All the news for Saturday 11 November 2017
Black Sticks fight back to beat Pakistan
Marcus Child was the hero for New Zealand. JAN KRUGER/GETTY IMAGES
Marcus Child has struck late for New Zealand to beat Pakistan 3-2 to notch their first win at the men's International Festival of Hockey in Melbourne.
Fighting back twice from a goal down, the Black Sticks did enough to maintain their slim hopes of qualifying for the final against Australia.
New Zealand need the unbeaten Kookaburras to trounce Japan by at least four goals in the last qualifying match later on Saturday if they are to reach the decider.
Otherwise their fate is a playoff for third on Sunday against winless Pakistan.
The scores were locked at 1-1 at halftime after Muhammad Bhutta's penalty corner goal was matched by Hayden Phillips' effort from the field for New Zealand.
Pakistan went back in front through a penalty stroke from Ammad Butt but George Muir levelled two minutes later.
Child had the final say from a penalty corner three minutes from fulltime.
The Black Sticks' previous results were a 1-1 draw with Japan and a 4-1 loss to Australia.
Kookaburras To Play World Number Four Dutch In WA
Hockey Australia (HA) and the McGowan Government today announces that Perth and Narrogin will host games in a four-match series between Australia and the Netherlands men’s national teams.
The matches have been made possible thanks to the support of the McGowan Government.
The State Government has provided funding through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries’ (DLGSC) Country Sport Enrichment Scheme and the Shire of Narrogin and Upper Great Southern Hockey Association have combined for the two matches to be played in Narrogin on 27 and 28 January.
The installation of a new synthetic hockey turf at the Narrogin Hockey Stadium last year was made possible in part through a State Government Community Sport and Recreation Facilities Fund’s contribution of $146,692.
Two matches will also be played at Perth Hockey Stadium on 1 and 3 February.
The series will be vital preparation for the Kookaburras ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April.
The Kookaburras, who have won gold at all five Commonwealth Games when hockey has been contested, are currently ranked second in the world, while the Dutch are fourth.
HA Chief Executive Matt Favier said: “The four-match series against the Netherlands is a significant coup for the Kookaburras ahead of a big year where we’ll chase a sixth consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medal on home soil and compete in the World Cup in India later in the year.
“We are delighted to be playing matches in Western Australia where our High Performance programme receives tremendous support and we thank the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries for helping make this series happen.”
The Kookaburras played Great Britain in a three-match series in Perth and Narrogin last year.
Sport and Recreation Minister Hon Mick Murray said: “Narrogin is a powerhouse hockey region of Western Australia and through programs like the Country Sport Enrichment Program, sports fans in regional centres like this have the chance to experience world-class competition on their doorstep.
“Being able to bring these kinds of competitions to communities outside the metropolitan area allows players to watch their heroes in action and hopefully encourages others to take up playing the sport and getting active.”
Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster, with the release date to be confirmed.
Hockey Australia media release
USA seek golden end to 2017 Hockey World League campaign
USA's Erin Matson admits USA are looking to end the year on a high Photo: FIH/Getty
As winners of the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg, USA women are looking for a dream ending to their first appearance in the competition Final. We caught up with their youngest player and the scorer of the goal that sealed victory in South Africa, Erin Matson, as she prepared to leave for Auckland.
USA women’s hockey team travelled to Australia for a warm-up tournament ahead of their first foray into the Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Finals in Auckland but for Matson, on this occasion, education had to come first. “It has been pretty tough,” she admits, “I could’t miss a full month of school so I am flying out with the Team Manager and doctor just a few days before the Hockey World League Final. It has been a tease watching the squad out there – we are a great team and they are a great bunch of girls, so it has been hard seeing everyone out there.”
For the USA, this is the first time they have qualified for the end of year showcase event but they did so in style, winning the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg to seal both this event and a place at the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup in London next year. But as Matson explains, the psyche of this USA team does not let them get too far ahead of themselves.
“Our mindset is to be the best we can be for each match as it comes, we are not a team that focuses too much on the long term. We go one game at a time. If we play well then we look to keep playing at that level or better; if we have a bad performance, we look at what went wrong and try to get it right next time around.
“I’m not saying we disregard the World Cup but we tend to look at the game ahead not think about what might be happening down the line at the World Cup.”
The USA women’s team has long been admired for the tenacity of its players and the never-say-die attitude that ensures that every player works until the end of the game. Matson agrees: “It’s as you say, whether we are 1-0 down or 2-0 up, we will always keep pushing.”
