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News for 24 March 2017

All the news for Friday 24 March 2017

Trinidad & Tobago welcomes Men’s Hockey World League Round 2

Last chance for men’s teams to qualify for Semi-Final phase, where World Cup tickets are on the table

This Saturday, the third and final Round 2 event of the men’s Hockey World League will get underway in Tacarigua, Trinidad & Tobago. 

The eight-team competition, which takes place between Saturday 25th March and Sunday 2nd April, will see Canada, Japan, Russia, Chile, USA, Switzerland, hosts Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados battling for a top two finish to guarantee a place in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, where those coveted berths at the Hockey Men's World Cup 2018 in India are up for grabs.

Like all the Round 2 events, the competition in Tacarigua – which is located around 20 kilometers inland from capital city Port of Spain - 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 at the Semi-Final stage of the Hockey World League which will take place in this summer.

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 30th March.

In Pool A, Canada (FIH Hero World Ranking: 11), Chile (WR: 26), USA (WR: 29) and Barbados (49) will all go head to head. Although Canada’s Red Caribous will be regarded as favourites, midfield star Sukhi Panesar is taking nothing for granted.

“The HWL competition can sometimes prove to be challenging as we face teams we may not be as familiar with,’ said the 23-year-old Rio 2016 Olympian in conversation with the Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF). ‘With the significance of qualifying for either the World Cup or Olympics, the pressure is magnified and each result becomes that much more important.”

Canada have named a strong side for Tacarigua, with star defender and penalty corner expert Scott Tupper captaining the team.

Chile are the second highest ranked team in Pool A and come into the event full of confidence from their first place finish at the Round 1 competition in Chiclayo, Peru. The team won all five of their matches to top the standings, scoring 44 goals without conceding. Ignacio Contardo and Mathias Dummer each netting seven goals in the tournament victory, providing clear evidence that they have plenty of firepower at their disposal.

Both USA and Barbados qualified for Round 2 thanks to strong performances in Round 1, with the Americans winning Round 1 in Salamanca, Mexico ahead of second placed Barbadians. The two sides face each other on two occasions in that competition, with USA emerging victorious in both, something that Barbados will be keen to rectify here in Tacarigua.  

Japan (WR: 16) are top ranked side in Pool B but are likely to face stern challenges from Russia (WR: 22), Switzerland (WR: 30) and home favourites Trinidad & Tobago (33). Japan’s campaign at the 2016 Men’s Asian Champions Trophy in Kuantan, Malaysia last October ended in a disappointing sixth place finish, but a ray of light came from the performances of striker Kenta Tanaka, who scored six times – five from open play – to finish second in the scorer’s charts at that event. Tanaka has been selected for the competition in Tacarigua could well be hoping that his goals can fire his team into the World Cup qualification phase of the Hockey World League.

On paper, Russia could well be Japan’s strongest challengers in the pool, with veteran defender Evegenii Mokrousov captaining the team. Mokrousov lead Russia through their Hockey World League campaign in 2014-15, where a fourth place finish at the Round 2 event in San Diego, USA was not quite enough for them to progress to the next phase.

A third place finish at the Round 1 competition in Glasgow, Scotland proved to be good enough for Switzerland to qualify for Round 2, where Jan Hödle top scored for the team with three goals. 

Hosts Trinidad & Tobago may be the lowest ranked team in the pool, but according to team captain Darren Cowie, they are confident of their chances. “I think probably acceptable is a fifth-place finish, judging from rankings, preparation and the fact that we are the only team that has not had a international match in preparation”, said Cowie in an interview with the Trinidad & Tobago Daily Express.  “Despite all that, we are better prepared tactically and we are aiming for third spot.”

At the age of 39, Trinidad & Tobago’s Kwan Browne may be the second oldest player in the competition - behind USA's Paul Singh, who is three months older - but he is still capable of producing match-winning moments of brilliance. 

The top two finishers from the men’s Round 2 events in Dhaka (4-12 March 2017), Belfast (11-19 Mar 2017) and Tacarigua are certain to qualify for the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, being joined in the World Cup qualifier phase by the two highest ranked of the third placed finishers from those three events.  Malaysia and China took the top two places at the event in Dhaka, with Egypt (WR: 20) finishing in third place. In Belfast, Ireland claimed a first place finish ahead of France, with Scotland (WR: 27) taking third position.

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

FIH site

FIH Hockey World League Round 2 to Get Underway Saturday for USMNT

TACARIGUA, Trinidad & Tobago - Just two days away, the U.S. Men's National Team is eager to get on the pitch for their first match of the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 in Trinidad & Tobago. USMNT Head Coach Rutger Wiese and his selected 18-athlete squad made the trip early this week for the event taking place at the National Hockey Center, Eastern Regional Sporting Complex from Saturday, March 25 to Sunday, April 2, 2017. For the full tour roster, click here.

The pool of participating teams for the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 is made up of Hero FIH World Ranked No. 11 Canada, No. 16 Japan, No. 22 Russia, No. 26 Chile, No. 30 Switzerland, No. 33 Trinidad & Tobago and No. 49 Barbados. USA sits in the middle of the Hero FIH World Ranked at No. 29 and is in Pool A with Barbados, Canada and Chile. The Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF) confirmed every match of the event will be live streamed for fans everywhere to enjoy. USA Field Hockey is working with PAHF to secure more information about the stream to share on usafieldhockey.com once details are provided.

