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News for 21 June 2017

All the news for Wednesday 21 June 2017

Quarter-final line-up confirmed on Day 6

The Netherlands defeated India to top Pool B at the Hero Hockey World League Semi-Final in London. Copyright: FIH / Getty Images

London, England: The Pool phase of the Men’s Hero Hockey World League Semi-Final drew to a close on Tuesday, revealing the teams that will line up in the event quarter-finals on Thursday.

In Pool A, Argentina finished at the top of the table, just ahead of England who were big winners against Korea in their final Pool match. Malaysia defeated China to take third place, with China claiming fourth place ahead of Korea, who are now eliminated.

In Pool B, The Netherlands beat India to seal a first place finish ahead of their opponents while third finishing Canada’s draw with Scotland proved to be good news for Pakistan, who took fourth ahead of the Scots.

The cross-over quarter-finals take place on Thursday 22nd June with Pool A winners Argentina facing Pool B’s fourth placed Pakistan at 1315 GMT, before Pool B runners up India play Malaysia at 1530. Pool B winners The Netherlands meet Pool A’s fourth placed team China at 1745 before Pool A runners up England take on Canada, who finished third in Pool B, at 2000.

The day’s play began in Pool B, with Scotland needing a win against Canada in order to qualify for the quarter-finals. Despite a valiant effort, things did not quite go their way. Gordon Johnston gave Canada the lead with a fine penalty corner drag-flick just before half time, but Scotland produced an excellent performance after the break and eventually levelled when Willie Marshall smashed home a penalty corner rebound to renew hopes. Scotland dominated the final quarter but found Canada goalkeeper David Carter in brilliant form, denying numerous chances to see out the draw. The result was good news for Pakistan, who finished fourth in Pool B and remain in the hunt for the required top five finish in order to secure a place at next year’s Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018.

India and The Netherlands brought Pool B to a close with a high intensity encounter, with the Dutch taking a 3-1 win to top the table. Thierry Brinkman scored the opening goal in the second minute before Sander Baart and Mirco Pruijser made it 3-0. Akashdeep Singh pulled a goal back just before half time with a clever finish through his own legs, but it would be India’s only strike of the contest.

“We played a really good game, especially the first 20 minutes” said Dutchman Thierry Brinkman after the match. “We were very sharp in the first quarter, scoring two goals. After that we were perhaps not so sharp, but we played with a solid defence. We are top of the group with four wins from four games and improving with every game.”

In Pool A, Malaysia claimed a second successive win at the event with a convincing 5-1 result against China. It was Malaysia’s best performance of the competition by some distance, with a superb individual effort from Faizal Saari opening the scoring as early as the second minute. Najmi Jazlan, Razie Rahim (2) and Fitri Saari were also on target, with Du Talake scoring China’s only goal of the game.

The final match of the pool phase was an entertaining clash between England and Korea, with England giving it everything they could to overturn the goal difference advantage that Argentina had but falling just short. The final score-line was 7-2, with Sam Ward scoring four times with additional strikes from David Ames and Phil Roper (2). Although they could not quite steal first place ahead of Olympic gold medallists Argentina, they completed the Pool phase unbeaten and will feel justifiably confident going into the knock-out stages of the competition.

The top four finishers in London will qualify for the eight nation Odisha Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar, India, although there is a small caveat to this. If India, the host nation of the Final, do not finish in the top four then only the top three teams in London will qualify. They will be joined by the top three finishers from the Semi-Final competition in Johannesburg, South Africa, plus the highest ranked fourth place finisher from the two Semi-Final events.

When it comes to qualification for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, there are five automatic berths available here in London, although this will increase depending on the outcomes of the upcoming Continental Championships, which are also World Cup qualification events.

We will be providing full coverage of the event via www.fih.ch including reports, news stories, event imagery and much more. There will also be comprehensive coverage of the event via our social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #HWL2017 hashtag.

Match Schedule for the quarter-finals

Match 21 (9/10): Korea (5th Pool A) v Scotland (5th Pool B) - 11:00
Match 22 (QF): Argentina (1st Pool A) v Pakistan (4th Pool B) - 13:15
Match 23 (QF): India (2nd Pool B) v Malaysia (3rd Pool A) - 15:30
Match 25 (QF): Netherlands (1st Pool B) v China (4th Pool A) - 17:45
Match 24 (QF): England (2nd Pool A) v Canada (3rd Pool B) - 20:00

The classification matches for 5th to 8th place will be as follows:
Loser Match 22     v      Loser Match 23
Loser Match 24     v      Loser Match 25

The semi-finals will be as follows:
Winner Match 22     v      Winner Match 23
Winner Match 24     v      Winner Match 25

FIH site

England put seven past Korea

Sam Ward celebrates against Korea

Four goals from Sam Ward guided England to a 7-2 win over Korea in their final Pool A game at the Hero Hockey World League Semi-Final in London.

Ward’s impressive quadruple and strikes from David Ames and Phil Roper saw the hosts finish the pool stage of their campaign in style and they will now face Canada in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

The hosts have netted 19 goals in victories over China, Malaysia, Korea and a draw with Argentina and will go into their clash with Canada full of confidence.

The quarter-final matches are now confirmed with Argentina facing Pakistan, India taking on Malaysia, China versus the Netherlands and England battling with Canada. Click here for more details and to secure your seat.

England started brightly and were quick to start putting pressure on the Korean back line. The ball was fired towards goal before being helped into the path of Chris Griffiths by Ward but the goalkeeper was quick off his line.

However just a minute later and England were ahead through Ward. Moving the ball down the right Henry Weir found space in the circle before flinging a cross to the near post where Ward cleverly deflected past the keeper.

After the first break England came flying back out the traps and extended their lead with a classic three man weave. England stole the ball outside their own area before surging into the Korea half, Ames then released Sanford who found Ward, his clever flick freed up Ames in the area and his strike flew high into the net to send the stands into a frenzy.

Korea were quick to respond though, having won a penalty corner the ball was slipped left at the top and Jonghyun Jang dragged the ball powerfully into the bottom right corner, but England kept their lead as the teams headed into the half-time break.

With only victory enough to see Korea reach the quarter-finals they came out swinging and a minute after the restart were level, Daeyeol Lee’s hit from the top deflected off an England player and into the net.

England though were soon back in front as Ward grabbed his fifth goal of the tournament, hammering a fierce reverse stick strike high into the roof of the net. Just three minutes later and Ward was celebrating his hat trick, Harry Martin held off pressure from four Korean defenders before crossing to Ward who coolly lifted the ball over the keeper. 

With an eight goal winning margin needed to leapfrog Argentina and finish top of pool A, England removed keeper George Pinner and opted for a kicking back in a hunt for goals. A brace from Phil Roper and another for Ward in the closing stages saw England end with a flourish with the fans enjoying the attacking hockey on show.

England 7 (2)
Sam Ward: 6, 34, 36, 60
David Ames: 17
Phil Roper: 50, 60

Korea 2 (1)
Jonghyun Jang: 22
Daeyeol Lee: 32

England XI: George Pinner, David Ames, Henry Weir, Ian Sloan, Michael Hoare, Mark Gleghorne, Phil Roper, Barry Middleton, Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, Liam Sanford

Subs (Used): Ollie Willars, Harry Martin, Sam Ward, Adam Dixon, David Condon, Christopher Griffiths

Subs(Unused): Harry Gibson

England Hockey Board Media release

Canada draws final pool match, advances to quarterfinal in London

Shaheed Devji

Taylor Curran of Canada and Timothy Atkins of Scotland battle for the ball during the Pool B match between Scotland and Canada on day six of the Hero Hockey World League Semi-Final at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on June 20, 2017 in London, England  (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Canada’s men’s field hockey team played to a 1-1 draw with Scotland in its final pool match at the World League Semi-Final Tuesday in London.

With the result, Canada finishes in third in Pool B and advances to the tournament quarterfinal and will face the second place finisher in Pool A on Thursday.

Depending on the result of the remaining pool matches on Tuesday, Canada’s opponent in the quarterfinal will be either Argentina or host England.

In Scotland on Tuesday, Canada faced an opponent on the brink of elimination from the quarterfinal and with everything to play for, while the Canadians had third place in Pool B essentially locked down.

But despite the contrasting storylines entering the match, the game began with intensity and pace from both sides.

