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News for 31 July 2017

All the news for Monday 31 July 2017

Scotland women turn on the style to defeat France

Scotland women made it two wins from two against France in Glasgow with a dominant 4-0 victory. The Scots have banged home eight goals over the two matches as they prepare to compete at the Rabo EuroHockey Championships in Amsterdam next month.

The match opened with a good first attack by Scotland; a swift break down the left had Ali Howie crack the first shot at goal, but it went just wide of the mark.

Another fleeting attack saw Ali Howie play the ball to the far post, Fiona Burnet launched herself at it but couldn’t connect.

It was an excellent start by Scotland, creating a couple of chances early doors and enjoying good possession of the ball.

It didn’t take long for Millie Brown to open the scoring for Scotland. Heather Howie did well to fashion a chance for Katie Robertson, Josephine Hermant in goal for France made an excellent save but Millie Brown was on hand to finish from close range. 1-0

Before long it was 2-0. Scotland was awarded a penalty stroke for the ball striking a foot on the line in amongst a scramble in front of goal. Nikki Lloyd stepped up, as she did in the previous encounter between the two, and buried the flick into the top left corner. 2-0 for Scotland.

Scotland continued to menace. Early in the second quarter and a crash ball by Becky Merchant almost found Katie Robertson arriving at the far post, but the ball evaded her and France survived.

Scotland furthered their lead a short while later when Bex Condie found the bottom left corner from a penalty corner to make it 3-0. It was a solid strike to put the Scots firmly in the driving seat.

Bex Condie came close again after the break with a penalty corner but it slid just past the post.

Then some slick passing in the French D was very nearly finished by Sarah Jamieson, but the goalkeeper made a good reaction save to deny.

Scotland were rewarded for their play with a fourth goal when Sarah Robertson finished off a really nice penalty corner routine to put Scotland 4-0 up. It was Robertson herself who injected the ball and a quick return from Bex Condie at the top of the D found Robertson to finish at close range.

Some great French goalkeeping by Hermant once again somehow denied Brown her second goal of the match, her leg managed to eventually clear the ball on the line.

Then Charlotte Watson showed some good individual skill to create and opportunity but her reverse stick shot flew over the bar.

Still Scotland attacked and a great run by Mairi Drummond, who was excellent throughout, saw her weave in and out three defenders but Hermant made another good save at the near post.

As the match reached a conclusion Katie Holmes nearly scored a deserved goal at the end of a Scottish break but her effort hit the post, then Hermant at full stretch pulled off further heroics to deny Brown before the final effort went wide of the target.

Photos by John Preece

Scottish Hockey Union media release

5 Days Until the Pan American Cups

LANCASTER, Pa. – There are just 5 days until the start of the 2017 Pan American Cups (PAC). Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa. will welcome 15-international teams from the Americas as they compete in the largest field hockey event in the country since the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games.

With 5 days to go, support the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams as they compete against top world ranked teams with the Team USA Supporter ticket package. The package allows entry and seating in Section B for all Team USA matches throughout the PAC tournament, and can be purchased by clicking here.

Below are five USMNT and five USWNT athletes to follow during the PAC.

Five USMNT Athletes to Watch:

Sean Cicchi – A youngster on the team, Cicchi made an impression at the FIH Hockey World League Round 1 in Salamanca, Mexico with his defensive control and game smarts. His performance during the event helped him earn Young Player of the Tournament and he will look to translate those capacities to the field at Spooky Nook Sports.

Ajai Dhadwal – Team captain with 86 international caps to his name, Dhadwal comes to Lancaster, Pa. looking to feed of the team’s recent bronze medal finish at the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 in Tacarigua in Trinidad and Tobago. His guidance will be key as the squad welcomes brand new athletes to the international stage.

Pat Harris – A veteran on the team, the Moorpark, Calif. native Harris is looking to bring his leadership and knowledge of international competition to PAC. As the most capped athlete with 119 matches while wearing the red, white and blue, Harris will pilot the team on their quest for the World Cup qualification.

Will Holt – Holt will look to lead the offensive attack with his nose for finding the goal whether in the open field or with his drag flick ability. At Round 1, Holt found the back of the goal an impressive 11 times aiding to USA’s total of 33 goals during the event. This accomplishment earned him Top Goal Scorer of the Tournament as well as Player of the Tournament.