Team USA will open the tournament competition against Canada on Saturday, March 25, followed by Barbados the following day. From there, USA will face Chile on Tuesday, March 28 before crossover play with the quarterfinals on Thursday, March 30. Wiese noted one of the biggest obstacles the USMNT will face during the event will come from Canada, the highest world ranked competitor at the at the tournament, and who also has the confidence that comes from both competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and as a team that enjoyed a good run in the 2015 FIH Hockey World League, where they finished fourth in the Semifinals and qualified for the Finals.

“Of course, our challenges are the top-notch competition we face, however, we are excited for the opportunity," mentioned Wiese, in the PAHF article. "We will try to mainly focus on ourselves this tournament, while keeping in mind that in international competition you always need to be prepared for the unexpected and adjust to the new situation.”

How Team USA finishes in Pool Play will determine their Quarterfinal opponents. The top two placed teams will automatically qualify for the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals to be played in July and August 2017. The third placed team will have a chance to also qualify, depending upon the rankings of the third place finishers in the other two FIH Hockey World League Round 2 events.

USMNT FIH Hockey World League Round 2 Schedule:
 Date      Time      Match
 Saturday, March 25      1:15 p.m. EST      USA vs Canada
 Sunday, March 26      1:15 p.m. EST      USA vs Barbados
 Tuesday, March 28      3:30 p.m. EST      USA vs Chile

Prior to departure and due to an unforeseen circumstance, an athlete on the originally selected FIH Hockey World League Round 2 roster was replaced by Wiese and his coaching staff. Defender Ruben Van Dam (Valkenswaard, The Netherlands) will look to record his first international cap with the USMNT while in Trinidad and Tobago.

 “The Hockey World League circuit gives us a cool opportunity to play opponents that we otherwise typically wouldn’t because of zoning regions," said USMNT captain Michael Barminski (Ventura, Calif.). "However, it presents its own set of challenges as we have had to climb our way from World League Round 1 to World League Round 2 and now have a chance to qualify for World League Round 3 [Semifinals]. It’s a lot of games to get to the top., but we’re up for it.”

The USMNT is looking for support to raise funds in an effort to cover air and ground transportation to compete at World League Round 2. A gift of any size directly contributes to the USMNT and their upcoming tour. We appreciate your consideration in advance. Please click here to view more details.

USFHA media release

Browne penalty-corner seals third warm-up win

Nigel Simon

Kwandwane Browne on the move as he scored T&T lone item during its final warm-up match against the USA at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua on Tuesday night. T&T won the game 1-0. Photo: ANTHONY HARRIS.

Kwandwane Browne got the lone goal as T&T senior men’s hockey squad eked out a 1-0 win over USA in their final warm-up match for the eight-team International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) Hockey World League Round Two at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, on Tuesday night.

The 39-year-old England-based Browne, T&T’s most capped player with 302 appearances to his name scored the lone goal with four minutes left in regulation time from a penalty-corner in the final quarter to secure a third straight warm-up win of the Glen “Fido” Francis-coached T&T squad.

In their previous two warm-up matches, the Darren Cowie-captained T&T men trounced Barbados 3-0 with Dylan Francis, Stefan Mouttet (penalty corner), and Mickel Pierre on target on Monday and edged Chile 1-0 on Tuesday courtesy a fourth minute goal from the other England-base international, Tariq Marcano.

Today the final 18-man T&T squad will be announced as well as have its final training session from 7pm at Tacarigua ahead of tomorrow’s opening clash with world 22nd ranked Russia from 8pm in Pool B.

T&T will also face Switzerland (#30) on Sunday, March 26, and 16th ranked Japan two days later in its round-robin pool, while Pool A consists of Barbados (#48), Chile (#25), Canada (#11) At the end of the tournament the top two teams will qualify to the Hockey World League Semi-finals (Hockey World Cup 2018 qualifiers) which will be held in June and July this year. Third placed team may also get a ticket to the Semi-Finals if they are rank higher than #27 Scotland who came third in Belfast.

Full tournament groupings and fixtures T&T senior men’s hockey team

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, Isaiah Scott, Mickell Pierre, Jabari Perez, Daniel Byer, Lyndell Byer.

Reserves: 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).

Pool A: Canada, Chile, USA, Barbados,
Pool B: Japan, Russia, Switzerland, T&T

Round Robin fixtures

Saturday March 25

A - Canada vs USA, 1.15pm
A - Chile vs Barbados, 3.30pm
B - Japan vs Switzerland, 5.45pm
B - Russia vs T&T, 8pm

Sunday, March 26

A - USA vs Barbados, 1.15pm
A - Chile vs Canada, 3.30pm
B - Russia vs Japan, 5.45pm
B - Switzerland vs T&T, 8pm

Tuesday, March 28

B - Switzerland vs Russia, 1.15pm
A - USA vs Chile, 3.30pm
A - Canada vs Barbados, 5.45pm
B - Japan vs T&T, 8pm

Thursday, March 30

Quarterfinals (1.15pm - 8pm)

Saturday April 1

Fifth - Eighth semi-finals (1.15pm - 3.30pm)
Main Draw semifinals (5.45pm -8pm)

Sunday, April 2

Seventh place playoff, 1.15pm
Fifth place playoff, 3.30pm
Third place playoff, 5.45pm
Final, 8pm

The Trinidad Guardian

Daniel fits in as hockey men beat USA in final warm-up

By Mark Pouchet

THREE GET READY: National hockey players from left, Marcus James, Shaquille Daniel and Jordan Vieira go through a warm-up session before their practice match against the United States at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, yesterday. —Photo ISHMAEL SALANDY

Trinidad and Tobago coach Glen “Fido” Francis says his players are ready to open their March 25-April 2 FIH (International Hockey Federation) Men's World League Round 2 campaign against Russia at the National Hockey Centre in Tacarigua tomorrow.

