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News for 29 April 2017

All the news for Saturday 29 April 2017

Van Huizen: Write your own target

Jugjet Singh

MALAYSIA, ranked 14th, will open their 26th Azlan Shah Cup campaign in Ipoh Saturday against the lowest ranked team Japan, 16th, but fans can expect an uphill battle all the way.

It will be a test of World League Round Two champions as Malaysia won gold in Dhaka, Bangladesh, while Japan were champions in Trinidad and Tobago.

The man to watch will be 28-year-old Kenta Tanaka, who top-scored in Trinidad and Tobago with nine field goals, including the equaliser against Canada in their 2-1 win in the final.

Japan coach Yamabori Takahiko is confident that his men will emerge as victors, unlike the 7-2 drubbing their received in the Asian Champions Trophy in Kuantan last year.

"After we lost to Malaysia (7-2) we dropped half the players and rebuilt this side. We did well in the World League, and are ready to win our first match tomorrow (today)," said Yamabori.

The clarion call did not worry Malaysian coach Stephen van Huizen, but what irked him was the question about Malaysia's target on home soil.

"I did not hear what the Japan coach said, but to the question about our target here, you can make your own target and write about it," said a visibly peeved van Huizen.

As an after-thought, van Huizen said: "We finished fourth last year, and would be working to finish higher."

Malaysian skipper Shukri Mutalib believes they have a 50-50 chance against Japan.

"We have played them many times before and both sides know each others' game. We need to minimize mistakes and work on their weak areas. I believe we have a 50-50 chance, as Japan are no pushovers," said Shukri.

Australia, New Zealand, India and Britain will field many newcomers, as they blood youth to prepare for the World League Semi-finals -- which all six teams in Ipoh have qualified for.

India, hosts of the 2018 World Cup, have six Junior World Cup players on their side while the Kiwis have injected many new players after a string of retirements and injuries hit their side after the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

SATURDAY: Britain v India (4pm), New Zealand v Australia (6pm), Malaysia v Japan (8.35pm).

SUNDAY: India v New Zealand (4pm), Japan v Britain (6pm), Australia v Malaysia (8.35pm).

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Let’s do better this year

by S. Ramaguru

Time to improve: National skipper Mohd Shukri Mutalib (right) wants Malaysia to do better than last year’s fourth placing in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup which begins today.

IPOH: Malaysia should aim to finish better than last year at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament.

National skipper Mohd Shukri Mutalib said that they must do better than last year’s fourth placing.

“Although the tournament is a place to test our strength ahead of the World Hockey League (WHL) Semi Finals in June, we must use the opportunity to learn and get good results.

“I’m sure that we all want to prove ourselves and make the team in June.”

Malaysia will open their Sultan Azlan Shah Cup campaign against Japan today.

This is only the third time that Japan are playing in this tournament.

Like Malaysia, Japan have also qualified for the WHL Semi-Finals. But Malaysia will be playing in London and Japan in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Both teams met in the Sultan Shah Cup and also the Asian Champions Trophy last year, with Malaysia winning both times – 4-3 and 7-2.

National coach Stephen van Huizen, however, is aware of the vast improvement made by Japan.

“Japan will want to prove a point after those two losses. For them to beat any team here will be a bonus, considering they are the lowest-ranked side,” said Stephen.

“We too cannot take any team for granted.”

Japan coach Takahiko Yamabori is looking forward to the matches, saying it’s a big opportunity for them to play against higher-ranked teams.

“We have a mixed team and this is a chance to test our players against the best,” he said.

“We also want to learn and prepare for the WHL Semi-Finals. Our aim is to qualify for the World Cup next year.”

All the six teams – including defending champions Australia, India, New Zealand and Britain – are expecting a hot and humid condition, but the downpours over the last few days have caught everyone by surprise.

“You never know. It is raining now, but it might be hot when we play against India. The weather here is unpredictable, but we are itching to start playing,” said Britain coach Bobby Crutchley.

India coach Roelant Oltmans also did not hide the fact that he will be blooding some players ahead of two important assignments – the Asia Cup in October and the World League Finals in December.

“This (Sultan Azlan Shah Cup) is always an interesting tournament. This time, it serves a different purpose as well because it gives us a perfect opportunity to try out players and tactics for the two major events on our calendar,” said Oltmans.

The Star of Malaysia

Indian hockey team need to be consistent to build for 2018 World Cup

Sundeep Misra

Indian hockey coach Roelant Oltmans has decided that at the 2017 edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament, the emphasis would be on style. He didn’t elaborate on what exactly ‘style’ meant for the Indian team playing their 20th Azlan Shah. But knowing the Dutchman, it certainly wouldn’t be dour, ‘defensive’ duties for the players, especially with a huge season coming up — the World League semi-finals, the Asia Cup and then the World League Finals.

In Oltman’s previous assignments, chiefly as coach of Holland’s '96 Olympic gold and '98 World Cup winning teams, the accomplishments then were achieved with a set of forwards who could have had alternative careers as sprinters — Stephen Veen, for one. Speed on the ball would be of essence when this Indian team troops out to play Great Britain in their tournament opener.

Even if the 2017 season is packed, the aim is for a podium finish at the 2018 World Cup in Bhubaneshwar. The Azlan Shah has always been a testing ground — in fact, since 1983, it has been a sort of ‘hockey lab’ for most teams, either beginning a season or resting players before a big tournament. But India has usually played their best set of players at the Azlan.

Diplomatic relations apart, both the Malaysian and Indian federations understand the need for each other and at most Malaysian hockey stadia, fans come to watch the Indians play; the India-Malaysia match is usually a sought after spectacle.

Oltmans' use of the word ‘style’, however, speeds up the imagination — pacy moves, intricate dribbles that bemuse and confound the defenders, passing that makes hockey look like a Chinese Checkers game. In other words, slowing down the pace down would be a tactical ploy not ‘our style.’ And ‘style’ needs to culminate in goals, which is where Oltmans is headed.

