newcomers Technical University of Kenya (TUK) welcome Nakuru Hockey club at City Park.
The league debutantes lost 2-0 to Chase Sailors last weekend and will be looking to bounce back.
At the Mombasa Sports Club, returnees Mvita XI and Mombasa Sports Club face-off in a men’s National League encounter on Sunday.
FIXTURES (All matches at City Park Stadium unless stated)
Premier Women: USIU-A v KU Titans -12pm
National Men: Parkroad Tigers v Thika Rovers – 2pm
Premier Men: TUK v Nakuru Athletic- 4pm, Butali v Western Jaguars – 6pm
Premier men: Parklands v Western Jaguars – 9am, USIU-A v Nakuru Athletic – 11am
National men: Mvita XI v MSC- 11am (Mombasa)
Premier women: Sliders v UON – 1pm
Butali begin hockey title quest as league action continues
By Elizabeth Mburugu
Parklands Frankson Allan Odongo with the ball as Butali warriors Frank Wanangwe(r) looks on when they played premier league at City Park. Butali scored 4-1. ON 05/09/15 PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE
Former Kenya Hockey Union men’s Premier League champions Butali Sugar Warriors launch this season’s campaign against Western Jaguars today at City Park Stadium.
Butali who were dethroned last year by Strathmore University Gladiators will be out for a perfect start as they seek to reclaim the title. They lost to the students 3-0 in a penalty shootout to relinquish their crown after the finals match had ended in a 1-1 draw in regular time.
Butali who suffered a huge loss with the demise of their coach the late Cliffe Okello at the beginning of this year will also be seeking a fresh start. Captain Kenneth Nyongesa told Feverpitch they were hit hard by the loss and will be out to win the match for their fallen coach.
“We were hit to the core after we lost our coach, but we came together as a team accepted that he is gone and decided that we are going to work hard this season and win for him,” Nyongesa said.
Referring to his side as a wounded lion, Nyongesa added that they are going to fight tooth and nail to recapture the gong.
“We have beefed up our squad and are geared up to fight aggressively. It is going to be a long season because we are playing home and away but we are prepared.” Butali signed Constant Wakhura and Derrick Kuloba from Strathmore and goalkeeper Pius Ratori from Mvita.
Newcomers Technical University of Kenya (TUK) will be hoping to bounce back from their Premier debut 2-0 loss to Chase Sailors last weekend when they play Nakuru HC.
Tomorrow, Jaguars who survived relegation after winning the four-team playoffs courtesy of Wazalendo Youth who declined a promotion to the top tier will take on Parklands.
Nakuru play United States International University of Africa (USIU-A) in their second league encounter who settled for a point following a 1-1 draw with Kenyatta University (KU) Vultures last Sunday.
USIU-A Spartans lock horns with KU Titans today while Sliders take on novices University of Nairobi Ladies in the women’s title hunt. Both Spartans and Sliders struggled last season with Sliders who had finished second behind champions Telkom Orange in 2015 finishing fifth.
Thika Rovers clash with Parkroad Tigers in the men’s National League in Nairobi. Mombasa derby will see relegated Mombasa Sports Club and Mvita face off in hunt for premier league promotion.
The Standard Online
National U16: Perlis the odd One
By Jugjet Singh
FOURTEEN Boys' and 13 Girls' teams will compete in the Malaysian National Under-16 hockey tournament at two venues in Kuala Lumpur starting on Saturday.
Only Perlis failed to send a team for the Girls, while the rest of the states fielded teams for both genders.
Both the tournaments will be played at the Kuala Lumpur HA, and Education Ministry artificial pitches in Jalan Pantai.
Last year, held in Malacca, the tournament was a nine-a-side event, but its back to 11-a-side.
Boys' defending champions are Terengganu, while the Girls' champions are Selangor. Terengganu were held to a 1-1 draw by Selangor, but won the shoot-out 2-0.
Selangor also ended with a 2-2 draw against Penang, but won the shoot-out 3-1.
Sabah were initially supposed to host both the events, but a Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) inspection team found their pitch and facilities not up to the mark.
The MHC took over the hosts job, and KLHA were roped in as the 11th hour venue.
"Both our girls and boys teams have been training for a month now, and hopefully the perform much better than last year," said KLHA secretary V. Rajamanickam.
While the KL girls beat Malacca 3-0 for bronze, the KL boys finished ninth.
Boys -- Group A: Penang, Johor, Terengganu, Negri Sembilan, Kedah; Group B: Malacca, Perak, Perlis, Selangor, Sarawak; Group C: Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Sabah, Kelantan.
Girls -- Group A: Selangor, Kedah, Sabah, Kelantan, Sarawak; Group B: Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Terengganu, Penang; Group C: Perak, Malacca, Johor, Kuala Lumpur.