After completing their third consecutive warm-up match win, a 1-0 result over the USA yesterday at the tournament venue, Francis thinks the momentum is building nicely.

“The guys are getting better and I think confidence is growing,” Francis said, “We have no injuries... and that was a key practice match today (yesterday).”

Talismanic player Kwandwane Browne scored the 37th minute item for T&T.

Francis added that the three practice matches had gone swimmingly well, as the Darren Cowie-led squad rehearsed their tactical and technical game and were able to mentally apply training lessons to match play.

Yesterday, Fido also re-introduced soldier Shaquille Daniel to the squad and was impressed with the player's work output.

“He looked brilliant, so it was a good decision,” Francis said, adding that Daniel played in the forward/midfield for 20 minutes “I was kind of worried about it because he has in been military training and his (hockey) training was kind of pushed back because he was passing out. But I believe the TTDF is always willing to help with their national players. I thank them allowing him to come and play because he was very good for the team, he provided that extra energy and spark for the team so it was brilliant and he is going to add a lot of quality to the team.”

The T&T men were set to relax and do some massage and psychological sessions yesterday before a team meeting in the evening. Today, Francis and his charges will have their final training session between 7-9 p.m. before they tackle the 22nd-ranked Russia squad tomorrow, at 8 p.m.

“It is just about getting things to click into place, not to finish last in the group because we would prefer not to play the Olympic team Canada and our chances with the other teams are much better,” Francis concluded.

Trinidad and Tobago Express

Indian women's hockey team leaves for West Vancouver for World League Round 2

NEW DELHI: High on confidence after scripting a 5-0 series whitewash over Belarus earlier this month, the Indian women's hockey team led by striker Rani on Thursday departed for West Vancouver to take part in the World League Round 2, starting on April 1.

The Indian eves will vie for top honours when they clash with teams likes Belarus, Canada, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile and Uruguay in the upcoming tournament.

"We go in as the top ranked team and we are confident we will finish in the top spot. We are going there 10 days before the start of the tournament so we will have enough time to get used to the turf, climate. We will also play two practice matches which will help us fine tune further," said Rani.

Rani said the team has been working extremely hard in the national camp in Bhopal under the watchful eyes of chief coach Sjoerd Marijne and analytical coach Eric Wonink. Their training was also overseen by Hockey India's High Performance Director David John.

"We were put through a rigorous training camp which began in the second week of January. We have worked a lot on our individual skills, brought in a few variations in our techniques to increase speed of play and the team has thoroughly enjoyed working under the new coaches who are very specific in their approach and ensure every girl in the team knows her responsibilities and what is expected of her.

"Apart from emphasis on fitness, there was also special sessions for mental training and it has helped the team a lot," said the captain.

Vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka said that the series win against Belarus was a big confidence booster ahead of the World League Round 2.

"This group has been together for a while now and we know each others' strengths and weaknesses. I feel the series win against Belarus was a big motivator. There were minor mistakes that we committed against Belarus and we worked on correcting those mistakes these past few weeks," she said.

"Our primary goal is to qualify for the World League Semi Final and to do that our focus will not just be on attack and speed of play but also a lot of emphasis will be on our defensive structure," Ekka added.

The Hockey Women's World League Semifinal will be held in June and July with Johannesburg and Brussels set to be the two venues.

Speaking about the women's team progress over these past few weeks, Dutch coach Marijne said, "The team possess great skill to play fast but we have also emphasised a lot on defence because a good defence structure is what wins championships. We have worked on our own small targets and I am hopeful they will fetch us good results."


Goalkeepers: Savita, Rajani Etimarpu.

Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Sunita Lakra, Gurjit Kaur, Renuka Yadav, Lalhlunmawii.

Midfielders: Deepika, Navjot Kaur, Ritu Rani, Monika, Lily Chanu Mayengbam, Namita Toppo.

Forwards: Rani, Vandana Katariya, Poonam Rani, Sonika, Anupa Barla.

The Times of India

Black Sticks draw fifth test with Pakistan

Photo: www.photosport.nz

The Vantage Black Sticks Men have fought back to a well-earned 1-1 draw against Pakistan at Trust House Hockey Wairarapa complex in the fifth and final test.

Head coach Darren Smith said his side’s performance was better than yesterday, doing a better job defending and managing their threats.

“My feeling is that we would have had more opportunities and more quality opportunities, which is good for a young group,” he said.

“We had an emphasis around starting well, being proactive and communicating better. We were a lot more compact and read the play a lot better.”

It was a fast start to the game and the Kiwis played with better pace and cohesion than last night, but both teams went into the halftime break locked at 0-0.

The Vantage Black Sticks dominated the third quarter, receiving a couple of penalty corners along the way but couldn’t hammer home the advantage.

Their best chances in the third quarter came from penalty corners, with Cory Bennett on target but his shot was swatted away after a great reflex save from Pakistan keeper Amjad Ali.

