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News for 31 August 2017

All the news for Thursday 31 August 2017

Nerveless Dale rescues Irish draw against Austria

Julian Dale celebrates one of his goals. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek/World Sport Pics

Julian Dale’s 56th minute penalty stroke sealed what could be an important draw with Austria at the men’s EuroHockey Junior Championship in Valencia.

It closed out a mad-cap tie, one in which Ireland led 3-1 at one stage before going 4-3 behind as they fell victim to a couple of tough umpiring calls that reduced their ranks to nine players.

But Dale was an influential member throughout the game for Ireland and he won the stroke with some aerial juggling that he subsequently put away to share the spoils.

“Are you joking me?” he said afterwards of whether he felt any nerves. “No pressure, no nerves, just put the ball in the goal.”

The Cork man had also opened the scoring in the ninth minute from a beautiful move, touching home after powerful passes down the middle from Luke Madeley and Simon Wolfe.

Keith O’Hare doubled the advantage four minutes later but Austria got one back after a series of corners via Nikolaus Wellan. Ireland were back in a comfortable position by the 17th minute when Madeley, from a spin move at the top of the circle, whipped in Ireland’s third goal.

Florian Steyrer – one of three Austrians who played in the senior Euros that finished on Sunday – reduced the deficit once more before half-time from another corner move.

Indeed, Austria won a dozen corners all told in the tie as they ramped up the pressure in the second half. That pressure came while Ireland suffered three cards in the third quarter with Kyle Marshall getting a green and yellows for Dale and Peter McKibbin.

McKibbin’s led to a stroke, adjudged to have impeded an Austrian attempt on goal though it looked like he held his ground and the attacking stick impeded him.

Steyrer scuffed his stroke but it wrong-footed Jamie Carr to put Austria level at 3-3. They went ahead of the first time with six minutes to go when Oliver Binder was the next to score from a corner with a powerful low push.

Ireland disappointed on the final whistle not to get more from the tie. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek/World Sport Pics

Ireland, though, showed their fighting character to force a late chance with Dale weaving in between a couple of defenders to win the levelling stroke.

Coach Jonny Caren was frustrated about the cards that left his side short-handed for long periods in the third quarter.

“It’s tough one. If it was just down to the hockey side of things and we drew off the back of that, I would be ok walking away. There was too many other factors today.

“It was a frustrating game to be involved in as a coach. The key thing for me was we kept playing, showing real grit and character to get them into the game when a lot went against them.”

It means Ireland will face Belgium on Thursday (10.15am, Irish time) hoping they still have a semi-final chance on the line as they follow Germany and Austria onto the pitch. At the very least, they will have a point to carry with them into the relegation pool.

“We’re all about wins and draws. We had a tough first one against Germany which we weren’t expected to get anything from but almost got a result. The guys felt they had a little unfinished business. They got the draw here and now we move on to Belgium,” Caren concluded.

Simon Wolfe on the attack. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek/World Sport Pics

Dale, meanwhile, added: “It was a great game. It’s those kind of ones you are proud to play in a green jersey. The grit, the fight; limbs were hanging off from one or two lads but they gritted through it going into the Belgium match and I absolutely can’t wait for it.

“We have one loss, one draw, so you can guess what the next one is going to be from our point of view.”

Men’s EuroHockey Junior Championships

Pool B:
Ireland 4 (J Dale 2, L Madeley, K O’Hare)
Austria 4 (F Steyrer 2, N Wellan, O Binder)

Ireland: J Carr, L Madeley, K O’Hare, M Samuel, S Wolfe, R Getty, D Nelson, J Mullins, G Cole, P McKibbin, M Crookshanks
Subs: K Marshall, S Grace, F Morris, C Empey, J Dale, D Mawhinney, J Milliken

Austria: L Glaser, L Klimon, A Kapounek, O Kern, F Unterkircher, O Binder, F Steyrer, P Schippan, J Puchhammer, T Mayer, P Kaltenbock
Subs: M Trinka, C Soldat, H Podpera, N Wellan, M Hilbert, J Abel, C Sandbichler

Umpires: P van den Assum (NED), P Santos (POR)

The Hook

England U21 women defeat Germany

England U21 women v Germany

England U21 women made it two wins in two at the EuroHockey Junior Championships in Valencia and booked their spot in the semi-finals.

Charlotte Daly’s strike after nine minutes was the difference as England defeated Germany 1-0 in their Pool B clash.

Head coach Colin Clarke said: “We are pleased with the three points, the girls showed great resilience and grit when under pressure.

“Our focus is now solely on the France game as they have caused both Germany and Ireland problems in their games.”

England face France tomorrow at 8am where a point will guarantee them top spot in Pool B.