Brandon Karess – With less than 20 caps to his name, goalkeeper Karess knows what it takes to withstand firm opponents. At Round 2, he was faced with the challenge of three shootouts which he successfully weathered, helping USA earn the bronze. There is no doubt he will come out ready to play when facing off against other teams in the Pan American nation.

Five USWNT Athletes to Watch:

Jackie Briggs – Goalkeeper Briggs is coming off a stellar performance at the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she earned Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament. In the semifinal round against an experienced team in shootouts, she came up big and blocked England’s Alex Danson’s shot in the sudden death row. Similar play was displayed in the final against Germany with the score tied 2-2 after the fourth round. Briggs’ agile defense limited Germany to run out of time, setting USA for the game winner. With poise Erin Matson scored the game winner for the USWNT.

Briggs’ performance also earned her the No. 3 spot of ESPNW’s Week of July 26 Top 10 Plays.

Melissa Gonzalez – A veteran on a very young team, Gonzalez had a spectacular showing at the Semifinals earning her the Best Player of the Tournament award. Her constant hustle helped drive a come from behind effort against England in the semifinals. Her experience also allowed her to hold a lot of pressure on her shoulders when called upon to take the final sudden death shootout attempt for USA. With composure, she swept the ball into the net over England’s goalkeeper to advance USA into the final match.

Erin Matson – The youngest athlete on the team at just 17 years old, the Semifinals was Matson’s first international competition involvement after being called up to play for the USWNT in March. Her quick stick skills and fast shots in South Africa impressed fans but more importantly, she will be remembered for scoring the game winner in the Final in the fifth shootout attempt for USA.

Michelle Vittese – A fast and solid midfielder with a lot of experience, Vittese holds a dynamic role in the center of the field for USA. Her ability and smarts of the game to intercept the ball often leads to instant offense. Her quickness put USA on the board in the quarterfinal round against Japan in South Africa, after taking a free hit fast, shot a backhand on target which was tipped in by a Japan defender.

Jill Witmer – A scoring threat, Witmer earned the award of Top Goal Scorer of the Tournament at the Semifinals just two weeks ago. Tallying five goals through the event, Witmer has a determination to put the ball in the net like no other. Whether it is firing a backhand shot off at the top or diving in to get a deflection, Witmer will look to add her name to the score sheet throughout PAC.

Nine different countries from the Pan American region will represent and participate across the men’s and women’s tournaments from Friday, August 4 to Sunday, August 13. The USMNT will face off against FIH Hero World Ranked No. 1 Argentina in the team’s opening match August 4 at 7 p.m. ET. Fresh off a thrilling FIH Hockey World League Semifinals championship, the USWNT will begin their quest for PAC gold the following day, August 5, when they take on No. 30 Mexico at 7:00 p.m. ET.

USFHA media release

Indian ladies have to wait till Africa Cup (Oct 29) for berth in London WC 2018

By B.G.Joshi (Sehore-Bhopal, India)

Hockey World Cup will be played by 16 teams in both categories after 2002. Looking to the current World Rankings, all the top16 teams will be in 2018 World Cup.

Equations for Women's World Cup (London, July 21-August 5, 2018):
From HWL, 11 teams qualified which are: Netherlands, China, New Zealand, South Korea and Australia (Brussels Tourney) and USA, Germany, England, Argentina, Japan and South Africa (Johannesburg Tourney).

Remaining 5 slots will be filled as below after Continental Cup Championships:
Pan Am Cup (Lancaster, Pa, USA, Aug 5-13, 2017)-It is likely that USA or Argentina will win the Cup. Dual qualification of any one of these two will vacate one slot, Italy will get World Cup berth after 42 years.  Azure Italia last played in 1976 Berlin World Cup.

Euro Hockey Championships (Amsterdam. Netherlands, Aug 18-26, 2017) - It is likely that Netherlands, Germany or England will win the Cup. Dual qualification of any one of these three will vacate one slot, Spain will get World Cup berth. Spaniards last played in 2010 Rosario World Cup.

Oceania Cup (Sydney, Australia, Oct 11-14, 2017) - It is likely that New Zealand or Australia will win the Cup. Dual qualification of any one of these two will vacate one slot, Ireland will get World Cup berth. Irish last played in 2002 Perth World Cup.