As a coach, he is in a comfortable spot. Regardless of what happens in the World Cup qualifying for 2018 Bhubaneshwar, the Indian team are already through as hosts. That’s a huge burden off the team leaving Oltmans to experiment with ‘style’ and focus on the podium.

“Our aim this year is to improve the levels and win the Asia Cup,” he said. Not that Oltmans would be terribly disappointed to finish on the podium at the World League semis and finals. If India reach the top four at the World League finals in Bhubaneshwar in 2017, their rankings and seedings would improve, which is of massive importance when teams are pooled at the World Cup. Being a World Cup host has given India and Oltmans a massive opportunity.

But that World Cup podium battle begins at the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey stadium in Ipoh. It’s been 42 years since India won the World Cup in 1975. Oltmans has his job cut out. Most coaches believe it’s one of the most prestigious tournaments in the World. Some would even rank it in the top four, after the Olympics, World Cup and the World League. “I don’t believe in sending a young inexperienced squad to a tournament such as the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. The top-ranked teams in the world are gathered here,” said Oltmans.

India has a different link that goes just beyond playing in this invitational championship. It was here in 1985 that Mohammed Shahid sent the fans into a trance with his magical skills which fetched the Indian team the trophy scoring 49 goals in the process. In '91, the Pargat Singh led team with forwards of the class of Mukesh Kumar, Jagbir Singh and Dhanraj Pillay won the tournament with a total of 67 goals.

In '95, the tournament was shifted to Kuala Lumpur and at the Tun Razak stadium under Pargat Singh’s captaincy again, they beat Germany in a thrilling final after being level 2-2 in regulation time. India won 5-4 on penalties. The next title would only come in 2009 under the captaincy of Sandeep Singh and then again in 2010, India shared the trophy with South Korea under the helm of Rajpal Singh. PR Sreejesh would want to be the fifth Indian captain to lift the Azlan for the 6th time.

In the media interaction before the tournament kicks off on Saturday, Oltmans said that Suraj Karkera has been replaced by Akash Chikte. “Suraj has an injury and it wasn’t advisable to play him,” said the Indian coach. Speaking about balance in the team, Oltmans said experience is necessary in bringing out the best in the youngsters and that’s why experienced players like Sardar Singh can motivate and help the youngsters.

Gurinder Singh, Sumit Kumar and Manpreet Singh will be making their senior debut; all three were part of the Junior World Cup winning team. Harmanpreet Singh, Harjeet Singh and Mandeep Singh, even though part of the junior World Cup had already played for the senior team. Harmanpreet played the Rio Olympics and Mandeep was part of the 2014 World Cup. Harjeet, captain of the Junior World Cup winning team had already impressed at the 2016 Azlan Shah where India had finished runners-up to Australia. It’s a big tournament for Harjeet and he needs to lift his game which would make him an automatic choice in the midfield.

Oltmans believes the combinations are important. “It’s the mix that we are trying to achieve ahead of the three important tournaments this year, which are the World League Semi Final, Asia Cup and the Odisha Men’s Hockey League Final Bhubaneswar 2017,” Oltmans said. Away from the tournament circuit, India play Tests against Holland and Belgium in August. It’s difficult to figure out how many of these juniors can push themselves into the playing 16 by the time 2018 appears on the horizon.

India play Great Britain on Saturday in the tournament opener. Ranked one rung above the British at six, India will hope to start off on a winning note. British coach Bobby Crutchley is worried about the weather as the English have flown straight into mind-numbing humidity and heat from the cold in Britain. “We are doing our best to adjust to the weather and hopefully when we take the field against India this acclimatization would have helped us.”

Crutchley had taken England to No 4 at the 2014 World Cup but has also seen the side drop to 9th spot at the Rio Olympics. In the 2014 World Cup at The Hague, England beat India 2-1, thanks to a 69th minute penalty corner conversion; then came the 5-1 drubbing in the bronze medal play-off at Antwerp in the 2015 World Hockey League semi-finals. Revenge was sweet when India beat England 2-1 in the World Hockey League Finals in Raipur. It's transition time for both teams, yet Ipoh would see a winner capable of coping with the conditions and not experimenting for the sake of it. Crutchley was part of the 1989 English squad that finished 7th in the Junior World Cup in Ipoh. That’s a bit of history Crutchley would want to improve on.

Apart from the midfield, the ‘style’ depends on the forward line which has some genuinely skilled players like SV Sunil, Talwinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Affan Yousuf and Akashdeep Singh. Eyes would be on Affan and Mandeep to deliver in the striking circle. If this core remains and performs, India has a great shot in creating a strike force that not only can get the goals but also hold the ball tightly with Akashdeep’s delightful skills. Sunil’s speed is what draws the opposition defence away. But of late, instead of being a pulverizing force and a lightning fast streaker on the right flank, he needs to be in the top scorers list too. It’s a title that suits his style of play but hasn’t come around that often.

Even though critics talk about Sardar losing his pace and as a result his dominance, a player with that kind of experience and skill can only be a winning factor when the chips are down. There is stress and strain on the Indian former captain to deliver and Harjeet’s name has been dropped as the future replacement. Youth combined with skills are an asset but its experience that stands tall in close encounters.

India is the second most consistent side in the history of Azlan Shah after Australia. They have played 19 times, winning five titles, twice runners-up and six bronze-medal finishes. In a year where every coach speaks of transition, post the Rio Olympics, consistency, assertiveness and resolve should be the mantra for this Indian team driving itself forward with an eye on the 2018 World Cup. Ipoh is the first pit stop on a journey that has just begun.


India look to put best foot forward at Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

IPOH (MALAYSIA): Runners-up at the last edition, India would look to go one step further as they start their campaign in the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with a game against Great Britain here tomorrow.

India were runners-up to nine-time champions Australia last year and Harmanpreet Singh played a crucial role in the team's success.