England Hockey Board Media release

Oltmans’ role under scanner as HI calls review meet

Harpreet Kaur Lamba

Will Roelant Oltmans continue as Indian hockey coach till the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? This and many more questions are on the agenda as Hockey India officials meet here, over the course of next three days to assess India’s progress and along with it those of the coach and the players too.

In what will decide the roadmap for Indian hockey team who have a crucial year ahead with the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games followed by the World Cup at home, high performance director David John has called for a review meeting to assess every aspect.

Of those, Oltmans’ role as chief coach is on top of the list with many believing that the 62-year-old Dutchman is under intense pressure following inconsistent results and could be replaced in the long run. India’s men, who rose to number six in world rankings and came up with impressive results last year, are now struggling with style and structure and recent losses to lower-ranked teams hasn’t gone down well with the think-tank.

Opinions will also be sought from a few senior players,  who have been called to Delhi for the meeting.

Said an official in the know of things, “A committee has been set up to review things. Obviously, we haven’t been getting the results that we want and it is time to assess what is going wrong, especially with the men’s team. The coach’s position is under the scanner.

“In all likelihood, Oltmans will continue till the Asia Cup in October since as changes at this stage could disrupt the team, but tough questions will need to be asked.

“Whether he will continue for long, one cannot say.”

Oltmans has done a reasonable job with the squad in the last two years, but of late the team have struggled under pressure. Inability to change tactics when pressed, lack of alternate plans and complete ditching of game plans under such situations, have been major issues.

Another crucial factor is the clashing thought process of John and Oltmans, who clearly have different ways of functioning. The recent Europe tour was one such example, where India sent six uncapped players and also included those who were not even part of the national camp. While John was in favour of testing youngsters and finding a bigger pool through the test matches, Oltmans, it is understood, wanted otherwise.

The final team list, it is learnt, did not have Oltmans’ signature on it.

The Asian Age

20 years of a hockey life!

“Earlier, I had a player’s mind. When I came out (from the camp)after two years my mindset changed; it is now a mind of a player-cum-coach,” says Tushar Khandker, a former 200-match India player and assistant coach.

K. Keerthivasan

Tushar Khandker is now a Mentor-cum-Player with Bharath Petroleum.   -  G. P. SAMPATH KUMAR

At 32 years of age, playing in the MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup all-India hockey tournament in Chennai recently, Tushar Khandker looked fighting fit.

Cutting his way past a sea of defenders against Bengaluru HA, Tushar’s precise pass found Gurnail Singh, who slotted it home.

He’s enjoying his role as mentor of BPCL, guiding younger players and sharing his international experiences with them.

“The only thing I know to do is play hockey,” said Tushar, a veteran of more than 200 International matches. “I don’t know anything else. I train in the morning and in the evening. From the time I was enrolled in 1998 in Banaras Sports hostel as a 13-year-old till now, my life has revolved around hockey.”

In this interview, the former India assistant coach talks about a range of things relating to the country’s hockey.


Question: You were with Roelant Oltmans, India’s High Performance Director and head coach of the country’s men’s hockey team, for nearly two years (2014-2016) as his assistant. In those years, what were the takeaways?

Answer: I really enjoyed it as I learnt a lot not only from Roelant, but also from Terry (Walsh), M. K. Kaushik, (Jude) Felix. For two years, I learnt from each and everyone. It was a great journey although it was short.

Do you have plans of going back to the National camp as assistant coach?

When I went there, I had one thing in mind. Whatever I learnt as an International, I just wanted to share my experiences with the younger players such as Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Talwinder Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, Mohammad Amir Khan and Mandeep Singh. I told them how to hold the ball, how to strike inside the ‘D’, how to run without the ball and how to create gaps.

What was the one major thing you learnt when you were at the National camp?

I learnt one thing from Roelant: how to manage the team when it is on a high and how to manage the team when it is low and how to maintain the level when you have won. And especially, how to select players and what you should look for in the players: fitness-wise, skill-wise and endurance-wise.

Are you looking at coaching as an option in the immediate future?

At the moment, I am trying to learn. I don’t know what is there in the future. I enjoy playing domestic hockey. If an opportunity comes, I’ll think about it. I am happy to share my experiences.

Seven uncapped players have been named for the tour of Belgium and Netherlands. Your views?

It is a good step by coaches, selectors and Hockey India. In 2018, we have the World Cup, the Commonwealth and the Asian Games. All these tournaments are important for India. It is a good decision to give chances to youngsters, which will give them good experience. Playing against tough teams like Belgium and Netherlands, will surely help them. Then one can have a good pool of players to pick the team for 2018.

Why did you come out from the India camp?

It was because of my family situation that I came out. I wanted to spend more time with my family.

