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News for 06 October 2017

All the news for Friday 6 October 2017

EHL ROUND1 starts here; find out more about all the teams lining out in Barcelona

The eleventh season of the Euro Hockey League gets underway at the Pau Negre Stadium with new horizons and some big new rules changes. To set the tone, here’s an overview of the four groups and all the battles ahead this weekend.

Pool A

Former champs Bloemendaal return to the EHL, looking to start their journey to a possible third Alain Danet Trophy success, making their opening game of the tournament against Wimbledon – who reached the FINAL4 last season – on Friday at 16.15 (CET) a highlight of the weekend.

The Dutch side won the Hoofdklasse regular season last year and feature a number of superstars including German striker Florian Fuchs, Belgian hero Manu Stockbroekx, Spanish trickster Xavi Lleonart and global legend Jamie Dwyer who arrived in Europe this week.

Add them to Dutch European Championship winners Glenn Schuurman, Thierry Brinkman and Floris Wortleboer and former international goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann and it is a class act.

Wimbledon, though, have also strengthened their hand significantly over the summer with Ali Brogdon and Iain Lewers adding to their hand which already featured England internationals Henry Weir, James Bailey, Ian Sloan, Phil Roper and Simon Mantell.

SV Arminen will enter the fray on Saturday. The record Austrian champions enjoyed their last trip to Barcelona in 2014, becoming the first Austrian side to win a game in the competition and made it through to the KO16 when they stunned Atletic Terrassa.

Dariusz Rachwalski was the player-coach back then and he is in situ once again. 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.

Pool B

Uhlenhorst Mülheim are the number one seed in Pool B on their return to the competition after a three-year break from EHL action but they have a number of high profile injuries on their card that could open the door for challengers Dinamo Elektrostal and Cardiff & Met.

For Uhlenhorst, Thilo Stralkowski has previously netted ten times in EHL action and will captain the side with his vicious drag-flick and powerful presence in the forward line. But injuries to Timm Herzbruch, Benedikt Furk and Lukas Windfeder sees some of their stars on the sidelines for the club that won the old European Cup nine times in succession.

Their first challenge is against a Cardiff side who became the first Welsh club to win an EHL game last season when they beat Italy’s SG Amsicora. A good showing against UHC Hamburg – losing 3-1 – showed they will not be overawed by German opposition. They do have changes with Dan Kyriakides moving to Reading in England while Rhys Gowman is out injured but youngster Rhys Bradshaw is one to watch.

Dinamo Elektrostal play on Saturday and Sunday in a busy week. They finished off their Russian league championship last weekend as runners-up after a two-leg final against Dinamo Kazan. They have plenty of Russian internationals in their selection and will look to carry their league momentum into this weekend.

Pool C

While Racing Club de Bruxelles are the group’s fancied side, they will be wary of Irish Senior Cup winners Banbridge who eliminated Belgian opposition last October in ROUND1. Poland’s WKS Grunwald Poznan, meanwhile, are back for an 11th successive EHL season, making for some potential fireworks in Pool C.

Racing, though, have the glittering names of Jerome Truyens, Cedric Charlier, Tom Boon and Jeremy Gucassoff – all in Rio for Belgium’s Olympic silver medal – along with Irish Olympian Conor Harte. Add in rising stars like Augustin Meurmans – who won Euro silver in Amsterdam – and national Under-21 captain Martin Lambeau and they have lots of excellent options.

They take on Grunwald Poznan on day one (14.00 CET) who have added Polish international Dominik Kotulski to their ranks from Royal Wellington in Belgium while Jakub Janicki is another young charge. Otherwise, they have plenty of very experienced faces in their selection with plenty of know-how in the EHL. They come into the competition in good form, running up a 4-1 win over nearest rivals KS Pomorzanin Torun last weekend with Artur Mikula scoring twice.

Banbridge play on Saturday and Sunday. They were the surprise package last season, coming out of a group featuring Royal Leopold and Saint Germain. Since then, defenders Matthew Bell (Crefelder HC), Kyle Marshall (Beeston) and Jake Rowe (golf scholarship in the US) have moved on, meaning changes with Zach McClelland, Alex Tinney and Luke Witherow all coming in.

Injuries to Eugene Magee and Jonny McKee could prove crucial, leaving them shy of some major skill and experience. They played just once in the build-up in the Irish league, beating Railway Union 4-0.

Pool D – Home comforts

Club Egara are the local side hoping to fire up a big local support at the Pau Negre Stadium but they will have their work cut out for them. They will hope Pau Quemada and Quico Cortes are on top form when they meet the Scottish champions Bromac Kelburne along with French runners-up Saint Germain with some big battles on the cards.

Another key name to add to Egara’s list is Vincenc Ruiz who is back with the club following a spell with HGC in the Netherlands though he has not play yet this season. He did not play against San Sebastian last weekend, their first league win of the season, 1-0, after a 5-1 defeat to Club de Campo in their opening tie.

They meet Scotland’s Bromac Kelburne who have won a national title in each of their last 13 seasons. The Paisley club is famous for producing international talent though many of them tend to move on to clubs around England and beyond with Lee Morton the latest to make a move south.

The likes of Chris Nelson, Michael Christie, Iain Scholefield and Johnny Christie are experienced heads who will guide them through what looks a competitive group.

Saint Germain have a side packed with international players with Francois Goyet, Guillaume Deront, the Genestet brothers – Hugo, Tom and Martin – and goalkeeper Arthur Thieffry giving them plenty of quality. They have started the French league with three wins and a draw on their card from four games.

Euro Hockey League media release

“It’s good to be back” for Schuurman and Bloemendaal

©: World Sport Pics

HC Bloemendaal’s Glenn Schuurman says “it’s good to be back” in the EHL after a two-year absence as the Dutch giants look forward to their showdowns with England’s Wimbledon on Friday and Austria’s SV Arminen on Sunday.

They arrived in Barcelona on Tuesday ahead of the competition with global superstar Jamie Dwyer returning to their ranks, making them one of the star attractions of ROUND1.

It follows an impressive start to the season, going unbeaten so far with three wins and two draws. This includes big wins over HGC (7-2) and Rotterdam (5-1) along with a 3-3 draw with reigning Hoofdklasse champions SV Kampong to show they are among the best in the division.

“I reckon we doing a good job so far,” Schuurman said of their early season form. “We’ve had some changes compare with last season. But all the new guys fit in really well. Our game improves every week and we are looking forward to EHL ROUND 1.”

He was among a trio of Dutch players who won gold in August at the European Championships – along with Thierry Brinkman and new arrival Floris Wortleboer – making a huge impact with his pace down the right flank.

Schuurman adds that the feel-good factor from that event has carried through into their Dutch league games.

“For us, the Euros were amazing especially by winning gold. The good mood helps to adapt easily to club hockey. Besides that, we have some new players like Wortelboer, Tim Swaen, Xavi Leonart, Sander ’t Hart and Jamie Dwyer. They give us a new kind of energy what I really like. It's good to be back!”

He also gets to line out with German star Florian Fuchs who has been in inspirational form already this season with eight goals already to his name including a late equaliser against Kampong.

“Fuchs is a great striker with a strong winners mentality. Against top teams, he always plays his best game. He only needs the smallest of spaces to score a goal and, besides his skills, he is a great guy. We are really glad to have him!”

Friday’s battle with Wimbledon is one of the key ties on the agenda this weekend, facing a side that reached the FINAL4 last year. Arminen, meanwhile, are an underdog but Bloemendaal will have their research done on them.

“I think Wimbledon has a very strong and experienced team with a lot international and ex-international players. They also did a good job last season reaching the semis. So we have to show our best game to get a good result.

“For Arminen, their way of play looks a bit like indoor hockey. They use similar skills and defend really well. [Our coach] Michel van de Heuvel played against them with Oranje Zwart a few years ago so he knows enough about them. We will play our own game.”

And as for being back on the EHL stage?

“The EHL is such a great hockey platform. You play against the best club teams in Europe. The atmosphere during all those games is amazing. We’ve had many exciting games. That’s why you play hockey. Of course, it was hard not to play in the EHL for the last two years but we don’t look back anymore. We want to perform this year!”