New Zealand’s second penalty corner resulted in a green card to Muhammad Arslan Qadir but Sam Lane’s bullet of a shot sailed just wide of the post.

Pakistan broke the deadlock just two minutes into the final quarter with captain Abdul Haseem Khan again the goal scorer following his double in last night’s test.

However, the Black Sticks showed their steel and struck back courtesy of a Sam Lane screamer from the edge of the circle with a wonderfully taken reverse stick shot with 10 minutes left to play.

Coach Smith said Pakistan were impressive throughout the series, which they won 2-1, especially through the defensive midfield area.

Smith, speaking about his first series in charge said “personally it’s been good, I have got to know the guys a bit and they’ve gotten to know me. I’ve really enjoyed it but I can also see opportunities where we can do better, both on and off the pitch. It’s a pretty impressive hockey team with some young guys in there."

PAKISTAN: 1 (Abdul Haseem Khan)
Halftime: 0-0

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Pakistan wins 5 test hockey series against New Zealand after 1-1 draw in last match

On Pakistan day, the national hockey team won the 5-test series against New Zealand, a team ranked six places higher, in latter's backyard.

Pakistan continued with their impressive form and drew the final test 1-1, at the Trust House Hockey Wairarapa Complex. Thus the green shirts won the series 2-1; two tests ended in a draw.

The match began at a fast pace. But goal eluded to either side and it was 0-0 at the half time.

The deadlock persisted in the third quarter as well.

Finally, Pakistan managed to break the ice in the second minute of the last quarter. It was an open play goal by Mohammad Irfan Jr.

The hosts, who needed to win the match to level the series, fought back hard.
They equalised with 10 minutes left. Sam Lane sent in a fierce reverse shot from the edge of the circle.

It ended 1-1.

New Zealand's coach Smith appreciated Pakistan's display, "Pakistan were impressive throughout the series."

PHF Media release

Black Sticks better, but draw hands Pakistan series

Jack Barlow

Sam Lane scored against Pakistan, but New Zealand could not manage the win. JOHN COWPLAND / PHOTOSPORT

Almost, but not quite.

The Black Sticks went into Thursday's game knowing they needed to beat Pakistan to level the series, but although they came close they couldn't quite finish the deal, drawing 1-1.

Throughout they showed a step up in intensity following the previous night's disappointing loss at the same ground at Carterton, in the Wairarapa.

It showed from the start, as they immediately brought play deep into Pakistan's half. Pakistan keeper Amjad Ali was busy early, deflecting a ripping shot after only two minutes.

The defence on both sides was tenacious, with players on both sides quickly swooping on any loose passes.

Unlike the previous day, neither side exerted pressure for long stretches. Instead it was a back and forth affair, the Black Sticks looking organised and threatening on attack, but Pakistan coming close through some ripping long shots.

The scoreboard told the tale, with both sides locked at 0-0 going into halftime.

New Zealand again came out strong in the second half, a raft of shots finding their way agonisingly close to the Pakistan goal.  They had a nervous moment when - very much against the run of play - Pakistan were awarded a penalty with three seconds in the third quarter to go, but Muhammad Rizwan's shot was safely deflected.

Still, it came as a shock when Pakistan's captain Abdul Haseem Khan sent the ball flying through New Zealand's defence several minutes later. With 12 minutes to go, and after exerting so much pressure, the Black Sticks were suddenly down 1-0.

Spurred on, they struck back just two minutes later through a screamer from Sam Lane, equalising the scores at 1-1. The last five minutes were played at a furious pace, but neither side managed to break out. The draw gifted Pakistan the series 2-1.

Despite the draw, New Zealand captain Arun Panchia was pleased with the way his side fought back after the previous day's defeat.

"Obviously it's a bit disappointing," he said.

"But we were definitely a little more in it than yesterday, we created more opportunities.

"We're a young group and we're still developing, but there were definitely some good signs out there tonight."


Pakistan win series against New Zealand after 1-1 draw in fifth test

Pakistan took home the series win after a well-earned 1-1 draw against Vantage Black Sticks Men at Trust House Hockey Wairarapa complex in the fifth and final test, on Thursday.

The Vantage Black Sticks ruled the game in the the third quarter and even received a few penalty corners along the way but failed to make the most of them.

The Kiwis' best chances came in the third quarter, from penalty corners, with Cory Bennett was on target but his shot was dismissed with a flick from Pakistan keeper Amjad Ali.

New Zealand’s second penalty corner resulted in a green card to Muhammad Arslan Qadir but Sam Lane’s efforts led the ball wide of the goal post.

Pakistan broke the deadlock just two minutes into the final quarter with captain Abdul Haseem Khan scored the goal for the green shirts.


Rangiora set for stellar match between Black Sticks women and USA


Pippa Hayward, left, is looking forward to playing the first international match in Rangiora. PHOTOSPORT

It will be a battle between fifth and sixth in the world when the Black Sticks face the USA at Rangiora's Waimakariri Hockey Stadium this weekend.

For the first time, North Canterbury will host a New Zealand senior international team of any sport and former St Margaret's College student and Black Sticks midfielder Pippa Hayward says its a real boost for the Canterbury players.

"It is exciting, its cool to be down here," she said.

Player Pippa Hayward, second from left, during training at the new stadium in Rangiora. JOSEPH JOHNSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Hayward spent the better half of 15 years in Canterbury where she developed her hockey career and was first named in the Black Sticks squad four years ago.

