News for 01 August 2017
All the news for Tuesday 1 August 2017
Scotland women win all three matches against France ahead of the Euros
Scotland women made it three wins from three against France with a 4-0 victory in Glasgow, scoring 12 goals over the series. The win marks Scotland’s final match ahead of the EuroHockey Championship 2017 in Amsterdam next month.
It was a slower opening to the match than the previous encounters, the game was played mainly in the middle of the pitch with France holding firm at the back. Scotland tested the channels with Katie Robertson and Fiona Burnet running at the full backs, but they were unable to open the French defence.
It took ten minutes for Scotland to have their first effort on goal. A nice penalty corner routine was well saved by the French goalkeeper – deflecting the ball wide with her leg guards.
Early in the second quarter Sarah Robertson drove into the D and played the ball for Katie Robertson, but her deflection was well saved by the goalkeeper.
Scotland soon scored a well-earned goal when Mairi Drummond slammed the ball home to make it 1-0 to Scotland. Drummond went on a surging solo run, and a nice piece of skill took her past the defender before she hammered a low shot into the bottom left corner.
Mairi Drummond during Scotland v France
As the half drew to a close the dangerous Bex Condie was denied from another penalty corner by a good diving save by the impressive Josephine Hermant.
It was a good start to the second half for Scotland. Kate Holmes came close early in the half from a penalty corner before Becky Merchant was denied by an excellent near post save.
Then Amy Costello thought she’d scored from a penalty corner but her effort was judged to have been dangerous and was ruled out.
Scotland would score soon enough and it was Fiona Burnet who doubled Scotland's lead when she popped up in the right place, at the right time, to sneak the ball past the goalkeeper and make it 2-0.
Scotland had really upped the tempo and were causing the French all sorts of problems. Sarah Robertson latched onto a deflection in the D and her shot on the turn arrowed just wide of the goal.
Sarah Robertson would be rewarded with a goal a short while later. She injected a penalty corner and took the return, she fired towards goal and the ball ended up in the net to make it 3-0.
Into the final quarter and Scotland continued to torment the French. Sarah Jamieson scored for Scotland to make it 4-0 with 11 minutes to play. She turned nicely and slipped the ball past the goalkeeper at the near post to score.
The Scots pressed for more goals but would have to settle for four in the end, as well as a dominant performance ahead of the tournament in Amsterdam.
Photos by Duncan Gray
Scottish Hockey Union media release
2017 Pan American Cups Predictions
By Sarah Juggins
The Pan American Cups (PAC) is a showcase event for the best teams and players from the Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF) region.
This year’s event, held in Lancaster, Pa., will be no exception, particularly as many participating teams will have already played a heap of international hockey in the months prior to PAC. June and July will have seen the top teams participating in the FIH Hockey World League (HWL) Semifinals, while most participating nations took part in Round 1 and/or Round 2 earlier in the year.
Fresh off the back of the HWL Semifinals, teams will know whether they have qualified for the 2018 men’s and women’s FIH Hockey World Cups, so PAC will either be a time when a team is high in confidence and looking forward to building for the World Cup, or it could be a time for a squad to re-group and turn disappointment into revenge.
So let’s take a look at the teams and assess their chances of success.
Argentina to Land First Place but Minor Medals are Up for Grabs
In the men’s competition, it is very hard to see past the current Olympic Games champions and current FIH Hero World Ranked No. 2, Argentina.
At the 2013 Pan American Cup, Argentina beat Canada 4-0 in the final after cruising through the tournament rounds. That was before the Argentina revival, which began with a bronze at the 2014 World Cup and continued to the moment in Rio 2016 when Los Leones took gold.
While the team rosters are yet to be announced, it is likely that Head Coach Carlos Retegui will be introducing some young blood to his team. Maicon Casella was a player that impressed mightily at the men’s Hockey Junior World Cup in India, while Santiago Tarazona is ear-marked for a bright future with Los Leones.
