All the news for Wednesday 4 October 2017
AHL Day Six Round-up: Semi Final Spots Decided
New Zealand and New South Wales clinched their spots with dramatic late goals in the Australian Hockey League semi-finals on a crazy sixth day at Perth Hockey Stadium.
NZ squeezed out hosts WA Diamonds, who only needed a draw, with the Kiwis triumphing 1-0.
With scores locked at 0-0, Kate Ivory struck a 57th minute winner from a penalty corner to stun the Diamonds.
The result sees NZ finish second in Pool A behind Queensland.
NSW Arrows progressed behind Victoria in Pool B, going through despite a 1-1 draw with SA Suns.
The Arrows and Suns were locked on points headed into the game, with NSW having a goal difference advantage.
SA hit the lead when Kate Holland-Smith scored in the 43rd minute from a penalty corner, but two final quarter yellow cards hurt the Suns.
NSW equalized through one of the final plays of the game, Abigail Watson converting a 59th minute penalty corner after Euleena MacLachlan’s yellow card.
Elsewhere, India defeated Tasmania 1-0 thanks to Sangita Kumari’s (19’) goal.
In the early game, ACT Strikers drew 2-2 with Northern Territory Pearls.
Naomi Evans (24’) and Kalindi Commerford (49’) had earned ACT a two-goal lead before a late brace from Karli Johansen (50’ and 56’) leveled it up.
Queensland Blades and India secured their semi-final spots after wins on Tuesday.
The Blades crushed SA Hotshots 9-1 in Pool A to qualify alongside Victoria Vikings.
Corey Weyer (6’ and 59’), Daniel Beale (12’), Joel Rintala (26’, 43’ and 44’) and Troy Elder (19’, 29’ and 56’) scored the Queensland goals, while Kurtis Willson (48’) hit the scoresheet for SA.
India nudged out WA in Pool B with a 2-0 win over ACT Lakers. The Thundersticks weren’t in action on Tuesday and hoping results would go their way, needing both India and NT not to win.
Yousuf Affan (5’) settled the nerves with an early goal for India, before Armaan Qureshi (46’) sealed the win.
NT had an outside sniff of going through, but lost 2-0 to NSW Waratahs who scored through a late third quarter blitz from Blake Govers (43’) and Kieran Govers (45+’).
Tasmania triumphed 5-3 over New Zealand, with Kieron Arthur continuing his prolific form with a hat-trick.
James Dick (21’) opened the scoring with Arthur (36’, 47’ and 50’) hitting his hat-trick before Eddie Ockenden’s (54’) addition.
New Zealand’s trio of goals came in the last quarter via Dane Lett (53’), Cam Hayde (56’) and Reuben Andrews (60+’).
All teams will enjoy a rest day on Wednesday, before the semi-finals commence on Thursday.
Hockey Australia media release
India A men and women teams register win
Men's team defeated Australian Capital Territory by 2-0 and women's team beat Tasmania by 1-0
India A men’s hockey team beat the Australian Capital Territory 2-0 in their final Pool B match to progress to the next round of the 2017 Men’s Australian Hockey League. Affan Yousuf (5’) and Armaan Qureshi (46’) scored the goals for India.
Affan Yousuf scored a field goal in the 5th minute to give the lead to the visitors.
The score remained 1-0 in the first two quarters. The Australian Capital Territory went on to waste several chances in the first three quarters, and India took advantage of the same.
Armaan Qureshi scored India’s second field goal of the match in the 46th minute to make it 2-0 in India’s favour.
With this win, India A men’s team progressed to the next round of the tournament with two wins, one draw and a loss from their four Pool B games, accumulating a total of 7 points.
In the women's match, India A team registered their first win at the 2017 Women’s Australian Hockey League as they beat Tasmania 1-0 in their last Pool B encounter. Sangita Kumari (19') scored the only goal of the match.
The India A women’s team got off to a good start as they controlled the play in midfield throughout the first quarter. At the start of the second quarter, the visitors pulled off a beautiful team-move which was finished by Sangita Kumari in the 19th minute as she deceived Tasmania’s goalkeeper Ruby-Rose Haywood to give India the lead.
The third quarter saw both sides taking it to each other as some strong tackles were made from the players which resulted in a yellow card each for both the teams. Tasmania tried to break India’s back line but could not succeed.
India enjoyed their one-goal lead for the rest of the match and made several efforts to deny the Tasmanians the chance to equalise the scores. The visitors showed fight in the fourth quarter to win the match by a goal.