How did the stint as India coach change you?

Earlier, I had a player’s mind. When I came out (from the camp) after two years my mindset changed; it is now a mind of a player-cum-coach. It is not that if somebody has played for 13 years, he can become a good coach. Coaching is a vast and different subject. A player has to learn how to become a coach. That’s what I feel.

Do you think that Oltmans is slowly losing his mojo? Criticism of him has surfaced in the media.

I don’t know about the criticisms. No one told me about that.

What are your views on the core group of the Indian National men’s team. Is it a necessity?

The core group is a good idea. You should work on quality and not on quantity. Only the best should represent India. If you want quantity, one should work at the grassroots, slowly quality will come. It makes more sense to have a core group at the top, the cream of Indian hockey.

Many State Governments are lacking in grassroots promotion as the number of school tournaments have shrunk over the years?

State Governments should look into it and conduct grassroots tournaments for u-12, -14, -16 and -21. From these tournaments, come quantity. We should work on it, and, promote hockey in the cities and states to get players. There are a lot more areas we have to work on. The State Governments and State Associations have to work together. Only then will we have a good Indian team. Haryana, Punjab, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, I believe, are doing quite well at the grassroots.

There is also a perception that Indian coaches are not being groomed to take over from Oltmans eventually?

If you talk about Olympians, everybody cannot be a good coach. If they want to work they should work at the grassroots. They can work in the city and state and promote hockey. If their (Olympians) target is to coach they can teach kids, they can do it in their own city. There are only two (Indian) teams, senior and junior. Everybody wants to become an Indian coach. There can only be four coaches (senior men and women and junior men and women). That (grooming Indian coaches) is Hockey India’s part. As far as I am concerned, I really learnt a lot from Roelant as well as from Terry apart from the Indian coaches.

The Indian hockey team’s High Performance Director and Head Coach Roelant Oltmans is doing a lot for the team, according to Khandker.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

Do you think Indian coaches are being given enough opportunities?

That question should be asked to the Sports Authority of India and Hockey India. I am not the right person. (As coach) I went to the (Rio) Olympics, Champions Trophy, Asian Champions Trophy and Champions Trophy. Azlan Shah was the only tournament I didn’t go to (during my time as assistant coach). I also went to Bangladesh as chief coach for the India-Bangladesh Test series. When I started coaching I started with zero knowledge, not as one who has played more than 200 games. I started from scratch when I went to Roelant. Personally, I thought it was too early give me a chance, I’d say as a chief coach. It takes time.

What are the positives with Oltmans when compared to other Indian coaches?

I am not comparing foreign and Indian coaches. I learnt from Roelant how to manage the team. There are also off the field issues we have to manage. We have to bring the team together. It is an art. You have to have a mind on how to get the best from the players. We got the silver in the 2015 Champions Trophy, which India has never won before. He (Oltmans) has got the management skills to get the best out of the players.

What has been the major changes you have seen in the players since Oltmans took charge in 2013?

I can see the changes in the body language of the players. They look ready to take on any team in the world. Not that it was not there before, but it has got better under Roelant. In the last Hockey World League Semifinal in London, the defence wasn’t up to the mark. Roelant used to say ‘you can win a match by playing attacking hockey, but if you defend properly you can win the tournament.’

Are you a votary of Oltmans?

I have not said who should continue or who should not continue. What I learnt from Roelant I’ve told you. I have nothing to say on what Hockey India should do.

Should current Indian players find time to play in domestic tournaments?

This debate was there earlier too. The first thing is India. Domestic hockey is important, no doubt. There are a lot of things to think about. If a top player gets injured and if he has to play for India in the coming months, you have to give him rest. What if some major tournaments are coming and a player gets injured in a domestic tournament? Then the whole country will suffer.

Arguments will be there. My concern is that the Indian team should do well. I agree that domestic hockey is important as youngsters get to play with top players. It will be a good boost for the young players.

But even in camps players get injured...

That is only one point. What if Hockey India feels a player has to take rest to recover as he has to do well in other tournaments? We are all there for India, if you think that way.

If there is no camp or any major tournaments, top players can play. Last time (in the MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup tournament) from BPCL, all the boys were there. When time is there, everybody will come and play.

There are talks of players being released from the national camp without being assigned a proper reason. How much communication is there between coaches, selectors and players?

I am quite sure why they are left out (of the National camp), and what they should do to come back into the team. That is the selectors’ call. I am not the authority to say anything about this.

When you were dropped, were any reasons given to you? Actually, has the chopping and changing of the team regularly remained the same from the times of the Indian Hockey Federation to Hockey India now?

