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News for 20 April 2017

All the news for Thursday 20 April 2017

Squad announced for GB men's trip to Malaysia

Phil Roper and Alan Forsyth

Great Britain’s men’s hockey team travel to Malaysia this weekend in the next stage of preparations for this summer’s World Cup qualifiers in London.

Bobby Crutchley takes his new-look squad to the Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament, and is looking to build on a successful start to the new cycle which last month saw England defeat South Africa on their own patch, as well as Germany, currently ranked third in the world.

Hockey is very much on a high in Great Britain, and our men’s team are in a great position to capitalise on the game’s growing fanbase. With a fresh approach for this new cycle under Crutchley, including 12 new players in the central squad and the appointment of one of our greatest ever players Russell Garcia as incoming Assistant Head Coach, there are exciting times ahead. In particular, this June both England and Scotland play in the Hockey World League Semi Final in London; a vital World Cup qualifier taking place at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre from 15 to 25 June. England tickets start at just £5 for under 18s and £17.50 adults.

The Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament is an invitational event featuring four of the world’s top eight teams, including current World Champions and Champions Trophy holders Australia, plus New Zealand and Japan. India and Malaysia will also use this event as preparation for their visit to London this coming summer. Games are due to be streamed online by the hosts, more details to follow.

Crutchley welcomes back Barry Middleton and Mark Gleghorne for the first time in this cycle, the pair having played in the recent India Hockey League. Scotland’s Alan Forsyth is another welcome addition, having once again been the highest scorer in the Men’s Premier Division with 20 goals to his name. Wales’ Dan Kyriakides is also included, having helped his nation to a positive finish in their recent round of World League fixtures.

George Pinner is not available as he is marrying England and Great Britain’s women’s team’s Jo Hunter while the event takes place. Defender Michael Hoare is also getting married so he too does not make the trip. With goalkeeper Pinner unavailable, Harry Gibson will be backed up by Chris Wyver.

Full squad:
Tom Carson (Reading)
Brendan Creed (Surbiton)
Alan Forsyth (Surbiton)
James Gall (University of Nottingham)
Harry Gibson (Surbiton) (GK)
Mark Gleghorne (Beeston)
David Goodfield (Surbiton)
Chris Griffiths (East Grinstead)
Jonty Griffiths (Loughborough University)
Dan Kyriakides (Cardiff & Met)
Barry Middleton (Holcombe)
Phil Roper (Wimbledon)
Liam Sanford (Team Bath Buccaneers and RAF)
Ian Sloan (Wimbledon)
Sam Ward (Holcombe)
Henry Weir (Wimbledon)
Ollie Willars (Beeston)
Chris Wyver (Old Georgians) (GK)

Saturday 29 April, 9:05am UK time: Great Britain vs India
Sunday 30 April, 11:05am: Great Britain vs Japan
Tuesday 2 May, 1:35pm: Great Britain vs Malaysia
Wednesday 3 May, 11:05am: Great Britain vs Australia
Friday 5 May, 9:05am: Great Britain vs New Zealand
Saturday 6 May: Finals day

England Hockey Board Media release

Update to Kookaburras team to contest Azlan Shah

Ben Craig joins the team

Holly MacNeil

Ben Craig in the recent series against Pakistan

There has been a change to the 18-man Kookaburras team who will contest the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia later this month.

Captain Mark Knowles will sit the tournament out after suffering a stress injury to his foot, and will be replaced by Lane Cove local Ben Craig.

Knowles awaits further testing to find out his recovery period, but it is thought that the injury was caught early enough to keep the recovery time to a minimum.

Kookaburras head coach Colin Batch said: “Unfortunately we’ve had to rule Mark out of the Azlan Shah tour, but this just means that it gives Ben another opportunity to further prove his ability ahead of the World League Semi-finals.

“We still believe we’re taking a highly capable team over to contest in the Azlan Shah Cup, and we will decide who will captain for the series once we have assembled in Malaysia.”

The new team who will contest the Azlan Shah Cup now stands at:

Athlete (Hometown/State)
Andrew Charter (Canberra, ACT)
Ben Craig (Lane Cove, NSW)
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW)
Matthew Dawson (Killarney Vale, NSW)
Jeremy Edwards (Hobart, TAS)
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT)
Aaron Kleinschmidt (Melbourne, VIC)
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA)
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA)
Edward Ockenden (Hobart, TAS)
Flynn Ogilvie (Wollongong, NSW)
Andrew Philpott (Melbourne, VIC)
Joshua Pollard (Melbourne, VIC)
Matthew Swann (Mackay, QLD)
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD)
Tom Wickham (Morgan, SA) *plays for WA
Matthew Willis (Tamworth, NSW)
Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah, NSW) *plays for QLD

Kookaburras Azlan Shah Match Schedule
29 April: AUS v NZL 6.05pm AWST / 8.05pm AEST
30 April: AUS v MAS 8.35pm AWST / 10.35pm AEST
2 May: AUS v IND 4.05pm AWST / 6.05pm AEST
3 May: AUS v GBR 6.05pm AWST / 8.05pm AEST
5 May: AUS v JPN 6.05pm AWST / 8.05pm AEST
6 May: Finals

Hockey Australia media release

Wimbledon reach the Final Four

By Mike Haymonds

SIMON MANTELL  and Ian Sloan were Wimbledon’s scoring heroes as they beat the Germans Mannheimer  5-3 in a shoot-out after a 2-2 draw in regulation time at the KO8 (quarter-final) stage of the Euro Hockey League in Eindhoven.