Making his senior India team debut at Ipoh last season, Harmanpreet impressed one and all as he accompanied seasoned defenders Rupinderpal Singh and VR Raghunath to the Champions Trophy in London and then to the Olympics within four months.

India team would be hoping that Harmanpreet will be a big inspiration to three uncapped players in this tournament.

Like Harmanpreet, midfielder Harpreet Singh, who captained the Junior World Cup champion side, and striker Mandeep Singh have in the past earned their senior grade spurs through the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

Making their maiden journey with the national squad now are defender Gurinder Singh and the midfield duo of Sumit and Manpreet Singh Junior.

"The script of Harmanpreet's graduation to the senior team is a big inspiration to follow for the youngsters who have come here," Oltmans said on the eve of India's opening fixture against Great Britain.

"We also have many experienced players who form the core of the squad and ensure that the youngsters do not come under intense pressure. We'll be trying out new combinations and formations as we start the year that leads to important tournaments like the Asia Cup and the World League Finals," said Oltmans.

Having climbed to No. 6 in the world rankings, India go into the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to prepare a team that can give an impressive performance at the World League Semifinals in London in June.

Oltmans and the support staff will be looking at the players' performances closely here and see which of them can last the course until the World Cup next year, which will also witness India featuring in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games.

A successful defence of the Asian Games title can book India a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

The senior members of the squad are aware that they too are under scrutiny as the four-year cycle to the 2020 Olympics starts.

"Starting an important season in the new four-year Olympic cycle, we are among the teams in transition," said Oltmans. "It is a challenge that will help us assess where we stand at the start of the year filled with exciting hockey competitions."

Five-time winners of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, India are the second highest-ranked team in this six-nation event where world No. 2 Australia will launch the defence of their title against Oceania rivals New Zealand.

India's schedule:

April 29: vs Great Britain
April 30: vs New Zealand
May 2: vs Australia
May 3: vs Japan
May 5: vs Malaysia.
The Final, playoffs for bronze and for the fifth place will be on May 6.

The Times of India

Tropical weather confronts India at Azlan Shah Cup hockey

IPOH (MALAYSIA): Bracing for a sequence of afternoon fixtures in the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup that starts tomorrow, the Indian team was today welcomed at the stadium by torrential showers that have brought in a new dimension to the hockey event.

The tropical weather is expected to bother Great Britain more than the Indians in tomorrow's afternoon encounter, but the seasonal monsoon showers that have been coming down with intense force every afternoon has left India coach Roelant Oltmans worried.

"Four of our five matches in the round-robin league are scheduled in the afternoon. I hope the rain does not spoil out games," said Oltmans about the weather conditions that are a bother for the organisers, who in 2010 had to declare India and South Korea as joint champions due to flooding of the pitch on the day of the final.

More than the daily showers, it's the accompanying lightening that has become an issue of discussion between the tournament director and the organisers.

When lightening occurs, hockey match being played on synthetic turfs are suspended midway to avert any danger to players and match officials on the pitch.

Both India and Great Britain teams are using the training time to get acclimatised to the hot and humid afternoon weather.

Oltmans said that his team was well acclimatised after arriving a few days ago, but British coach Bobby Crutchley felt his side could have benefited from some more days in the tropical conditions.

"Several of the boys played in our club finals back home last weekend. As a team, we could not have come earlier," said Crutchley, a former Great Britain player himself who played in Ipoh as a junior international.

"We've come from typical English conditions, which are quite different from the hot and humid weather here. But the boys are fit and in good nick. They've trained in the afternoon and got to be able to cope with the conditions."

Great Britain's joint captains Phil Roper and Ian Sloan emphasised that the team expected these weather conditions.

"We did a bit of heat exposure work back home," said Roper, while Sloan said the British squad had the physical ability to overcome the weather conditions.

After their poor show in the 2016 Olympic Games, where Great Britain failed to make the quarterfinals, Crutchley is under pressure to produce some good results before London plays hosts to the World League Semifinals in June.

India coach Oltmans said his side needed a last-minute change before departing from its training camp at Bangalore as captain P R Sreejesh's understudy goalkeeper Suraj Karkera got injured and had to be replaced by Akash Chikte.

India are looking to carry the adrenalin rush of the Junior World Cup through the injection of six members from that team into the squad for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

Oltmans said India's objectives right now were to rebuild a side with the focus on both the 2018 World Cup and the 2020 Olympics.

"We need to provide the right exposure to our junior player with the focus on building the team for the World Cup next year and Olympic in 2020," said Oltmans.

"The young boys are enthused. They need to get accustomed to the team's need of structure."

Among the three newcomers to the senior India team is Sumit, the most talked about youngster who can easily switch from his midfield position to that of a striker, or fall back to bolster the defence.

The Times of India


South African Senior Men and Women Inter-Provincial tournament 2017 - Day5

Playoff results and classification matches

2017 Inter-Provincial Mens A


WP PENS - EASTERN PROVINCE 5-8 0 - 0 (1 - 2 SO)

Classification matches

10:15 FREE STATE - WP PENS 7th Place
19:00 WITSIES - SPAR KZN 1st Place

2017 Inter-Provincial Mens B


SG NUGGETS - SACD Semi Final 5 - 0

Classification matches

12:00 SG NUGGETS - KZN MYNAHS 1st Place
13:45 SACD - NORTHWEST 3rd Place

2017 Inter-Provincial Womens A



Classification matches

12:00 WITSIES - WP PENS 7th Place
13:45 FREE STATE - NORTHWEST 5th Place

2017 Inter-Provincial Womens B


KZN MYNAHS - MPUMALANGA Semi Final 2 - 2 (1 - 2 SO)
SACD B - BORDER 5-8 1 - 4
NUGGETS - SACD A 5-8 2 - 0

Classification matches

08:30 BORDER - NUGGETS 5th Place
10:15 SACD B - SACD A 7th Place


Poncelet joins Dragons for 2017/18 season

KHC Dragons have added Belgian Under-21 international Nicolas Poncelet to their roster for the 2017/18 season, moving from Royal Leopold.