Africa Cup of Nations (Ismailia, Egypt, Oct 19-29, 2017) - It is likely that South Africa will win the Cup. Dual qualification of Proteas will vacate one slot, India will get World Cup berth. India last played in 2010 Rosario World Cup.

Asia Cup (Kakamigahara, Japan, Oct 28-Nov 5, 2017) - It is likely that South Korea, China, Japan or India will win the Cup. Dual qualification of any one of these four will vacate one slot, Belgium will get World Cup berth. Red Sticks last played in 2014 Hague World Cup.

Thus 16 top teams (from Europe-7, Asia-4, Oceania-2, America-2 and Africa-1) on current World Ranking will be in London. As per norms grouping will be:
Pool A:      Netherlands (1), China (8), South Korea (9), Ireland (16)
Pool B:     England (2), Germany (7), Spain (10), Italy (15)
Pool C:     Argentina (3), New Zealand (6), Japan (11), Belgium (14)
Pool D:     USA (4), Australia (5), India (12), South Africa (13).


VR Raghunath to hang up his India boots

Vivek Krishnan

CHENNAI: Exactly a year ago, India stalwart VR Raghunath was one of the shining lights of their quarterfinal appearance in the Rio Olympics. Over the last few months, however, Raghunath has found himself out of the national reckoning and now looks set to announce his international retirement soon.

"I will announce my retirement in the next few months. I feel India are on the right track with youngsters and don't miss my services anymore. The signals are very clear. I haven't had a word with coach Roelant Oltmans about it. There is such a good core group now. Being a matured player, I should understand and move on. Mentally, I have made my mind up to call it quits," Raghunath, who is here playing for Bengaluru Hockey Association, told TOI on Sunday.

The defender's absence from the Indian team had actually been largely his own doing, but it seems that India have now moved on with a good crop of youngsters coming up. The 28-year-old had captained India in his last international appearance against Australia towards the end of last year, but then decided to take a break to spend some time with his family.

"It was a personal decision to take a break. I had played for India for more than a decade and was busy for 8-10 months in a year. I wanted to spend some time with my family and it was getting difficult. I had actually thought of taking a break after the Olympics last year, but decided to prolong it a bit more," he informed.

Asked whether he had any regrets about taking a break in hindsight, Raghunath said: "I have no qualms. I feel I have done my part for the national team. Having played at the highest level for so long, I feel it's time now to enjoy myself playing domestic hockey and foreign leagues with youngsters. If I had continued now, I should have had the mindset of playing till the next Olympics in 2020 rather than just sticking around for one more year. So, it's done now and I have no bitterness with anyone."

Since making his debut more than a decade ago, Raghunath has represented India in two Olympics and also in the 2014 World Cup in Netherlands. With so much experience under his belt, Raghunath feels he still has a lot to contribute. "I will look to pass on my experience to the youngsters now. I have already been working with juniors and giving my inputs at Sports Authority of India in Bangalore. I'm still playing in some capacity, but I will simultaneously do some coaching as I feel my knowledge shouldn't be wasted."

The Times of India

Bengaluru upsets BPCL

Machaiah gives Army XI first win

K. Keerthivasan

Match-winner: B.B. Machaiah of Army XI scores the winning goal against Central Secretariat. Photo Credit: R_Ragu

Bengaluru HA pulled off an improbable 4-3 victory over Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) in a Pool A contest of the 91st MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup all-India hockey tournament here on Sunday.

Earlier, Army XI, comprising mostly first-timers, posted its first win in three matches, a 2-1 win over Central Secretariat in Pool B.

Trailing 1-2, Bengaluru was saved by V.R. Raghunath. The 28-year-old drag-flick specialist converted two penalty corners in a span of three minutes to bring his team back into contention.

Bengaluru continued attacking, and V.S. Vinaya's well-angled scoop saw Bijju Yirkal tapping home.

It was BPCL which opened the account through Imran Khan early in the first session.

For a while in the second half, the battle looked neck and neck as both teams made earnest attempts to score. Rajkumar Pal cashed in on a goalmouth melee to equalise, but the credit should go to Jenjen Singh who dodged past a defender to send in the assist.

A wonderful run-in by Tushar Khandker from the centre saw Jarnail Singh slotting in. BPCL then conceded three penalty corners in five minutes, and Raghunath did the rest.