Canada has a great tradition at the Pan American Cup. Since the first event in 2000, the Red Caribou has always finished in the medals, including a gold in 2009. The team, FIH Hero World Ranked No. 11, has the added benefit of a good showing at the 2015 HWL Semifinals, which led to Rio 2016 Olympic qualification. Head coach Anthony Farry says recent experience of top level competition, combined with the squad’s high levels of fitness and mental resilience will plan to their benefit. Watch out for Sukhi Panesar who says that qualification for Rio 2016 was just the start of an exciting new chapter in Canada’s history.
Trinidad and Tobago finished third in the 2013 Pan American Cup, but has often failed to deliver on promise in recent years. Hosting this season’s HWL Round 2 event has given the team a boost and the presence of many players who are now playing and coaching abroad has given the squad a new level of experience. Tariq Marcano, who currently plays for British Club St Albans, is likely to catch the eye with his skill and energy, while Head Coach Glen Francis is an experienced former international who will get the best from his players.
USA has home advantage and a squad that is determined to put on a show for the home crowd. Experienced squad members, William Holt and Pat Harris, will give Team USA a striking threat, while the confidence and ability of defenders, Sean Cicchi and Tom Barratt, will give the team a solid base. This is also Rutger Wiese’s chance to implement his strategies in his new role as head coach.
The team that promises to provide some element of surprise is Chile. The South American side hasn’t won a medal at this event since 2004, but a third-place finish at the 2015 Pan American Games and an easy win at HWL Round 1 means Chile’s team has bragging rights over all its opponents except Argentina and Canada. Sven Richter is the man to watch as he lead the Chilean attack, while goalkeeper Adrian Henriquez is likely to be keeping the goals out at the other end
The player who is most likely to cause an upset when Venezuela takes the field is Cristian Vargas. The 21-year-old striker went on a goal-scoring rampage at HWL Round 1 in Peru and if he is given any space, the same is likely to happen again. Hero FIH World Ranked No. 47, Venezuela is unlikely to push for medals, but every team at this event is capable of an upset.
Hero FIH World Ranked No. 25, Brazil’s team has definitely benefited from hosting the Olympic Games. Investment in the national team and a raised public profile has helped the sport develop over the past six years. It is unlikely that Brazil will challenge its higher ranked rivals, but the competition is another chance for players such as Patrick van der Heijden and Bruno Mendonca to show what they are capable of.
The eighth team under the spotlight is rapidly emerging Mexico. The team has never finished higher than sixth at this event but their barnstorming performance at HWL Round 1, on home soil in Salamanca, demonstrated that the team is getting ever closer to its higher ranked rivals. This is a very inexperienced side, with only a handful of players with more than 50 international caps, but Head Coach Marco Molina has found a penalty corner expert in Ivan Arballo, while Edgar Garcia and Ruben Martinez add experience to the squad.
Trinidad and Tobago
Intense Rivalries Set to Light Up the Tournament
Now to the women’s Pan American Cup and an uncertain final outcome. The battle for PAHF supremacy has been raging between Team USA and Argentina for years. While Las Leonas has the better medal haul on the world stage, USA has won the last two Pan American Games titles and finished higher at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
While Argentina is still recovering from the sudden retirement of Carla Rebecchi, they have Maria Granatto who’s lively goal scoring has already made her a successor. Another name that has been popping up with regularity since the women’s Junior World Cup is Eugenia Trinchinetti who, like Granatto, has no hesitation in finding the back of the net. Opposition defenses will need a plan to contain these two if they are to stop Argentina from winning their fifth straight title.
The team most likely to halt the blue and white army is Janneke Schopman’s USA. FIH Hero World Ranked No. 6, this is a side that has been growing in stature the past few years. A dynamic early Olympic campaign that just ran out of steam toward the end demonstrated that USA can hold their own against anyone. The squad combines enormous experience with an injection of new blood. Expect Michelle Vittese and Katelyn Falgowski to do what they do best, which is pressure the defense, while Jackie Briggs continues to show why she is a world class goalkeeper.