Speaking about the decision to make the switch, Poncelet said: "I'm at a stage in my sporting career where I have to make difficult choices. My primary goal is to improve as much as I can within my power and Dragons offers me a fantastic opportunity to do that."

Dragons’ sports director Stephen Butler, meanwhile, added: "The choice of Nicolas to leave his home club and friends in favour of his sports career is a very courageous one.

“It is rare for Brussels players to step out of their comfort zone to improve elsewhere. It clearly shows that Nicolas has a very high level of ambition and that fits perfectly with Dragons."

He moves to Dragons on a three-year contract. He is one of a number of transfers already confirmed for the Brasschaat club who are currently in the midst of preparing for the EHL FINAL4.

Louis Rombouts will come back to the club after a year with Club de Campo while Victor Wegnez – from Daring – is also switching to Dragons.

For Leopold, in addition to Poncelet’s departure, Elliot van Strydonck will join Waterloo Duck, Glenn Turner will return to Australia and Max Plennevaux will go on Erasmus to Spain.

Olympic gold medalist Many Brunet, however, comes in from Daring along with Tom Degroote from Leuven and New Zealand defender Kane Russell from Antwerp. Robin Geens will step into the coaching role in place of John Bessell.

In other transfer news, Miquel Delàs will return from Antwerp to FC Barcelona for next season. The Spanish international played with the club from age 3 to 22 before moving to Atletic Terrassa for five seasons and then moved on to Antwerp.

Euro Hockey League media release

Scottish Cup finals weekend could be the best ever

The Scottish Cup finals this weekend, held at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre and part of the Team Scotland Series, could be the best ever as it involves the country`s top sides - the league winners and runners-up, in the men’s final Bromac Kelburne face Grange while Edinburgh University and Milne Craig Western clash in the women`s event.

Further interest is generated by the bid from Kelburne and Edinburgh University to achieve the league and cup double, or will their opponents be good enough on the day to ensure a distribution of honours?

Both sides will come into the men`s Scottish Cup final from very different perspectives, Kelburne on a high having unexpectedly landed the National League 1 title last weekend, and Grange having fallen at the final hurdle.

Grange coach David Knipe has the task of rebuilding his squad`s confidence after last weekend`s disappointment – and it’s true that one reversal does not suddenly make Grange a poor side.

The Edinburgh side have a proud record in the cup, they have won it five times, twice in the last three years. They also progressed through the earlier stages in the competition in some style; four victories all against first division opposition and 25 goals into the bargain.

Grange have been a free-scoring side all season, lately Frank Ryan, Joe Waterston, Cammie Fraser and Callum Milne have featured strongly in that department.

Grange will not be expecting any sympathy for last weekend`s volte-face, that is not in the Kelburne psyche.  There can be no doubt that the Paisley side under coach Gordon Shepherd will be determined to collect their eighth Scottish Cup and the season`s double.

Shepherd said: "We are all really excited about the cup final...it`s a special day. It`s the two best sides in the country so I hope it`s a good game."

It should certainly be an even contest if the league is anything to go by, Grange won the opening encounter 2-1 with Callum Milne scoring from the spot and Duncan Riddell getting the winner with a late strike.

Kelburne got their revenge in the return match with a 3-0 win and goals by Lee Morton, Johnny Christie and Josh Cairns although the scoreline perhaps didn’t tell the full story of the contest.

On Sunday Edinburgh University would complete the Capital double if they can see off Milne Craig Clydesdale Western in the women`s Scottish Cup final, thereby completing their own double of league and cup victories.

But the odds could hardly be closer, Western won the opening league game 1-0, Jen Eadie scored from a penalty corner. But the return went the other way with the same scoreline, the student`s goal came from Louise Campbell, although Susan McGilveray missed from the spot for Western.

Edinburgh player/coach Sam Judge is aware of the Western threat. "It will be a tough game because Clydesdale are full of internationalists and they are the only team to have beaten us this season."

Judge is nonetheless confident of the outcome. "We have been playing well and scoring goals of late so hopefully we can keep that going. If we can put in a good performance I'm confident that we can win."

The students have scored 101 goals in their league campaign, and recently Scotland striker Amy Brodie has been particularly sharp in front of goal. That said, Western also have an eye for goal with 87 goals scored in National League 1 this season.

This match has all the makings of a classic, and with so many Scotland internationalists taking to the field it could be a strong contender for the best match of the weekend.

One of the features of this season’s men’s National League 1 has been the belated emergence of Western Wildcats from the ashes and they now face Watsonians in the Scottish Plate Final.

A few months ago the Wildcats languished in the relegation zone of the first division, but Harry Dunlop`s youngsters finally responded and finished the league campaign in the top four. They won five out of their six closing fixtures, scoring 22 goals in the process.

The Wildcats went out in the opening round in the cup after losing 2-0 to Grange at Auchenhowie, ironically the same side they beat 3-2 last weekend to upset the league applecart.

Dunlop`s young pack have had the better of the league tussles with the Edinburgh side, they won the opener 4-2, followed up by a 6-0 victory a few weeks ago, so for some go into the Plate final as favourites – Watsonians will have other ideas and will look to find the spectacular form they displayed at the start of the season and run out winners on Saturday.

The women`s Scottish Plate final is an intriguing contest between Glasgow University, who finished third in the National League 2, and CALA who will play in that league next season.

The latter have had a difficult season in the top flight, relegated without a point in the bag, but they now have a chance to finish the term with the consolation of some silverware.

CALA ran out 2-0 winners in their semi-final encounter with Aberdeen University to seal their spot in the final. CALA built up a single goal first half lead over Aberdeen University through Kyra Dugeren. The result was secured when Lorna Crawford added a second eight minutes after the interval with no reply from Aberdeen.

Glasgow University reached the final following a solid 4-1 win over Dundee University with Laura Murray, Nicole Pike with a double, and Connie Laithe on the score sheet.