It can be argued that Army was a tad lucky against Central Secretariat. Machaiah struck firmly with a minute remaining, thanks to a defensive blunder by Vinayak Bijawad.

The results: Pool A: Bengaluru HA 4 (Rajkumar Pal 42, V.R. Raghunath 56 & 61, Bijju Yirkal 63) bt BPCL 3 (Imran Khan 15, Jarnail Singh 51, Anand Rai 57).

Pool B: PNB 6 (Gagandeep Singh 9 & 53, Hardeep Singh 10, Gurjinder Singh 16 & 30, Sumit Toppo 54) bt Odisha 2 (Ashish Topno 34, Manip Kerketta 38); Army XI 2 (A.P. Siraju 10, B.B. Machaiah 69) bt Central Secretariat 1 (S. Sivamani 33).

The Hindu

Police, Warriors march on in men’s hockey league


Polycarp Otieno of USIU-A (left) and Samuel Wokila of Kenya Police vie for the ball during their Kenya Hockey Union Premier League match at City Park Stadium Stadium on June 18, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

League leaders Kenya Police and second-placed Butali Sugar Warriors won their final first leg matches of the 2017 Kenya Hockey Union men’s Premier League over the weekend. Police thrashed Parkroad Badgers 5-1 as Butali hit Kenya College of Accountancy University (KCA-U) at City Park Stadium, Nairobi.

At Menengai High School in Nakuru, champions Strathmore University Gladiators recorded a morale-boosting 5-2 win over Nakuru hockey club. The weekend results left Police top of the pile with 40 points, seven ahead of second-placed Butali.

It was the perfect result for Police coach Kenneth Kaunda, who was back in the technical bench for the first time in three months. The former international has missed a large part of the first leg due to illness and he watched in delight as his charges tore Badgers apart and end their first leg campaign unbeaten.


International Samuel Wokila fired Police ahead just at the end of the first quarter, firing a field goal past Badgers keeper Allan Keselwa. The second quarter was a physical affair with Badgers struggling to deal with their opponents’ pace.

Two minutes to the end of the second quarter, winger Amos Barkibir exchanged passes with Calvin Kanu before dragging his shot to the bottom corner.

Police, the 2013 champions, upped the tempo in the third period as Badgers resorted to sitting back. The law enforcers made in three on 32 minutes as Titus Kimutai scored his first goal of the season after nice layoff from international Willis Okeyo.

The fourth goal was scored by Felix Okoth in the 41st minute and Kenya Police skipper of the day and Samuel Oungo scored the fifth from a penalty stroke. Parkroad replied with a consolation goal by Ian Langat in the 55th minute.

Kaunda believes his charges will be under pressure to repeat their heroics in the second leg but believes they are up to the challenge.
“I think we have been excellent in this first half of the season and totally deserve to be top. We now go and recharge our energies and do it all over again after one month,” Kaunda said.

Butali, had earlier reduced the deficit to four points after a clinical display against KCA-U. Goals from Derrick Kuloba, Constance Wakhura and the returning Zack Aura gave the 2015 league winners the three points.

Daily Nation

Hockey hunt

Pravin Narain

FIJI Secondary Schools Hockey Association is calling on hockey players to be on top of their game during the competition next month.

Association president Immanuel Prasad said players needed to perform if they wanted to be selected for the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina next year.

"I thank Fiji Hockey Federation for their contribution during our playoffs.

"National coach (Hector Smith) was present during the playoffs mentoring our players," Prasad said.

"My advice to young players is to do their best and reach for the stars and train hard.

"We thank Fiji Hockey Federation president Robin Mitchell for helping us with the empires."

Meanwhile the competition will played with the U19 boys' teams to compete for the Bhasin Cup while the U19 girls battle for the Westmere Trophy and the U16 grade boys' will fight for the Noal Gibson Trophy while the girls race are for the Melaia Sandy Cup.

"Last year was our 100 years of hockey in Fiji, but we were supposed to take hockey to Levuka and because of bad weather we decided otherwise. It is good and a positive way to start our 101 years hockey from Levuka where it all started," he said.

"We will also have international and Oceania empires and the selection will be made for the Youth Olympics. It is a bonus for the students to get into the national training squads."

The competition will be played from August 14-16 at Nasau Park in Levuka.

The Fiji Times

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