“Every team brings a different challenge. Argentina, Holland, England, they are all different and we look forward to one game at a time."
Erin Matson, USA
For the seven other teams who will be challenging for the honours in New Zealand, the young midfielder has this message: “We are not going to let the other teams crowd our minds. We know it will be challenging but we never go into any game scared or intimidated.
“Every team brings a different challenge. Argentina, Holland, England, they are all different and we look forward to one game at a time. We will look at how we can control their strengths and play our game.”
With the release of the latest set of FIH Hero World Rankings, USA are currently sitting seventh in the world. Until the Pan American Cup [where they finished third] they had risen to fourth. That drop and the slow progress up the rankings is something that Matson mentions in passing with a hint of frustration.
“We are moving slowly up the rankings but really we just want to keep getting better and better and winning more tournaments.”
Head Coach Janneke Schopman gets a definite seal of approval from Matson, who refers to the Dutch Olympian as: “The best coach I have ever worked with.”
Schopman has added some European guile to the USA’s legendary work ethic. “She pushes us to levels that we are not comfortable with and that is what we need,” says Matson. “She is such a smart coach and she relays what she wants us to do so clearly. She has broadened our mindset and even increased our tenacity.”
Matson also pays tribute to the work done by the Strength and Conditioning Coach, Nick Shedd: “He has done a fantastic job making sure we are as ready as we can be for the Hockey World League. We work in four week blocks and then have a few days off before we start again, Nick, Janneke and the coaching team have got us in a fantastic place right now.”
A quick glance at the team sheet shows that this is a very young and inexperienced team. Only five players have more than 100 caps, while eight players have fewer than 20 caps. Matson herself has 21 caps for her country. “We have been through a rebuilding period,” she concedes, “But I think we have proved that hasn’t held us back. The new players are as ready to go out and perform as much as the veterans of the side are.”
Matson and her teammates are looking forward to the trip to New Zealand. The squad played there last November and, says Matson, “had a fantastic time. We learnt so much about ourselves as players and besides that, it is the most beautiful country.”
And with that the youngest member of Team USA rushed off to pack her bag and join her teammates on the final stages of their Hockey World League 2017 adventure.
The SA Indoor Hockey BlitzStoks Squad for the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup
The SA Indoor BlitzStoks, powered by Tops at SPAR, will be heading to Germany in February 2018 to take on the best in the World at the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup. The Men earned their spot with an outstanding victorious display at the African Hockey Indoor Cup of Nations in Swakopmund earlier this year. The 14 man squad, announced today, will take part in the All Stars series at the Pro Series Indoor Nationals in December, before a final 12 is selected for the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup.
Matthew Fairweather, who captained the team at the World Cup qualifier, returns to the squad after missing the All Stars series in July. Ryan Julius and Reza Rosenberg also missed out on that series while on commitment with the National Outdoor Team at the World League Semi-Final and they are also recalled. Ryan Julius had finished top goal scorer at the 2017 SA Hockey Indoor IPT. Another star from that tournament was Jethro Eustice, who won player of the tournament, who will be key to the BlitzStoks aiming for their highest ever World Cup finish.
The goalkeepers will be the two goalkeepers that went to the previous World Cup with both Richard Curtis and Chris McCathie doing enough over the past three years to secure their place on the plane to the All-Star Series in Cape Town. Some of the other seats on that plane will be taken by players who have been in the system in the last three years including Olympian Wade Paton, reliable (belated birthday boy) Robin Jones, world star Justin Domleo and the exciting young talent Rusten Abrahams.
The IPT that took part in Durban played a key part in the selector’s decision making, in line with selection policy for SA Hockey, which saw Julian Hykes and PG Geldenhuys work their way into the selector’s minds with a brilliant tournament that saw Southern Gauteng win another silver medal. The last two places in the 14 man squad were filled by Jarryd Jones, who has responded to missing out on the World Cup Qualifier with some scintillating form, and Craig Haley, who has shown over and over again that he knows how to find the back of the net.
This meant that there was no place in the side for Keagan Robinson, who has been ruled out by the selectors after he tore his ACL just before IPT.
Coach Pierre le Roux shared his thoughts on the squad:
“The squad is rich with experience and the players selected have performed well over the past three years. We believe this consistency and maturity will be beneficial in the World Cup environment.”