Originally a Southlander, Hayward moved to Christchurch aged 11 where she attended Templeton Primary School near Rolleston.

"Canterbury is obviously a big part of my hockey career and I owe them a lot and my coaches as well. Its a big part of my hockey past."

Although Hayward is now based in Auckland she still represents Canterbury every year in the National Hockey League. Also a former Canterbury University student, many of Hayward's friends and family are still based in the city and will be attending the two-test series.

This is the first time in two years the Black Sticks have returned to the region, the last match being played at Marist Park against Argentina.

The new $2 million Waimakariri Hockey Turf is the same surface the Black Sticks played on at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Both sides trained in Rangiora today and Hayward said the turf lived up to its expectations.

"It was really nice, it was flat. I really liked it you could hit the ball really flat and it didn't seem that heavy. Sometimes a brand new turf can be quite slow. It's not super fast. Right up there."

The local Hinemoa-Kaiapoi Hockey Club and Rangiora Hockey Club are two of the oldest clubs in the country dating back to 1895 and 1898 respectively.

While the USA (6th) are ranked below the Black Sticks (5th) the series means a lot to the team in their lead-up to next week's Hawke's Bay Cup where they will face nearest rivals Australia (4th).

"The States are a really good team because they're really competitive, they're very aggressive in the way that they play and they're very, very fit. They're a top side and have actually done really well in the past five years. They've come up the ranks quite a lot," said Hayward.

"It [Hawke's Bay Cup] is the main event I suppose if you look at it, but when you break it down, these are test matches and every time you go out there you want to make sure you give it 100 per cent and put your best foot forward. We take every game and every test match seriously."

"Every game is important and every game you're trying to get better."

The team will use the Hawke's Bay Cup as preparation for the world league to qualify for the Hockey World Cup.

At 26, Hayward is one of the oldest in the team, as the young Black Sticks side is in a new development stage. While there are still some seasoned players, including Stacey Michelsen (221 tests), Olivia Merry (148), Rose Keddell (144) and Liz Thompson (130), many are coming to grips with the international scene.

"I think we've got a pretty good group at the moment."

"We are always young. I don't know what it is. I think it's just a massive commitment that it makes it quite hard to sustain, which is a shame. Hopefully that changes over time and it comes more sustainable. "I think there comes a point in some peoples lives that maybe they want to move on and do other things. They want to have a career."

Hayward, who was unavailable for the recent series against Argentina in Buenos Aires, hasn't played since October.

Waimakariri Hockey Stadium, Rangiora

Saturday, March 25
3pm, Vantage Black Sticks Women v USA

Sunday, March 26
3pm, Vantage Black Sticks Women v USA

Black Sticks squad: Shiloh Gloyn, Erin Goad, Sam Harrison, Pippa Hayward, Tessa Jopp, Rose Keddell, Olivia Merry, Stacey Michelsen, Brooke Neal, Grace O'Hanlon, Kirsten Pearce, Amy Robinson, Sally Rutherford, Kelsey Smith, Jenny Storey, Kim Tanner, Liz Thompson.


USWNT Travels to New Zealand for The Hawke's Bay Cup

HASTINGS, New Zealand - Landing in New Zealand a week prior to The Hawke's Bay Cup, the U.S. Women's National Team now methodically lays the foundation of their tour with two pre-event matches. Contending against New Zealand's National Team on Monday, March 27 and Tuesday, March 28 in Christchurch, New Zealand will provide Team USA with opportunities to warm up their sticks before the big tournament gets underway on Sunday, March 31. Coming to a conclusion, Friday April, 9, 19 of USWNT Head Coach Janneke Schopman’s finest athletes look to tear up the turf.

Gathering at Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park to vie for the cup alongside Team USA (Hero FIH World Rank 6) are Australia (Hero FIH World Rank 3), New Zealand (Hero FIH World Rank 5) and Japan (Hero FIH World Rank 11). The event schedule can be viewed by clicking here.

The tournament, hosted in Hastings, New Zealand, will act an integral pitch primer for Team USA’s stacked summer schedule of competition including July’s FIH Hockey World League Semifinals in Johannesburg, South Africa and August’s Pan American Cup in Lancaster, Pa.

USWNT The Hawke's Bay Cup Schedule:
Date     Time     Match
Friday, March 31     4:00 p.m.     USA vs. Australia
Saturday, April 1     3:00 p.m.     USA vs. Japan
Monday, April 3     6:00 p.m.     USA vs. New Zealand
Tuesday, April 4     4:00 p.m.     USA vs. Australia
Thursday, April 6     3:30 p.m.     USA vs. Japan
Saturday, April 8     5:00 p.m.     New Zealand
Sunday, April 9     3:00 p.m.     3rd/4th Placement
      5:15 p.m.     1st/2nd Placement
*All times are local to New Zealand
*Local time is 17+ hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time

Only the final three days of competition will be live streamed courtesy of The Hawke's Bay Cup Committee. Viewing information can be found closer to opening day on usafieldhockey.com as well as on the official The Hawke's Bay Cup event site.

USFHA media release

Racing Club de France face high quality lead-in to Bann tie

Racing Club de France’s Simon Martin-Brisac is looking forward to two big tests as his club returns to domestic action on Sunday to face Lyon before meeting arch rivals and leaders Saint Germain next week.

Racing, who sit second in the French table, are assured of a place in the next stage of the French championship season already following eight wins from 12 games before Christmas.