In the Men’s District Cup Final Watsonians 2s will meet Grange 2s in an all-Edinburgh head-to-head. Grange 2s are in the final courtesy of a 5-2 win over PSL Team Sports Clydesdale 2s. Rob Barr with a double, Robert Nimmo, Joe Nelmes, and David Ellis provided the goals. Watsonians 2s defeated Kinross 4-1 with goals coming from Chris Miller, Hamish Campbell, Roddy Craig and David Munn.

The Women’s District Cup Final is shaping up to be a great derby match between Orkney and Shetland. Orkney are in the final courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Livingstone & West Lothian, while Shetland defeated Madras FP 3-0 in their semi-final. This game could be one of the highlights of the weekend and should not be missed.

Edinburgh University 2s will go toe-to-toe with Erskine Stewart’s Melville FP 2s in the Men’s District Plate Final. Edinburgh University 2s reached the final via an exceptional 8-0 win over Highland 2s while Erskine Stewarts Melville FP 2s defeated Dundee Wanderers 2s in an intense shoot-out.

In the Women’s District Plate Final, Granite City Wanderers 2s take on Glasgow Academicals in what could be a cracker of a match. Glasgow Accies defeated Western Wildcats 2s in the semi-final while Granite City Wanderers 2s struck seven past FMGM Monarchs in their semi.

The Men’s Reserve Cup Final has Hillhead 3s up against Grange 3s with both sides reaching the final with clean sheets in the semis. Grange 3s ran out 3-0 victors against PSL Clydesdale 3s while Hillhead 3s put six goals past Uddingston 3s to make the final.

Watsonians 3s and Grove Menzieshill 3s will battle out the Men’s Reserve Plate Final. Grove Menzieshill 3s beat Western Wildcats 3s 4-1 in their semi-final while Watsonians 3s got the better of Anchor 2s with a 3-2 win.

Match photos by Duncan Gray

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Canadian men to face France in preparation for World League Semi-Final

Shaheed Devji

Canada and France last met at the 2013 World League Round 2 final in Saint Germain, France where the hosts won 3-2 (By Marine Andrieux)

In preparation for the 2017 Hockey World League Semi-Final in London, Canada’s men’s field hockey team will face France in three exhibition matches from June 4-7 in France.

The matches against the 17th ranked French will be played on June 4th in Le Touquet, and June 5th and 7th in Wattignies.

In Le Touquet, Canada – currently ranked 11th in the world – will take on France at the home of TAC Hockey, a local club in the seaside town 100km west of Lille. And in Wattignies, the two matches will be played at CREPS, a sport institute for high performance athletes located 20 minutes south of Lille.

The game times for the three-game series with France are as follows:

    June 4 – 3:00pm – at TAC Hockey – Le Touquet, France
    June 5 – 6:00pm – at CREPS – Wattignies, France
    June 7 – 6:00pm – at CREPS – Wattignies, France

After the matches against France, the Canadian men will travel directly to London, where they will have a few days to acclimate and train before their opening match of the World League Semi-Final on June 16 vs Pakistan.

Click here for Canada’s World League Semi-Final schedule, results, and recaps.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Wiese Names 20 Athletes to U-19 USMNT Traveling Tour Bound for Europe this Summer

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Rutger Wiese, head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team as well as the junior USMNT program, has selected 20 U.S. U-19 Men's National Team athletes to travel to Europe for several games against Holland and Belgium from Sunday, June 25 to Sunday July 2. The entire squad was evaluated during the past three training camps in Chula Vista, Calif. where the program’s standard for physical, mental, technical and tactical expectations were established. Leading up to and following the tour in Europe, this USA team will continue to train with the entire squad.

“As we are establishing our new junior national team programs it is extremely important for us to compete at the highest level possible," said Wiese. "In The Netherlands we will face the national junior teams from Holland as well as Belgium. We are looking to continue to build and this is really our first moment to see where we stand on our road to the Junior Pan American Championship in 2020.” 

A special edition to the U-19 Traveling Roster are Michael Mendoza (Monument, Colo.) and Sam Zuzick (Moorpark, Calif.) who were pulled up from U.S. U-16 Men's National Team to accompany the squad this summer. 

U-19 USMNT Holland Tour Roster:
Jaxon Bakerman (Westlake Village, Calif.), Payton Breslow (Moorpark, Calif.), Alex Curtis (London, England), Christian DeAngelis (Doylestown, Pa.), Jack Galucci (Trumbull, Conn.), Zaid Hassan (Santa Clara, Calif.), Liam Hawley (Ventura, Calif.), Colin Hennessy (Marlborough, Mass.), Wander Hommes (Westlake Village, Calif.), Graeme Jackson (Moorpark, Calif.), Amar Khokar (Valencia, Calif.), David Kristof (Darien, Conn.), Ethan LaSala (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Michael Mendoza (Monument, Colo.), Alberto Montilla (Allen, Texas), Ryan Torigian (Simi Valley, Calif.), Maxwell Walshaw (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Dean Schiller (Alexandria, Va.), Garry Singh (Corona, Calif.), Sam Zuzick (Moorpark, Calif.)

USFHA media release

U-19 USMNT Athlete DeAngelis Commits to Old Dominion University Serving as a Practice Player for the Monarchs

By Kathleen Harte Simone, Philafieldhockey.com Founder & Editor

Bucks County’s Christian DeAngelis, U.S. U-19 Men's National Team athlete, shares his decision to verbally commit to Old Dominion University’s field hockey program, a NCAA Division I program. DeAngelis will serve as a practice player for the Monarchs, working out with the team as would any other player. And although he will not be participating in any NCAA-sanctioned matches or traveling with the team, DeAngelis’ role will be integral in the day-to-day training with ODU, a historically strong program in the Big East that topped reigning National Champion, University of Delaware, early in the 2016 season.

Practice players are common for some NCAA sports, such as women’s basketball, however, DeAngelis noted he believes these opportunities are still developing for field hockey.