Euro Hockey League media release

Bann looking to repeat EHL ROUND1 heroics

Banbridge celebrating a Kyle Marshall goal against Royal Leopold last year. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek/World Sport Pics

Banbridge head out to Barcelona this weekend, hoping to match their incredible exploits from 12 months ago as they look to progress from ROUND1 of the Euro Hockey League once again.

A year ago, they delighted their home Co Down fans at Havelock Park, beating French side Saint Germain and drawing with Belgium’s Royal Leopold to top their group in the world’s premier club hockey competition.

This time, their task is similarly big. They face another Belgian side, this time packed with Olympic silver medalists like Tom Boon, Jeremy Gucassoff and Cedric Charlier as well as Irish international Conor Harte.

They also meet Poland’s WKS Grunwald Poznan, a side who have featured in all 11 seasons of the EHL to date.

Bann, meanwhile, have seen their highly effective central defensive partnership of Kyle Marshall – to Beeston in England – and Matthew Bell – to Crefelder HC in Germany – snapped up by top European clubs.

It has meant a number of changes to their line-up with Zach McClelland, Luke Witherow and Alex Tinney all coming in.

They did win win their only pre-EHL ROUND1 match last Saturday afternoon as they eased to a 4-0 win over Railway Union on the delayed opening day of the EY Hockey League.

Despite this comfortable win for Bann – who won two of the three national trophies last season – it has been a tough start to the campaign for Mark Tumilty’s side.

The last two weekends had seen national level competition cancelled due to a dispute between Hockey Ireland and the Irish Hockey Umpires Association relating to support for the umpires development plan and expenses.

It has left Tumilty with few games to get ready for the EHL in Barcelona, especially as he looks to forge a new defensive unit following Matthew Bell’s move to Crefelder HC in Germany and Kyle Marshall to Beeston in England.

Injuries sustained on Ireland duty in the summer for Eugene Magee and Jonny McKee has also made things difficult.

“Pre season hasn’t been great due to availability of players due to injuries,” Tumilty said of his preparation. “I am delighted with the players we have added to the group. I feel we have added some very young and exciting talent who will be major players for Banbridge in the coming seasons.

“We will miss Matthew, Kyle and Jake [Rowe] who have moved on but this is a common problem for Irish teams now so we just have to get on with our season.”

“It has been very frustrating not having games. When you look at some other teams coming into this EHL weekend, they will have played four or five competitive games.

“Eugene probably won’t make the tournament as it will probably come a weekend too soon for him. Unfortunately, Johnny was back playing last weekend but picked up a nasty ankle injury and is now out for a number of weeks.”

As for the opposition, Tumilty expects two huge battles.

“Racing are a top class side with talent all over the pitch. They will be firm favourites going into the weekend and will be looking to progress a lot further in the competition.

“Our big game is against Poznan as our aim is to ensure Irish Hhckey maintain two places in the EHL. Poznan will be a very difficult game with substantial EHL experience. I expect a very physical game and a dangerous penalty corner.

“We do have a large travelling support as always. Last year was a fantastic journey with an amazing group of supporters. They had a huge impact last year, none more so than in the second half against Leopold. I am certain they would love the same opportunity next weekend against Racing!”

EHL ROUND1 (Pau Negre Stadium, Barcelona)
Saturday: Banbridge v WKS Grunwald Poznan, 11.30am (Irish time)
Sunday: Banbridge v Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles, 10.45am

The Hook

All 12 EHL ROUND1 ties to be broadcast via EuroHockeyTV platform

The EHL and the European Hockey Federation are delighted to confirm that all 12 EHL ROUND 1 games can be watched via the new home of European hockey online www.eurohockeytv.org.

All the games in Barcelona are free to watch and there is no GEO blocking so fans from all over the world can watch some of the best club teams in action.

The new streaming platform can be accessed via the EHL website throughout the weekend while highlight clips and match round-ups will all be posted on the match pages on the EHL website as well as on our EHL Facebook and Twitter outlets.

It promises to be another weekend of high octane hockey with 12 clubs from 12 different countries battling out in four groups of three for a ticket to next Easter’s EHL KO16 in Rotterdam.

Welsh champions Cardiff & Met and Germany’s Uhlenhorst Mülheim start off the festival of hockey at 11.45 (CET) on Friday morning. They are followed by the meeting of Polish winners WKS Grunwald Poznan against Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles at 14.00.

The third game on Friday afternoon is a potential firecracker between England’s Wimbledon – who reached the FINAL4 last season – and two time champions HC Bloemendaal who could feature global superstar Jamie Dwyer at 16.15.

Local side Club Egara close out day one with a battle against Scotland’s finest, Bromac Kelburne at 18.30.

On Saturday, Russia’s Dinamo Elektrostal, Ireland’s Banbridge, Austria’s SV Arminen and France’s Saint Germain entering the fray before the groups come to a conclusion on Sunday at the Pau Negre, Stadium.

** Tickets for EHL ROUND1 are still available here: http://ehlhockey.tv/tickets/
** For the full schedule click here: http://ehlhockey.tv/season/20172018/

Euro Hockey League media release

Voice of the EHL set to sit out ROUND1 for first time

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

The live stream for EHL ROUND1 will be the first time in the competition’s 11-season history that Nick Irvine - pictured above with Jons Hensel and Marijke Fleuren - will not be in situ as the lead commentator.

On medical advice, he will remain at his home this weekend with Simon Mason joining the EHL team this weekend as the commentator for the 12 games in Barcelona.

Speaking about the situation, Nick said: “I have too much respect for this fantastic competition, the players, officials and our large television and streaming audience to go into the commentary seat at anything under 100%. So I will have to sit this round out but will be back for the KO16 in Rotterdam next Easter and am already looking forward to that.

"It will feel very odd not being there and no doubt I will feel a little emotional about it but it will give me a rare chance to watch the EHL on the live stream and am leaving the commentary in capable hands with Simon. I wish him, the teams and officials all the very best of luck for another great weekend of EuroHockey League action.”

Simon has been a regular analyst at the EHL with Nick in recent seasons as well as on BT Sport’s extensive coverage of the World League Semi-Finals in London and, again with Nick, as part of the commentary team at the EuroHockey Championships from Amsterdam during the summer.

Euro Hockey League media release

Updated SA Men's Squad for AFCON

Tim Drummond will captain the team.

The South African Hockey Men head to Egypt with a clear objective on their minds, qualify for the FIH Hockey World Cup. In order to do this, they will need to win the tournament at the home of their arch-rivals Egypt.

The squad was previously announced but due to personal and club commitments, there has been an update to the squad. London 2012 Olympian Lance Louw is recalled to the National squad after a long absence and will be looking to build on the phenomenal showing that helped steer the Maropeng Caveman to the title at the inaugural PHL last year.

Another star from that Cavemen team is Louw’s Southern Gauteng teammate Tommy Hammond. The experienced midfielder is well known in hockey circles for his incredible ability to read the game and his work rate. Taine Paton is also recalled to the squad after missing out on the FIH World League Semi-Finals. There is little debate about the explosive talents of Paton who also represented South Africa, alongside his brother Wade, at the 2012 London Olympics.

Ignatius Malgraff, who was the top scorer at the 2016 PHL, a vital part of the attacking unit at the FIH World League is recalled and Keenan Horne, who was named by the South African newspaper in 2015 as one of the SA Hockey stars of the future, is the final call-up to the squad.

The players who are no longer available from the previously selected squad are Clinton Panther, Gareth Heyns, Tevin Kok, Rhett Halkett and Ryan Crowe, while Austin Smith was also unavailable for selection.

The SA Hockey Men will be coached by Sheldon Rostron, who will follow Argentina’s Carlos Retegui’s example and lead both Men’s and Women’s side, has his work cut out as Ismalia is notoriously a tough place to visit, but it offers great opportunity to underline South Africa as the African hockey powerhouse.

The lads will begin their campaign against Zambia, before taking on Nigeria, Ghana hosts Egypt and Kenya. The final will take place on 29 October 2017.