And there was no lack of drama early.

In the 3rd minute, Canadian veteran Mark Pearson made a solo run into the Scottish circle and along the baseline before throwing the ball across to Gabriel Ho-Garcia. The play ended up with Canada being awarded a penalty stroke.

It would have been the Canadians’ third stroke of the competition – with captain Scott Tupper having converted on the first two – but Scotland used its referral and asked for a video review and the call was overturned.

Canada had the majority of the ball to start the game, at one point controlling possession by a margin of 70-30 percent.

In the 12th minute, it picked up its first corner of the match after Tupper smashed a ball into the Scottish area and off a foot.

Tupper himself got the call for the flick and his attempt was stopped on the goal line by the postman to keep the game scoreless.

Canada had its best opportunity to take the lead near the end of the first quarter, when Matthew Sarmento played a ball across the face of the goal to Richard Hildreth who was open with the keeper beat, but had the ball bounce by him.

In the second quarter, Scotland had a similar opportunity to get on the board when Kenny Bain missed a tap-in of his own at the side of the Canadian goal.

Then Gord McIntyre put a shot wide from the top of the Canadian circle, as Scotland began to get its footing in the match.

Canadian keeper David Carter was forced to make a save in the 26th minute on Scotland’s first corner of the game, on which it sent the ball back the injector on a variation, but that Carter handled easily.

Then, Carter and Tupper teamed up to stop another Scottish corner just moments later.

With both teams having had chances to open the scoring and take the lead and the Canadians withstanding early second quarter pressure from the Scottish, Canada was given another corner in the 29th minute and this time made good.

Gordon Johnston got the call and put a high flick past the keeper Thomas Alexander to put Canada up 1-0.

The score stood until near the end of the third quarter thanks in part to fantastic goalkeeping by Carter, which was highlighted by back-to-back saves in the 36th minute off Alan Forsyth on a dragflick and rebound that Carter stopped by diving across the goal.

But in the 42nd minute, Scotland was awarded another corner and while Carter made the first save on Bain, Willie Marshall who picked up the rebound and put it through the legs of the Canadian netminder and in the goal to tie the game 1-1.

The draw meant Canada picked up a point for a grand total of four on 1 win, 1 draw and 2 losses in pool play.

Canada finishes the pool stage in third behind India and the Netherlands, and ahead of Pakistan, which finished in fourth with three points thanks to its win against Scotland. The point against Canada was Scotland’s only point of the competition, and with its fifth place finish it will not advance to the quarterfinal.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Scotland draw with Canada but narrowly miss out on 1/4 final place

Justin Bowie

Scotland’s World Cup hopes were crushed after a closely contested 1-1 draw against Canada.

Derek Forsyth’s side headed into the game needing a win to ensure they did not finish bottom of their World League semi-finals group, and despite coming from a goal behind, they were ultimately unable to find a winner.

Both sides pushed for an early opening goal after the game kicked off. Canada were awarded a penalty corner, however the decision was reversed.

Canada then started to take firm control of the game. Scotland’s Alan Forsyth was forced to clear a penalty corner off the line, while Canada’s Richard Hildreth was unable to convert a guilt-edge chance created by Matthew Sarmento.

Canada were dominant in possession. Whenever Scotland did find the ball, their play was often sloppy and unassured.

Nevertheless, they headed into second quarter level, and aware the game was still theirs to win if they could improve.

After the short interval, Scotland started to gain in confidence. Kenny Bain was just unable to convert David Forsyth’s impressive shot across goal, while Gordon McIntyre’s effort went just wide. Scotland’s opponents were no longer as dominant in possession and the game appeared to be swinging in favour of Derek Forsyth’s side.

Nevertheless, shortly before the end of the second quarter Canada took the lead from a penalty corner, courtesy of Gordon Johnston. It was a crushing blow considering the improvement Scotland had demonstrated, but they headed into half-time aware that there was still plenty to play for.

As the second half commenced Canada started to become cagier, seemingly settled in their one-goal lead. They were able to weather the storm at the back as Alan Forsyth and Kenny Bain again threatened for Scotland.

Canada continued to pose a threat on the counter-attack, however, and squandered a decent chance to kill the game off towards the end of the third quarter.

Moments later, Scotland were awarded a fantastic opportunity to level the game from a penalty corner. With just minutes of the third quarter remaining, the ball spilled to Willie Marshall, who drilled it through the legs of Canada’s goalkeeper to level the game at 1-1, and give Scotland some hope that they could still secure a win.

As the final quarter progressed, Scotland pushed for a crucial winner, but found themselves frustrated by a resolute and well-organised Canadian defence. They were given a massive advantage with just 90 seconds remaining when Gabriel Ho-Garcia was given a yellow card and sent off, however Canada were careful in possession and Scotland were ultimately unable to find their much-needed goal.

Overall, a draw was a fair result for the game. In the early stages Canada had largely dominated, however by the end Scotland had created more chances. As in many of their other semi-finals group games, they were given a glimmer of hope but were unable to take advantage.

Still, there will be positives for Scotland to take from what was a hard-fought draw against a talented and experienced Canada side. For the most part Derek Forsyth’s side defended well when called upon to do so, and their refusal to give up when behind demonstrated a determination they will hope to carry into future games and tournaments.

Head Coach Derek Forsyth said “I felt we were the better side in the second half, but at this level we need to take our chances. This has been a fantastic experience for all of us and we will take plenty from the tournament into the Europeans in August”

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Sloppy first half spoilt Indian party in London despite subsequent splendid show.

Indian played slow and sloppy first quarter in every match so far in London, but got away with it later to post victories even a whopping 7-1 in an encounter.

The wonted form let India down and came in for severe punishment at the hands of the young outfit Dutch today.

Fittingly, its 22 year old Thierry Brinkmann, on his 24th caps, who made use of initial Indian lethargy to slap past inexperienced Akash Chikte (1-0) in the second minute itself. Shortly later, Sander Baart's grounder was spotted rightly by the same goalie in a penalty corner drill, but it was perhaps one hundred of a second late, letting the ball slip fast between his stretched body and the turf (2-0).

India came into grip of the situation almost midway through second quarter. Lone Indian goal was struck by Akashdeep Singh in this spell (3-1).

Second half was a leveller. Twice Talwinder Singh, once each Mandeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh came close to scoring but their acumen and athleticism met with Rock of Gibraltar in lanky Ven van der Sam.

If India could not reduce the margin in its dominating spell, in which an India and a Dutch player was sent to sin bin, it was because of wonderful work exhibited by Ven under the bar.

Netherlands led India 3-1 at half time.

Indians were sloppy. Alert Netherlanders struck goal in perfect rhythm in counters.

In the second minutes, young Thierry Brinkman, talented son of Jacques Brinkman, dragged goalie Akash Tike away before reverse slapping the ball into the net to the right of goalieeven as Surender Singh was speedying to intercept (1-0). Ten minutes later, Sander Baart's grounder off a penalty corner found the net (2-0). Even as a defender was casually treating a cleared ball in his own 25-yard area, and with a measure of casualness, alert and nimble footed Dutch forward snatched it and set up the third, which involved only three touches before the ball has seen the net (3-0).

An astute referral by Sunil got India its first penalty corner, but Harmanpreet's grounder was slow, the rebound collected and cleared by two defenders.

India got two more penalty corners, Harmanpreet Singh tried all his wares only to be exposed by Ven Sam.

On the other hand, Indians were also equal to task at this task barring the second goal that Baart struck. Viaks Dahiya stood for India under bar in the second sesson, and to his credit not a single goal went in.

This includes two Penalty Corner tries by the Dutch.


India's skill outclassed by Dutch athleticism in game of two halves

Sundeep Misra

India were outrun by Netherlands during their Pool B match in Hockey World Series. AP

Showing terrific pace with fierce runs down both flanks, a hugely competitive Dutch side used athleticism more than pure skills to beat back the challenge of a dominant Indian team 3-1 to top Pool B. India came into this match playing vibrant hockey scoring 14 goals and conceding just two in reply. Holland had scored ten, and let in just one. It was a top class match-up or as the announcer said before the match – “It will be a cracker of a game.”