“As a practice player, I am being provided a tremendous opportunity and path forward as a student-athlete at ODU. This may be helpful to others in the future as a viable third option.”

In February 2017, DeAngelis committed to ODU after a year of connecting with several college coaches on their thoughts regarding the role of practice players. “They openly shared valuable insights based on their experiences. Coach Griffiths (ODU Head Coach) was one of the coaches. He has a unique understanding based on his coaching accomplishments and years of playing with the Canadian Men’s National Team.” Ultimately, the opportunity to train at a high-caliber program such as ODU was part of DeAngelis’ college decision and a monumental step in reaching his ultimate goal of playing for the senior level U.S. Men’s National Team. “I want to wear the USMNT team jersey while being an impactful and contributing player for the team.”

Since 2013, DeAngelis has earned a spot on the junior USMNT roster and currently plays on the U.S. U-19 Men’s National Team as a forward/midfielder. His international playing experience exceeds many of his soon-to-be teammates at ODU, including representing the Team USA in 2016 in home and away test matches versus the Canadian National Team and suiting up for 10 test matches against several of the elite Dutch men’s clubs while touring with Team USA in the Netherlands. DeAngelis also competed in Toronto last summer during the 2016 Pan Am Junior Men’s Championships.

DeAngelis’ says his favorite USA Field Hockey moment was against Mexico in the quarterfinals at the Junior Pan American Championships in Toronto. “We were down late in the second half of the match 1-2, flying around the pitch applying intense ball pressure. We earned and converted on 2-penalty corners in the closing minutes for the come from behind 3-2 victory. That was an awesome feeling.”

Training with Team USA, DeAngelis says there is an emphasis on conditioning, technical and tactical training, as well as practicing proper nutrition and hydration — all of which he can continue with the Monarchs next year. Until then, DeAngelis will continue his strength and conditioning training in Doylestown and his technical and training through WC Eagles FHC, which he’s done the last two years and says “has been instrumental to my development with Richard, Jun and JaJa, Guy Cathro and Mark Foster.”

DeAngelis’ path to field hockey was, as it turns out, rooted in USA Field Hockey. “When I was in 8th grade (13), my entire family traveled to West Palm Beach, Fla. in November 2012. My older sister Brianna was competing in Festival. You can imagine how exciting it was for me being in Florida at the Polo Grounds for field hockey matches throughout the Thanksgiving weekend. To my surprise, there was a segment during Festival called “Grow the Game” where boys were proactively encouraged to grab a field hockey stick, come out onto the field for an introduction to the sport. I was thinking ‘finally, I have something to do here and it really was fun.'”

Upon returning home, DeAngelis learned that his travel soccer club would not be competing during the winter; he had time on time on his hands, and “according to my parents, sitting around home was not a viable option. So, we went and spoke with Brianna’s field hockey club director at FSC, Michelle Finegan, who embraced the idea of me joining the club and allowed me to train with an entry level U-14 indoor team. Even though we were an entry level team, it was a fun indoor season. My teammates and their families were all open and accepting of me training and then competing with them at indoor tournaments (with their opponents’ permission). Then, a spot opened up on a higher level U-14 team and I jumped at the opportunity. The tournament was being played at The Training Center and was very competitive. When our final match ended, we were approached by Rutger Wiese, current U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach, who had watched our matches and was wondering if I had any interest to train and play against boys.” Just a few weeks later, DeAngelis was back at The Training Center for his first outdoor weekend experience of training with the East Coast High Performance (ECHP) boys team and Coach Wiese, whom DeAngelis says he looks up to. “When you look over his body of work as a player and coach, Rutger practices what he preaches! For me this means taking care of my health, fitness and nutritional needs as well as concentrating on improving aspects of my game.”

DeAngelis attributes his love and development of the game to many who have opened the door for him to play. “I have been very fortunate to have such great clubs, coaches, teammates and families in the local area who are truly committed to growing the sport beginning with Michelle Finegan who provided my introduction to field hockey; Kelly Driscoll Broadway (Villanova) who helped me to advance over my first 3 years; X-Calibur coaches Brian Hope and Clarence Jennelle, who permitted me to participate in several open-play days and/or training clinics; Rennie Milne with Philly Hockey Club who allowed me to participate in training clinics and adult training, and again, the coaches at WC Eagles. ”

In addition to his club experience, DeAngelis was also a groundbreaker in high school as one of just a very few male players in the country. At Central Bucks West, DeAngelis was a member of the team for three years — as an official rostered player his freshman year and practice player his sophomore and senior years, after the league banned boys from playing in PIAA field hockey contests. His experience at CB West also allowed him to advocate participation in the sport for other boys/young men. “I strongly believe in promoting the game for everyone. For example, last year CB West and CB East hosted a joint field hockey clinic that was available for the community.”

At CB West, DeAngelis said his role was to work hard with and against the team to help them improve and grow as players. At times, he says, the coaches permitted him be a player/coach, helping to teach a few technical skills he’s learned over the years, such as the reverse chip, or to provide guidance in certain game situations. DeAngelis also enjoyed the rare opportunity to be on the team with his sister Brianna for two years. His younger sister, Anya, is following in his and Brianna’s footsteps as a CB West player; his mom played at neighboring rival, CB East.

“I’m sure that there are not too many brothers and sisters that can say that they competed together on the same team at the high school level. It was fun to play with a family member; we both trusted each other on and off the field and knew that we would compete hard throughout practices and games. It was a great season together (18-4 overall; 12-2 league) and we advanced to a District Playoffs match against a very strong and talented Downingtown East team. Downingtown East had dominated and controlled the first half of the game while going into halftime with a 0-1 advantage. We were a 2nd half team; we came back strong and ended up winning the match 3-1. It was pretty exciting as I was fortunate to score two goals, which also turned out to be my only goals for the season and high school career.”