Name, Province
Erasmus Pieterse, Southern Gauteng
Dan Bell, Western Province
Dan Sibbald, KZN Raiders
Ignatius Malgraff, Eastern Province
Jethro Eustice, KZN Raiders
Jonty Robinson, KZN Raiders
Julian Hykes, Southern Gauteng
Keenan Horne, Western Province
Lance Louw, Southern Gauteng
Melrick Maddocks, Southern Gauteng
Nqobile Ntuli, KZN Raiders
Reza Rosenberg, Southern Gauteng
Ryan Julius, Western Province
Siya Nolutshungu, KZN Raiders
Taine Paton, KZN Raiders
Tim Drummond (captain), KZN Raiders
Tommy Hammond, Southern Gauteng
Tyson Dlungwana, Southern Gauteng

SA Hockey Association media release

Youth is key to success for China in Auckland

China 'keeper Li Dongxiao is looking to lead a young team to glory in Auckland Photo: FIH/WSP

Since becoming China's first choice goalkeeper prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics, Li Dongxiao has been receiving a lot of praise for her ability between the sticks. Her ability to make gravity defying dives to keep the ball from entering the net were on full display in the final of the FINTRO Women's Hockey World League Semi-Final in Brussels, Belgium earlier this year as she kept the Netherlands at bay for three-quarters of the match.

So, it comes as no surprise that Li’s name is on the sheet for the end of year showcase event, the Sentinel Homes Hockey World league Final in Auckland, New Zealand. However, China is a team that will arrive in Auckland with more to adapt to than most.

As Li explains, China is a team that is very young and has not been together very long. Combine that with the arrival of a new Coach in the shape of former Germany Head Coach Jamilon Mulders, and you can see why the goalkeeper thinks this is going to be a steep, albeit exciting, learning curve.

"The forthcoming challenge will be a good test of the team’s ability and a chance to measure progress. I am very proud that I have been selected for the national team," she says. "We are a young team this time, and this tournament could be a very good opportunity for exercising and learning."

"Our team has been adjusted a lot since the last Olympic cycle - the players are very young. We haven’t really had enough time to do adequate preparation for the Hockey World League because we have just finished the National Games. Thus this time, our main target will be developing as a team."

Auckland will be Mulders’ first tournament with China. It seems there is already a mutual respect between the coach and his team: "After the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, we invited Jami to be our new coach. There are a lot of things we need to learn from him, and he trusts us a lot."

"At this moment in time we have formed our unique playing style. We only had a short-term training period this time and Jami needs some time to get familiar with us. But, with the guidance of Jami I am quite sure that we will form our tactical style by training and playing."

"New born calves are not afraid of tigers."
Li Dongxiao, China

Certainly, Mulders has professed himself that he is very excited at the prospect of this new challenge and there is no doubting the potential in this young China team. It's a point with which the experienced ‘keeper agrees: "The biggest advantage of our team is the age, we are younger than other teams. As a Chinese motto: new born calves are not afraid of tigers. We will treat each game with the attitude of giving maximum effort and learning."

That said, she also admitted that each and every opponent was seen as a potential threat and the tactics were often about containing the opposition for much of the match and then striking with a swift counter-attack. "For example, we played the Netherlands in the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Brussels, and our main tactic was defence and counterattack." And she added with smile, "The essence of our team is fighting spirit, I look forward to beating them one day."

While youth might be an advantage in many ways, Li admits that the prospect of travelling to New Zealand for the Hockey World League Final might cause one or two concerns for some of their lesser experienced teammates.

"It will not be a problem for me since I had participated in tournaments there several times," says Li, who holds more than 124 international caps. "For young players, most of whom will represent the national team for the first time, they might face some problems such as a different diet. But I believe they have strong adaptability. The coach will also respect to our own habits, helping us to adjust our condition then compete."

For Li, the Hockey World League Finals present a great opportunity for the team to grow together, with their new coach as much a part of that process as anyone else in the squad. "It represents the highest level of world hockey, and it is contributing to preparation for Tokyo 2020."

FIH site

Shaw names squad for upcoming Scotland Series

Ireland Senior Womens coach Graham Shaw has today announced a squad of 26 players to face Scotland in a 3 match series later this month in Ulster.

The Scotland series will be the first opportunity for fans to see the Green Army playing on home turf since August 2016.

Speaking about the selection Shaw said "We are delighted to be playing test matches at home in the north of Ireland. We have a selected a very inexperienced team to give as many players as possible the chance to play in the World Cup next year. This is perfect opportunity for each player to stake their claim for a spot in that World Cup squad. We are very much looking forward to welcoming Scotland and looking forward to 3 tough games".

1. Liz Murphy    Monkstown
2. Emma Buckley    Cork Harlequins
3. Clodagh Cassin    UCD
4. Ali Meeke    Loreto
5. Erin Getty    Queens
6. Yvonne O Byrne    Cork Harlequins
7. Lena Tice    UCD
8. Zoe Wilson    Belfast Harlequins
9. Rebecca Barry    Cork Harlequins
10. Roisin Upton    Cork Harlequins
11. Gill Pinder    Pembroke
12. Hannah Mcloughlin    Loreto
13. Katie Mullan    UCD
14. Emma Russell    UCD
15. Ruth Maguire    Pegasus
16. Naomi Carroll    Cork Harlequins
17. Jessica McMaster    Queens
18. Chloe Brown    Ards
19. Aisling Naughton    Pembroke
20. Ellen Curran    UCD
21. Deirdre Duke    UCD
22. Sinead Loughran    Monkstown
23. Jessica McGirr    Loreto
24. Kate Llyod    Railway
25. Sarah Torrans    Loreto
26. Lizzie Colvin    Belfast Harlequins

Full schedule of games is as follows:

Match 1 - Sunday, 22nd Oct
Location: Playball The Pavilion, Stormont
Time: 5pm

Match 2 - Tuesday, 24th October
Location: Banbridge Hockey Club
Time: 7pm

Match 3 - Wednesday, 25th October
Location: Playball The Pavilion, Stormont
Time: 12:30pm

Tickets will be available at the gate:  Adults £5, schoolchildren FOC 

Irish Hockey Association media release

Several Irish Under-21s get senior chance after Euro reprieve

Hannah McLoughlin in the Irish U-21s in Valencia. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek

The Irish Under-21 women’s team had their status in the top tier of European competition assured thanks to an EHF executive board decision this week, keeping their hopes of playing in the 2020 Junior World Cup alive.

Earlier in September, Ireland had been due to face Spain in an all-or-nothing final tie in Valencia on the final day of the EuroHockey Junior Championships.

A strain of the norovirus, however, affected nine Spanish players the night before the sides were due to meet with the local medical advice effectively blocking them from playing the final match.

It left the tournament incomplete with the outcome of the final placings left to the EHF executive board.

Usually when a team does not field, a 5-0 concession is recorded but the EHF judged that this would not be a fair outcome due to it being due to a “force majeure” and so “it was agreed that points cannot be fairly or reasonably allocated”.

The EHF decided to instead have no relegation from the competition and will increase the entry list in 2019 to either nine or ten teams, the final format to be decided at a later date.

The 2019 EuroHockey Juniors is the sole qualifying event for the Junior World Cup and so the reprieve gives Ireland’s young charges the chance to still qualify for the elite event.

Irish women’s coach Graham Shaw, meanwhile, named eight of that Under-21 panel in his senior panel for a three-game series against Scotland which takes place at Stormont and Banbridge later this month. It will be the first time Ireland have played on home turf since August 2016.

His 26-player selection features the uncapped Liz Murphy, Hannah McLoughlin and Sarah Torrans with the latter set to play for the Irish Under-18s, 21s and seniors all in the same calendar year.

Emma Buckley, Ruth Maguire, Jessica McMaster, Erin Getty and Ellen Curran also have a chance to present their case in the panel on an ongoing basis.

From the Euros, Grace O’Flanagan, Hannah Matthews, Shirley McCay, Nikki Evans, Chloe Watkins, Anna O’Flanagan, Emily Beatty and Nicci Daly are all rested or unavailable for this squad.

Cork Harlequins pair Rebecca Barry and Naomi Carroll are back having missed the major summer tournaments through injury, making it five players from the club involved. They join goalkeeper Emma Buckley and defenders Yvonne O’Byrne and Roisin Upton.

The series is very much one for fringe players to stake a claim in Shaw’s World Cup plans with eight of the European Championship panel rested. To that end, Ireland’s place at the 2018 World Cup will probably be confirmed next Thursday at the Oceania Cup in Sydney barring rank outsiders Papua New Guinea causing shocks against world powers Australia and New Zealand.