The last time both sides had played each other, The Netherlands had won 2-1 in Rio. This was predicted to be no different. If Indian fans had any apprehensions, it was about how much the Sardar Singh episode had affected the National team. Sardar, the former captain had been taken for questioning by the Leeds Police on Monday. So when his name was announced in the Indian team, there was palpable relief.

The Dutch began like a bunch of sprinters. They played fast, went for fast breaks and within a minute had the Indian side collectively in their own half. India didn’t have many answers; the Dutch bull-dozed through the midfield, cutting away like a scythe.

In the 2nd minute, they had the lead. It was a terrible error from Sardar Singh who had the ball on the top of the Indian striking circle but allowed it to be snatched by Thierry Brinkman who put it past Akash Chikte. Had the pressure of the off-the-field issues caught up with Sardar was the question here? Indian captain Manpreet Singh, after the match, answered: “Sardar is an iconic player and anybody could have committed the error. Even the other goals came off errors.”

But India was a goal down and pressure was mounting. The Netherlands sensed it beautifully. They stretched the flanks, cut through the middle and sprinted past the Indian midfield and defence like thoroughbreds. India were falling back and defending.

Jonas de Geus had an opportunity and Chikte saved. Then it was the turn of Dutch captain, Billy Bakker, who turned and flicked but Chikte blocked. The goalkeeper was keeping India alive in the 1st quarter. The pressure was relentless. And the Indian defence broke again in the 13th minute. The Netherlands had a penalty corner and Sander Baart sent the ball home; it was a perfect flick, low and under the falling Chikte. India was now gasping for breath.

The Netherlands pushed on using the flanks time and again to stretch the Indian defence before cutting the ball back in. No extraordinary ball play by the Dutch but pure and simple athleticism of an Olympian level. They ran fast, traded passes like relay runners and kept the Indian defence guessing. As the hooter sounded for the 1st quarter, a confused and battered Indian side came off; Roelant Oltmans explaining on his board the deficiencies and the way forward in the 2nd quarter.

The Dutch began at the same pace. But the Indians were clearing to the side where the right halves were sending in through balls on the lines. It was keeping the Dutch away from cutting through the middle. Yet they didn’t relent, coming forward like a swarm of bees. The third goal came off a break with a passing pattern that would make Magnus Carlsen green with envy. Sander Wijn raced through the midfield, tapped to Billy Bakker who went past two before giving it to Mirco Pruijser whose last tap beat Chikte all ends up. At 3-0, it seemed, India was in for a whacking.

But slowly India wrestled control of the midfield and then they pulled balls to the flanks and stretched the Dutch. Sunil almost went to the extreme right before hitting in a perfect cross to an unmarked Akashdeep who pulled out a brilliant piece of skill by tapping the ball between his own legs to beat the Dutch goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak. It was hockey’s version of a Lionel Messi move.
At the break, India came off 1-3 down but had kept the door slightly ajar.

Coach Oltmans, meanwhile, changed Chikte in goal to bring Vikas Dahiya into the match. And the 3rd quarter started with a yellow card for Sardar and India was down to ten men. The Netherlands had a 4th penalty corner but couldn’t convert.

Off a breakaway move, India did have Mandeep Singh racing away but took time to swivel and try a reverse shot which was saved by the defence. The third quarter was turning out to be India’s best. They had a few breaks and the Dutch for the first time gave away gaps in the midfield which Pardeep Mor and Chinglensana exploited. For the Indian midfield it was a poor day as Manpreet Singh, Sardar, Satbir all played below par. Only Harjeet in patches during the 3rd and 4th quarter displayed some verve that gave a bit of aggression and hope to a misfiring Indian side. On the sidelines, Oltmans kept hitting the fence in frustration.

The 4th quarter was even with India getting at least three chances to score. Harmanpreet Singh flicked powerfully but the Dutch goalkeeper Sam van der Ven, replacing Blaak, brought off two superb saves. It was a story of poor finishing for both the sides. The Dutch had their 5th penalty corner but an indirect conversion didn’t work.

In a match that decided the Pool topper, India had sparred with Holland and like a battered boxer came back strongly in the later rounds. Indian coach Oltmans, said, “The first two quarters went their way and we couldn’t find our way in. But I am happy with the way the boys recovered and we could have got one more goal.”

In a match-up between the World No 4 and No 6, Dutch player, Mink Weerden said the pace gave the domination to Holland in the first two quarters and that the team went in with that thinking. “We knew we had to subdue India in the first quarter itself,” Mink said. And then interestingly pointed out that Holland was going towards athleticism and not a game based on skills. The Dutch team is loaded with six footers, as if they had been pulled out of their national basketball team. Jonas Geus, Floris Wortelboer, Mirco Pruijser, Bob Voogd and their captain Billy Bakker towered over the Indians. Chinglensana in a one-to-one duel with Bakker stood way below his shoulders. Mink laughed at the ‘basketball suggestion’ and then said “by that logic, I will be out of the team.” Mink is 5 feet ten inches.

With a day’s rest, India now has time to focus on their next opponents – Malaysia or China. “I don’t think the opponents matter,” said Oltmans. “The match needs to be won. And that is what we will focus on.”


Netherlands snaps India’s winning run

Oltmans’ men will take on Malaysia in the quarterfinals

Intense action: India’s lone goal-scorer Akashdeep Singh battles with the Netherlands’ Sander Baart as the Dutch goalkeeper Sam van der Ven looks on in their match on Tuesday. 

The Netherlands handed out India its first defeat, prevailing 3-1, in their match at the Hockey World League League semifinal here on Tuesday.

All the goals came in the first two quarters of the match with the Netherlands scoring through Thierry Brinkman (2nd minute), Sander Baart (12th) and Mirco Pruijser (24th), while Akashdeep Singh sounded the board for India with a brilliant field strike.

The loss, however, did not make any impact on India’s chances in the tournament as it had already qualified for the quarterfinals before Tuesday’s encounter as it registered wins in their first three games. India will take on Malaysia on Thursday while the Netherlands will face China in the quarterfinals on the same day.

Going by world rankings, the Netherlands was rated as the favourite against the sixth-placed Indians and the Dutchmen played the match on the expected lines, controlling the proceedings for major part of the match.

Early strike

The Indians were slow to get off the blocks and the Dutch caught the Indian defence off guard as early as in the second minute when Sardar Singh lost possession of the ball just outside the Indian circle and Brinkman made no mistake.

The Netherlands doubled its lead in the 12th minute when Baart scored from its first penalty corner.

The Netherlands made it 3-0 in the 24th minute when Pruijser scored after receiving a through pass from Bjorn Kellerman. It took a brilliant field strike from Akashdeep to bring India back into the match as Roelant Oltmans’ men went into the breather trailing 1-3.

After the change of ends, the Indians created a few scoring chances with Ramandeep Singh and Mandeep Singh at the fore but the Netherlands goalkeepers Sam van der Ven and Pirmin Blaak, who took the field through rolling substitution, made some fine saves to keep the lead intact.

The Indians created their chances but they failed to sustain possession of the ball for long periods of time, which eventually cost them dearly.

In the last 10 minutes, India earned two more penalty corners but van der Ven was at his best to deny Harmanpreet on both occasions.

The results: Netherlands 3 (Brinkman 2, Baart 12, Pruijser 24) bt India 1 (Akashdeep 28); Canada 1 (Johnston 29) drew with Scotland 1 (Marshall 42).

The Hindu

India lose to Netherlands 1-3, to face Malaysia in quarters

LONDON: India fought hard before losing 1-3 against higher-ranked Netherlands to suffer their first defeat in the Hockey World League League Semi-Final here today.

All the goals came in the first two quarters of the match with Netherlands scoring through Thierry Brinkman (2nd minute), Sander Baart (12th) and Mirco Pruijser (24th), while Akashdeep Singh sounded the board for India with a brilliant field strike.

The loss, however, did not make any impact on India's chances in the tournament as they had already qualified for the quarter-finals before today's encounter as they had registered wins in their first three games.

Netherlands topped Pool B with an all-win record from four matches, while India finished second with three wins from four games.

India will take on Malaysia on Thursday while Netherlands will face fourth-placed team in Pool A -- China -- in the quarter-finals on the same day.

Going by world rankings, Netherlands (4th) were rated as favourites against the sixth-placed Indians and the Dutchmen played the match on the expected lines, controlling the proceedings for major part of the match.