And the international striker says that playing the other two sides in the top three is the perfect wat to build up to the EHL KO16.

“Our club have played some good test matches without our internationals so we’re in good shape to return to the club for the French championship,” he told the EHL website.

“We have two or three weeks to prepare to be very strong for the EHL and Banbridge. We know it will be very tough.

“There’s a lot of Irish players in that Banbridge team but we have the same in the French team and we have a big chance of going through to the KO8. Banbridge will also have that chance so its 50-50, maybe more for Banbridge but we will give everything to win.”

Martin-Brisac was one of Racing’s four players who lined out at World League Round 2 last week along with Christophe Peters-Deutz, Corentin Saunier and Jean-Laurent Kieffer.

They won their first five games in Belfast to reach the final, achieving a place in the World League semi-final where World Cup places will be decided.

France fell to hosts Ireland in a shoot-out in the final despite leading for a long time through Victor Charlet’s penalty corner.

Looking back, Martin-Brisac added: “We’re happy because we qualifed for World League 3 because that was the target. We didn’t have great preparation in our test matches and were not very confident so we are glad to get through.

“But the final match was very disappointing, frustrating. 1-0 until seven or eght minutes from the end. Up to then, we were very focussed but we stopped playing, focused maybe on umpires and Ireland took advantage. They had two or three occasions to score and took one. In the shoot-out, they have a very good goalkeeper but that’s hockey.”

Euro Hockey League media release

Mannheim build for EHL KO16 with Spanish series

Mannheimer HC’s preparations for the EHL saw them take in a top class training camp with three games in Barcelona, strengthening their team spirit in the process.

The tour followed a long indoor season when they reached the German national final. In their first match in Spain, they took on the Club Egara side that they will meet in the KO16 in a quirk of fate with the training camp planned long before the draw was made.

Matthias Becher said of the tie: "There were absolutely a lot of things we learned from this for our young players. Spanish teams play, defend and think quite differently about hockey than we do in Germany."

The game ended 3-3 after 70 minutes; in the EHL, this would normally lead to a shoot-out but the two sides decided to let this potentially wait until their meeting in Eindhoven on April 15.

Junior FC were next with the Barcelona club winning 4-1. "We have seen the strengths of a Spanish team in this game – the counter-attack, the self-pass and 1v1 moments," Becher said, explaining the result, visibly dissatisfied with it.

They closed out their matches wit a 4-0 win over FC Barcelona. Whether this result was because the players had been celebrating the legendary victory of their FCB footballers against Paris Saint-Germain the evening before remains unknown.

As part of the trip, the Mannheimer side engaged in a number of team-bonding exercises, sharing a big house together with small groups cooking each day for the rest of the squad.

After the three test matches and some training sessions in the Spanish sun, Becher said his team is armed and ready for the EHL KO16 against Club Egara.

"The team knows that the important weeks of the season are coming, and we are in a very good place to get our top hockey arriving at the right time. Some of the players are already enjoying their best preparation of the career.

“In addition to Philipp Huber, who is now part of the team again after his stay abroad, Tomas Prochazka, Jan-Philipp Fischer and Danny Nguyen are visibly more responsible on and off the pitch.

“Danny and Japhi are linking up well in midfield. The defence, with Olympic gold medalist Gonzalo Peillat and the Czech national team player Tomas Prochazka is a decisive part of our game, and we are very pleased with the way our players, who have not played the indoor season, have integrated themselves back into the team."

Euro Hockey League media release

Surbiton test for Clifton Robinsons

Clifton Robinsons Abi Porter, Credit Peter Smith

Clifton Robinsons travel to leaders Surbiton on Saturday as their bid to reach the play-offs in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division reaches a critical stage.

Currently fifth and just outside the play-off positions, Clifton Robinsons will need to beat a Surbiton side who have lost just one league match all season – and hope that other results go in their favour – if they are to book their place at Finals Weekend alongside their opponents.

“There’s a lot riding on this game,” said Clifton Robinson’s captain Aileen Davis. “We’ve got to just focus on getting the three points, and then we will worry about whether we’ve made the play-offs.

“We’ve got to stick to our normal routine in training this week. It was a competitive game between us and Surbiton earlier in the season. We always tend to have quite good battles!”

Elsewhere, Leicester also have a tough away game as they bid to scrape into the play-offs. Currently sixth, they could climb to third if they can win at second-placed Holcombe - who have booked their place at Lee Valley - and other results go in their favour.

East Grinstead will be hoping to hold on to third place as they go to a Bowdon Hightown side who are preparing to fight for top flight survival in the play-offs against the three Investec Conference winners.

And the University of Birmingham similarly will want to hold on to fourth place as they go to Canterbury.

Finally, Slough play host to relegated Reading in the day’s other Premier Division clash.

The race for the title in the Investec Women’s Conference East will be decided on the final day of the season, with leaders Wimbledon going to bottom of the table Northampton Saints while second-placed Sevenoaks travelling to Hampstead and Westminster.

A win or draw for Wimbledon will mean they take the title, but if they lose and Sevenoaks win, the Kent side will go top and head into the promotion play-offs.

Brooklands Poynton entertain Timperley in the Investec Women’s Conference North, knowing that a win will give them the title. However, if they fail to do so, Beeston could snatch top spot with a win at Sutton Coldfield.