Canada women went through a huge learning curve at the 2015 HWL Semifinals and have been building on that ever since. While some of that squad has moved on, veteran forward Kate Wright continues to lead from the front, while youngsters like Hannah Eborall will be looking to help her side break the USA/Argentina vice-like grip at the top of the podium.
An equally intriguing rivalry is building between two teams FIH World Ranked No. 19 and No. 23. Chile has charged up the rankings in recent months, overtaking Uruguay and just one place behind Canada. While Chile beat Uruguay to finish fourth in the most recent Pan American Games, Uruguay took first at HWL Round 1. For Chile, captain Camila Caram and Francisca Tala are just two of many dangerous players with the ability to score at will. Uruguay will be looking to Manuela Vilar to control things in defense, while Maria Viana Ache will provide much fire power up front.
The threat from Central America comes from Mexico. The team, led by Head Coach Arely Castellanos, is a rapidly improving unit. Michel Navarro is an exceptional goal scorer and she is skillfully backed by Marlet Correa and Arlette Estrada. Expect vibrant attacking play and some high scoring matches when Mexico gets on the turf.
The final two teams in our assessment of the women’s Pan American Cup are Brazil and Barbados, FIH Hero Ranked No. 41 and No. 54 respectively.
While neither team is likely to make the podium, both are the types of team that can upset the odds. Brazil were bitterly disappointed not to qualify for their home Olympic Games and have been working to improve their international standing since. The very inexperienced team performed well at the recent HWL Round 1 in Peru, where they finished third, behind Uruguay and Chile. The squad will be looking to Anita Rodriguez and goalkeeper Andrea Gomes for guidance in Lancaster, Pa.
Barbados enter the tournament as the lowest ranked team and with much less international experience than many of their rivals. Nonetheless, expect players such as Dionne Clark, Joanna Davis and Cher King to be looking to exploit any chance to get Barbados on the scoreboard.
Sarah Juggins is a seasoned hockey journalist who writes for a number of publications and websites, including the International Hockey Federation (FIH), the Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF), European Hockey Federation and the UK-based newspaper, The Hockey Paper. She also walks the walk as she is a national league player and coach.
USFHA media release
Men's EuroHockey Championship squad announced
England in action at World League
England have announced their 18-man squad that will travel to the EuroHockey Championships in the Netherlands during late August.
The Rabo EuroHockey Championships run from the 19 to the 27 August at the Wagener Stadium in Amsterdam where England will be hoping to improve on their fourth place finish in 2015.
In preparation for the tournament the squad will also travel to Terrassa in Barcelona to face the Netherlands, Germany and Spain in a 4 Nations Commemorative Tournament.
England men’s head coach Bobby Crutchley said: “We are really looking forward to the EuroHockey Championships which will be a tough tournament playing against a number of teams who can win it.
“After our performances at the World League Semi-Finals in London we are excited to build on this beginning with a return to match action in Spain against three strong sides. This will provide good preparation ahead of what should be an exciting tournament.”
Crutchley’s side are unchanged from their last competitive tournament at the World League Semi-Finals held at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London.
Here the squad secured a third place finish and with this booked their places at the World League Finals in December and the 2018 World Cup, both being held in Bhubaneswar in India.
England face world number three side Germany, 10th ranked side Ireland and world number twenty Poland in Pool B while Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Spain make up the four sides in Pool A.