The team registered their first win of the AHL and will now progress to the next round of the tournament to play classification matches as they finished 4th in Pool B with a total of 3 points. The India A women will play Western Australia in Pool D on Thursday, 5th October 2017 at 15:30hrs IST.
India A beat ACT 2-0 in Australian Hockey League
PERTH: India A defeated Australian Capital Territory (ACT) 2-0 in their final Pool B match to progress to the next round of the 2017 men's Australian Hockey League (AHL), on Tuesday.
Affan Yousuf (5th minute) and Armaan Qureshi (46th) scored the goals for India A.
India started the match aggressively as they dished out attacking hockey in the early stages which led to Affan scoring a fine field goal in the fifth minute to give the lead to the visitors.
India's defensive line maintained their shape throughout the first two quarters as they managed to maintain their slender lead at half-time.
ACT went on to waste several chances in the first three quarters and India took advantage of the same.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the visitors produced entertaining hockey with some slick passing which saw Armaan scoring India's second field goal of the match in the 46th minute to make it 2-0 in their favour.
ACT tried to pull up their socks after going behind twice in the match, but they were up against a resolute Indian defence.
A strong performance from the defence meant that the India progressed to the next round of the tournament and remain in the hunt to win the trophy, accumulating seven points with two wins, one draw and a loss from their four Pool B games.
The Times of India
India A women's team beats Tasmania 1-0 in AHL
PERTH: Sangita Kumari scored the winner as India A women's team beat Tasmania 1-0 to register their first victory at the 2017 Australian Hockey League (AHL) on Tuesday.
Sangita scored the winner in the 19th minute to hand India their maiden win in Pool B.
The Indian eves got off to a good start as they controlled the play in midfield throughout the first quarter.
At the start of the second quarter, the visitors pulled off a beautiful move which was finished by Sangita in the 19th minute as she deceived Tasmania's goalkeeper Ruby-Rose Haywood to hand India the lead.
It was a rough third quarter as both the sides made some strong tackles which resulted in a yellow card each for both teams.
Tasmania tried to break India's back line but could not succeed as the Indians put up a spirited display.
India enjoyed their one-goal lead for the rest of the match and made several efforts to deny the Tasmanians the chance to equalise.
The visitors showed fight in the fourth quarter to win the match by a goal.
The team registered their first win of the AHL and will now progress to the next round of the tournament to play classification matches as they finished fourth in Pool B with three points.
Indian eves will now play Western Australia on Thursday.
The Times of India
Arminen relishing underdog role against Wimbledon and Bloemendaal
©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics
SV Arminen player-coach Dariusz Rachwalski says his Austrian champions side is fully embracing the “underdog” role as they look to cause some shocks against the giants of HC Bloemendaal and England’s Wimbledon.
It was a Pool A draw that Rachwalski was initially taken aback by but is now really relishing as he plots how the Vienna-based side can challenge their illustrious opponents.
“I have to admit that I was quite concerned when I learned that we will have the pleasure to play vs Wimbledon and Bloemendaal!” he told the EHL website.
“But, after some time, I started to think about the challenge really positively. Of course our chances are limited but we see it as a great option to develop our team.
“We have added some young Arminen players and they need to gain that experience and these top teams will show exactly what we need to work on.”
He brings a side that has plenty of recent, top level hockey under their belt with Sebastian Eitenberger, Alexander Bele, Daniel Frohlich, Patrick Schmidt, Michael Minar and goalkeepers Michael Mantler and Mateusz Szymczyk all being in the senior Austrian panel at the Euros.
In addition, Andreas Kapounek, Lorenz Klimon and Max Trnka were all in the Under-21 Euros in Valencia, showing the club’s ability to develop talent.
This has raised the level but also meant Rachwalski did not have a huge amount of time with his team as a group and so he has been using the Austrian league as his formal warm-up for the EHL.
It has included a 12-0 win over HG Modling, a 3-2 win over HC Wien, a 7-2 success against NAVAX AHTC before closing out their prep with a 4-4 draw against WAC.
The player-coach says there has been four of five players injured during that time but he says the form is improving with each game.
“Most of our players were representing Austria this summer. Even though it affected our club plans, it's always great when players can compete on this level and come back with more international experience.
“Rather than the end result in our league games, our focus was on practising different defensive systems and offensive solutions.”
In Barcelona, Arminen will play a Bloemendaal side they know reasonably well having hosted them in Vienna a couple of seasons ago.