Jugjet's World of Field Hockey
Sparks will fly as favourites vie for Under-16 hockey supremacy
by S. Ramaguru
KUALA LUMPUR: Five different boys’ teams have won the MHC-Milo Under-16 hockey championship in the last five years.
Kuala Lumpur won in 2012, Perak in 2013, Selangor in 2014, Pahang in 2015 and Terengganu last year.
So, who will it be when the championship gets under way at the KL Hockey Stadium today?
These five teams will definitely be in the fray, as will be Sabah, Johor, Penang and Malacca.
Kuala Lumpur, who actually dominated the early years when they won the title from 2008-2012, believe they on course to regaining past glory.
“Our target, like the rest, is also to win the boys’ Under-16 title,” said KL team manager P. Silvaraj.
“It’s true that we have been out of the title mix for some years now, but that just goes to show you the strides others have made over the years.
“I think we can regain the title. But it’s going to be tough to even get through the group stage as we have Pahang, Sabah and Kelantan for company.”
Pahang are also in high spirits as they seek to ride on the momentum of their Under-14 team’s victory last year.
Only seven players from last year’s Under-16 team are still in the side while the rest will comprise the Under-14 team who won the title last year.
Coach Mohd Soffian Mohd is confident they have enough experience to mount a title challenge.
“We will take it one game at a time and work towards our target of a top-three placing,” he said.
“I see Sabah, Terengganu, Perak and Selangor as potential spoilers to our ambition.”
Sabah have targeted themselves a top-two finish, having ended up third last year.
Sabah secretary Avtar Singh said that the team had been training in Malacca for the last one week.
“The third placing last year was our best in the series. We have practically the same team ... so, our expectations are higher this year,” he said.
The Star of Malaysia
Mark Pearson elected to Canadian Olympic Committee Athletes' Commission
TORONTO — Six summer Olympians were elected to the Canadian Olympic Committee’s (COC) Athletes’ Commission to represent all Olympic and Pan American Games athletes in Canada.
Elected by their fellow Rio 2016 Olympians and Toronto 2015 athletes, the six new members of the Athletes’ Commission are Martha McCabe (Swimming), Oluseyi Smith (Athletics), Will Dean (Rowing), Rosie MacLennan (Gymnastics – Trampoline), Mark Pearson (Field Hockey), and Iñaki Gomez (Athletics).
“It’s an absolute honour to have been elected to the Canadian Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission,” Pearson, a two-time Olympian (2008 and 2016) in field hockey told fieldhockey.ca. “I’m excited about the opportunity to help speak on behalf of my fellow Canadian Athletes and to get to work strengthening our sport community as a whole.”
Brittany Schussler (Speed Skating) and Kristina Groves (Speed Skating), elected in 2014, will remain on the Athletes’ Commission. The Commission is chaired by Jeff Christie (Luge) and its First Officer is Helen Upperton (Bobsleigh). The Athletes’ Commission represents athletes on the COC Board of Directors. The members also present Canadian athletes’ perspectives on policy decision-making, the development of the sport system, sport funding strategies and other matters concerning athletes’ interests.
International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission representative Hayley Wickenheiser and Pan American Sport Organization Athletes’ Commission President Alexandra Orlando are ex-officio members of the COC’s Athletes’ Commission.
The COC extends its heartfelt thanks to the outgoing members of the Athletes’ Commission: Nicole Forrester (Athletics), Andréanne Morin (Rowing), Erin McLeod (Soccer), and Adam van Koeverden (Canoe/Kayak).
“Canadian athletes are leaders within the sport community and our voice is crucial to the direction of the overall sport system. The six newly elected members will bring fresh perspectives and expertise to the COC. Together we will ensure the strategies proposed by the COC fully reflect the betterment of sport and our athletes’ interests. We will get to work right away.”
– Jeff Christie, Chair, COC Athletes’ Commission, Two-time Olympian, Luge
“I’m honored to have been elected by my fellow Team Canada athletes to represent their interests in this important role. I look forward to working with Jeff and other members of the Commission to find new and innovative ways to strengthen the sport community for the benefit of athletes and the country as a whole.”
– Rosie MacLennan, Two-time Olympic champion, Trampoline
Field Hockey Canada media release
Girls’ College gear up for hockey challenge
Durban Girls’ College is aiming to retain its title at the SPAR KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge on Sunday, 26 March.
DCG hockey captain, Lori Niemand.
CAPTAIN of the Durban Girls’ College first hockey team, Lori Niemand, is looking forward to leading her team out onto the 3 Schools’ Trust Astroturf as they attempt to retain their Durban Central regional champion title in the SPAR KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge on Sunday, 26 March.