Come fall, DeAngelis’ parents will have two college programs to cheer for as Brianna is a goalkeeper at another Division I program, Lock Haven University. DeAngelis says he’s been blessed to have his family’s love and unconditional support with field hockey as well as for the opportunity to train with ODU.

“First and foremost, my primary focus will be on what the ODU coaching staff and teammates need me to do. My secondary goals would be to work on specific aspects of my game that my USA and High Performance Coaches want to see developed. In college, I’m looking forward to participating with and against the different styles and skills of the team at Old Dominion. It’s really an honor. ”

USFHA media release

Punjab boys face Odisha in semifinals

Chandigarh: Punjab will clash with defending champions Odisha for a place in the final of the junior men’s hockey National Championship (Division A) in Bhopal tomorrow.

SAI will face Steel Plant Sports Board in the other semifinal. Punjab beat neighbours Haryana 2-1 yesterday to enter the semifinals after a gap of one year. Punjab, who held the title for thee years in a row, are looking to become champions again after a gap of two years, having lost in the final to Odisha in 2015.

Haryana eves face AIU
Haryana will be up against Association of Indian Universities in the semifinals of the senior women’s event in Rohtak tomorrow. Haryana edged past Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy 3-2 in the quarterfinals yesterday.

Defending champions Railways, who ousted Punjab after a 4-1 win in the quarterfinals yesterday, will face Madhya Pradesh.

In the sub-junior boys’ Division B event in Bengaluru, Namdhari XI thrashed Puducherry 15-0 with Hanspal Singh scoring seven goals.

The Tribune

MBPJ beat Olak to continue unbeaten run and stay top

KUALA LUMPUR: Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) maintained their unbeaten run with a 5-0 win over Olak Nurinsafi to stay at the top of the Division One standings in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL).

Mohamad Syabil Aizam Mohamad Noor scored a brace in the 14th and 44th minutes while Ahmad Hariz Syazani Ezani (17th), Mohd Syafiq Izzudin (29th) and Mohd Faisol Rozihan (57th) added one apiece at the Pandamaran Hockey Stadium yesterday.

MBPJ lead the standings with 15 points as two Thunderbolt teams – SSTMI and BJSS – kept pace while SMKDBL Johor Juniors lost ground.

SSTMI beat BJSS Juniors 6-0 while BJSS routed Politeknik Malaysia 9-0.

Second-placed SMKDBL Johor Juniors dropped to fourth spot after losing 2-1 to Anderson Thunderbolt.

The Johor side also earned the distinction of getting the first red card of the season.

In a fiercely contested game, Anderson took the lead in the 38th minute through a field goal by Mohamad Syazwan Syafiq.

Two minutes later Johor’s Mohd Kamarulzaman Kamaruddin was red-carded for a foul.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Johor managed to equalise in the 42nd minute through Mohd Shafiq Hassan.

But Anderson got the winner in the 54th minute through a penalty corner goal by Mohd Aiman Shahmi.

Johor Juniors team manager Shahbuddin Royani blamed Kamarulzaman’s sending-off for their defeat.

“It was a bitter pill to swallow as I felt that we could have taken the match to a shootout. However, we are still on track to make the quarter-finals,” he said.

UniKL lose further ground in their fight for a top-four placing when they were beaten 3-0 by AHP-MSP Thunderbolt, who got their goals through Mohd Noor Firdaus Rosdi (18th), Syamil Azim Dzulkafly (37th) and Mohd Hazzim Amin Hafiz (45th).

The Star of Malaysia

Schools ready for prestigious hockey tournament

THE seventh edition of the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge in South Africa will see players from the region converge at Hoërskool Suid-Natal this Saturday.

The action packed tournament features nine teams from Sisonke and Ugu districts including defending champions King Edward High from Matatiele, their feisty neighbours Kokstad College and the hard working locals Creston College as well as hosts Suid-Natal.

They will be butting heads with other ardent schoolgirls’ first team hockey teams from the region for the coveted regional finalist title. The participating teams include travelling teams Ixopo High, Scottburgh High and St Patrick’s College from Kokstad and local teams Port Shepstone and Southcity Christian School. Victors from this run will be one of the 80 teams from regions all across KZN competing at the grand finale held at St Mary’s Durban in July.

Last year’s finale saw King Edward holding hockey giants Durban Girls’ College to a goalless draw in their pool match.

After being level on points in the pool stage, College had an edge on them on goal difference.

King Edward High School coach Deidre Duminy said her team was looking good.

“We have a young, enthusiastic team that is raring to go.

The girls have huge hearts, and would love to make it three in a row, and get to travel to Durban again this year to take on the other finalists at the grand finals,” said Duminy.

Hoërskool Suid-Natal hockey organiser Marieke Durheim said the school was excited about the hosting the prestigious event for the first time.

“We are ready. For us as a school it means more exposure.

Other schools will get to see what Suid-Natal has to offer,” said Durheim.


A new era for Korean hockey

In 1988 hockey in Korea was stealing the headlines and causing a buzz as the women’s national team won silver at the Seoul Olympics, losing 2-0 in the final to an Australian team that was at the very height of its golden era.

The medal, won in front of a passionate home crowd sparked an enormous interest in the game and for a while everyone wanted to join a club and play hockey.

Unfortunately, the Korean Hockey Association at that time didn’t recognise the importance of grassroots hockey in sustaining interest in the game and over time the huge interest died down and eventually faded away.

Now, nearly 30 years on, Korea is struggling to find hockey players for its men’s and women’s senior teams. There is a pool of around 300 players and yet, both the men’s and women’s teams remain in the top 12 ranked teams in the world. The men are currently 12th and the women ninth – which is testimony to the tremendous work done by a small number of coaches and players.

Both teams regularly qualify for major events, with the women’s side finishing 11th at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and both teams qualifying for the Hockey World League Semi-Finals later this year.

With global interest in hockey growing in line with FIH's 10-year Hockey Revolution strategy, the Korea Hockey Association (KHA) is throwing its weight and support behind an initiative to increase the profile and participation rates in hockey in the Asian country.