And at the other end of the table, there’s a three-way battle to avoid automatic relegation or a play-off to survive between Liverpool Sefton, Timperley and Belper, with Liverpool Sefton hosting Belper on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Buckingham have already won the Investec Women’s Conference West title, but will want to maintain their great form heading into the play-offs, with a win over relegated Bristol Firebrands at home on Saturday.

FIXTURES – Saturday, March 25

Investec Women’s Hockey League

Investec Premier Division
Canterbury v Univ of Birmingham 14:00
Surbiton v Clifton Robinsons 14:00
Slough v Reading 14:00
Bowdon Hightown v East Grinstead 14:00
Holcombe v Leicester 14:00

Investec Conference East
Cambridge City v Chelmsford 14:00
Northampton Saints v Wimbledon 14:00
Harleston Magpies v St Albans 14:00
Southgate v West Herts 14:00
Hampstead & Westminster v Sevenoaks 14:00

Investec Conference North
Brooklands Poynton v Timperley 14:00
Liverpool Sefton v Belper 14:00
Sutton Coldfield v Beeston 14:00
Univ of Durham v Ben Rhydding 14:00
Wakefield v Loughborough 14:00

Investec Conference West
Isca v Gloucester City 14:00
Stourport v Oxford Hawks 14:00
Buckingham v Bristol Firebrands 14:00
Trojans v Swansea City 14:00
Olton & West Warwicks v Exe 14:00

England Hockey Board Media release

Relegation scrap in the Men's Premier Division

Canterbury's Craig Boyne. Credit Simon Parker

The battle to avoid relegation goes right down to the wire in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division, with Canterbury hosting Brooklands MU on Sunday to see who will have to battle through play-offs to preserve their top flight status.

Currently ninth, Canterbury will overtake eighth-placed Brooklands with a win. The team who finish ninth will have to battle with the three Conference winners if they want to remain in the top flight.

Both sides have seen Jekyll and Hyde form through the season, but both have secured two wins since Christmas, with Canterbury’s shock 5-2 defeat of leaders Wimbledon a fortnight ago showing just what they can do.

“It is a huge game for us this Sunday and we hope the crowds will come out in support,” said Canterbury manager Gary Wyver. “It will be like a cup final as we know only a win will secure our Premier Division place for next season without having to qualify through the play-offs as we have had to do for the previous two seasons.

“Recent home form has been good. Training and preparation will be as normal, and we will get together as a group on Thursday evening after training just to make sure everyone knows their role for Sunday.”

Meanwhile, Wimbledon head to third-placed Surbiton on Sunday for their final match of the regular season, while second-placed Holcombe go to Hampstead and Westminster, who have secured the fourth and final spot at Finals Weekend.

Elsewhere, Beeston are hosting East Grinstead, while relegated Loughborough Students entertain Reading in their final top flight match.

In the Men’s Conference East, the battle for the title will come down to the battle between Teddington and Sevenoaks on Sunday, with the winner of the first versus second clash going forward to the promotion play-offs. A draw will also be enough for Teddington to stay in front.

Meanwhile, Wapping host Indian Gymkhana in a clash of the bottom two. The winner will go into the relegation play-offs, while the loser is automatically relegated. A draw will mean Wapping are down.

The Men’s Conference West also sees the title race go right down to the wire, with leaders Team Bath Buccaneers hosting Cheltenham, while Cardiff and Met – who are level on points but second because of an inferior goal difference – head to the University of Exeter.

And the scrap to avoid relegation is a three-way battle, with Chichester, Isca and Fareham all hoping for a win to avoid having to fight through play-offs to preserve their league status.

In the Men’s Conference North, bottom club Leek need a big win over Olton and West Warwicks if they are to avoid automatic relegation. Meanwhile, ninth-placed Oxton go to Bowdon knowing that a win or draw will be enough for them to avoid the drop, although they will still have to face relegation play-offs.

Elsewhere, title winners the University of Durham host Cannock looking to complete a remarkable 18 wins out of 18 in the league.

FIXTURES – Sunday, March 26

Men’s Hockey League

Men’s Premier Division
Hampstead & Westminster v Holcombe 14:00
Canterbury v Brooklands MU 14:00
Loughborough Students v Reading 14:00
Surbiton v Wimbledon 14:00
Beeston v East Grinstead 14:00

Men’s Conference East
Richmond v West Herts 14:00
Teddington v Sevenoaks 14:00
Cambridge City v Oxted 14:00
Wapping v Indian Gymkhana 14:00
Southgate v Brighton and Hove 14:00

Men’s Conference North
Leek v Olton & West Warwicks 14:00
Bowdon v Oxton 14:00
Univ of Durham v Cannock 14:00
Deeside Ramblers v Sheffield Hallam 14:00
Doncaster v Preston 14:00

Men’s Conference West
Chichester v Old Georgians 14:00
Team Bath Buccaneers v Cheltenham 14:00
Univ of Bristol v Isca 14:00
Univ of Birmingham v Fareham 14:00
Univ of Exeter v Cardiff & Met 14:00

England Hockey Board Media release

Another weekend of vital matches in Scottish National League

It’s a double header in the men`s National League 1 this weekend, and with only five games remaining for most teams, the issues of the league title, the top four places, and relegation matters might become somewhat clearer. In the women`s National League 1 championship the top four sides for the play-offs are almost secure, but the Tayside derby between Grove Menzieshill and Dundee Wanderers might have an influence on pole position by Saturday evening.