The Indians were slow to get off the blocks and the Dutch caught the Indian defence off guard as early as in the second minute when Sardar Singh lost possession of the ball just outside the Indian circle and Brinkman made no mistake in giving his side the lead.

Young Akash Chikte then pulled off a brilliant save to deny Jonas de Geus in the sixth minute.

But Netherlands doubled their lead in the 12th minute when Baart scored from their first penalty corner.

In the very next move, India got a penalty corner but wasted the opportunity.

Chikte once again came to India's rescue to deny Netherlands skipper Billy Bakker just at the stroke of first quarter.

Netherlands got two back-to-back penalty corners soon but failed to utilise both.

The Dutchmen completely dictated the pace at least in the opening quarter as the Indians lacked co-ordination.

Netherlands made it 3-0 in the 24th minute when Pruijser scored after receiving a through pass from Bjorn Kellerman.

It took a brilliant field strike from Akashdeep to bring India back into the match as Roelant Oltmans' men went into the breather trailing 1-3.

After the change of ends, the Indians created a few scoring chances with Ramandeep Singh and Mandeep Singh at the fore but Netherlands goalkeepers Sam van der Ven and Pirmin Blaak, who took the field through rolling substitution, made some fine saves to keep their lead intact.

The Indians created their chances but they failed to sustain possession of the ball for long periods of time, which eventually cost them dearly.

In the last 10 minutes, India earned two more penalty corners by Van der Ven was at his best to deny Harmanpreet on both occasions

The Times of India

Pakistan make World League quarter-finals

LAHORE: Pakistan have qualified for the quarter-finals of the hockey World League in London by virtue of a drawn game (1-1) played between Canada and Scotland in group ‘B’.

According to information reached here on Tuesday, Pakistan after losing three matches against Holland, Canada and India won the solitary one against Scotland and was waiting for a draw or defeat of Scotland in the last match against Canada.


Hockey World League semi-finals: Imran blasts hockey team for poor showing

By Nabil Tahir

Rock bottom: Pakistan were defeated 7-1 by India and Imran believes the management’s decision to discard experienced players is to blame. PHOTO COURTESY: FIH

KARACHI: Pakistan are still in with a shout to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Hockey World League semi-final round in London as they followed up their embarrassing 7-1 defeat against arch-rivals India with a 3-1 win over Scotland.

The win was the first for the Greenshirts after losing their first three games; 4-0 to Netherlands, 6-0 to Canada and 7-1 to India.

Pakistan can qualify if Scotland lose to Canada but former skipper Muhammad Imran is not impressed with the team’s showing.

Imran feels the players have not done their homework and seem completely unprepared for the games. “There seems to be no plan and they are just going into the ground with empty minds,” he said. “This is because the management has left the senior players here and taken a team filled with young and inexperienced players to an event of this magnitude.”

Imran further highlighted the importance of this tournament. “It serves as a virtual qualification round for next year’s World Cup,” he told The Express Tribune. “If an event can have such a huge impact on the future of Pakistan hockey then they should have taken experienced players for it. Dropping players like Muhammad Irfan, Touseeq Arshad, Muhammad Waqas Sharif and Shafqat Rasool is total injustice.”

He added that the players who have been dropped were playing with the team for a long time and had toured with the side on several occasions, meaning they knew what it takes to win against the best teams in the world.

“Young players are unable to handle the pressure that comes with competing against such teams and playing in a tournament of this size,” he added.

Imran also feels the bench players are not up par.  “We have been facing this problem for a while now that our bench is not strong enough,” he said. “All of Pakistan’s 16 players are not of the same quality and that makes it difficult to use all of them in the tournament. There are a few players who go with the side but they cannot be played for even a minute in such tournaments.”

Imran urged the Greenshirts to go into the quarter-finals with a solid gameplan if they do reach that, with Group A leaders England expected to be their opponents there.

The Express Tribune

Canada skipper relishing vociferous QF crowd

Canada's Scott Tupper in action in London

Canada captain Scott Tupper says his team will relish playing against England in the quarter-finals of the Hero Hockey World League Semi-Final on Thursday at 8pm.

Having already confirmed their place in the knockout stages, Tupper’s side secured third place in Group B with an entertaining 1-1 draw against Scotland.

In a highly entertaining game at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, Canada’s Chris Johnston opened the scoring in the first half before Willie Marshall equalised for The Blue Sticks in the third quarter.

Canada will now face in England in the last eight and are likely to come up against a noisy home crowd, something Tupper believes could actually help his side.

“To be honest, I’m feeling quite good about playing England - based on atmosphere and all that I think it’s really nice to play a quarter-final against the host nation,” the 30-year-old said.

 “It will be most likely very pro-England but that’s nice.

 “I think it’s a really good experience for us to play in those higher intensity games with an opposing crowd - it can either build against you or you can use it to build yourself up by playing simple hockey and maybe playing the crowd out of it.

 “Hopefully we can put in a good performance and maybe mitigate some of the advantage England might take from it.”

England put on a cracking show to beat Korea 7-2 in their final game, but they fell just short of Argentina, taking second in the group behind the Olympic champions on goal difference.

But for Tupper it didn’t really matter who finished second in that group as he recognised playing either the hosts or the world’s number one side in the quarter-finals will be a tough task for his team.

“With us being in the third slot you’re obviously getting England or Argentina who are both high powered teams that can play really good hockey on their day,” he explained.

“It’s a little bit of a pick your poison with both being really strong.

“But why not play the host, play in the atmosphere and enjoy it? We’re feeling very good ahead of the game.”

Tickets for all games are on sale now, buy online here.

    Quarter Finals day starts at £22.50 adults/£7.50 U18s, your ticket allows access to all five games.

    Semi Finals day starts at £27.50 adults/£10 U18s, your ticket allows access to all four games.

    Finals day starts at £45 adults/£15 U18s, your ticket allows access to all four games.

England Hockey Board Media release

Finals weekend set to serve up some huge matches

Phil Roper, David Ames and Liam Sanford

Finals weekend at the Hero Hockey World League in London is set to be a cracker. After what's been a brilliant event so far, there's even more world class hockey still to be played.

Saturday 24 June:
England/Canada vs Netherlands/China (SF)
India/Malaysia vs Argentina/Pakistan (SF)
Plus two play-off games

There are some mouthwatering possibilities, including England vs Netherlands if they both win their quarter finals, and India against either rivals Pakistan or Olympic Champions Argentina.

9:30am 5th/8th place playoff 1
11:45am 5th/8th place playoff 2
2pm Semi Final 1
4:15pm Semi Final 2 (England if qualified)

Tickets for Saturday start at just £10 under 18s and £27.50 adults, for four of the best possible games of international hockey!

Sunday 25 June:
All 8 teams will again be in action, with four games culminating in the grand final at 4:15pm, in front of a packed crowd.

Sunday tickets start at £15 under 18s and £45 adults, with four fantastic games:

9:30am 7th/8th place
11:45am 5th/6th place
2pm 3rd/4th place
4:15pm Grand final

Go to www.seetickets.com to book your place now!

England Hockey Board Media release

FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final poses intriguing match-ups in Brussels

World Cup champions Netherlands are the highest rank team in Brussels Photo: FIH/WSP

Brussels is all set to host the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Finals – the first of two women's Hockey World League Semi-Final events – and what a competition it is likely to be.

With the dual prize of qualification for the 2018 Hockey World Cup and a place at the Hockey World League Final 2017 for those finishing in the top slots, this is an event that will see hockey at its best.

There are rich rewards for the top placed teams. The four highest finishers will go on to compete in the showcase end of year event, the Hockey World League Final in Auckland, New Zealand between 17-26 November.

And five automatic berths are available for the 2018 Hockey Women's World Cup in London, England although this will increase depending on the outcomes of the upcoming Continental Championships, which are also World Cup qualification events.

With this significant detail in mind, all competing nations will be determined to finish as high up the standings as possible to give themselves the best chance of a ticket to the blue riband event in London from 21 July to 5 August 2018.

Quality and intrigue are the buzzwords to describe this event. The presence of the world number one team, Netherlands, will always ensure audacious skills will be on display and, although they are a side in transition, the Netherlands have a team that is oozing quality all over the pitch. But, there are also teams that will be an unknown quantity – Italy (WR: 16), Scotland (WR: 17) and Malaysia (WR: 22) are teams that are relatively new to this level of competition, so it will be exciting to see how these teams adapt and how other teams cope with new styles of play.