“I got in contact with Russell Garcia for whom I played back in Hamburg in Grossflottbek and he was actually looking for an option of a weekend away with Bloemendaal.
“I think it was a good time for both of the teams. In fact, we're planning to organize a good outdoor tournament like our traditional indoor one. So if anyone would like to visit beautiful city of Vienna and play some hockey, please contact us!”
Dubbed the Rohrmax Cup, that challenge series came in the lead-up to Arminen’s superb run to the KO16 in 2014/15, beating Kelburne and then drawing the Atletic Terrassa to advance from the ROUND1 group in Barcelona.
They went on to face Oranje-Zwart in the KO16 - in Bloemendaal - and pushed the Eindhoven side all the way, losing 2-0 with Mink van der Weerden only making the game safe in the final two minutes.
“I can only say it was a fantastic,” Rachwalksi adds, “Full of emotions and a big achievement for our club. Since then, some of our players got noticed and had offers to play in the strongest leagues in Europe. Dominic Uher and Floki Steyrer are playing in Belgium for Daring and Michi Minar was representing Den Bosh last year.
“As for upcoming weekend we are fully aware of the power of our opponents and we faced some complications lately but we like the role of the underdog and we will definitely not be short of motivation for these games.”
Euro Hockey League media release
Nishan-i-Haider 9ners Hockey Tournament commences in Karachi today
KARACHI: After hosting the World XI for a three-match Twenty20 series at Lahore and the Thailand tennis squad for the Davis Cup rubber in Islamabad recently, hockey is set to follow suit when the international Nishan-i-Haider 9ners Hockey Tournament begins at the Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium here on Wednesday (today). Eleven foreign goalkeepers seven from Australia and four from Argentina arrive here in two batches on Tuesday to feature in the first ever 9ners international competition in the country. The goalkeepers who will make their presence felt include Fleming Mattew, Shulson Josling, Holman Nicholas Janes, David Arthur Reid, Zachary Edward Walker, Bevkeley John Bruton, Kirk Joshua Blair (Australia), Emiliano Bosso, Gonzato Martin, Joaquen Moverio, Juan Ignacio Diaz (Argentina).
Eleven teams will vie for honours in the eight-day event which concludes on October 11. The teams have been named after the martyrs of 1965 Indo-Pak war who were bestowed with prestigious gallantry award of Nishan-i-Haider. Each team will comprise 14 players including one foreign goalkeeper apiece. The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has already asked 131 players to report at the venue. The list does not include the names of the Dhaka-bound Asia Cup players. The national team will fly to Dhaka on October 8. “They are emerging players and form the nucleus of Pakistan hockey,” tournament director and former Olympian Qamar Ibrahim said. Asked about the format, he said a match envisaged two halves of 20-minutes each with a five-minute break. He added that five penalty shootouts apiece will be held before the start of the match.
The Organising Secretary, former Olympian Kamran Ashraf, disclosed that the PHF had designed its own rules as the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has no approved rules for 9ners.
A: Captain Mohammad Sarwar 9ners, Major Tufail 9ners, Major Aziz Bhatti 9ners.
B: Major Shabbir Sharif 9ners, Rashid Minhas 9ners, M Hussain 9ners.
C: Major Mohammad Akram 9ners, LN Mohammad Mahfooz 9ners, Captain Sher Khan 9ners.
D: Havaldar Lalak Jan 9ners, Naik Saif Ali Janjua 9ners.
The Daily Times
International players reach Karachi for hockey tournament
KARACHI - Hockey players from Australia were to reach the city Tuesday evening whereas goalkeepers from Argentina have already arrived to participate in Nishan-e-Haider Hockey Tournament that begins Wednesday.
Upon their arrival at the airport Argentinian goalkeepers said they will play their role in reviving international events in Pakistan. The players were pleased to come to Pakistan, hoping to play well for the spectators who would come to watch the tournament. The goalkeepers said they were looking forward to a pleasant stay in the country, the people of which they find "hospitable and loving".
The goalkeepers from Argentina were welcomed by Colonel Saif-ur-Rehman and hockey players and Olympians Islahuddin Siddique and Iftikhar Syed at Jinnah International Airport.
The goalkeepers were taken to the hotel under strict security.
They will be in the hockey field alongside Pakistan players at Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium where Sindh Rangers Director General Muhammad Saeed will inaugurate the tournament. Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa will be the chief guest at the closing ceremony.