It is a pivotal moment in Korea’s hockey history, and members of the KHA hope that the programme will help to uncover young talent and spark enthusiasm for hockey among the Korean youth. 

In December 2016, the first two-day event was held at Soonchunhyang University in Asan, where more than 300 under-12 players and their families gathered for two days of hockey.

More than 50 coaches and teachers led the programme, which included various hockey activities, small-sided games, coaching activities, some time spent watching video action clips and a 12-team tournament.

The KHA also provided hockey sticks and balls for the youngsters and former international players turned up to help with coaching and talk to the young players about how they became international hockey players.

The major aim of the programme was to introduce young players to the game and inspire them to take up hockey, but the two day festival also highlighted the importance of sport for an individual’s health and well-being and provided a great opportunity for the youngsters to make friends among their peers.

Korea men are next competing at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in London in June, while the women will be competing in the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final in Brussels.

For more information about hockey in Korea, click here.

FIH site

Transsexual Argentine Field Hockey Player Happy After Being Allowed to Play

Millaman launched a media and legal battle last September when she was forbidden from playing.

Photo provided on Apr. 27, 2017 showing Argentine field hockey player Jessica Millaman, during an interview with EFE in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Apr. 26, 2017.

Jessica Millaman, who had been prevented from playing field hockey by her provincial federation governing the sport, told EFE in an interview that she was happy about the recent decision by the Argentine Field Hockey Confederation (CAH) to allow transsexual people to participate in women's tourneys.

Millaman launched a media and legal battle last September, when the Field Hockey Association of southern Chubut province refused to let her play on the Germinal team in Rawson, a fight that culminated with the association reversing its decision last Friday in what she called "a small step."

"I'm happy over the fact that we can play sports," the athlete said, going on to ask that the CAH respect the gender identity law that has been on the books in Argentina since 2012 and for it to guarantee that all athletic rules should respect people's self-perceived gender identities.

The CAH decision corresponds with the International Olympic Committee proposal, which establishes that for a man transitioning to a woman to be able to play it must be shown that the total level of male testosterone in the athlete's blood has been below 10 nanomols per liter for at least a year prior to competing.

According to the transsexual community, this principle goes against Argentine legislation that prevents any institution or athletic event from restricting, excluding or supplanting a person's right to exercise their preferred sexual identity.

Millaman says that demanding that athletes take hormones violates their bodily integrity.

Natalia Lazart has adopted the same stance. The Tucuman TK player completely rejects the CAH document that, in her opinion, is "a slightly more elegant way" of prohibiting transsexuals from playing in official competitions.

"They speak of the player (masculine) and they should be saying player (feminine). It's completely discriminatory," she said, adding that she is planning to file a lawsuit along with other athletes to ensure that the CAH definitively complies with Argentine law.

Mia Gamietea, a trans player with Delfines Hockey, agreed with Lazart in expressing her rejection of the CAH pronouncement because it doesn't conform to the gender identity law and because she feels the hormone criterion is unnecessary when determining whether a player may officially compete or not.

Although Millaman understands her colleagues' position, she insisted that the decision is a small step in the right direction and it's necessary to continue the struggle so that no trans girl suffers what - she said - all the people like her in her generation have suffered.

"In reality, what is being suffered is due to ignorance on the part of the federation," she said, adding that "practically all of Argentina" supports her and that she feels "more strongly than ever" about continuing the fight "for the generations to come."


England Hockey named Governing Body of the Year

England Hockey are delighted to have been named Governing Body of the Year at the BT Sport Industry Awards.

It has been an incredible period for the sport, and in the last 12 months alone:

∙ Great Britain's women's team won gold in Rio, with 9 million people watching
∙ 10,000 new people joined hockey clubs in England
∙ In just 45 minutes, 10,000 tickets were sold for the 2018 Women's World Cup, and our-one off international against Holland sold out in an hour
∙ Hockey was on the front page of national newspapers, hockey players were on the country's biggest TV shows, and a new hockey newspaper was launched
∙ England Hockey hosted both the men's and women's Champions Trophies, with more than 36,000 tickets sold
∙ The entire Rio women's squad were named MBEs, and Kate Richardson-Walsh became the first hockey player ever to be nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year
∙ Since Rio 2012, overall participation in the sport is up 60%
∙ England U18s boys and girls both reached medal matches at EuroHockey youth Championships
∙ 20% increase in players at our targeted East London community clubs, near to our Olympic legacy venue
∙ Unprecedented commercial landscape with broadcast and sponsorship interest at new levels
∙ To name just a few!

This list shows the seismic shift in the sport in recent times, and there is much more excitement ahead, with the men's Hockey World League Semi Final in London this summer, as well as the Women's Hockey World Cup in July/August 2018.

Chief Executive Sally Munday said, "Right across the sport, we can be very proud of this award.

"Of course, millions of people saw Great Britain's women won gold in Rio last summer, and not only did they win, they did so in a manner that truly embodied what our sport is about. The character and togetherness they displayed is not only a credit to those players and coaches, but to the entire sport of hockey.

"Our sport was already thriving before the gold medal, and since then we have continued to see unprecedented levels of interest in hockey. But crucially, it has translated to new players at grass roots. Of course, Vogue Magazine is wonderful, but our role as an NGB is to facilitate growth in all areas, and we have seen a huge uplift in on-pitch success, commercial interest, media visibility and participation, of which we are immensely proud. Our strategy is to create A Nation Where Hockey Matters and we have taken huge strides.

"Of course, the journey is never complete, and our upcoming major events, including next summer's Women's World Cup, offer us a further opportunity to grow all aspects of the sport.

"Last but certainly not least, I would like to congratulate all of the England Hockey staff and volunteers for their contribution, and also all of our stakeholders for the vital role they play. This award is for a magnificent team of people who make our sport happen and I couldn't be prouder.

"While we are delighted, we want this just to be the beginning of hockey's journey."

England Hockey Board Media release

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