Wimbledon became the first English club to reach the Final Four of the EHL since Reading in 2011, on only their second appearance in the competition.

Their achievement was all the more remarkable as they were in the third tier of the domestic hockey pyramid in 2009/10 when Beijing Olympian Ben Marsden joined them as director of hockey. He acted as player-coach until they reached the national Premier League when David Bunyan took over as coach for two seasons. For the past two seasons Athens and Beijing Olympian Ben Hawes has been the coach.

So Wimbledon have reached the height of EHL Final Four in just eight seasons.
In the KO16 stage in Eindhoven Wimbledon had beaten one of the favourites UHC Hamburg, who had won the EHL title three times in the competition’s ten-year history, by 3-1 to reach the KO8 stage.

Mannheimer opened the scoring in the13th minute when their Argentinian drag flicker and Rio gold medallist Gonzalo Peillat fired home his first goal of the tournament.

But Wimbledon hit back with two strikes in a minute just before the end of the second period from Rio Olympians Mantell (a penalty stroke) and Sloan.

Mannheimer levelled with five minutes left through Jonathan Ehling but Wimbledon prevailed in the shoot out with five from five, scored by Sloan, Steven Ebbers, Phil Roper, Mantell and Phil Ball, while their goalkeeper James Bailey saved from Max Neumann.

“We came here this weekend with a real belief,” said Wimbledon’s captain and Man of the Match Jonny Kinder. “We didn’t think we were favourites but we had a clear game plan and everybody executed it which is fantastic.

“We’ve got so many players capable of doing very special things but this was a team performance and everyone contributed. Reaching the Final Four is new territory for us and we’re really proud.”

Marsden said: “I was confident for the weekend as we have the most balanced team since we have been in the Premier.”

Wimbledon will meet the Dutch Oranje-Rood in the Final Four (semi-finals) in Antwerp on the 3/4 June with the hosts KC Dragons facing Rot-Weiss Cologne in the other tie.

Daily Express

Final Tour Match Between U-21 USWNT & England Ends in a Tie

BISHAM, England - The U.S. U-21 Women's National Team completed its four game test series against England with the final result being a 3-3 deadlock. The team made significant progress during the tour, finishing with three ties, one loss and four penalty shootout victories.

“It was a good series for us," commented Phil Edwards, U-21 USWNT Head Coach. "We got quality exposure to a different style of play than what we typically see in the USA. The girls adapted well. We came with the intention to grow, gain experience and compete. I felt we achieved each of those things.”

In the final match, USA displayed its relentlessness leading on three separate occasions. Danielle Grega (Kingston, Pa.) opened the scoring in the first quarter of play on a penalty corner rebound off a Casey Umstead (Green Lane, Pa.) straight sweep. England responded in the second quarter on a combination play down the right side of the field. The U-21 USWNT regained the lead in the third when Abby Julius (Hummelstown, Pa.) dished off to Virginia Bramley (Elizabethtown, Pa.) for a well-finished goal over the England's goalkeeper. England fought back and made it even on a penalty corner goal. Yet again, Team USA took the lead early in the fourth on a straight strike from Carrie Hanks (Niskayuna, N.Y.). England equalized right before final time was up on a penalty corner rebound.

USA once again took the penalty shootout competition, 3-2, winning on a poised finish from Nicole Woods (Beverly, Mass.).

USA Field Hockey and the U-21 USWNT want to thank family and friends who traveled all the way to England to support the red, white and blue.

The U.S. U-21 Women's National Team now returns home and will rejoin for the Young Women's National Championship in June 12-16 at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa.

USFHA media release

Colts make it two wins out of two

By Nabil Tahir

KARACHI: Pakistan Junior hockey team defeated defending champions Victoria 2-1 in the opening match of the U18 Australian Hockey Championship in Hobart on Wednesday.

Having hammered Randwik Hockey Club 6-0 a day earlier, the Colts have now made it two wins in as many matches on their tour Down Under.

The Greenshirts opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Ghazanfar Ali converted their first penalty corner to put the visitors up 1-0.

Minutes later, Pakistan received another penalty corner but this time failed to make the conversion.

Victoria punished Pakistan for their profligacy and were back on level terms in the 17th minute when Ryan Nangle scored via a penalty corner — one of four the hosts received on the day.