The SA Indoor Hockey BlitzStoks – World Cup Squad
CHRIS McCathie (GK), KZN Raiders
Richard Curtis (GK), KZN Raiders
Matthew Fairweather, KZN Raiders
Justin Domleo, KZN Raiders
Robin Jones, KZN Raiders
Wade Paton, KZN Raiders
Jethro Eustice, KZN Raiders
Rusten Abrahams, Southern Gauteng
Reza Rosenberg, Southern Gauteng
Ryan Julius, Western Province
PG Geldenhuys, Southern Gauteng
Jarryd Jones, KZN Raiders
Craig Hayley, Western Province
Julian Hykes, Southern Gauteng
The BlitzStoks will be in action on the 9, 10, 12 and 13 December in Cape Town for the PSi All Stars
SA Hockey Association media release
Dragons’ Denayer finding the right sport-life balance
©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics
KHC Dragons’ Felix Denayer is taking a break from the Belgian international team for the Hockey World League final in India.
The midfielder also took a break in the wake of the Rio Olympics before returning to the squad for the Belgians’ run to silver at the European Championships.
Speaking about the decision to the Hockey Belgium website, he said: "The main reason I do not go to India is that I'm married now. Besides that, I always try to find a good balance between social, family, professional and hockey.
“So we all got together around the table to find what was the best option to manage everything. I can also treat two or three small injuries that I have been carrying for several weeks. I want to use this precious time to enjoy my family and to be able to continue working."
He knows it will be tough to get back into the Red Lions squad in the New Year but will resume Monday and Tuesday training sessions from March with the side with a view toward the 2018 Champions Trophy in June.
“I will continue to work for my employer in parallel. Individually, I know how to take care of myself but it is also essential to spend time with the group to work on collective aspects and cohesion.
“After July, we will begin a full-time period of preparation for the World Cup. Then, hockey will be a priority for almost two years with the launch of the Pro League, the Euros in Antwerp and the Tokyo Games. It is therefore essential that I can combine these different aspects in the best possible way."
From Dragons, Victor Wegnez, Florent van Aubel and Arthur van Doren are part of the Belgian squad for Bhubaneswar.
Racing Club de Bruxelles’s Cédric Charlier, Jeremy Gucassoff , Herakles’ Amaury Keusters and Bloemendaal’s Manu Stockbroekx are also included.
Euro Hockey League media release
Colossal battles on the cards in Razak Cup semi-finals
By S. Ramaguru
Tight squeeze: Selangor’s Muhammad Zamri Zainal (left) trying to block Armed Forces’ Mohammad Firdaus Ismail in the semi-finals of the Division match at the Azlan Shah Stadium yesterday. — RONNIE CHIN / The Star
IPOH: Four former champions – defending champions Terengganu, Perak, Melaka and Negri Sembilan – will now battle it out for the Division One title in the 55th edition of the Razak Cup hockey tournament.
Terengganu will take on Negri Sembilan while Perak and will square off against Melaka in today’s semi-finals at the Azlan Shah Stadium.
Perak have been the most successful side over the last 10 years, having qualified for five finals and winning twice – in 2013 and 2014. They were runners-up in 2007, 2010 and 2015.
Terengganu won both the finals they qualified for in 2012 and 2016. And so did Melaka – in 2009 and 2015.
Negri, however, were losing finalists in 2008. They last won back in 1977.
So, how do this year’s semi-finalists match-up then?
Terengganu coach Sarjit Singh is definitely not taking Negri lightly.
“We weren’t that impressive in the preliminary round, especially our defence.
“For the semi-finals, the players will have to raise their game a notch higher, don’t give away silly goals and don’t give the Negri players room to manoeuvre,” said Sarjit.
The Saari brothers of Faizal and Fitri will again be the mainstay of Terengganu.
Negri coach S. Chandran believes that his team are also ready to face the defending champions,
“Our confidence is high and we plan to take the fight to them. We need to be clinical with our finishing. In goalkeeper S. Kumar, we have an experienced last man,” he said.
The other semi-final looks likely to tilt host Perak’s way.
They have been perennial semi-finalists and know how to play at this level. They also have a well-established side, with experienced players in all departments.
But Melaka have pedigree too, having won the title twice in recent years.
Coach Affendy Azrul Bistamann has whipped his Melaka players into a tight and fit fighting unit.
And Perak coach Mohd Nizam Mohd Hashim is clearly aware of that.