Kookaburras’ Oceania Cup Team Named
Hockey Australia today announces the 18-member Kookaburras team for the Oceania Cup to be played at Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre from 11-15 October.
Australia will take on eighth-ranked New Zealand and 61st-ranked Papua New Guinea in the biennial event where the Kookaburras have won all nine editions.
The Kookaburras last played at the FIH World League Semi-Final in South Africa in July where Australia finished in third place.
Kookaburras coach Colin Batch said: “We’re really pleased to have the Australian Hockey League (AHL) as a final series of matches to select our team from.
“It was an opportune time to assess the players and we’ve selected quite a talented team for Oceania Cup.
“We have had some separation over the past month and it will be important for staff and players to reconnect with each other after playing for their states at AHL.
“We have made good progress this year in a number of areas and we need to focus and continue to development these areas during this series.”
Young forward Blake Govers returns to the team for the first time since the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Experienced Tasmanian Eddie Ockenden is back after being a late withdrawal for the World League Semi-Final along with goalkeeper Tristan Clemons, Ben Craig and Josh Beltz.
“Blake comes back in after a good training block, so we are interested in his performance as a striker,” Batch said. “He’ll also strengthen our penalty corner flicking.
“Eddie Ockenden, Tristan Clemons, Ben Craig and Josh Beltz come in and I’m pleased to have them back.”
Australia currently sits second on the FIH World Rankings and Batch is eager to maintain the side’s grip on the spot, with rankings points up for grabs during the Oceania Cup.
The two nations also have a fierce rivalry with Australia winning their last encounter 2-1 at the World League Semi-Finals having also played at the 2016 Rio Olympics where the Kookaburras triumphed again 2-1. The two sides also drew 1-1 at the Azlan Shah Cup in April.
“We’ve got a strong rivalry with New Zealand, so that’s one part but the other part is it’s worth world ranking points,” he said.
“We want to maintain our position near the top. It’s important from that point of view that we play the series, do well and hopefully win it.”
The Kookaburras team flies out of Perth for Sydney on Monday.
Kookaburras Oceania Cup Team
Daniel Beale (Queensland)
Josh Beltz (Tasmania)
Tristan Clemons (WA)
Ben Craig (NSW)
Tom Craig (NSW)
Matthew Dawson (NSW)
Jeremy Edwards (Tasmania)
Blake Govers (NSW)
Jeremy Hayward (Northern Territory)
Mark Knowles (c) (Queensland)
Tyler Lovell (WA)
Trent Mitton (WA)
Eddie Ockenden (Tasmania)
Matthew Swann (Queensland)
Jacob Whetton (Queensland)
Tom Wickham (SA)
Dylan Wotherspoon (Queensland)
Aran Zalewski (WA)
Hockey Australia media release
Hockeyroos squad set for Oceania Cup showdown
Emily Smith will captain Australia's Hockeyroos in the Oceania Cup Photo: FIH/WSP
With only a few days to go until the Oceania Cup 2017 gets underway, Australia's 18-strong squad are making their final preparations ahead of the crucial Hockey World Cup London 2018 qualifier which will be played at Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre from 11-15 October.
The Hockeyroos take on New Zealand's Black Sticks, both knowing that they have already qualified for next year's showpiece Hockey World Cup in London thanks to their final standings in the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final in Brussels, Belgium. Papua New Guinea however will be looking to cause a major upset by defeating both to win the title and qualify for the World Cup as Oceania continental champions.
Should Australia or New Zealand win the Championship, this will open up another qualification opportunity for the highest placed team from the Hockey World League Semi-Finals who have not already qualified, which would be Ireland.
Australia have won six of the nine editions of this biennial event, New Zealand winning the other three. With the backing of a the home crowd Australia's Hockeyroos will be looking to make progress following their disappointing fifth place finish at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Brussels.
Their team, announced in September, sees Kirstin Dwyer return after glandular fever along with Ashlea Fey, Kaitlin Nobbs and Grace Stewart, with Kate Hanna, Jacqui Day, Georgia Nanscawen and Georgina Morgan (injury) making way from the World League Semi-Final team.
Hockeyroos Coach Paul Gaudoin said: “Selection was challenging. We’re learning about the group and we’re still not decided on the make-up of our squad for next year, but we think we’ve picked a team that can win the Oceania Cup. We’ve had some injuries as well that has taken people out of selection such as Georgina Morgan, Gabrielle Nance and Mariah Williams, but the selected group is solid.”