20 August - Poland 8am UK Time
21 August - Germany 4pm UK Time
23 August - Ireland 1.45pm UK Time
1. David Ames
2. David Condon
3. Brendan Creed
4. Adam Dixon
5. Harry Gibson (GK)
6. Mark Gleghorne
7. David Goodfield
8. Chris Griffiths
9. Michael Hoare
10. Harry Martin
11. Barry Middleton
12.George Pinner (GK)
13. Phil Roper
14. Liam Sanford
15. Ian Sloan
16. Sam Ward
17. Henry Weir
18 Ollie Willars
The extra two athletes travelling to the 4 Nations in Spain:
1. James Gall
2. Luke Taylor
England Hockey Board Media release
A big hit with the best
by S. Ramaguru
The ball is mine: Malaysia’s Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (left) beating England’s Harry Martin to the ball in the World Hockey League Semi-Final third-place playoff in London on June 25. — AP
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia have caught the eyes of the world’s best after their exploits at the men’s World Hockey League Semi-Final in London in June.
The impressive fourth-place finish earned Malaysia a place in the 2018 World Cup Finals in India. Now, a number of top teams – including world No. 3 Germany and No. 4 Holland – will come to Kuala Lumpur for friendlies.
Four-time Olympic champions Germany are set to come in November en route to India for the World Hockey League Final in India from Dec 1-10.
Holland, two-time Olympic gold medallists, are planning to come in January for a training-cum-match series with Malaysia.
Said national coach Stephen van Huizen: “The Dutch normally go to South Africa for their training stint. But this time they have turned to Malaysia. We are still in the discussion stage about the friendlies.”
Besides Germany and Holland, world No. 1 Argentina have also proposed a bilateral series with Malaysia early next year.
“Argentina want to come here for matches and are seeking a reciprocal visit for our team. It’s in the planning stage and the decision is up to the MHC (Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC),” said Stephen.
“It’s good that the big teams are taking Malaysia seriously. It augurs well for our team. It means we get top-class matches at our doorstep.
“2018 is a big year for our team as we’ve two major goals.
“The first is the Asian Games (in August in Indonesia) as we’re targeting the gold to qualify automatically for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“The second one is the World Cup Finals in India (from Nov 24-Dec 16).
“Before these two tournaments, we also have the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup (in Ipoh in March) and Commonwealth Games (in Gold Coast, Australia, in April),” added Stephen.
Stephen’s team are now preparing for the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games from Aug 19-30. After that, Malaysia will play in the Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from Oct 12-22.
The Star of Malaysia
Barbados calling for picture perfect Caribbean hockey festival
The Barbados International Hockey Festival – in association with DB Sports Tours, partners of The Hook – welcomes you to take in one of the world’s most beautiful and unique hockey festivals with bookings now being taken for 2018.
For the last week in August for the past 32 years, the event has been welcoming teams from around the world with 2017 seeing a brand new sand based Astroturf and hockey stadium opening at the Sir Garfield Sobers Sporting Complex.
This tournament is the ideal to prepare your team for the season ahead. The hockey festival is an annual event held over six days during the last week in August and attracts teams from all over the world.
Teams that have participated in past have travelled from South America, Europe, The Caribbean, and Barbados. It’s the biggest festival in the Western Hemisphere. The tournament is open to Men, Women, Mixed and Veterans.
The festival prides itself on striking the balance between good hockey, good sportsmanship and good social events on an island that lends itself so naturally as a magnificent destination for your team tour.
During the days off participants take part in an island cruise and beach party and a host of other activities on the beautiful Carribean island.
For full information on the Barbados International Hockey Festival and to find out more of the event, go to the DB Sports Tours website: http://dbshockeytours.com/barbados-hockey-festival/
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN YOUR PACKAGE
· 7 Nights Accommodation
· Half Board Basis (Dinner and Breakfast)
· Tournament Entry (Minimun 3 matches)
· Pre Tournament Training sessions
· Guided Tour of the Capital City Bridgetown
· Visit Carlise Beach
· Beach Party
· Island Cruise
· St. Nicholas Abbey Visit
· 24hr DB Sports Rep for the duration of your tour
· Fully Comprehensive Travel and Playing Insurance
· Extended stay or additional destinations
· International Flights
· Additional Sightseeing / Educational Tours
· Extra Matches / Training Sessions
· Full Board Basis
Railways on course to semifinals
Bengaluru HA blanks Punjab & Sind Bank
Opening salvo: V.R. Raghunath scores against Punjab & Sind Bank on Monday.