Ireland women’s panel for series with Scotland (October 22nd-25th): Liz Murphy (Hermes-Monkstown), Emma Buckley (Cork Harlequins), Clodagh Cassin (UCD), Ali Meeke (Loreto), Erin Getty (Queens), Yvonne O’Byrne (Cork Harlequins), Lena Tice (UCD), Zoe Wilson (Belfast Harlequins), Rebecca Barry (Cork Harlequins), Roisin Upton (Cork Harlequins), Gill Pinder (Pembroke), Hannah McLoughlin (Loreto), Katie Mullan (UCD), Emma Russell (UCD), Ruth Maguire (Pegasus), Naomi Carroll (Cork Harlequins), Jessica McMaster (Queens), Chloe Brown (Ards), Aisling Naughton (Pembroke), Ellen Curran (UCD), Deirdre Duke (UCD), Sinead Loughran (Hermes-Monkstown), Jessica McGirr (Loreto), Kate Lloyd (Railway Union), Sarah Torrans (Loreto), Lizzie Colvin (Belfast Harlequins)

Fixture schedule
Sunday, October 22 (Playball, Stormont): Ireland v Scotland, 5pm
Tuesday, October 24 (Banbridge): Ireland v Scotland, 7pm
Wednesday, October 25 (Playball, Stormont): Ireland v Scotland, 12.30pm

The Hook

AHL 2017: Losing day for India in Perth

s2h team

Indian men's and women's hockey teams had a losing day today in the Australian Hockey League. First, V.Baskaran trained boys had been run over by Chris Criello led Victorians. Women on the other hand managed a good scoreboard though ended up on losing side against compact home side Western Australia (2-1)

India ‘A’ Men’s Hockey team started off their second round of 2017 Men’s Australian Hockey League with a 2-5 loss to Victoria in Pool C.

Goals from Chris Ciriello (18’, 34’, 49’), James Webster (1’) and Aaron Klienschmidt (32’) were enough for the Australians to register their first win of Pool C to take the three points.

Amit Rohidas (in the pic) converted two penalty corners for India.

Captain Preeti Dubey posted the lone Indian goal in the fag end of the match.

India 'A' Women will take on Northern Territory tomorrow at 13.30 IST while men will play Queensland in their next match on the same day.


India 'A' men's hockey team loses 2-5 to Victoria in AHL

PERTH: India 'A' hockey team did not have an ideal start to its second round of Men's Australian Hockey League as it lost 2-5 to Victoria in a Pool C match here on Thursday.

Goals from Chris Ciriello (18, 34 and 49 minutes), James Webster (1 minute) and Aaron Klienschmidt (32 minute) helped the Australians register their first win of Pool C and take three points.

For India, Amit Rohidas (40 and 45 minutes) was the lone player who converted two penalty corners.

Victoria scored their first goal in the opening minute itself through Webster and then kept the pressure on the visitors in the first quarter to keep their lead intact.

Second quarter saw Victoria strike early again as Ciriello extended their lead through a well-taken penalty corner in the 18th minute.

India struggled to make the most of their opportunities as their efforts on goal were kept out by the Victorian defence.

The third quarter saw attacking play from both the teams and four more goals were scored through penalty corners.

It was Klienschmidt who scored first in the 32nd minute to make it 3-0 for Victoria. Then another penalty corner saw Ciriello score his second of the match two minutes later.

At 0-4 down, Rohidas netted the ball through a well-converted penalty corner to open the scoring for the Indians in the 40th minute.

The defender converted his second penalty corner of the match in the 45th minute.

Victoria's Ciriello completed his hat-trick in the 49th minute when he scored through a penalty stroke.

India 'A' will play Queensland in their next match on Friday.

The Times of India

Unbeaten rivals face off in Premier Division

Reading celebrate winning the 2016-17 Men's Cup. Credit Simon Parker

Unbeaten rivals Reading and Beeston are preparing to face each other at Nottingham Hockey Centre on Sunday in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.

Reading lie second in the table after winning both of their opening games while Beeston have also made a good start to the season, beating Holcombe last weekend.

“Beeston has been a happy hunting ground for us over the last year or two and we have a full squad available,” said Reading’s club captain Rob Farrow.

Great Britain internationals Liam Sanford and Dan Kyriakides have signed up to play at Reading under new Head Coach Jason Lee, as well as a host of other Welsh and Scottish international players.

“Obviously Beeston have Adam Dixon back and Sam Ward who also joined them, so it will be a tough game. We haven’t played together much early season and, although we’ve been scoring plenty of goals, we feel that this weekend will be the first stiff test,” Farrow added.

Elsewhere reigning champions and early table toppers Surbiton are playing host to Hampstead and Westminster on Saturday evening, while at the same time last season’s beaten semi-finalists Holcombe are at home against newly-promoted Sevenoaks.

As well as the Beeston versus Reading clash, Sunday’s Premier Division matches see Holcombe in action again as they go to East Grinstead for a match rearranged from two weeks ago, while Canterbury welcome Brooklands Manchester University at lunchtime.

In the Men’s Conference North, the University of Nottingham have made a great start to life in the National League with two wins in two matches. They will be aiming to make it three when they play Sheffield Hallam on Sunday.

Meanwhile Loughborough Students, who also have a 100 per cent record, head to Leeds on Sunday.

Old Loughtonians, second in the Men’s Conference East, play host to Cambridge City on Saturday evening, while leaders Oxted entertain West Herts on Sunday.

And in the Men’s Conference West, the University of Exeter will be looking to preserve their 100 per cent start to the season when they go to Olton and West Warwickshire.


Saturday, October 7 2017

Men’s Premier Division
Holcombe v Sevenoaks 18:00
Surbiton v Hampstead & Westminster 18:00

Men’s Conference East
Old Loughtonians v Cambridge City 17:30
Southgate v Richmond 17:30

Men’s Conference North
Cannock v Deeside Ramblers 18:00

Sunday, October 8 2017

Men’s Premier Division
Canterbury v Brooklands MU 12:45
Beeston v Reading 14:00
East Grinstead v Holcombe 16:00

Men’s Conference East
Chichester v Brighton & Hove 12:30
Oxted v West Herts 13:00
Old Georgians v Teddington 14:00

Men’s Conference North
Sheffield Hallam v Univ of Nottingham 13:30
Univ of Durham v Preston 14:00
Bowdon v Doncaster 14:30
Leeds v Loughborough Students 14:30

Men’s Conference West
Isca v Cheltenham 12:30
Fareham v Havant 13:30
Olton & West Warwicks v Univ of Exeter 13:30
Clifton Robinsons v Univ of Birmingham 15:00

England Hockey Board Media release

Buckingham prepared for Holcombe test

Buckingham celebrate a goal during last season's promotion final. Credit Simon Parker

Top flight newcomers Buckingham face high-flying Holcombe on Saturday as they bid to continue their strong start in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division.

Holcombe, last season’s runners-up, will head to Stowe School with a side packed full of talent, but Buckingham will be going all out to repeat the 4-2 victory they secured against Canterbury last weekend.

It has been two years since they were last in the Premier Division but Head Coach Zak Jones thinks his side are stronger and better prepared for the campaign.

“A lot of the girls have played at this level before, but the difference now is that we have a large squad who can play at this level,” he said.

“Two years ago when we were last in the Premier Division there were so many games that we could’ve won but things didn’t go our way. The margins between winning and losing are small, but we feel better able to get victories now.”

With England U21 ace Rebecca van Berkel in their side as well as a trio of Welsh internationals, Buckingham have more depth in the squad.

Jones added: “The Canterbury game was a great end to end match and there wasn’t much between the two sides.

“Holcombe will be a good match, but a tough one. They are a quality side and it’s David versus Goliath really, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.

“We’re definitely an attacking side, we always try to play a good exciting brand of hockey. As long as we score more goals then the opposition that’s good enough for us.”

Elsewhere reigning champions Surbiton entertain Leicester at Sugden Road, while Slough host Canterbury as they bid to maintain their unbeaten form.

East Grinstead will go to Bowdon Hightown, while on Sunday Clifton Robinsons are at home against the University of Birmingham.

In the Investec Conference North, Beeston have scored 10 goals and conceded none in their first two games and are at home for their third match against University of Durham on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Brooklands Poynton also have a 100 per cent record and will be looking to continue their form when they go to Loughborough Students.

Early leaders Hampstead and Westminster go to Chelmsford in the Investec Conference East, while Sevenoaks have also won both their opening two matches and have a home game against Barnes.