Gaudoin also confirmed 25-year-old forward Emily Smith has been appointed as permanent captain and will lead the team for the first time in Sydney. Smith takes up the captaincy following long-term skipper Madonna Blyth’s retirement last year, with Jane Claxton holding the role on an interim basis.
“Emily has shown a consistent approach to her hockey, she’s well respected by her peers and the Hockeyroos staff, so it was a pretty simple decision in the end,” Gaudoin said. “We haven’t rushed into selecting our captain or leadership group over the past year. We’ve had interim leadership groups for tournaments, but we’ve utilised the year to explore the playing group and see what we really needed. I don’t want her to do too much different. She’s been involved with leadership groups previously.”
Smith, who hails from Crookwell in country NSW, will be supported by Claxton, Rachael Lynch, Kathryn Slattery and Karri McMahon in the leadership group.
“We want to see a step-up among the whole group with Emily helping and enabling that,” Gaudoin said. “She’s got some good supporters underneath her. We’ve selected those people in order to drive our group forward. We need to get people on board to come with us to the next level.”
Australia’s Oceania Cup opponents New Zealand and Papua New Guinea are ranked sixth and 50th respectively in the FIH Hero World Rankings. The Hockeyroos are currently fifth but were knocked out of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro at the Quarter-Finals stage by New Zealand's Black Sticks. New Zealand also defeated Australia at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, fuelling the rivalry.
Gaudoin said there was a lot to gain for Australia at the Oceania Cup.
“We want to win the tournament,” Gaudoin said. “Ranking points are important. We want to keep working on the development of our group and our playing style. We want to make sure we can perform well against these two countries, including one who is a very competitive team ranked in the top six in the world.”
The squad will fly to Sydney for the tournament on Monday 9 October following the conclusion of the Australian Hockey League in Perth.
Hockeyroos Oceania Cup Team
Laura Barden (Victoria)
Jocelyn Bartram (NSW)
Edwina Bone (ACT)
Jane Claxton (SA)
Kirstin Dwyer (Queensland)
Ashlea Fey (Queensland)
Madison Fitzpatrick (Queensland)
Jordyn Holzberger (Queensland)
Stephanie Kershaw (Queensland)
Rachael Lynch (Victoria)
Karri McMahon (SA)
Kaitlin Nobbs (NSW)
Madeleine Ratcliffe (Victoria)
Kathryn Slattery (WA)
Emily Smith (c) (NSW)
Grace Stewart (NSW)
Renee Taylor (Queensland)
Georgia Wilson (WA)
Asia Cup returns to Dhaka after 22 years
The stadium now is new, whose turf had been inaugurated by the then FIH president Leondro Negi. The matches will be telecast Live starting a week from now. Social media will be active and you will get to know everything thro Mojo, where anyone who has a mobile, can give you a picture or a stat if not his or her opinion. The event now has a million dollar worth title sponsor.
The situation 22 years ago was in contrast. There were no Live telecast. No title sponsor. No Mojo obviously. But the Second Asia Cup that the capital city Dhaka hosted in 1985 is fresh in hockey lovers' memory.
This was the first major international tournament of its kind this city hosted.
With India and Pakistan, who commanded respect for their winning artistic game, excitement was at its peak.
When the continental giants India and Pakistan vied for the title on the final day, about 50,000 fans filled the stands.
All those have forgotten all the 20 matches held so far in the preceding eight days.
Even the contest in which the hosts had lost to the reigning Olympic champions and also the defending champions Pakistan by merely a flattering 0-1 score.
India-Pak tie did not disappoint. It was full of thrill and suspense, more so as India kept on earning penalty corners and then poor at converting.
Ultimately, it was Pakistan which defended the title it won in Lahore three years ago.
Only difference being it conceded a few goals in the week while its defence was impeccable at home.
However, history proved the coming of South Korea, which won the bronze here. In the editions to come and the decades to come, South Korea had challenged successfully the might of the Dhaka giants, and here lies the beautiful history of Asia Cup, which is now on its 35th year.
STATS 1985 ASIA CUP, DHAKA, BANGLADESH:
Medallists: Pak, India, South Korea
Total goals: 133
South Korea 19
Total matches: 21
No of drawn tie: 3
Pakistan hockey team to leave for Asia Cup on Oct. 8
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan hockey team is set to leave for Dhaka, Bangladesh on October 8 for participation in Asia Cup, scheduled to take place from October 11 to 22.
Secretary Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Shahbaz Ahmad Senior told APP that an 18-member Pakistan team would take part in the mega event, while five officials would also accompany the team.