Defending champion Indian Railways and Bengaluru HA scripted convincing wins in Pool-A matches of the MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup all-India hockey tournament here on Monday.
Railways, with three wins from as many matches, is on course to qualify for the semifinals. On the other hand, Bengaluru has two wins from three matches.
While Railways walloped Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu (HUTN) 4-0, Bengaluru — despite not being to able to reprise its performance against BPCL the other day — blanked Punjab & Sind Bank 3-0. Railways shot ahead when Karan Pal Singh opened the account through a penalty stroke. Pardeep Singh increased the margin through a deflection off a cross from the right.
At the stroke of half-time, Pardeep produced a fine run on the right and passed the ball to Raju Pal, who tapped it home.
Railways dominated the second half too and made the opposition defence dance to its tunes.
Raju Pal made the most of the melee during the penalty corner conversion for the team’s fourth and final goal.
The margin would have been much higher had I.M. Arun Prasadh not been at goal.
The home side penalty corner conversions came under scanner as it failed to convert any of the four it got.
Bengaluru, which has set high standards in this edition, was nowhere near its best against PSB.
The forwardline appeared listless. But the victory will help it in the coming matches.
Pool-A: Bengaluru HA 3 (V.R. Raghunath 49, Sandeep Singh 60, Rajkumar Pal 66) bt Punjab & Sind Bank 0.
Indian Railways 4 (Karan Pal Singh 5, Pardeep Singh 10, Raju Pal 35 & 42) bt HUTN 0.
Canterbury Cats stacked with Black Sticks
Olivia Merry who has been a stand out in the Black Sticks' attack this season has been named in the Canterbury Cats. MARTIN HUNTER/PHOTOSPORT
The Canterbury Cats will have to defend their National Hockey League title without the handy skills of Gemma McCaw who is likely to play for Midlands this season.
McCaw indicated earlier this year she would play for her home side in the Waikato. The Midlands trials begin this Sunday.
Playing in the NHL will give McCaw every opportunity to be selected in Mark Hager's Black Sticks squad. The squad picked this year is likely to work towards the Hockey World Cup in London next July.
Black Stick Pippa Hayward will boost the Canterbury Cats' chances at the National Hockey League in Wellington next month. Phil Walter
Canterbury Cats coaches Andy and Sue Innes have finalised their team to defend the K-Cup running from September 16-24 in Wellington.
The strong Cats team contains five current Black Sticks National Squad members, Jordy Grant, Pippa Hayward, Rachel McCann, Olivia Merry and Jenny Story, as well as ex-Rio Olympian Sophie Cocks and Black Sticks development squad member Catherine Tinning.
Gemma McCaw will play for her home side Midlands this NHL tournament. John Cowpland / www.photosport.n
Youngsters Millie Calder and Emily Wium join Jess Anderson and Iona Young as the new caps in the side who will pull on the Cats uniform in 2017. While two other players return to the side after a break, Sian Fremaux (playing in Belgium) and Sarah Rutherford.
The Cats will meet Auckland, Capital and Southern in their pool.
The Cavaliers men's squad have not yet been named.
AT A GLANCE
Jordy Grant, Pippa Hayward, Rachel McCann, Olivia Merry, Jenny Story, Sophie Cocks, Catherine Tinning, Millie Calder, Emily Wium, Jess Anderson, Iona Young, Sian Fremaux, Sarah Rutherford.
Frazer to “double-job” with Ulster Elks and Mannheim
By John Flack
Megan Frazer is linking up again with Ulster Elks. Pic: Adrian Boehm
Megan Frazer will be ‘double-jobbing’ in the new season when she will line out for Ulster Elks in the Ulster Premier League and Mannheimer HC in the German Bundesliga, once she has fully recovered from a bad knee injury which limited her appearances in the last campaign on the continent.