Finally in the Investec Conference West early leaders Stourport head to Cannock on Saturday while Trojans and Reading – who join them on six points at the top of the table - go to Isca and Swansea City respectively.


Saturday, October 7 2017

Investec Women’s Hockey League

Investec Premier Division
Buckingham v Holcombe 12:00
Slough v Canterbury 12:30
Bowdon v East Grinstead 13:45
Surbiton v Leicester 16:00

Investec Conference North
Beeston v Univ of Durham 12:00
Wakefield v Sutton Coldfield 12:00
Ben Rhydding v Liverpool Sefton 13:30
Fylde v Timperley 13:30
Loughborough Students v Brooklands Poynton 16:00

Investec Conference East
St Albans v Wimbledon 13:00
Chelmsford v Hampstead & Westminster 14:00
Cambridge City v Harleston Magpies 15:30
Southgate v Bedford 15:30
Sevenoaks v Barnes 17:00

Investec Conference West
Gloucester City v Oxford Hawks 12:00
Isca v Trojans 12:00
Swansea City v Reading 12:00
Team Bath Buccaneers v Olton & West Warwicks 13:00
Cannock v Stourport 16:00

Sunday, October 8 2017

Investec Women’s Hockey League

Investec Premier Division
Clifton Robinsons v Univ of Birmingham 13:00

England Hockey Board Media release

Wildcats And Grange In Search of Top Perch

Photo by Mark Pugh

With Bromac Kelburne away in Barcelona on Euro Hockey League business, Western Wildcats and Grange are poised to leapfrog the champions into pole position in the men`s first division, both have home fixtures against Inverleith and Dundee Wanderers respectively.

Victories for Wildcats and Grange would put the pair a point ahead of the Paisley side, with Wildcats at the moment a couple of goals ahead of their Edinburgh rivals. Wildcats coach Harry Dunlop is purring quietly about his side`s positive start to the season, nine points from their opening three games is the reward.

“The squad at Western is really settling in well, each area of the field has become more effective, creating more positive outcomes and continuing to reduce errors.

“So I hope the quality of our play will continue to improve throughout the season and positively affect our results.”

On Saturday Wildcats play host to an Inverleith side who are still trying to find their feet in the top flight.

“You must never underestimate this team regardless of their early results, Inverleith will improve quickly now that they are back in the first division,” said Dunlop.   “As a coach you can never be confident of a win, however we are training hard and are very focused on staying top of the division this week.”

Perhaps Wildcats have yet to test their resolve against the top sides in the division, but nonetheless full points from the opposition in front of them is still a start in the right direction for the Auchenhowie pack.

Grange certainly have a perfect record after three games, but last weekend coach David Knipe watched his charges dominate proceedings against Hillhead without the desired reward, and then relied on a last gasp strike from Luke Cranney to finally seal the three points. Grange could have a similar scenario against newly promoted Wanderers, so this time they need to hit the target with their many chances and come away from Fettes with a convincing victory to show they are real title contenders.

Grove Menzieshill moved into fourth spot in the table following a draw with Kelburne and a narrow 3-2 win at Uddingston in last weekend`s double header. On both occasions the Taysiders showed considerable spirit to overturn a deficit, they were two down to Kelburne in the second half and earned a draw with strikes by Jamie Golden and Aidan McQuade. The Dundonians were also a goal adrift at Uddingston but stormed back to lead 3-1 at the interval.

On Saturday Menzieshill entertain an Edinburgh University side that are perhaps still finding their feet this season under Graham Moodie. Last weekend Moodie summed up his side`s 2-1 reversal against Clydesdale as “disappointing but probably got what we deserved.”

While on paper Menzieshill should consolidate their fourth place with another three points from a home win, there is always an air of unpredictability about the students` performance as Moodie completes the annual task of rebuilding the side after the departure of several players from the previous campaign.

The outcome of the Clydesdale – Uddingston clash at Titwood is anyone`s guess.     At the moment both sides sit on three points after three games, Clydesdale beat Edinburgh University 2-1 at Peffermill while the Lanarkshire side added seven goals to Inverleith`s rather miserable start to the top flight. Whatever the winner, that side will certainly move out of the bottom half of the league, at least for a while.

There can be no doubting the women`s first division game of the day, the Tayside clash between Grove and champions Edinburgh University. At the moment the students share top spot with Wildcats while the Taysiders are two points adrift courtesy of a 3-3 draw with city rivals Wanderers on the opening day. But coach Sam Judge said:  “We always have a good game against Grove, they have a good mixture of experience and youth. We`re not quite at full strength yet, we have a few illnesses at the moment but hopefully they`ll be fine at the weekend.”

Judge was happy with progress so far, nine points out of three games with 17 goals in the process must be considered a promising start to retaining their league title.

In particular, the Grove management will reflect with trepidation Edinburgh`s seven goal demolition of Milne Craig Western two weeks ago.  The students` goals are coming from several quarters with Sophie Maunder, Ella Watt, Laura Swanson, Louise Campbell and Hanna Mckie all making a significant contribution. Whatever the outcome in Dundee, Western should recover their composure and take the three points from their home encounter with GHK.

Photo by Duncan Gray

Similarly, Dundee Wanderers should return to winning form at home against Grange, despite the latter`s recent victory over Hillhead. Wanderers are playing some attractive hockey under the coaching aegis of Ben Gibson and Bruce Rowan, but perhaps lack the pace against the top sides.   Two weeks ago they competed well in the first half against Wildcats, but ran out of steam in the second.

Another intriguing confrontation is scheduled for the Capital where Watsonians host second placed Wildcats.   The home side lie fifth in the table and have already tasted victory over Kelburne and GHK, their only reversal was 5-2 against the champions. Wildcats certainly have a perfect record so far in the campaign, but their goal tally is modest with Alex Stuart and Lucy MacArthur both scoring twice.   However, in contrast, the Auchenhowie side have been solid at the back with only a single goal conceded. The Watsonians confrontation could be the first real test of the Wildcats` league credentials.

The final fixture on Saturday`s card brings together Kelburne and Hillhead, both pointless at the moment, so at least one of them should move off the foot of the table.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

UCD off to flying start in Leinster Division One

Andrew Meates scored twice in four days for UCD. Pic: Adrian Boehm

With two wins in four days, UCD’s men showed few ill-effects of their relegation to Leinster Division One, marking themselves out as one to watch this season.

They opened up with a 4-1 win over Clontarf last Saturday, taking an initial half-time 1-0 lead before getting pegged back by Sean Cassidy. Andrew Meates restored the advantage before they closed out the tie stronger for a healthy win.

The Belfielders went one better on Tuesday evening when fresher John Guilfoyle added a hat trick, making it four in two games, as they beat Rathgar 5-1 – Meates and Andy Keane both getting their second of the week.

New coach Rudi Wortmann said there are still plenty of kinks to iron out in their game plan but, for a student side, it has been a particularly up tempo start.

“We are a good team going forward with a lot of pace and our movement is good up front,” he said after the Rathgar match. “We do need to improve a few things defensively, not so much the back line, but as a whole team.

“If we can move that up every 5%, we will be alright half way through the season. For a college team, to start with six points is always good. The lads are hungry; they are still young but its up to them now to keep improving.”

Game three sees them go to Avoca on Saturday, making the short trip without David Nolan who is at his brother’s stag weekend in Barcelona.

As for the Chiefs, they will host Clontarf next Saturday. Reflecting on the meeting with a club he previously coached, Rory O’Donoghue said: “UCD played quite well, took their opportunities and are a strong side coming down from the EY league.

“We are not quite where we would like to be at the moment but there was positives from us in the second half. From talking to the lads, taking chances is an area which was a problem from before and we are working on it. We will play some [attacking] hockey which is what the lads want to do and we will be sharper.”

They had begun their campaign with a 4-2 win over Weston four days earlier. Avoca were another side with an opening day win, edging out Trinity with Johnny McCormack grabbing a last-ditch deflection to win the day after he and Wilf King had traded earlier blows.

Dublin North got off the mark with a pair each from Eamonn Bane and Ryan West in a 4-1 win over Kilkenny.

Corinthian’s opening date with YMCA was postponed due to a bereavement and so the Whitechurch Park side started their campaign on Tuesday when David Howard and Jack Perdue scored in a 2-0 win over Avoca.