Shahbaz said he has high hopes from the team to reach finals of the Asia Cup.
"Asia Cup would give players exposure and confidence for next year's World Cup to be held in India," he said.
"Next year the national team will also be sent on tours to Australia and Europe to prepare for the World Cup," he said.
Besides Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China, South Korea, Japan, Oman and Malaysia are also participating in the Asia Cup.
Speaking about the Pakistan Hockey League (PHL), he said PHL would be held next year with six franchise-based teams to participate in the inaugural edition.
"PHL will be played from April 24, 2018 in four cities including Karachi, Lahore, Gojra and Faisalabad," he said.
Each franchise would have three to four players in the team, he said.
Players from Australia, Argentina and other foreign countries would also be participating in the league, he said.
"Besides providing financial support to PHF, the league will prove a landmark in regaining lost glory of the national game. We are sure it will help rebuild our supremacy in the game internationally."
Lewis, Eccles to lead hockey teams for Pan Am
Hockey ace Alanna Lewis and Solomon Eccles were yesterday chosen to lead a 12-member Women’s and Men’s teams to contest the Indoor Pan American Hockey Cup in Georgetown Guyana next week, October 16-21.
Both teams will play in separate round-robin tournaments that will comprise hockey powerhouses Argentina and Canada for the right to qualify for the Indoor Hockey World Cup in Berlin Germany in February next year. Apart from Canada and the Argentines, the local women will be up against Barbados, Guyana, Uruguay and the United States while Eccles and company will have to get past Argentina, Canada, Barbados, Guyana and Mexico. Only the winner of each group will advance to the World Cup.
Both teams will have reasonably good chances to qualify, Reyah Richardson, the T&T Hockey Board secretary believes as the country’s men and women’s teams have played at separate indoor world cups back in the 2006 and 2003 respectively.
She believes while the Canadians and Argentines may be the strongest teams in the Pan Am region in the outdoor version of the game, but they can be beaten at the indoor format.
Strangely though the Canadians represented the region at he world cup following the last Pan Am qualifiers back in 2015.
Both T&T teams comprise a blend of youth and experience.
Lewis will be supported goalkeepers Kayla Marie-Escayg and Petal Derry, as well as Krtistin Thompson, Savannah De Freitas and Zene Henry. For the men Eccles has been joined by veteran Dwain Quan Chan, Jordon Reynos, Mark Ayen and Akim Toussaint, Marcus James and Mickell Pierre among others.
Ron Alexander (GK)
Reiza Hosien (GK)
Dwain Quan Chan
Aidan De Gannes
Solomon Eccles (Captain)
Manager - Denise Kirth Davis
Head Coach - Raphael Govia
Assistant Coach - Darren
Kayla-Marie Escayg (GK)
Petal Derry (GK)
Alanna Lewis (Captain)
Shaniah De Freitas
Savannah De Freitas
Manager - Valisha Sylvester
Head Coach - Jerazeno Bell
The Trinidad Guardian
Tour memories among Meeke’s most cherished as Irish star takes on new role with DB Sports
Ali Meeke celebrating a goal for Loreto. Pic: Adrian Boehm
The Hook caught up with Loreto's Ali Meeke to talk about her new role with DB Sports Tours and how she cannot wait to be back in the midst of the club season after the international summer
“It’s the friendships that come out of it, the feeling that everyone is as important as the next person,” Ali Meeke says of her special hockey tour memories at international and club level.
Just a day after the European Championships in Amsterdam, Meeke was back in work in Ireland, starting up a new role as an ambassador for DB Sports Tours.
The company has been running sports tours around the world for the past seven years and now have a wide range of hockey destinations on offer as well as the ability to create bespoke tours to match the desired blend of competition and recreation.
“Any tour I have been on, like with Loreto in Europe, has been brilliant. Nothing compares to it,” Meeke said. “I’ve been lucky enough to be on a few of them – Lille [in 2011], Rome [in 2010] and Leicester [in 2014].”
“There’s just so many memories,” she reflects. “When we came third in Leicester, it was just superb. We had young players in the squad who weren’t necessarily the Loreto team that had come and gone.”
Her first two tours featured an established core of international players; 2014 was different though with Nikki Keegan’s wedding and a number of other players out due to exams.
As such, their target was to avoid relegation but break-out performances from the likes of Hayley Mulcahy and Ciara Vincent secured an incredible bronze medal, beating Spain’s Complutense in a memorable shoot-out.