The 26-year-old Derry woman sustained a smashed anterior cruciate ligament and damaged medial ligaments after a training accident in October and, after two surgeries, she will have been sidelined for around a year when she eventually makes her comeback.
She hopes to be playing by October and, after a month in Germany, she will come home to play for the Elks, after coaching the Jordanstown side at the start of the season.
It’s a compromise arrangement that suits both clubs as Frazer will play the bulk of the outdoor season for the two clubs, with Mannheimer switching to indoor hockey from November to March, by which time the Ulster League should be done and dusted.
Frazer is still in rehab after surgery on her knee and as she remains under contract in Germany, the rules dictate that she cannot play for another club in a different jurisdiction that can aspire to play in Europe, thus ruling her out of the EYHL.
But because the Elks were relegated last season, there is no restriction on her lining out for them and her return to the north will come as a significant boost to their promotion chances.
Joining her in the coaching set-up will be Lisnagarvey’s James Lorimer and Mossley’s Joel Cathcart.
“I will be going back to Mannheim in September to complete my rehab and, all being well, I will play a few games for them in October,” Frazer explained:
“I will come back and play for the Elks from November then until the end of the Ulster Premier League season in February and then return to Germany for the final part of the Bundesliga campaign in April or May, depending on whether we make the play-offs.”
Frazer, who is generally regarded as one of the best female players in Ireland, says her time in Germany last season was immensely beneficial.
“The overall standard of the squad at Mannheimer is extremely high and the intensity of the training as a full-time athlete has helped my game.
“I was playing in a more withdrawn role for them in defence and it was a bit of a change having to mark players instead of being marked.
“It was very frustrating missing out most of last season but I am getting there and back doing stick-and-ball work again but, generally it has been a case of ‘one step forward and two steps back’ unfortunately.
“I had no hesitation re-joining the Elks as I’ve always regarded it as my club and I am looking forward to the new season. ”
“I also can’t wait to play for Ireland again, especially as we should have a World Cup to look forward to next year.
“I will be linking up with the squad at our Dublin sessions as the rest of the girls prepare for the Europeans in Amsterdam. I had hoped to go over to watch them but I see from the website that the final weekend is sold out!”
Anyone got a spare ticket?
Big boys stamp authority
By BRIAN YONGA
Kenya Police's Fredrick Okoth (left) vies for the ball with Greensharks' Frank Okumu during their Kenya Hockey Union men's Premier League match at City Park Stadium on May 1, 2016. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Things have pretty much gone according to the script as far this season’s Kenya Hockey Union Premier Leagues are concerned.
There were few surprises as the first half of the 2017 season came to a close over the weekend. After five months of action, teams have the chance to take stock of their performance over the past 20 weeks as the various leagues take a one-month break to resume in September.
In men’s Premier League, the usual suspects Kenya Police and Butali Sugar Warriors were tipped to challenge champions Strathmore University Gladiators for the crown, and they have lived up to the billing.
After 14 matches, it is Police who look like champions having won 13 out 14 matches, drawing once to open a seven point gap at the top. The law enforcers, who last won the title in 2013, have impressed especially with their set piece play, which has contributed a larger percentage of the 44 goals they have scored this season.
Police’s goals have come from all quarters in the team, something that has seen them create a winning mentality that was missing last season. They had head coach Kenneth Kaunda back in the technical bench in Sunday’s 5-1 demolition of Parkroad Badgers and the former international was satisfied with his team’s form.
“It is only halftime and we are in pole position, the real challenge is in replicating the same form in the second leg to be crowned champions,” Kaunda said.
Of their 13 wins, perhaps the most significant once had to be their 2-1 win over arch-rivals Butali Sugar Warriors. The result inflicted a psychological blow to the sugar millers as Police showed they the real deal.
Butali, dethroned last year, will need to show more consistency in the second leg if they are to claw back the seven point deficit. Champions Strathmore face a tall order in retaining their title after a dismal first half of the season.