There is a lot of rebuilding going on among the teams that participated at the Rio Olympics. Australia (WR: 4) are a side that is rebuilding after some high profile retirements, but this is a time when some of those left from the Rio 2016 campaign will want to show they have stepped up into leadership roles. Kathryn Slattery, Jane Claxton and Georgina Morgan will be three players hoping to lead the Hockeyroos to the podium.

China (WR: 8) is a team that started a rebuilding process after London 2012 and now has a team with a lot of experience in its ranks. Players such as Zhao Yudiao, De Jiao Jiao and Gao Lihua have more than 650 caps between them and they are old hands at ensuring qualification to the major events.

And two European teams who are on target with their development plans are Spain (WR: 10) and Belgium (WR: 14). The Red Sticks of Spain  have an experienced coach in Adrian Locke and some very talented players in their ranks. Belgium would have been disappointed not to have qualified for Rio 2016, but in front of a home crowd, expect to see the Red Panthers bounce back and push for qualification for both the 2018 World Cup and the Hockey World League Final.

Looking at the two pools, there are some intriguing match-ups.

In Pool A, Korea versus China will be a fascinating game between two teams who both like to soak up pressure then quickly counter-attack; the game between Scotland and Italy will also be an interesting encounter as it involves two European teams with very different styles of play.

Over in Pool B, New Zealand (WR: 5) will be the side looking to dominate the pool and secure a good position for the quarter-finals. Too many times for the Black Sticks liking, they have finished in fourth place. The team led by experienced captain Stacey Michelsen will be looking to be among the medals on this occasion.

To follow all the action in Brussels at the Women's FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Finals, click here.

FIH site

10 Players to watch in Brussels

Find out which athletes to watch out for in Brussels Photo: FIH/WSP

With the Women’s Hockey World Cup taking place next year in London, now is the time that coaches are bringing in talented new players so they are ready for the pressure of a World Cup competition.

The FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Finals in Brussels provides the perfect environment for players to come to grips with the demands of a competition where the stakes are high. At the same time, the squads also need the voices of experience, and there are players taking to the pitch in Brussels who have had years of performing at the top level of our sport.

Here is a quick look at some of the players – new and experienced – who will be making an impact in Brussels.

Australia’s Kathryn Slattery burst onto the scene as a debutant at the 2014 World Cup in the Hague and has been putting away goals for the Hockeyroos ever since. Now she is no longer the ‘new girl’, Slattery will be leading the line as Australia seek to improve upon the third place they achieved at the 2015 FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Finals in Antwerp.

As the home team, Belgium will be under pressure to perform and so they will be looking to their experienced players to lead the way. They don’t come anymore experienced than Jill Boon. The forward can expect to hit the 250 cap mark in Belgium and she would love to celebrate that milestone by helping her team qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

China’s captain Cui Qiuxia is a relative newcomer to the very experienced China team, but with more than 100 caps to her name, she definitely knows what it takes to win at this level. In Valencia in the 2015 edition of this competition, Cui Qiuxia played most of the competition with her hand bandaged up after she took a knock which would have put most people out of the game for a while. Her level of commitment in defence is inspirational.

One of the newest members of the Italian squad is Frederica Carta but the young player will not be fazed by the big occasion. She recently participated for her club side, Amiscora, in the EuroHockey Club’s Trophy and showed herself to be more than capable of taking on a defence and creating scoring opportunities. Expect a busy performance from the midfielder.

In the 2015 edition of this event, Korea finished runners-up to the Netherlands after a consistently good performance throughout the competition. Their captain Kim Jong Eun is instrumental in driving the Korea team forwards and her speed and innovation when the team attacks is one of the reasons the Asian side will always pose a threat.

The lowest ranked team in Brussels will be Malaysia (FIH Hero World Ranking: 22) but, as Italy found out in Hockey World League Round Two when they lost to the Tigresses in a shoot-out, you can never write this Asian side off. Goalkeeper Farah Yahya was the hero in Round Two and she could prove to be one of Malaysia’s key players as they seek to live the Hockey World League dream of progressing to a first World Cup qualification spot.

Netherlands come to Brussels as pre-tournament favourites and, despite some changes to the squad that won the 2014 Hockey World Cup and silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics, they remain a side that oozes quality. There is a bevy of new players in the squad but one to watch for the future is Maartje Krekelaar. For a player with fewer than 20 caps for her country, she is cool and creative on the ball and hardworking when chasing possession.

The Black Sticks of New Zealand have a very strong squad in Brussels. One of the hallmarks of their team is a shared ability to lead and take responsibility. No player personifies this more than the super-competitive Kirsten Pearce. The midfielder is now approaching senior status within the squad with more than 80 caps to her name and she can be relied upon to terrorise the opposition with a phenomenal work rate.

Ranked 17th in the world, Scotland will be one of the lesser-known teams at this tournament. What their opponents will have gathered from video footage is that the Scotland side are hard-working, uncompromising and structured. The three most experienced players share the captaincy – Becky Ward, Kareena Cuthbert and Rebecca Merchant – but another player who is likely to have a big impact is Amy Costello. The defender is part of the Great Britain centralised programme and will be looking to inspire Scotland to a 2018 World Cup appearance.

Spain has a wealth of talent at its disposal and, after a good performance at the 2016 Olympic Games, they have plenty of top level international experience. Rocio Ybarra continues to provide the steadiness needed in defence and is likely to reach 250 caps for her country at this event, but for a glimpse into the future, Carmen Cano is a player who is likely to create havoc among the opposition’s defence.

FIH site

Kiwi Women poised for Brussels campaign

Photo: BWMedia

The Vantage Black Sticks Women begin their FIH World League Semi Final tournament against Spain at 6am on Thursday morning (NZ time) at the Stade Fallon in Brussels.

New Zealand joins reigning world champions Netherlands, hosts Belgium, Oceania champions Australia, Asian champions Korea, China, Spain, Malaysia, Scotland and Italy at the tournament which runs from 21 June - 2 July.

Brussels is the first of two World League Semi Final events, with the other being held in Johannesburg between 8-23 July.

The top four finishers in Brussels will qualify for the FIH Women’s World League Final in Auckland this November, while the Black Sticks are already guaranteed a place as hosts.

There are also five automatic berths available for the 2018 Hockey Women's World Cup in London, although this will increase depending on results from the upcoming Continental Championships which are World Cup qualification events.

With this detail in mind, all competing nations will be determined to finish as high up the standings as possible to give themselves the best chance of a ticket to the World Cup from 21 July - 5 August, 2018.

Across the two pools, there are some intriguing match-ups.

The Black Sticks headline Pool B and are joined by trans-Tasman rivals Australia, hosts Belgium, Malaysia and Spain.

Led by experienced captain Stacey Michelsen, the Kiwis will certainly be looking to be among the medals on this occasion.

Over in Pool A, reigning world champions Netherlands are set to battle it out against Korea, China, Scotland and Italy.

All New Zealand games at the World League Semi Final in Brussels will be broadcast live on SKY Sport.

MATCH SCHEDULE (all in NZ time)

Broadcast live on SKY Sport

Thursday 22nd June
6:00am – New Zealand vs Spain

Sunday 25th June
12:00am – New Zealand vs Australia

Monday 26th June
2:00am – New Zealand vs Belgium

Wednesday 28th June
2:00am – New Zealand vs Malaysia

Thursday 29th June
Quarter Finals

Saturday 1st July
Semi Finals

Sunday 2nd July
Finals Day

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Black Sticks chasing World Cup qualification

By David Leggat

Sam Charlton. photo / Michael Cunningham

New Zealand have two objectives when the women's World League semifinal starts in Brussels early tomorrow.

The world No 5 Black Sticks, who kick off the 10-team event against Spain, want to put behind them past slipups at the business end of tournaments and also ensure they get qualification for next year's World Cup in London.

The second part of the equation should not be an issue.

The cup has been bumped up to 16 teams, the top five in Brussels qualify and New Zealand are the third-best ranked team at the tournament, behind world No 1 the Netherlands and No 4 Australia.