“We were a fresh team and underdogs going into it but that tour really brought us together. We eventually went to one-v-ones and it was the less experienced players who brought it all together and did the damage.
“What we got from it was everyone in the squad was as important as the next person, getting to know everyone and it’s something we wouldn’t have got without that environment. It connects everyone and it helps you on the pitch.”
She has also seen the impact a trip away can have on younger hockey players, providing a potential once in a lifetime opportunity. High School – where Meeke attended and also coaches – went to South Africa a couple of years ago.
“It was the talk of the whole school year; South Africa this, South Africa that. They got to see so many things that they probably never would have otherwise. The little relationships between people that maybe wouldn’t have known each other, maybe weren’t in the same class or the same team.
“The friendships that come out of it, you can see it. It joins the whole year group together and they came back as one giant team.
“It doesn’t have to be South Africa or the USA; it’s going to be an amazing experience. The relationship also builds with the staff. It’s not just the hockey; it’s so much more.”
For Meeke, she is enjoying the diversity of the new role and throwing herself into something different after a grueling year on the international stage.
Ireland’s women started their campaign on January 2 and have trained and played all the way through to the last few days in August. A productive summer, with World Cup qualification all but secured, almost had a sour end but for a huge favour from the Czech Republic, beating Scotland to keep Ireland in the top tier in Europe.
Looking back on that dramatic couple of days, Meeke says: “It was a funny day! A really rough day at the office. Following the Spain game, there was disappointment in how we performed.
“We watched parts of the Scotland-Czech game between going back to the hotel to debrief – we were keeping an eye on social media and the live stream where we could! We were biting our nails and obviously, things went in our favour.
“I do think it was the right outcome for some of our performances in the Europeans and before in the summer when we played some superb hockey. The A division is where we do deserve to be.
“But there is frustration and we do have to look into why we ended up in that situation. It’s natural but the important thing is that we do learn from it because there has been some great hockey and we are at our best.
“There was a lot of hockey so, mentally, for the girls that played all the tournaments, I’d say frustration did start to creep in and they could have got tired.
“It was tough; we got home on the Sunday and I got back to work on the Monday. All the team didn’t really have time to process it; we just had to get on with it. So I was happy to have something fresh and new with DB. It made things a little easier and exciting to focus on.”
She is now looking forward to the EY Hockey League season, delayed a couple of weeks due to the umpiring issues between Hockey Ireland and the IHUA. Despite the delay, Meeke is loving being straight back into it with her club.
“This is going to be a cracking season. When you look at the way the teams are lining up with different players moving. From that point of view, it’s going to be a really competitive season which is only going to bring the best out of the panel and that’s what you want.
“It will be a really interesting and our best hockey is yet to come. That competition to get into the squad is going to drive us on for whatever 18 gets picked when we hit that World Cup.
“You miss your club massively when you are away for the summer. It’s like coming home so I was really looking forward to games. We won’t complain having another couple of weeks to get ourselves ready for the league but I am really looking forward to lining out again with Loreto.”
And a good season for Meeke with club and country could mean more memorable trips away on the horizon.
USA Field Hockey is Encouraging Boys to Register for Futures Program
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Field Hockey’s Olympic Development Program, Futures Program, is now holding registration and trials for athletes who are interested in improving their field hockey skills and trying out for selection to the Junior U.S. National Teams. In 2018, USA Field Hockey is encouraging boys to register for the Futures Program for a chance to begin their Olympic Journey. Futures provides both boys and girls quality training opportunities in more than 100 locations across the country.
Athletes ages 11-19 are invited to join the 2018 Futures Program. Boys who register interest online will be invited to a Futures site in their region for seven, 3-hour training sessions. These Futures Training Sessions take place during the months of January through April and focus on individual skills as well as team play and tactics. At the conclusion of the seven sessions, all Futures athletes will have the opportunity to participate in their Regional Futures Tournament, which is held in May. Males and females will be mixed during both the Futures Training Sessions and Regional Futures Tournament. Girls selected from their Regional Futures Tournament will be invited to play in the National Futures Championship held at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa. from June 19-28, 2018 for additional selection opportunities, including AAU Junior Olympic Games, Junior High Performance Camps and Junior U.S. Women's National Teams. Boys selected from their respective Regional Futures Tournament will be invited to participate in the Men’s Talent Identification Camp in Moorpark, Calif. from June 28-30, 2018 for additional selection opportunities, including Men’s High Performance Training Centers and the Junior U.S. Men's National Teams.