Next for the reds is a trip to Kilkenny while YM host Trinity and Weston face Dublin North.

Men’s Leinster Division 1
Saturday: Dublin North 4 (E Bane 2, R West 2) Kilkenny 1 (D Coffey); UCD 4 (J Guilfoyle, D Nolan, A Meates, A Keane) Clontarf 1 (S Cassidy); Avoca 2 (J McCormack 2) Trinity 1 (W King); Weston 2 (K Bell 2) Rathgar 4 (S Gould, A Malcolm, J Willoughby, S Ludgate); Corinthian v YMCA – postponed
Tuesday: Corinthian 2 (J Perdue, D Howard) Avoca 0; Rathgar 1 (D Stead) UCD 5 (J Guilfoyle 3, A Keane, A Meates)

Upcoming fixtures
Saturday: UCD v Avoca, 11.15am, Belfield; Weston v Dublin North, 12pm, Griffeen Valley Park; Rathgar v Clontarf, 12.30pm, High School; Kilkenny v Corinthian, 2pm, Kilkenny College; YMCA v Dublin University, 2pm, Wesley College
Sunday: Clontarf v Dublin University, 2pm, Mount Temple

The Hook

Sanford: "It's been an amazing experience so far."

Liam Sanford

After winning three medals at three tournaments in the space of six months, Liam Sanford admits his start to life as an international player hasn’t quite been what he expected.

Despite only making his international debut in March, Sanford has already helped Great Britain to gold at the Azlan Shah Cup in May and England to bronze at both the Hero Hockey World League Semi-Finals in London and the European Championships in Amsterdam.

The 21-year-old defender has immediately caught the eye, tenacious and tough tackling in defence while equally comfortable and confident on the ball.

Sanford said: “It’s been different to what I thought it was going to be to be honest! Coming into the programme later than when everyone else started due to my RAF commitments I thought I’d come in, get up to speed and basically get used to the environment.

“But coming into it and going to all the tournaments so far, obviously it’s great and I’ve really enjoyed my six months so far.  It’s been an amazing experience so far.”

"The lads have helped a lot, I've played with quite a lot of them at under 18 and under 21 level but the lads I didn't know have been really good at welcoming the new guys.

"With South Africa and then Malaysia so close together we spent every day with everyone and its been really easy to come into the group and get to know everyone."

Liam Sanford tackles at the Euros

With plenty of positives in 2017, Sanford still maintains that playing at home in London at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre remains his highlight.

He said: “The World League Semi-Finals in London were really exciting being on home soil. I’d never played in that kind of atmosphere and for me it was the most exciting tournament this year. The Semi-Final versus the Dutch at the Euros hearing their anthem coming on with 10,000 people singing sent shivers down the spine as well.”

Sanford admits to the disappointment of losing to hosts the Netherlands that night, but acknowledges that the team responded in the best way possible.

“We were disappointed going into the bronze match but knew we had to get mentally prepared. But coming away with bronze for us new guys, a first big medal, in just six months of being in the programme is pretty impressive and I’m very happy with it!”

It’s fair to call Sanford an all action player, highlighted best by his roles running out at penalty corners and as the go to kicking back!

Liam explained: “I was talking to Brendan Creed about why I go kicking back actually! It was me at under 21s as well! We think it’s either because I’m stupid enough or brave enough, so we’ve gone for the latter!

“I always run one now and I blame Brendan for that! At under 21s he ran one but then we did races and they’ve found out I’m quicker!

“I do enjoy it in game situations, the adrenaline pumping and thinking I’m not going to let it in. It’s a big responsibility to take on and I love that, I thrive on it.”

England Men at the Euros

Sights are now set on the December’s World League Finals in India and Sanford is hoping to end 2017 in style.

“We want push on from what we achieved at the Euros. It’s a massive tournament with the best teams in the world.

“It’ll be a great indication of where we stand and a good way to finish this year if we can medal as well.”

England Hockey Board Media release

The sky is the limit for London Wayfarers umpires

London Wayfarers. Photo credit: Paul Mason-Barney Design & Creativity

With the season in full flow, our attentions on a Thursday or Friday night always turn to the eternal question: “Who is going to umpire our game?" Well, London Wayfarers are tackling that straight on with an ambitious plan to get over 200 umpires in the club over the next season.

England Hockey caught up with Marcel van Eldik, who is the driving force at the club, around what plans they have put in place to support their club umpires and up skill their members.

Our aim is to have qualified umpires throughout London Wayfarers Hockey Club from junior and senior players to parents, coaches and other volunteers.

Knowing the rules of the sport you play or watch is at the heart of this initiative with England Hockey. We are really pleased that together with David Elworthy, the England Hockey Officiating Manager, we can introduce Umpiring Refresher evenings to top up on rules and umpiring knowledge and offer revamped umpiring workshops that fit in with our members' busy lifestyles.

Increasing the number of in-house assessors thanks to Assessor Workshops will enable us to deliver on this. For this season we expect to put a minimum of 150 participants through the monthly umpiring courses including all U16 and U18 players and steadily increase that number in seasons to come. On top of that, we also aim for all senior members to do the online EH rules test this season.

All of these initiatives will significantly increase the number of qualified umpires and players knowing the rules. We cannot wait to get started and hopefully this can be rolled out to other clubs nationwide very soon!

For more information about London Wayfarers umpiring plans check out their website here.

England Hockey Board Media release

Former YOG stars reflect on progress with one year to go until Buenos Aires 2018

The Youth Olympic Games is an important point in the life of a young hockey player. It is the moment when players discover how much a sport means to them; it is then that they know if they are cut out for several years of gruelling training; it is the moment when they know if they have the motivation to keep going when things get difficult.

Netherlands star Marloes Keetels is one such athlete: "It was at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, as a 17-year-old, that I knew I wanted to be part of the national team. It was a seminal moment for me. I still get goosebumps when I think about the Youth Olympic Games. Now I have been to Rio, I can compare it and see a lot of similarities.

"The only difference is the size of the event and the smaller amount of press [at the Youth Olympic Games] but in every other way it is the same. There is an Olympic village, the opening and closing ceremony, the Olympic values. So when I came to the Rio Olympics, I was excited and amazed of course, but I was much more prepared than players who were a few years younger than me. It was easy for me to focus on the hockey so I think the Youth Olympic Games is a great foundation to build from."

Netherlands Marloes Keetels has achieved remarkable success with Oranje since appearing in YOG Photo: FIH/Getty

Certainly for a number of athletes, the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore 2010 and Nanjing 2014 proved a great testing ground for an even bigger challenge in 2016, the Rio Olympics.

No fewer than 15 athletes graduated from these two Youth Olympic Games to take their place on the biggest stage of all, and for Arthur van Doren and Alexander Hendrickx of Belgium and Keetels, it was the smoothest and most successful of transitions as they all won silver medals at the Rio Games.

For Hendrickx, the Youth Olympic Games introduced him to the core values and commitment level that comes with being an Olympian. “I think playing in the Youth Olympic Games let's you come into contact with all different countries, cultures and sports.

"You have to learn how to keep your own focus despite all the things that are happening around you. You still have to be professional enough to focus on your own competition. Finding the right balance is important. The main thing I learnt from the YOG are the values of being an Olympian, it motivated me even more to get to the Rio Olympics."

"The main thing I learnt from the YOG are the values of being an Olympian, it motivated me even more to get to the Rio Olympics."
Alexander Hendrickx, Belgium

For Van Doren, like Keetels, the Youth Olympic Games helped prepare him for the practical elements of being an Olympian. "At the Youth Olympics you can have a state of life as an Olympian because everything is set up in pretty much the same way, except the scale of course. You adapt to living in the Olympic Village and how to take in the energy of the Games but stay focused on your hockey."

Belgium men came back with a bronze medal from the Singapore games, and it could be argued that medal kick-started Belgium’s rise up the rankings and into the medal-contending force they are now, seven years later.

Belgium's Arthur van Doren won the 2016 FIH Hockey Stars Rising Star of the Year Award Photo: FIH/Getty

For Keetels, the Singapore Games was just the start of an already glittering career. The Netherlands won gold, beating Argentina in the final. Seven years later and Keetels has captained her team to first place at the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final in Brussels, Belgium earlier this year and gold at the 2017 EuroHockey Championships. Despite this, the 25-year-old still remembers the final in Singapore as if it were yesterday.