The two-horse race for the first division championship is coming down to the wire as the competition approaches its denouement; Grange are two points behind leaders Bromac Kelburne and must take the six points available from this weekend`s double header against Uddingston and Edinburgh University to maintain contact.

Grange`s form this season has been fairly consistent, only five points dropped, but they were found to be shot-shy in their recent 3-0 defeat by Kelburne and last weekend struggled to overcome stiff resistance from second bottom Clydesdale, finally winning by the odd goal in seven.

David Knipe`s charges certainly won both earlier fixtures 4-2 but each side presents its own challenges for the Grange coach.

The Lanarkshire side have hauled themselves up from the relegation zone with some steady results, and seem to be able to pull off a rogue score line on occasions as Grove Menzieshill found out back in November.

The Edinburgh students present the perils and pitfalls of any local derby, and over the last few years Graham Moodie`s men have put one over on neighbours Grange on occasions. However, Grange did see off the students 4-2 in the earlier league encounter.

Further, Edinburgh`s form since the restart has not been the greatest with single points from two draws in four outings, nevertheless they are still in touch of a top four place.

Grange should be strengthened by the return of Captain Cammie Fraser and Duncan Riddell from Scotland duty, and hope that Frank Ryan and Luke Cranney can continue their recent scoring form.

Grove Menzieshill could make third place their own with home victories over Hillhead and Clydesdale. Since the restart after the winter shutdown Grove Menzieshill`s results have been littered with victories and defeats, but they have still managed to hang on to third spot. Chris Anderson`s charges could make that position their own after this weekend.

The battle for the final top four spot seems to be between Edinburgh University and Uddingston, the latter are three points ahead, but several clubs further down the table could come into the equation if the favourites fail to pick up points this weekend.

At the moment the battle to avoid the relegation play-offs is concentrating on Hillhead, Western Wildcats and Watsonians, all on 14 points, along with Clydesdale also on 11 but with a game in hand.

Teams that pick up points over this double-header weekend may move closer to safety, Hillhead would hope to collect three against bottom side Gordonians on Sunday.

Wildcats` coach Harry Dunlop will hope to take his young pack on the route to safety with six points against Clydesdale and Watsonians this weekend. Earlier results are promising, the Auchenhowie side drew 1-1 with Clydesdale but then beat Watsonians 4-2, the veteran striker Scott McCartney getting yet another hat-trick of his long career.

In the women`s first division Grove Menzieshill appear to be in the driving seat, two points ahead of Edinburgh University and with a game in hand.

But the Taysiders now embark on the business end of winning the title, next they take on city rivals Dundee Wanderers. This has all the hallmarks of a banana skin encounter, the leaders only won the earlier fixture by a single strike from schoolgirl Jenny Walls.

While this hasn’t been a vintage season for Wanderers, they have won three of their last four games, but still trail a top four spot by nine points.

Edinburgh will hope to maintain contact by seeing off second bottom Hillhead at Peffermill, last time out it was 8-0 with Amy Brodie and Becky Merchant the main providers.

Milne Craig Western, with Coach Derek Forsyth back in charge, will hope to do better than their goalless draw with Watsonians last Sunday, and Kelburne could feel the backlash at Titwood.

Wildcats may not win the first division title but their top four place will look even more secure with an away win over bottom side CALA in Edinburgh. Last time out the Wildcats gave CALA a ten goal defeat, Heather Aitken scored four and there were two each for Alex Stuart and player/coach Kareena Cuthbert.

Watsonians can propel themselves out of the relegation zone altogether with six points in their two matches against CALA and Erskine Stewart`s Melville.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Sinyolo, Kamusinga in perfect starts

National and East Africa hockey champs win opening matches

By Elizabeth Mburugu

It was the kind of beginning national and East Africa hockey champions Sinyolo Girls and Friends School Kamusinga (FSK) were wishing for.

Being favourites in the regional Term One games, it was expected they would have a spotless start and they did.

Sinyolo launched their quest with an emphatic 8-0 victory over Dede Girls as the Nyanza Region games got underway at Cardinal Otunga High School yesterday.

In Mumias, Friends School Kamusinga (FSK) of Bungoma County defeated Musingu of Kakamega 2-0 in their opening Pool A match.

Four goals in each half were enough to give Sinyolo the perfect start to their campaign. Owiti siblings Alice and Maureen led Sinyolo’s onslaught as the four-time East Africa winners drubbed their hapless Migori County counterparts with little mercy in the group A tie.

Alice grabbed a hat-trick, while Maureen scored twice. Lydia Oketch also ensured that her name was on the score sheet, as she also scored twice.

Sinyolo coach Alloise Owino said the good start would motivate his charges to fight all the way to the final and book a ticket to the national games.

“This is where real battle is. All teams are chasing the sole ticket to the national games, hence the stiff competition. A good start is an inspiration and we will build on this victory because a lot is at stake. We have to retain this title and increase chances of defending our titles,” Owino said.

In the boys’ matches, Kisumu Day defeated Kanyawanga 4-1 in pool B, while Kisii trounced Thurdibuoro 4-0. Champions Maseno edged St Mary’s Yala 1-0.

In Mumias, Morgan Nyongesa and Emmanuel Wiswa scored a goal each as FSK defeated Musingu 2-0. In another match, Nyang’ori Vihiga won 1-0 against Amukura of Busia to improve their chances of reaching the knockout stage.

The Standard Online

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