The leadup hasn't been ideal.

They had a four-match series against Spain in Barcelona, drawing two and losing two. That served a useful purpose, according to senior player Sam Charlton.

''It was really good for us adjusting to the European summer and the heat," she said.

''We had four really tough games and results wise it didn't really go the way we would have wanted to, but it's all good preparation, getting used to playing European teams and making we sure we know them inside out before playing them (tomorrow)."

Charlton, whose 188 caps put her among the most experienced players in a group shorn of half a dozen seasoned international campaigners this year for a variety of reasons, is sure the world rankings - Spain are 10th - can be misleading.

''The world rankings don't change that often so perhaps they don't reflect teams in form at that time.

''The difference between the top 10 teams isn't much, so it's really important that no matter who we play we're really onto it."

A key areas of work in Barcelona were performing their basic skills under fatigue and pressure, Charlton said.

''If you can't perform basic skills in those situations you're definitely not going to do it when the pressure goes on in the bigger games," she said.

The bulk of their fitness work was done before they left New Zealand and Charlton is optimistic the Black Sticks won't fall short in that area.

Making the most of their chances in the attacking circle, and ensuring they are tight at the back are essentials.

New Zealand are hosting the World League final in Auckland late this year so in one sense they are sure of advancing. But Charlton said that issue hadn't even featured in their planning.

''We know probably one of our bigger downfalls at the moment is being able to win those crunch games in the last few years so this is a chance to get better at them."

New Zealand's pool B draw at the World League semifinal in Brussels

Tomorrow: v Spain (world No 10), 6am NZT

Saturday: v Australia (4), midnight

Monday: v Belgium (14), 2am

Wednesday: v Malaysia (22), 2am

Playoffs start June 29.

The New Zealand Herald

Fulton Names Squad For Hamburg Masters

The Green Machine is set to compete at a 4 Nations in Hamburg in the coming days, their final tournament prior to the World League Semi-Finals in Johannesburg. Ireland will get their tournament underway against world ranked 10 Spain, a fixture that is certain to be closely contested as there’s rarely more than a goal between the two sides. The following day they will meet Austria, a side they last played at World League 2 in Belfast and that fixture needed a penalty shootout to separate the teams. Their final match of the tournament pits them against world number 3 and current Olympic bronze medallists Germany on Sunday June 25th.


David Harte (GK)
Jamie Carr (GK)
John Jackson
Jonathan Bell
Matthew Bell
Chris Cargo
Matthew Nelson
Alan Sothern
Eugene Magee
Neal Glassey
Shane O Donoghue
Sean Murray
John McKee
Darragh Walsh
Paul Gleghorne
Jeremy Duncan
Lee Cole
Stuart Loughrey
Stephen Cole

Hamburg Masters

Thursday 22nd June

16:45 Ireland v Spain
19:00 Germany vs Austria

Friday 23rd June

16:45 Ireland v Austria
19:00 Spain vs Germany

Sunday 25th June

10:00 Austria vs Spain
12:30 Ireland v Germany

Irish Hockey Association media release

Karnataka’s hopes dashed

Mumbai beat Patiala 3-0 to sneak into the last eight

Haryana ended its campaign in the men’s National hockey championships with a 3-2 win over Karnataka in its final league game to finish at the bottom of Pool D but the result dashed the latter’s hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals.

Karnataka needed a big win to move ahead of Air India, who won 5-0 against Association of Indian Universities, but was unable to do so, trailing 3-0 before fighting back with two goals in the final quarter.

Table-topper Chandigarh was the other team to qualify from Pool D as the league matches got over.

Mumbai beat Patiala 3-0 to sneak into the last eight, getting past MPHA on goal difference despite being tied on points.

The results:

Pool A: RSPB 4 (Sheshe Gowda, Affan Yousuf, Ajmer Singh, Raju Pal) bt SSCB 2 (Chandan Aind, Rana Pratap Singh).

UP 5 (Tarun Adhikari 2, Sunil Yadav, Imran Khan, Ajay Yadav) drew with Namdhari XI 5 (Harwinder Singh 3, Kuldeep Singh, Gagandeep Singh).

Pool B: Punjab 5 w/o FCI 0; CAG 5 (Nithin Thimmaiah 2, Imran Khan, Md. Naeemuddin, Jagroop Singh) bt Gangpur-Odisha 0.

Pool C: MPHA 4 (Nikky Kaushal 3, Avneesh Kumar Sen) bt Odisha 2 (Sudhir Kujur, Suraj Minz); Mumbai 3 (Rajendra pawar 2, Manpreet Singh) bt Patiala 0.

Pool D: Air India 5 (Armaan Qureshi 2, Shivendra Singh, Manish Yadav, Mohd. Umar) bt AIU 0.

Haryana 3 (Jagwant Singh, Jonny Jasrotia, Gagandeep Singh) bt Karnataka 2 (Pruthvi Raj, Siraj A.P.).

The Hindu

Have to prepare for next Nationals right now: Kumar

K. Keerthivasan

C.R. Kumar.   | Photo Credit: K_V_Srinivasan

There are very few coaches in the State who can match the credentials of C.R. Kumar.

So, when he was asked by the Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu to take charge of the team with hardly 10 days for the senior men’s National ‘B’ hockey championship in Lucknow, Kumar took up the responsibility with a clear message to the authorities: “I am not a magician to perform miracles. I will do my best.”

It was a panic call from HUTN, after the State men’s team lost to South Central Railway conceding 10 goals in the Lakshmi Ammal tournament in Kovilpatti last month, which forced the officials to call up Kumar.

Given the circumstances, TN did reasonably well topping the Group H which included Jammu & Kashmir, Sashastra Seema Bal and Chhattisgarh Hockey losing to the eventual champion Petroleum Sports Promotion Board in the quarterfinals.

Kumar is quite critical of HUTN’s policy of fielding raw college players for an event as big as the Nationals, though he is happy with the way they performed at a big stage.

“I am all for promoting youngsters, but it should not be done at the senior Nationals. For it is a stage where you have to field your best players, and ours was not the best,” said Kumar, who guided the State men’s team to the final in 1996-97 (Bangalore) and 1997-98 (Hyderabad).

Kumar, who also guided the Indian junior boys’ team to a World Cup win in 2011 in Hobart and helped the Indian women’s team qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics, said the TN team did really well against a formidable PSPB which had more than a dozen former India players in its ranks, without conceding a goal in the first two quarters.

“We scored 16 goals in the tournament and conceded only two penalty corners against PSPB. Which shows that the team played well,” he said.

According to Kumar, the boys have realised, after their trip to Lukcnow, the amount of work they needed to put in for a major championship.

The Southern Railway employee praised captain Aravindhan, goalkeeper Arun Prasadh and Gnanavel who scored all the five penalty corners.

Kumar said there were lots of talented players available in the State while adding that more from the institution teams should be selected to make the State team strong.

“We have to prepare for the next Nationals right now, have a panel of coaches at various age groups, spot the right talent. Otherwise we can only become a participant,” he said.

Open trials

He suggested HUTN conduct an open trials and pick 30-35 players for the senior Nationals.

So, will he coach the Tamil Nadu for the coming MCC-Murugappa all-India tournament?

“I am not sure as I might be asked by my employer to coach the team,” said Kumar, who was part of the coaching panel of the Indian women’s team from 2011 to 2017 before he left the National camp in February this year after his father fell ill.

The Hindu

UJ hockey teams focused on strong start in Ussa week

The experienced Ashleigh Datnow will have an important role to play for the University of Johannesburg in the Ussa hockey week in Johannesburg from next Wednesday. Photo: Saspa

Having ended fifth in both the men’s and women’s divisions last year, the University of Johannesburg hockey teams will target a strong start in the annual University Sport South Africa tournament next week.

Jointly hosted by UJ and Wits, it will be held in Johannesburg from June 28 to July 2.

The Ussa event is slightly earlier this year to compensate for the Hockey World League tournament that will be hosted by South Africa from July 8 to 23 at Wits, among other venues.

UJ hockey manager Elize le Roux acknowledged that the Ussa tournament was always a testing one as the teams jockeyed for the top positions in their pools on the first three days.

“The pool stages are really tough as you need to step on the park in good form from the start because one loss can count you out. You have to try to end first or second in your pool to qualify for the semifinals.