“We are excited to offer the Futures Program to male athlete in coordination with boys’ development and the Olympic [Development] Pipeline”, said Lisa McCoy, USA Field Hockey's Director of Futures and International Events. “Futures will allow boys as young as age 11 an opportunity to train, practice skills and develop in the game of field hockey in all regions.”
“We are thrilled that another opportunity for boys is added and are looking forward to further developing more opportunities”, said Rutger Wiese, U.S. Men's National Team Head Coach.
The deadline to sign-up as interested in the 2018 Futures Program is Wednesday, November 15 at 11:45 p.m. MT.
Male athletes may register as interested by clicking here.
Female athletes may register for a Futures Individual Trial by clicking here.
USFHA media release
Surbiton to host 2018 EuroHockey Club Cup
The European Hockey Federation has announced that Surbiton Hockey Club will host the EuroHockey Club Cup in May 2018.
This is the first time that an English club will hold the EHCC in its new format since the launch in 2010. Hosts Surbiton are one of the oldest hockey clubs in the world and England’s current champions.
The best women’s clubs in Europe will compete over four days (from 18-21 May 2018) to become Champions of Europe along with the €5,000 prize winning cheque.
Along with hosts Surbiton the strong field is led by the current champions and Europe’s most successful team HC‘s-Hertogenbosch from the Netherlands, they are joined by fellow Dutchwomen AHBC Amsterdam.
Germany also have two teams, UHC Hamburg and Mannheimer HC. Spain are represented by Club Campo Villa de Madrid, Ireland by UCD Ladies HC and Belaurs’ HC Victorya Smolevichi complete the line-up.
In addition to hosting this top event, the second edition of the Junior EHCC will take place over the same weekend. Letters of invitation to all the teams playing in the EHCC have been extended to their U14 girls' teams to participate in the newest EHF women’s event.
EHF President Marijke Fleuren said: “At the core of the EHF is our clubs. There is simply nothing like players playing with their team mates that they have known for years. The EHCC is our top outdoor women’s club event in Europe.
"I am really delighted that we are bringing this competitive, top class event to England, home of the current Olympic champions. We know that the huge fan base in England will be excited to see the best of the best women players compete on their home soil."
Surbiton’s Club Captain, Mark Waller, said: “It is a huge honour and opportunity, not only to showcase the very best of European women's club hockey, but also to host the next generation of talent who will participate in the Junior EHCC tournament.
"Hosting the tournament will help us to further increase the visibility and levels of support for hockey in this country, already on a high following the GB women's success in Rio last year, and ahead of the Women's Hockey World Cup, which will take place in London in July 2018.
"We also look forward to welcoming the other competing teams and their supporters, EHF officials, sponsors and the media to Surbiton. The club will work hard to ensure that participants and visitors alike enjoy a fantastic weekend of hockey and being part of the wider hockey family.”
Sarah Haycroft, Surbiton Ladies captain, added: “It is fantastic that we will have the opportunity to play in the top European competition in front of our home crowd at Surbiton HC. Having qualified for and played in the last three tournaments, we are looking forward to competing against Europe’s top teams on our home pitch.”
England Hockey Board Media release
Former EH Chairman joins board of The Hockey Museum
The Hockey Museum continues to go from strength to strength and to support its ambitious plans, it has appointed Philip Kimberley, former chair of England Hockey, as a new trustee to join the Board.
Philip has a wealth of experience following a successful business career including twenty years’ senior international leadership (Chair/CE) experience in a ‘blue chip’ multinational company. His successful tenure at the head of England Hockey (2002-15) will help develop stronger links across the business and regions.
Chair of Trustees, Katie Dodd, is delighted to welcome Philip as part of the ‘Museum team’. She added “Philip’s undoubted business and strategic skills will be a real bonus as The Hockey Museum looks to deliver on its ambitious plans to develop hockey’s heritage and bring it to a wider audience.”
It is not just Phillip that is new to the board as Lucy Newcombe, a former England Hockey International and recently retired Wing Commander with the RAF has also been appointed. An engineer with 17 years of project and team management experience, Lucy will help to be a great asset to the large development projects the museum is planning over the next couple of years. The Museum has also looked to improve its heritage knowledge and experience by appointing Imogen Gibbon to the Board. Imogen is the current Chief Curator and Deputy Director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
To read all about the new trustees go to The Hockey Museum website.
England Hockey Board Media release