"Even now I remember the moment in the final [against Argentina] when it was golden goal and Argentina nearly scored. It was all slow motion as the shot went in towards the goal and our 'keeper just got a toe to it. Then we went the other end and scored.

"It was an amazing feeling, that was when I knew that I really wanted to do this, I really wanted to play hockey as a career and get to the Olympic games in Rio."

Of the younger crop of Youth Olympic Games graduates, Zhang Jinrong of China was part of the gold-medal winning team in Nanjing 2014 that beat the Netherlands in shoot-out after a thrilling 5-5 match. Zhang was also part of the team that took silver at the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Finals in Brussels.

Both Maria Ortiz and Julieta Jankunas are young players who have been brought into a talented but youthful Argentina squad on the back of a bronze medal in Nanjing, and they have been joined by their coach, Agustin Corradini, who is now Head Coach to the senior squad. Also a main player in the Las Leonas team is Agustina Albertarrio, who scored in the final against the Netherlands in Singapore but took home the silver medal.

Perhaps a signal to the developing hockey scene in Japan, prior to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is the fourth place finish for Japan women in Nanjing, where Asai Yu Japan and Kawamura Motomi showed themselves to be stars of the future.

With a year to go until the third summer Youth Olympic Games, a new generation of players will be readying themselves for what could prove to be a pivotal moment in their sporting lives.

Check out the official Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 website for more information about that event.

FIH site

Four USA Representatives Move Up in FIH Official Ranks

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A week ago, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced more upgrades to the International Umpire, Technical Officials and Umpire Manager Lists. The reformat came in March when the Committee and Panel structures that oversees the management and development of the sport changed to align with the Hockey Revolution strategy. USA Field Hockey is pleased to state that umpire Gus Soteriades was promoted to the FIH World Development Panel and umpire Maggie Befort to the FIH Promising Umpire List. Steve Horgan, USA Field Hockey’s Director of Umpiring, also was promoted to a Grade 1 Umpire Manager and Lurah Hess was upgraded to a Category 2 Technical Official. All upgrades are for outdoor hockey.

The FIH Umpire Rating process consists of five tiers, including International, Promising Umpire List, Grade 1, World Development Panel and World Panel. Soteriades’s promotion puts him one step closer to the top level of international umpiring.

"While this might show as an individual honor, it could not be achieved without the help of those that helped me begin my career - Catherine Brown, Pat Hayes, Barb Carreiro and Roque Viegas, and also all of those that I've been privileged to work with on and off the pitch," commented Soteriades. "It's not something that I could have ever achieved alone. My immediate and Big Fat Hockey Family has definitely helped me to step to the level. I can't explain how lucky I am."

“I feel honored and privileged,” said Befort. “Umpiring has been a surprisingly great way to stay involved with the sport I love. I must credit this milestone to the many people who helped me get here andI look forward to making the most of this excellent opportunity."

The FIH Umpire Managers rankings go from Potential for International, International, Grade 1 to World Panel. Horgan’s promotion places him as the only USA representative in the Grade 1 Umpire Manager category. Dean Wenrich currently sits in the Potential for International group.

“It’s a great honor and privilege to represent USA Field Hockey and PAHF as an Umpire Manager,” said Horgan. “Many thanks to everyone who has helped me in this process. It is a continual learning experience and I hope that I can give back to both organizations with the education achieved.”

The FIH Technical Officials list entails five categories, starting with Category 5 for Promising International Technical Official up to Category 1 for Technical Director FIH World Level Events. Hess’ upgrade makes her the only USA representative on the Category 2 FIH Technical Officials list and only Pan American Hockey Federation woman sitting in Category 2.

"I'm honored to be a part of such a strong group of USA Umpires, Umpire Managers and Officials,” commented Hess. “Promotions represent hard work, a bit of luck and a strong group of people who provided invaluable support to help you grow along the way. I'm thankful for the support I received from Roque Viegas as I began technical officiating, Steve Horgan and USA Field Hockey for providing opportunities along the way. Rachael Bloemker and Nigel Traverso for providing a program within Junior Premier Hockey where technical officials can develop, and so many others from the hockey community who continue to share invaluable lessons."

In July 2017, Maggie Giddens and Suzi Sutton were both promoted to the World Development Panel and Grant Hundley moved into Grade 1. Back in April 2017, Mary Driscroll was promoted to the Promising Umpire List.

For a complete list of FIH Official Upgrades and Placements, click here.

FIH Umpiring Committee Representation in the USA (as of September 2017):

Outdoor Hockey

    World Panel – Amy Baxter (W)
    World Development Panel – Gus Soteriades (M) & Maggie Giddens, Suzi Sutton (W)
    Grade 1 – Saleem Aaron, Grant Hundley (M) & Stephanie Judefind (W)
    Promising Umpire List – Maggie Befort & Mary Driscoll (W)
    International – Ridge Bair, Benjamin Peters, Lance Sarabia (M)

Indoor Hockey

    Grade 1 – Gus Soteriades (M) & Stephanie Judefind (W)
    International – Maggie Giddens (W)

FIH Tournament Directors/Technical Officers Representation in the USA (as of September 2017):

    Category 2 – Lurah Hess (W)

    Explanation: TD FIH World Level Events (Tier 2 Properties/CF Championships/Qualifying Tournaments for World Level Events

    Category 3 – Rene Zelkin (W)

FIH Umpires Managers Representation in the USA(as of September 2017):

    Grade 1 – Steve Horgan (M Outdoor)
    Potential for International – Dean Wenrich (M Indoor)

FIH Video Umpires Representation in the USA(as of June 2017):

    International – Grant Hundley (M) & Amy Baxter (W)

USFHA media release

Weekend College Games

Each week, USA Field Hockey highlights some of the top college games in Division I, II and III.


DI: No. 3 Virginia vs No. 6 North Carolina | 5 p.m. ET
The match-up between these two-top ranked Division I teams will be a great game to watch in college field hockey this Friday. This Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) battle features No. 3 Virginia who is 10-1 overall and 3-0 in conference play against No. 6 North Carolina who is 10-2 overall and 2-1 in ACC games. Since losing to Penn State in the opening weekend, the Hoos have won their last nine games, including defeating then top-ranked Duke. Following two losses in their first five games, the Tar Heels have won their last seven. Of those victories, North Carolina defeated three Top-20 ranked teams. The last time these two teams played was in the ACC Championship game last November, where Virginia went on to claim their first ever title. Will Virginia remain undefeated in ACC play, or will North Carolina be able to defeat another top ranked opponent? (P.S. Make sure to scan the bleachers for some of your favorite U.S. Women’s National Team athletes!)

DII: No. 8 Limestone vs Bellarmine | 7 p.m. ET
Limestone College remains undefeated in Division II field hockey are coming off a big 3-1 victory over top ranked Lindenwood this past Friday. Bellarmine is 9-0 overall and 6-0 in conference play after splitting this past weekend's games, with a 2-1 win over Newberry and a 3-2 loss from Queens University of Charlotte. This Friday, the Knights will look to get a huge upset win over topranked Eastern College Athletic Conference foe Limestone. Will Limestone remain undefeated or will Bellarmine be able to get the upset win?

DII: Lynchburg vs Bridgewater | 7 p.m. ET
On Tuesday, Lynchburg exploded in the second half against Lebanon Valley after a scoreless first half. The Hornets are now 8-3 overall and 1-1 in conference play this season as they look to add another win when they take on Old Dominion Athletic Conference foe Bridgewater this Friday. Both teams will be looking to secure their second conference win. Bridgewater is coming off a 3-2 conference win over Randolph-Macon this past Saturday, and with the win, the Eagles improved to 4-7 overall and 1-1 in conference play.


DI: No. 24 American vs No. 25 Boston | 11:00 a.m. ET
These two Division I field hockey teams are closely ranked in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Coaches Poll this week. American will look to remain undefeated in the Patriot League when they take on Boston University this Saturday. American is 9-3 overall and 3-0 in conference play and is coming off a thrilling 3-2 overtime win against Longwood this past Sunday. Boston University will also be fighting to remain undefeated in the Patriot League, as the Terriers are 6-5 overall and 2-0 in conference play. Boston will look to bounce back from its 5-1 loss against higher-ranked Duke this past Sunday. Tune into see who remains perfect in Patriot League play.