Both the teams pushed hard in the second half and made six entries each in each other’s circles, but clear-cut chances were hard to come by.

Victoria had two shots on target in the entire period, with both attempts successfully thwarted by Pakistan goalkeeper Waqar Ali.

The winning goal finally came in the 63rd minute when Ahmed Nadeem scored via a penalty corner — their only attempt at goal in the second half.

The defending champions searched hard for an equaliser but were unable to find their way past the Pakistani defense.

“The boys have shown brilliant skills today, and I am really happy to see them play like this,” head coach Kamran Ashraf told The Express Tribune. “The way they played and defeated the defending champions is really incredible.

“We still have many matches to go but more than winning our main focus on this tour is to gain valuable experience and identify our weaknesses and also to learn the way modern hockey is played.”

Ashraf was also quick to remind that his charges had more ball possession than their opponents and lauded the hosts for their hospitality. “We saw good sportsman sprit too when the kids from opponent team congratulated the Pakistan team on their win,” he said.

Two of Pakistan players, Shahzaib Khan and Adeel Latif, were also shown a green and yellow card respectively during the match.

The Express Tribune

Two teams looking to overturn odds

Surbiton's Alan Forsyth celebrates a goal against Beeston. Credit Peter Savage

The two teams who finished third in the respective men’s Premier Division and women’s Investec League – Surbiton and East Grinstead – are both teams capable of creating an upset at League Finals Weekend. In terms of playing experience, both these sides contain fewer Olympian than their three rivals, but what they lack in Olympic experience, they more than make up for in team work, and the ability to surprise their rivals.

For Surbiton men, the season got off to a poor start with an opening day 2-3 loss to Holcombe and a draw against Hampstead and Westminster. From then on, however, the team has sailed through the season unbeaten, although they do have eight draws to their name.

With the leagues’s top goal scorer, Alan Forsyth, looking to extend his scoring figures beyond the 20 league goals he has amassed so far, and Australian Luke Noblett hoping to continue to make an impact upon the side, Surbiton will provide a real challenge for their first opponents, Holcombe. The south London side have the services of six Welsh and Scottish players who recently returned from HWL R2 duty – an experience that will have sharpened their game before the challenge ahead.

In his earlier assessment of the teams and their chances, Hampstead and Westminster coach Kwan Browne said that Surbiton are a young side who play a very route one form of the game, something that could well upset the Holcombe players.

Kirsty Mackay EG

For East Grinstead, the past three seasons have been an upward trajectory. They joined the top table in the 2014-15 season, finished mid-table in 2015-16 and now have secured a top four finish in their third season. The West Sussex side began the season in stunning fashion as they remained unbeaten in the Investec League until February, but then three consecutive losses – to Surbiton, University of Birmingham and Holcombe – saw them drop down the league and into a scramble for the top four places with Birmingham and Clifton. They secured their play-off spot  on the final day of the league when they beat Bowdon Hightown.

EG will be pleased to call Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre their home for the Finals weekend. Two years ago they secured promotion at the stadium and, with their home form less than exemplary – they have lost three of their nine home games – a return to the home of hockey will be very welcome.

Lucy Bairner and Pippa Lock have been on form for EG this year, both players have been regularly popping up on the scoresheet and will hope to find a way past Holcombe in their match on Saturday 22 April. At the other end of the pitch, two Olympians will also be looking to extend a season that has glittered. Defender Laura Unsworth and ‘keeper Kirsty Mackay, who was reserve goalie in Rio, have been the bedrock of the East Grinstead defence and their experience will count heavily in the clash at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

Kirsty herself plays down the role she and Laura Unsworth play in the team, saying ’I think we are less important in some ways because the team have had to manage without us in some games this year, as we both had some time out post Rio. Obviously, when we are there I am sure the girls do appreciate the experience we bring, and I can only hope that we do instil confidence to the team.

‘My role at EG is to exude confidence to the team, not just because I was part of the GB squad, but because I am the goalkeeper and being confident and calm under pressure is key in that position.’

In preparation for the coming competition, the women’s team have played friendlies against the men’s team – something that has led the team to really step up a notch. But, says Kirsty, that has been the story of the past two seasons. Since gaining promotion to the league, it has been a case of fast learning. The ‘keeper says that larger squad (18-20 players) has been tough to adapt to, but ultimately this has led to a very competitive push for places, which bodes well for the weekend ahead.
‘When joining EG, it was my goal to help get them to Europe, we achieved that in the indoor competition and now we have a shot outdoors. It is such an achievement to make the top four in only our second year in the league and therefore we have already exceeded expectations.

‘I hope that we are ready. Through our performance in Lithuania in February [at the Indoor Club Championships] we can take great confidence that we can compete at a European level. We just have to focus on the first game against Holcombe. They obviously have far more experienced players than us and a lot of great internationals but anything can happen on the day. I'm really looking forward to the challenge.’

England Hockey Board Media release

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