“We fancy our chances, but experience has taught us to be cautious. We need to score early because a lot of matches have been decided in the last quarter this year. We must be ready for a full 60-minute game,” said Nizam.
The Star of Malaysia
Cookstown next to try and slow Garvey juggernaut
Sean Murray and Lisnagarvey have been in sparkling form to date. Pic: Adrian Boehm
With wins over four of the other sides in the top six played to date, Lisnagarvey are already showing some ominous signs in the men’s EY Hockey League with the potential to be even stronger in the coming weeks.
Four wins from four in the league have been augmented by an Irish Senior Cup win at Havelock Park with many of their near rivals already beaten while last week’s 10-0 defeat of Cork C of I was another statement with Andy Williamson bringing his total to seven for the season.
Sean Murray said ahead of their game with Cookstown this weekend: “We have had an excellent run of results recently. After good wins against Monkstown, Pembroke, Banbridge and Three Rock, we have made the perfect start.
“The trick is to keep focussed and to give ourselves a chance to win games. There certainly hasn’t been a let up in training. Our short corners have been working well which helps take the pressure off.”
It comes in a week when Paul Gleghorne told the Belfast Telegraph he is coming close to a return to action after a hamstring has kept him out of action since the European Championships in August.
Cookstown, though, have had a good week with a first win of the league campaign backed up by a shoot-out win over Instonians on Tuesday evening in the Irish Senior Cup, setting up a date with Three Rock Rovers in round two.
“We started well, which is great, as that has been a real aim for us over the last two matches,” said striker Greg Allen.”Hopefully, the game sets us up in the best possible way for what will be a really tough match against Lisnagarvey.
“They’ve been going great guns this year, but we’ve put together back to back wins now, and are really keen to put in our best performance against them.
“We’ve a number of lads playing great hockey and hopefully, with a bit of luck, we can come away from that game with a positive outcome.”
In the cup game, Mark Crooks opened the scoring after great work down the right-hand side from Paul Thompson and Stu Smyth. Michael Kerr unleashed a thunderous for 2-0 after intercepting a loose pass.
Inst bounced back to level the tie at 2-2 only for Allen and Timmy Sloan to restore a 4-2 lead. Once again, Inst fought back for 4-4 and straight to a shoot-out. Smyth and Allen both scored and Josh McCabe proved the hero, getting out quick to force the final Inst penalty-taker to fire over the bar.
Elsewhere in the EY league, Banbridge will hope they can end their alarming run of form that has seen them lose five games on the trot – two in the league, two in Europe and one in the Senior Cup.
They host a Three Rock side that, while profligate in front of goals, did end their own dip in form to beat Monkstown 3-1. Rovers do not have a great record at Havelock Park but have Jamie Carr back in training and battling with Conor Quinn – who impressed against Town – for the number one shirt.
Pembroke will look to back up their impressive 3-1 win over Banbridge with a victory over an Annadale side that caused Glenanne plenty of problems last week. Alan Sothern became the first player to hit double-figures for the season with 10 already to his name in six national level competitions.
They have been free-scoring as a result but have also conceded the third most in the division, making for some potential fireworks.
Cork C of I need to make sure there is no psychological hangover from last Saturday’s chastening 10-0 loss to Lisnagarvey as they face a crucial double weekend
It came seemingly out of the blue with a win and a draw in their previous two games. As such, there is a need to bounce back when they meet Monkstown on Saturday and Railway Union on Sunday to make sure they can write it off as a blip.
Alan Sothern leads the goalscoring charts to date this season. Pic: Adrian Boehm
Over the course of their next three games, C of I will meet three Dublin clubs in succession, all with players who came through their youth system who have since made their home up the M7.
On Saturday, they meet Karl and Jason Lynch who are part of a Monkstown team shorn of their usual bite up front with injured trio Gareth Watkins, Geoff Cole and Davy Carson all absent last weekend against Three Rock Rovers.
On Sunday, bogey side Railway come visiting with the intention of winning at Garryduff for the third successive season. In a much-changed Railway squad, Andy Colton will take on his boyhood club.
For Railway, their weekend starts with a Dublin derby against table-topping Glenanne. The Tallaght side – with Shannon Boucher and Richie Shaw on the sidelines – did not find full fluidity against Annadale but ground out a late winner to keep their lead over Garvey intact.