DI: No. 2 Duke vs No. 9 Syracuse | 12:00 p.m. ET
These two top ranked ACC teams will battle it out this Saturday at noon. This past weekend, Duke defeated Boston College 3-0 on Friday, and turned around to defeat Boston University 5-1 on Sunday. With the victories, the Blue Devils improved to 9-1 overall and 3-0 in conference play as they look to continue their six-game winning streak and remain undefeated in conference play. Syracuse is 9-3 overall and 1-3 in conference play. After suffering a disappointing 2-1 overtime loss to Louisville last Friday, Syracuse quickly bounced back to defeat Princeton 1-0 on Sunday. Expect this game to be a close ACC battle.

DII: Franklin Pierce vs Adelphi | 1:00 p.m. ET
Franklin Pierce will look to bounce back after suffering back-to-back conference losses after falling 4-1 to Saint Anselm last Tuesday and then 2-0 to LIU Post on Sunday. Franklin Pierce dropped to 5-5 overall and 2-3 in conference play and will need to defeat Northeast-10 conference foe Adelphi this Saturday to move up in conference rankings. Adelphi is coming off back-to-back conference losses as well after being defeated by Pace University 2-0 and Stonehill College 5-3 this past weekend. The Panthers move to 2-7 overall and 1-4 in conference play. With both teams looking to get back on track, this is sure to be an exciting game to watch.

DIII: No. 4 Tufts vs No. 6 Middlebury | 11:00 a.m. ET
The match-up between these two teams will be the game to watch in Division III field hockey this weekend. Tufts, 7-2 overall and 6-0 in the conference, is coming off a 2-1 win over New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) foe Hamilton this past Sunday. Tufts won their last four games and are ranked first in the conference standings with four NESCAC games remaining. Middlebury is coming off a 3-0 win over Rensselaer this past Tuesday, as they tallied three goals in a 15-minute span in the victory. Middlebury improved to 7-2 overall and 4-1 in conference play. Tune into see which team can move up in NESCAC conference play.


DI: Ohio State vs California, Berkeley | 12:00 p.m. ET
Ohio State will play their final non-conference game of the season on Sunday against California. The Buckeyes are coming off back-to-back wins this past weekend when they upset top-ranked Stanford 3-2 in overtime on Saturday and they defeated UC Davis 1-0 on Sunday. With the victories, Ohio State improved to 6-5 overall and 0-3 in conference play. With a recent win at UC Davis, California extended their winning streak to a program best in more than a decade. California defeated UC Davis 3-2 this past Sunday to remain undefeated in American East Conference play and improve to 7-3 overall and 2-0 in conference play. Tune into see if Ohio State will be able to put California’s six game winning streak to an end.

DI: No. 8 Boston College vs No. 13 Harvard | 1:00 p.m. ET
Boston College improved to 8-4 overall and 0-4 in conference play this weekend, as the Eagles remain undefeated against non-conference opponents. Boston College is coming off a strong weekend in which they took No. 2 Duke to shootouts but ultimately lost. On Sunday, Boston College bounced back to defeat New Hampshire 4-0. Harvard meanwhile continued its winning streak with two back-to-back victories as they defeated Holy Cross 7-0 and conference foe Penn 6-0. With the victories, Harvard moved to 8-2 overall and 2-0 in conference play and will try to continue to dominate offensively versus top-ranked Boston College this Sunday.

DII: No. 9 Bloomsburg vs Lindenwood | 12:00 p.m. ET
The matchup between these two teams will be the game to watch in Division II field hockey this weekend. Bloomsburg suffered back-to-back Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) losses this past weekend to two highly ranked opponents. They fell 3-2 to Shippensburg University on Sunday and then went on to lose by the same score to East Stroudsburg this past Tuesday. The Huskies dropped to 5-5 overall and 1-2 in conference play. Lindenwood split last weekend with one loss and one win. On Friday, they suffered their first loss of the season falling 3-1 to top-ranked ECAC foe Limestone College, but they quickly recovered to edge Newberry College 2-1 in an overtime thriller on Sunday. Lindenwood improves to 7-1 overall and 5-2 in ECAC play.

DIII: No. 11 Bowdoin vs University of New England | 3:00 p.m. ET
Bowdoin is coming off a 3-0 victory over Southern Maine last Monday. The game was the second matchup for Bowdoin this year as the Polar Bears jumped to 5-2 overall and 3-2 in conference play. Bowdoin will be looking for another strong performance this weekend against University of New England on Sunday. University of New England is coming off a 3-2 win over Commonwealth Coast Conference foe Salve Regina. With the win, University of New England improved to 8-4 overall and 5-1 in conference play. The Nor'easters will need to show their resilience if they hope to defeat higher-ranked Bowdoin.

* DI Rankings are based off NFHCA Division I Coaches Poll (Posted October 3, 2017)
** DII Rankings are based off NFHCA Division II Coaches Poll (Posted October 3, 2017)
*** DIII Rankings are based off NFHCA Division III Coaches Poll (Posted October 3, 2017)

USFHA media release

Three top-15 ACC matchups to watch this weekend

Pat Ralph, Excelle Sports

Virginia takes on UNC this weekend after winning in four straight shutouts.  Virginia Athletics

Conference play in the college field hockey world is in full swing as we move into the month of October, and the ACC continues to be one of the best conferences in college field hockey. With five teams ranked in the top 10, the ACC once again has some of the best teams in the country. This weekend, the conference offers three top 15 matchups that field hockey fans will not want to miss.

Friday October 6th, 5:00 p.m.

The first of three top 15 showdowns in the ACC this weekend pits the Cavaliers and Tar Heels against each other in Charlottesville on Friday night. On a nine-game winning streak, Virginia (10-1) is establishing itself early on as one of the favorites to win the conference title. The Cavaliers improved to 3-0 in conference last weekend with a 2-0 shutout win over No. 13 Wake Forest on the road. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels (10-2) are making their voices heard in the ACC this season too. Since losing to Wake Forest last month, North Carolina has rattled off seven straight wins. Last weekend, UNC took down Old Dominion 3-1 at home. While this is North Carolina’s lone game this weekend, Virginia plays host to Drexel on Sunday. Both the Cavaliers and Tar Heels are two teams that are red-hot right now, but one team is going to end up on the losing side on Friday night. Nevertheless, this game should be fun.
No. 8 Boston College vs. No. 11 Louisville

Friday October 6th, 6:00 p.m.

The second top 15 ACC matchup this weekend takes place in Boston where the Eagles will host the Cardinals in a battle of the birds. Unlike Virginia and UNC, Boston College (8-4) is struggling right now in conference play. The Eagles are 0-4 this season in the ACC, including most recently a 3-2 shootout loss at home last Friday. BC bounced back with a 4-0 road win over New Hampshire last Sunday. While Louisville also stands at 8-4, the Cardinals have gotten off to a much better start in conference. The Cardinals, who are on a four-game winning streak, improved to 2-1 in the ACC after defeating Syracuse 2-1 in double overtime at home last weekend. Both teams will follow up Friday night’s game with contests on Sunday too. Boston College will host crosstown rival No. 13 Harvard, while Louisville will travel to New Hampshire. It might be too early in the season to say Friday’s game is a must win for Boston College, but a win would turn its fortunes around in the ACC.
No. 2 Duke vs. No. 9 Syracuse

Saturday October 7th, 12:00 p.m.

The third and final top 15 matchup in the ACC this weekend will showcase the Blue Devils and Orange going head-to-head in Durham this Saturday. Duke (9-1) enters Saturday’s contest on a six-game winning streak, with victories over Boston College (3-2) and No. 25 Boston University (5-1) over the road last weekend. At 2-1 in conference play, Duke will look to improve to 3-1 when the Orange come to town. After starting the season at 7-0, the Orange (9-3) have lost three of their last five games to fall from No. 7 in the polls. Last weekend, the Orange lost a heartbreaking 2-1 game at Louisville in double overtime to fall to 1-3 in the ACC this season. Syracuse bounced back last Sunday with a 1-0 win at home over No. 14 Princeton. While this is Syracuse’s lone game this weekend, the Dukies will play a back-to-back when they host No. 23 Iowa on Sunday. Like Boston College, Syracuse is in desperate need of a conference win. Unfortunately, it won’t come easy against one of the best teams in the country.


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