The students have won only four times and sit eighth with 16 points, a massive 24 points behind Police. At the bottom, debutantes TUK have found the going tough and look destined to return to the second tier.
In women’s league, champions Telkom, on 30 points, have won all their 10 matches, scoring 70 goals and are yet to concede.
Durban Girls’ College makes hockey history
Defending champions, St Mary’s DSG, held on tightly to their title, making it a third win in the Grand Finals of the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge.
Captain for St Anne’s, Brady Wiseman hurdles the committed Jamie Hume from Durban Girls’ College during the penalty shootout in the semi-final at the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge.Pic by Jonathan Burton
DURBAN Girls College has become the only team to make an appearance, and feature in the medal games in the history of the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge. The local girls earned themselves their sixth medal, with another silver to add to their cabinet, after they came second in hockey challenge played at St Mary’s DSG in Kloof, this weekend.
College took a while to get into their stride, with a bit of uncertainty getting into the semi-finals. In their first game, they had a comfortable win against Amanzimtoti High School, with the score being 3-0 in favour of College. For the third year in a row, College met their nemesis King Edward High School, who have earned themselves the nickname of ‘Giant Slayers’, KEHS again managed to keep College to a nil-nil scorecard. In their third game, they drew with the inform newcomers, St John’s DSG who matched their play from the start and not allowing College any space to get on top of them. They scored a handful against the team from Grantleigh in their final pool game.
With the two draws on their scorecard, College were on edge in the final game on Saturday. KEHS met St John’s, if KEHS managed to draw with goals or even win against SJS, then College, for the first time, would be out of the semi-finals. The Maritzburg team stayed strong against the ‘Giant Slayers’, winning the game 2-0, which meant that College finished second on the log, by 1 point ahead of KEHS. In the first semi-final, they took on St Anne’s DSG. Both teams worked extremely hard on the turf, in an evenly matched game. With the game finishing, both teams were level with 1 goal each. The game then progressing to a penalty shootout to decide who would progress to the gold silver game. College kept a level head and won the shootout 2-1, advancing to the gold silver game, where they met defending champs, St Mary’s DSG.
For the second year in a row, College and Saints took each other on, with the defending champs having the legs to take the win, and the title of the seventh SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge. College racked up their third bronze in their seventh appearance, adding to their three consecutive gold medals, and a fourth in the history of the tournament.
The Berea Mail
PHF looking to promote hockey in schools
By Nabil Tahir
KARACHI: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), in its efforts to make the first Pakistan Hockey League (PHL) a success, has started working on the country’s national and domestic hockey structure.
PHF director domestic and development Naveed Alam told The Express Tribune that the PHF has received security assurance from Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, adding that they are now concentrating on improving the quality of domestic players.
“We want to have a good and talented pool of players for the drafting of the PHL and for that we have been working on club hockey for a year,” he said. “Now we have boosted that work by introducing school hockey.”
Alam revealed how they intend for that plan to unfold. “Government schools will be asked to assemble hockey teams for inter-school competitions, while private schools have already begun doing so,” he said. “In the past, we have seen certain schools producing legends of hockey and we believe that school hockey can once again give the national team the players it once did.”
Cricket’s Pakistan Super League (PSL) has helped the country unearth several young talents in just two years and Alam believes its hockey equivalent can reap similar rewards. “More players will come forward and do well in the national game,” he said. “Leagues give the players the opportunity to play with different international players and that helps performance and confidence.”
National team players are also being looked after. “Players have already been provided jobs in respective departments and the PHF will do whatever it can to have them play in foreign leagues around the world,” he said. “This will eventually help the federation create a bigger pool of players who have international experience, while also making professional hockey a much more attractive career to pursue for students.”
The standard of coaching will also be improved, promised Alam. “More teams mean more professional coaches who have knowledge of the latest technologies and methods,” he said. “We will be organising courses to help with that.”
The Express Tribune