It is performance based. If you perform you will be in the National team. From 2003 to 2012, I played continuously. I missed only one tournament, Azlan Shah. I don’t agree with you (on players being dropped or on the chopping and the changing of the team). It has always been performance-based.

Your thoughts on the future of Indian hockey...

I am quite sure in the forthcoming tournaments, we will do well. The concern all over the country is we should work more on the grassroots. I am sure we will do well in the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the World Cup next year.

I would like to make it clear that I am not targeting any Olympian. If you are thinking of Indian hockey, I request everybody to please work at the grassroots in their hometown. Only then can we have a good bunch of players and coaches.

What would you describe as your best moments?

I am the first Indian to have won the Asia Cup in all age groups: u-15, -18, -21 and seniors. That, I think, is a big achievement. Of course, winning the 2007 Asia Cup in Chennai was big. And qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics was great. We felt bad at not being able to qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. I was a playing member when we couldn’t make it in Chile (’08). That rankled for players like me, Surender Singh and Sardar (Singh) who wanted to make sure we were there in London.

Sportstar Live

 USA Field Hockey Releases Updated Club Rankings Following Summer Events

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Field Hockey is pleased to release updated National Club Rankings following the summer events. These rankings include the results from the 2017 Summer Bash Series and National Club Championship and will be used to seed all teams participating in the National Hockey Festival in Palm Beach County, Fla. from November 23-26, 2017.

“USA Field Hockey would like to commend all participating clubs on excellent performances at our National Events this summer," said Justin Miller, USA Field Hockey's Events and Club Services Manager. "From the high level competition featured at the National Club Championship in Lancaster, Pa. to a bit of fun in the sun at the Summer Bash Series in both Providence, R.I. and Virginia Beach, Va., we feel that each and every participating club is well deserving of the ranking points they accumulated over the last few months. We are excited to see all of our member clubs, coaches and athletes continue to strive to play their highest level of hockey possible.”

These rankings are used to structure pools at the National and Regional event levels as well as provide lottery selection spots at events, should they be available.

For more information on how rankings are calculated and used for pool assignments, visit our Rankings Policy page by clicking here.

The next update to club rankings will take place at the conclusion of Festival to assist the National Office in sorting groups for pool selection process for the 2018 Disney Field Hockey Showcase in Kissimmee, Fla. from January 19-21.

U-14 National Club Rankings
National Rank           Club | State     Total Points
1           Freedom HKY | MD     425.0
2           WC Eagles | PA     392.5
3           Stealth | KY     340.0
4           Saints Hockey | VA     325.0
5           Windy City | IL     307.5
6           New Heights FHC | NJ     300.00
7           Gateway FH | MO     297.5
8           Jersey Intensity FH | NJ     292.5
8           Spirit of USA | NJ     292.5
10           Pinnacle FH | MI     282.5

To view the full U-14 National Club Rankings, click here.

U-16 National Club Rankings
National Rank         Club | State     Total Points
1           WC Eagles | PA     527.5
2           Windy City | IL     462.5
3           IFHCK | KY     455.0
4           Freedom HKY | MD     452.5
5           Jersey Intensity FH | NJ     435.0
6           Lasting Legacy | NY     410.0
7           Gateway FH | MO     390.0
8           TCOYO | VA     377.5
9           New Heights FHC | NJ     375.0
10         Saints Hockey | VA     365.0

To view the full U-16 National Club Rankings, click here.

U-19 National Club Rankings
National Rank         Club | State     Total Points
1           Princeton FHC | NJ     505.0
2           Nook Hockey | PA     442.5
3           Freedom HKY | MD     427.5
4           WC Eagles | PA     415.0
5           FH Life | OH     395.0
6           Pinnacle FH | MI     387.5
7           Hudson Valley | NY     385.0
8           Rush | CA     377.5
9           New Heights FHC | NJ     352.5
10           TCOYO | VA     347.5

To view the full U-19 National Club Rankings, click here.

Click here to see the full updated club rankings.

USFHA media release

Vale Peter Kennedy

Alexie Beovich

Former Australian hockey half-back Peter Kennedy sadly passed away on Monday 28 August 2017.

Peter debuted for Australia in 1948 against New Zealand and was a keen hockey player, even playing in the Western Desert during World War II.

Peter represented Western Australia and was a stalwart of the Old Aquinians club in Perth, with the Kennedy family seen as key figures at Aquinas College.

He is a Life Member and former President of the Old Aquinians, where he was the games’ record holder over 59 seasons.

He was instrumental in the birth of the Australia Hockey Masters Championships, initially in Perth.

Peter is survived by children Louise, Paul, Kobe, Bergin, Harrison and partner Jan.

On behalf of the entire hockey community, Hockey Australia offers our sincere condolences to the family of Peter Kennedy.

Hockey Australia media release

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