“Some universities think it would be better if you first had quarterfinals, but others say that would just be giving top teams another bite at the cherry if you don’t perform well on the first three days.

“So the format is a bit tricky, but that makes it interesting and worth the challenge.”

UJ have been a strong force in South African varsity hockey, but Le Roux said they would be looking no further than a place in the top four initially and then taking it step by step.

“We always aim for the top four as a starting point and once the pool fixtures are done, we can then focus on the play-off matches. We take it a game at a time and we always try to assess our opposition’s strength to see where we can match and better them.”

Le Roux said the Ussa tournament played an important role in their plans as it provided a yardstick to measure themselves against other institutions and created chances for younger players to make an impact.

“We are in a rebuilding phase with both the men’s and women’s teams, with the women gearing up for next year and the men looking ahead at 2019,” she said.

“Three-year performance cycles are the key and the Ussa week gives us an assessment of where we stand internally as well as against our competitors.”

She said the week had further significance because it acted as a qualifying tournament for the 2018 Varsity Hockey men’s event.

With their preparations having gone well, Le Roux said some of their key players could be in the national team for the Hockey World League event.

“Depending on the final selection, we could be missing Lisa Deetlefs, Carmen Smith, Tyson Dlugwana and Garreth Heyns, but we do have other senior provincial and Namibian national players stepping in.”

She said young stars such as Kirsten Paton, Cheneal Raubenheimer (both SA U21) and Zeena Martin (SA U18), along with Namibian national Phia Gerber and seniors like Ashleigh Datnow, Lisa Hawker, Kerry Trebble, captain Robyn Johnson and Isabella da Rocha formed a strong nucleus.

“Among the men we have SA U21 players Courtney Halle, Amkelwe Letuka and Kyle Lion-Cachet, plus the experience of Taylor Dart and Che February to provide good depth.”

She added that their coaching staff of Garreth Ewing (men), who is also the senior national trainer for the Hockey World League, and ex-national player Lance Louw (women) were part of an experienced management team.

“So the support for the players behind the scenes is there and the teams have the full backing of UJ Sport to do us proud. We wish them all the best and hope they will produce some positive memories.”

UJ Media release

Horgan Appointed to FIH Rules Committee

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – It is with great pleasure that USA Field Hockey announces that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Executive Board has appointed Steve Horgan, USA Field Hockey’s Director of Umpiring, as a member of the Rules Committee starting effective immediately. This is a 2-year appointment, where Horgan is considered the Pan American Hockey Federation representative.

“Steve’s appointment is great acknowledgement of his experience and expertise in his field,” said Simon Hoskins, USA Field Hockey’s Executive Director. “To have a leading member of our officiating community contribute to the advancement of the sport at a global level is great recognition for how the game has progressed in United States.”

The FIH Rules Committee is responsible for maintaining and updating the international rules of hockey. Sitting on the committee with Horgan is Chair David Collier, Secretary Craig Gribble, Ahtlete Representative Beth Smith, Ahmed Youssef (Africa), Shahbaz Ahmed (Asia), Margaret Hunnaball (Europe), Katrina Powell (Oceania) and Peter Elders (Members).

“It is a great honor to be considered for the FIH Rules Committee, let alone being selected,” commented Horgan. “I look forward to working with everyone from around the world on this committee to keep the game progressing toward the future.”

USFHA media release

Why every girl breathes hockey in this remote Jharkhand village

Dhritiman Ray

HESAL, KHUNTI DISTRICT: Nestled amidst sprawling paddy fields, Hesal is a tribal village in Jharkhand's Khunti district. Roughly 50 km from Ranchi, the village is situated in an area where left-wing extremists hold sway. Undeterred, every girl in this hardscrabble hamlet of 50 homes breathes hockey and aspires to play for India.

For thousands across the country, sport is often a way of overcoming life's unkind cuts. It has been a transmitter of dreams, a vehicle to a better future. Hesal found hope in hockey. And ever since midfielder Nikki Pradhan earned a place in the 2016 Rio squad, its self-belief has soared.

Other players, too, have shown the way. Medio Reshma Minju and defender Muktu Mundu are members of the Jharkhand women's squad. Nikki's cousin, Shashi Pradhan, has been selected for junior national camp.In recent years, Birsi Mundu, Etwari Mundu and Rukmini Dodrai have attended junior and sub-junior Indian camps.

There's more. Six girls, between 11 and 14 years of age, are being coached at centres run by the state sports department and Hockey Jharkhand. The enthusiasm seems to have rubbed off on the boys. Joseph Bhengra and Joel Bhengra have also participated in junior national camps.

"Hesal has become the cradle of women's hockey in Jharkhand. Besides Nikki, so many other girls are finding their way to the state squad and into national camps," said Hockey Jharkhand president Bholanath Singh.

Tribal hinterlands like Simdega, Gumla and Khunti have traditionally produced hockey players of international repute. Hes al's romance with the game goes back over a decade when Nikki's cousin, Push pa Pradhan, broke into the Indian squad. The defender, now retired, was part of the team that won the Asia Cup in Delhi in 2004. She also represented India at the Doha Asian Games in 2006.

Hesal owes a lot to Dashrath Mahto, an un assuming school teacher in neighbouring village Pelaul. Mahto played hock ey for Bihar and brought about a sporting revolution in these parts. "We learnt passing and dribbling from Dashrath sir," Minju said.

Both Pushpa and Nikki also received their early lessons from Mahto, who began training children out of his undying passion for hockey. "When I began, the villagers had no idea about hockey. Now, they are proud of these children and want the future generation to play the game," the 62-yearold retired school teacher said.

Lack of infrastructure is a persistent gripe, though.Incredibly, Hesal doesn't have a playing field of its own. Most of its younger players hone their game in Pelaul. However, there's a day boarding centre under Jharkhand government's patronage in Khunti town, about 8 km away.

But in Hesal, young girls practice under mediocre coaches provided by an NGO. They often play barefeet, risking serious inju ries that could end a career even before it takes off. But there's fire in their belly and a twinkle in their eyes.

At Hesal, the evening sky has just begun clearing.It was raining heavily since afternoon and eight-yearold Kitni Mundu was getting restless in her hut. As soon as the showers abate, she grabs a worn-out hockey stick and heads for the playground in Pelaul.

She manages to reach just in time as her friends -Chintamani Mundu, Mangri Saru, Pundi Saru and others - begin warming up under the supervision of their trainer.

"We want to be like Nikki Didi. We want to play for India," proclaim Kitni and Chintamani. Others smile and nod in affirmation.

The Times of India

Why does Kolkata still have no proper stadium with AstroTurf to host hockey matches?

Priyanka Dasgupta

KOLKATA: On Sunday evening once India lost to Pakistan in cricket, many of those smitten by the social media bug seemed to collectively flaunt India's 7:1 victory in hockey over Pakistan. The hysteria was partially triggered to hide the shame of having lost by 180 runs to arch-rivals at the ICC Champions trophy. But those associated with the game in Kolkata insist that this euphoria won't translate into a sustained interest for the sport.

For the records, Shak Rukh Khan's 'Chak De! India' too had created a short-lived interest in hockey. The film might have become a hit but it didn't help much to enlighten those who till Sunday didn't even know that hockey and not cricket is India's national game. Ex hockey player Gopinath Ghosh, who is also an official of the Bengal Hockey Association, pointed out that since 1928 till 1956 when India was at the top of the game in hockey, hockey players have never enjoyed the adulation that our cricketers have. "Media has played an important role to turn cricket into a religion in this country. Today, hockey matches aren't even covered the way Mohun Bagan and East Bengal matches are," Ghosh said.

Incidentally, Beighton Cup - the oldest hockey tournament of the world that is organised by the Bengal Hockey Association - is played in Kolkata. "Unfortunately, we don't even have a stadium with a proper AstroTurf to host the game. That's why no international matches are hosted in Kolkata," Ghosh said.

Former hockey player Shanti Mullick, who is also an Arjuna awardee in football, recalled a time when Bengal used to excel in hockey. "But that was in the past. Today, our players practice only on grass grounds while AstroTurf has been made compulsory elsewhere. How do we then expect them to shine at the national level?" she asked, rueing that nobody in Kolkata takes hockey as seriously as they should. "Clubs get grants from the government. But where is the infrastructure? Though I believe hockey will reclaim its past glory in Bengal, I don't see it happening anytime soon," Mullick said.