The DGC link who has full colours for hockey and plays for KZN, seems to be as much at home on the turf, as she is in water, on stage and in the classroom. The busy 18-year-old has received rewards for her efforts with special honours for synchronised swimming having competed for SA five times, half-honours for art and full honours for academics.
Her passion for the game started when she began playing hockey in Grade R at DGC and says that the thing she most loves about hockey is the close bond players form with team members and the excitement of matches.
With supportive parents, she has been able to pursue her many sporting interests.
“My dad is such a good role model and sports idol. He has taught me to always be determined and to have a good work ethic. I really admire him for the effort and hard work he puts in to accomplish such a huge achievement of completing 21 Comrades. He continues to train despite the weather or the early mornings, he has showed me how to be motivated and that you can do anything you put your mind to.”
She said her mother has always been there to support both her and her sister at every possible event. Lori’s sister, Tayla, was also captain of the 1st team at DGC in 2012, and still plays hockey and runs marathons.
“Our coaches are amazing, and guide us so well and that helps create this bond within the team. They encourage us to play hard and do our best. And no matter what the outcome is, always show good sportsmanship,” Lori said.
Niemand said that while art is her favourite subject, she hopes to become a chiropractor one day, and intends studying chiropractics at Durban University of Technology when she leaves school.
With the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge coming up, the captain said: “We always enjoy the SPAR tournament, and we all love those fabulous hampers. I’m really looking forward to the hockey season this year with my awesome team and coach, Ms Meek. Ashleigh Thomas (vice-captain) and I are very excited for the season ahead.”
With all these activities and commitments how does she manage.
“My motto is ‘Keep it simple, but significant. And always remain humble’ and that helps a lot!” she said.
EuroHockey provides pitch perfect programme
EuroHockey's 'Give & Get' programme has helped many nations develop hockey Photo: EHF/Norman Hughes
A helping hand up the development ladder is always welcome but when it involves donating an entire pitch, then the generous nature of the hockey family really comes to the fore.
Under the European Hockey Federation’s (EHF) 'Give and Get' programme, clubs are encouraged to give their old turfs to national federations who are unable to afford a new field but have a strong demand for hockey.
In the past six years, eight turfs have been taken up and delivered to a new home, with three of them already providing a surface for international competition.
EHF Education and Development Manager Norman Hughes explains how the programme works: “We work with the richer, more developed National Associations such as England, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany to identify pitches which are being replaced but have at least five years of life left in them.
“Developing nations send us their requests and we priorities those nations that we think will benefit most. For those clubs that donate pitches, there is pleasure in knowing that their old pitch is helping others less fortunate.”
There is no set criteria for a successful application but Hughes says that the decision will fall in favour of the poorest nations and the number of players the field could introduce to the game.
He also explained how historical hockey participation can play a part. “If a nation used to have a strong hockey heritage but when the pitches changed from grass to artificial turf they got left behind, then we will look carefully at helping those nations,” he says, pointing to the examples of many eastern European nations.
In the latest example of the 'Give and Get' programme, reported on the EHF website, EHF Vice-President Carola Meyer joined Hughes in Berlin, Germany to discuss with club officials from Club fur Leibesubungen the possible donation of a pitch to the Belarus Hockey Federation. EHF Partner Polytan was also on hand to assist, with Matthias Dittman helping assess the carpet and its possibilities.
The initial talks were sparked by a meeting between EHF’s partners Polytan and Carola Meyer at the German Indoor Club Finals. A contractor from Belarus, Vladimir Strok, helped in coordinating the donation. The pitch will be gifted to a new hockey city in the east of Belarus, Mogilev, which very recently hosted the National Indoor Finals.
Quoted on the EHF website, Norman Hughes says: “Thanks to wonderful networking and co-operation between our partners Polytan who met with EHF Vice President Carola Meyer at the Germany Indoor Finals, EHF was able to procure this hockey carpet. EHF wishes to thank Polytan and the Hockey Club for their kind offer and support.”
The cost of lifting and moving the field is met through a joint financial effort between the EHF and the receiving national federation. EHF assists with the lifting costs while the national federation pays for the trucks to transport the carpet. Hughes says the transport costs can reach upwards of €15,000, so it is not a light undertaking.
For Hughes, the programme is essential for developing nations. He explains that creating the surface for a pitch is one of the first steps up the ladder to increased participation and improved performance at all levels of the game.
Once the carpet is laid, the onus is then on the club, the town, the state or the federation to get people playing the sport. So far, three of the eight pitches – in Croatia, Lithuania and Slovenia – have hosted internationals - for the development manager, this is a huge success and one he hopes will inspire others to 'Give and Get'.
An article about a turf recently relaid in Croatia can be found one the EHF website by clicking here.