In Leinster, third plays fourth with Avoca hosting YMCA at Newpark with Adam Pritchard and his defensive partners looking to tame a free-scoring YMCA for whom Grant Glutz and Ben Campbell are among the top-scorers in Leinster at all levels.
Table-toppers Corinthian face Rathgar at home while second place UCD will anticipate adding to their impressive start with a Belfield tie against Weston.
Kilkenny, meanwhile, have been improving game-on-game, something Clontarf will need to be wary of when they meet at the bullring.
EY Hockey League
Saturday: Annadale v Pembroke Wanderers, 2.30pm, Strathearn School; Banbridge v Three Rock Rovers, 2.45pm, Havelock Park; Lisnagarvey v Cookstown, 3pm, Comber Road; Monkstown v Cork C of I, 2.30pm, Merrion Fleet Arena; Railway Union v Glenanne, 1pm, Park Avenue.
Sunday: Cork Church of Ireland v Railway Union, 2pm, Garryduff
Leinster Division 1 (Saturday): UCD v Weston, 11.15am, Belfield; Avoca v YMCA, 12.45pm, Newpark; Clontarf v Kilkenny, 12.45pm, Mount Temple; Corinthian v Rathgar, 1.45pm, Whitechurch Park; Dublin University v Dublin North, 2.30pm, Santry Avenue
Munster Division 1 (Saturday): Cork Church of Ireland B v Ashton, 3pm, Garryduff; Cork Harlequins v UCC, 1pm, Farmers’ Cross; Limerick v Bandon,1pm, Villiers.
Pegasus and UCD the highlight of EYHL double weekend
The Pegasus’ corner defence of Shirley McCay, Pamela Glass and Sammy-Jo Greer. Pic: Billy Pollock
The double-weekend means plenty of twists and turns for the women’s EY Hockey League with three unbeaten records being put to the test and six teams still covered by three points at this early stage of the campaign.
It means plenty of highlights, the stand-out one perhaps UCD’s date with Pegasus at 3pm on Saturday at Belfield. The Ulster side produced one of the performances of the season to date when they swept past Loreto 6-0 last time out.
It is a formidable line-up with the hugely experienced Shirley McCay, Michelle Harvey and Pamela Glass bossing a backline who have conceded just twice. Further up the field, Alex Speers and Steph Thompson have plenty of knowledge in the bank, too, to impart onto the likes of Katie McKee and Taite Doherty.
It is a line-up packed with senior and underage international caps. Next on their agenda is a shot at taking down the national champions who have had something of a mixed bag so far this season. They play on Saturday before Pegs take on Pembroke.
For the students, Katie Mullan was named international player of the year at the Causeway Council annual Sports Awards bash at the weekend having captained the Irish team during the summer in their run to World Cup qualification.
Cork Harlequins have Cliodhna Sargent back in the squad for the weekend and likely to play one of their two games on the road – either Hermes-Monkstown on Saturday or Belfast Harlequins on Sunday.
It is part of a planned schedule with London 2018 central in her thinking. The 209-capped Corkonian last played at World League Round 2 in Malaysia at the turn of the year, competing a week after she found out she was expecting.
With a gold medal and a big step in the World Cup qualification chain complete, Sargent took a step back; almost in tandem with Serena Williams and her Australian Open exploits.
In her absence, Ireland did enough at the World League semi-finals to earn their ticket to London 2018. Throughout her pregnancy, Sargent was working on a training plan with strength and conditioning coach Darren Collins to have her in the best possible shape.
“People have this thing that you have to completely cut back when you are pregnant. You don’t,” she told the Irish Examiner this week.
“All you have to do is take into account how fit you were before and reduce your load according to that. I was still running until five or six months and in the gym to seven months.”
Sargent says she is keen to make a push for the 2018 World Cup squad. Getting back into a team that has adapted in her absence – with Lena Tice and Zoe Wilson stepping up admirably in the centre of defence – will be a huge task but not something she will let go lightly.
“A World Cup is always something I wanted to be pushing for it and I still do,” she says. “I know it’s going to be very hard in so many different ways than what I have experienced.
“I have always been fit enough and able to maintain that. Now it’s different. I have gone through a huge body change.
“The added thing is being away from Dylan – going to tournaments will have its own hardships. He’s at the age where if I go away for two weeks, he will be completely changed. That’s the choice I make if I end up getting back into the squad.”
Cork Quins have clocked up the miles already this season. Their trips this weekend will be their fourth and fifth away dates in the league with just one home tie played so far.