Hockey player Bunty Singh, who is the former secretary of Khalsa English High School, was the person behind laying the AstroTurf in the school complex in 2011. "Baljit Saini, an Olympian from Bengal, was a student of our academy. Kolkata has three proper hockey academies. But we are the only one that has an AstroTurf where a five a side game can be played. Even if children are keen, they don't get the infrastructure needed to practice," Singh said, admitting that even after India's thumping win on Sunday, he didn't get any enquires from a parent wanting to enrol his child in hockey coaching.

Dr Md Khalid Hussain, who coaches 30 students of La Martiniere for Boys and 80 students of St James' School, said Kolkata is the only city to host a regular hockey league where at least 65 hockey teams play more than 450 matches. "But all of these matches are played on grass grounds. Effectively, our boys are not getting trained in playing on the AstroTurf. Sunday's big win won't change the situation of hockey in Kolkata unless we get sponsors for the game and proper infrastructure," Hussain said.

If Ghosh is to be believed, those parents, who have been sending their wards to cricket coaching camps mushrooming in the city, will not make a detour to the hockey grounds now. "With due respect to Sachin Tendulkar, if the government can award the Bharat Ratna to him before it did to Dhyan Chand, why blame the parents for sending kids to cricket coaching camps?" he wondered.

The Times of India

Hockey in the starting blocks for Olympic Day

With only a few days until Olympic Day, celebrated each year on 23 June, the hockey community across the world is gearing up to offer a large number of activities for young and old, of all abilities, to share their love of the sport.

This year, 50 National Associations across all continents will implement hockey programmes on and around Olympic Day, from Afghanistan, Australia, Bolivia, Botswana, China and Cameroon to Guyana, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Vanuatu and Zambia, to name just a few. The best project will be awarded with a development grant of 2,000 CHF.

At the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, held this month in London and in Brussels, our hockey stars will endorse Olympic Day and the Olympic Games and make a buzz on social media.

Hockey truly is 'Sport for All', played from juniors to masters, by families, people with impairments and from all walks of life. It is an inclusive sport, offering a para-version, small-sized formats and completely gender balanced. Part of the Olympic programme since London in 1908, hockey remains one of the most exciting and action-packed sports in the world.

About Olympic Day

Every year, on 23 June, Olympic Day is celebrated all around the world to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympic Games on 23 June 1894:  hundreds of thousands of people – young and old – participate in sports events, exhibitions, music and educational seminars. The activities on Olympic Day are mostly coordinated by National Olympic Committees and International and National Federations. The goal is to promote participation in sport regardless of age, gender or athletic ability and to get as many people as possible active. Learn more here.

FIH site

YOLO Sportswear to be Official Licensee of 2017 Pan American Cups

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – We are pleased to announce that USA Field Hockey has entered into an agreement with YOLO Sportswear to be the Official Licensee for the 2017 Pan American Cup (PAC), to be held at Spooky Nook Sports, the Home of Hockey, in Lancaster, Pa. from August 4-13, 2017.

“We’ve never wavered in our support and will always be proud of our strong relationship with USA Field Hockey, the driving force of growth in our sport”, said Chris Fechter, YOLO Sportswear President.  “To have an opportunity like this, to be the exclusive licensee to such a prestigious international event as the Pan American Cups, is something we’re humbled and excited to be a part of.”

YOLO Sportswear is a leading field hockey team apparel provider who has had a long-standing relationship with the sport and USA Field Hockey. They will be providing a range of PAC branded apparel and accessories which will be offered exclusively through YOLO Sportswear.

“Whether a casual fan or field hockey enthusiast, this is a great chance to see the best hockey in the world, played on American soil,” said Fechter. “We have big plans for the event and can’t wait to see everyone who comes out to support our National Teams! It’s going to be a lot of fun watching busloads of teams come to Lancaster to view great hockey. What a truly unique way to kick-off their 2017 field hockey seasons!”

In addition, YOLO is a leading vendor at other USA Field Hockey National Events including the Disney Field Hockey Showcase, Futures Program and National Hockey Festival. YOLO continues to be a USA Field Hockey official licensee selling a variety of licensed apparel. YOLO will have a wide selection of apparel and headbands with the new, updated USA Field Hockey logo available at PAC.

YOLO Sportswear was established in 1996. From inception, they have been focused on field hockey and lacrosse. They have sponsored the NFHCA, and are previous multi-year sponsors of the National Hockey Festival, Futures Program and National Indoor Tournament. YOLO is always on the cutting edge of field hockey and athletic fashion, specializing in women’s sports. Located in suburban Philadelphia, YOLO offers brand name apparel, uniforms, spirit wear, outerwear and corporate wear. They also offer on-site event vending and a consignment program.


USFHA media release

J-Ball for fitness and fun

National Hockey Week: Victoria

Penny Sidhu

JLo and Jay Z are successful in their fields, but storming Victorian hockey fields and set to become even more talked about than those two mega stars is a new game—J-Ball!

J-Ball is the brainchild of Hockey Victoria’s General Manager – Hockey Operations, Sash Herceg. It was created as a result of VicHealth’s State Sport Program, providing funding to Hockey Victoria to design, develop and implement brand new, modified social forms of the sport.

After extensive market research involving the Australian Sports Commission and La Trobe University’s Centre for Sport & Social Impact, J-Ball was developed and piloted during 2016 and the first competitions commenced this year.

“Everyone who has had a go says it’s fantastic,” says Herceg. “The simple attributes of this game mean it could become very popular.”

A fun, safe game for non-hockey players

With an emphasis on safety, fun and social participation, J-Ball is designed for people new to the game of hockey. It has mixed gender teams of six, rules that mean shin pads and mouth guards are not required, and uses modified equipment which is supplied.

“You can use both sides of the stick and it has a larger, softer ball,” Herceg explains. “It’s played on a hockey pitch made smaller by using barriers like they do for indoor hockey, but these pitch barriers are soft so they won’t hurt if you fall, and the ball bounces off them.”

The sticks are also oversized and plastic, the balls are hollow and the padded goals are custom-made.

Several clubs piloted the game but one club that immediately embraced the opportunity to provide a social version of hockey to new and existing members, is Footscray Hockey Club.

“Footscray Hockey Club was very keen to develop a partnership with Hockey Victoria to provide J-Ball opportunities to our region,” says Vice Chairman and Women’s Director, Nicole Virtuoso. “We ran a six-week program in March/April this year and the feedback was all very positive.

“J-Ball offers another option to be active and provides the opportunity to play a modified form of hockey. The benefit to our club is that it attracts new and existing people.”

A fun way to exercise

One of the first people to give J-Ball a go at Footscray is Julie Grainger. She saw it as a fun way to exercise and to share an interest with her eight-year-old son, who had just begun playing hockey.

Julie says exercise was a big component in her decision to play J-Ball.

“I wanted to get out and run around with a team. I’d never picked up a hockey stick in my life, but it didn’t matter.”

While you can sign up for J-Ball as an individual, you can also compile your own team. Julie formed a team with other parents, both mums and dads. “It was a lovely social activity to do with a group of friends,” she says. “We had a laugh. I can’t wait for the next competition in September.”

The social atmosphere

Although J-Ball is aimed at non-hockey players, Sharon Byrne did play briefly a long time ago. “I haven’t played hockey for 40 years and this was a fantastic way to get back into the game,” she explains.

“I loved playing J-Ball! I enjoyed the simplicity of the game. Plastic sticks, plastic balls and six to a side. It was very fast-paced and a very social atmosphere.”

Growing up in Mildura, hockey featured strongly in Sharon’s family but her own short-lived hockey days ended when she moved to Melbourne. Nowadays, Sharon likes to keep fit with walking and gym workouts, and has done ballroom dancing and kayaking.

“I’m looking for a husband, so I need to keep fit,” she laughs.

Research conducted by the Australian Sports Commission found that people are making the shift from traditional sports to more informal and social sports, just as Sharon has done. And who knows, perhaps she’ll have fun, get fit and find a husband on the J-Ball pitch!

Further information on J-Ball can be found at on Hockey Victoria’s social hockey website, or on Facebook.

Hockey Australia media release

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