For Hermes-Monkstown, it is part of a tough weekend with Ards also coming to the Merrion Fleet Arena as they look to get off the mark. They will look to the experience of Christine Quinlan, Rosie Carrigan and Irish Under-21 keeper Liz Murphy to set a base for a team that has struggled to find their feet since the departure of so many stars.
Ards start their weekend with a home date against a Trinity side who missed Isy Delamer and Rachel O’Brien last weekend, the former providing serious solidity in earlier games this term.
Keeping tabs on Chloe Brown is crucial. The Ards trickster was one of the stars of last weekend’s highlights package – produced by the transition year students of King’s Hospital – of the week’s action.
Ultimately, despite her mazy runs, Ards were unable to snatch the second goal required to come back against Belfast Harlequins who inflicted their first defeat of the season.
Cliodhna Sargent is on the comeback trail. Pic: Adrian Boehm
Loreto’s bid to bounce back from their loss to Pegasus encompasses two Dublin derbies, starting with trying to break down Pembroke who defended like demons against UCD last time out. Their weekend concludes against the Belfielders.
Railway Union doubled their points tally last weekend when they were too good for Hermes-Monkstown. Holly Jenkinson’s overlapping runs and Kate Lloyd’s willingness to shoot on sight played a part, two returning players who can make a big impact.
Their schedule sees Belfast Quins come to Park Avenue on Saturday and Trinity arrive on Sunday.
In Leinster, the top four sides all meet. Old Alex host Corinthian in what promises to be a cracking tie while Muckross travel a short way up the N11 to face Genesis.
EY Hockey League
Saturday: Ards v Trinity, 2.30pm, Londonderry Park; Loreto v Pembroke, 1.15pm, Beaufort; Hermes-Monkstown v Cork Harlequins, 12.30pm, Merrion Fleet Arena; Railway Union v Belfast Harlequins, 3pm, Park Avenue; UCD v Pegasus, 3pm, Belfield.
Sunday: Belfast Harlequins v Cork Harlequins, 1pm, Deramore Park; Hermes-Monkstown v Ards, 3pm, Merrion Fleet Arena; Pembroke Wanderers v Pegasus, 2.30pm, Serpentine Avenue; Railway Union v Trinity, 2.40pm, Park Avenue; UCD v Loreto, 2.50pm, Belfield
Leinster Division 1 (Saturday): North Kildare v Our Ladys, 12pm, The Maws; Old Alex v Corinthian, 1.30pm, Milltown; Clontarf v Avoca, 2.15pm, Mount Temple; Glenanne v Rathgar, 2.30pm, Glenanne Park; Genesis v Muckross, 2.45pm, St Raphaela’s
Munster Division 1 (Saturday): Bandon v Waterford, 2pm, Bandon GS; Belvedere v Cork Church of Ireland, 1pm, Ballincollig CS; Catholic Institute v Limerick, 12pm, Rosbrien; UCC v Ashton, 12pm, Mardyke.
Unbeaten Kenya Police, Telkom put records on the line
By BRIAN YONGA
KCA-U's Simon Peter (left) tussles for possession with Richard Birir of Kenya Police during their Kenya Hockey Union Premier League match at City Park Stadium on November 4, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Runaway leaders Kenya Police take their unbeaten run to Nakuru on Saturday as they look to close in on the Kenya Hockey Union men’s Premier League title.
The law enforcers will be looking to maintain their 12-point advantage when they take on the hosts at the Greensteds grounds.
The fixture is one of 13 matches lined up this weekend with 10 of them at City Park Stadium, Nairobi.
Women’s champions Telkom will also be aiming to keep their 100 percent record and extend their lead when they take on Sliders on Sunday, while second-placed USIU Spartans face Vikings on Saturday as they bid to keep the pressure on the leaders.
Greensharks, who are second placed in the men’s top flight league, cannot afford any slip up when they welcome Kakamega’s Western Jaguars Saturday evening.
Bottom-placed Technical University of Kenya take on Kenya College of Accountancy of University (KCA-U) in a relegation dogfight on Sunday.
In Nakuru, Police will be hoping to end a run of two years without win at the grass surface. With 17 wins from 18 matches, the 2013 champions are favourites to clinch three points. Police coach Kenneth Kaunda is however warning against any complacency.
“Nakuru have players who can make life difficult for us and they will definitely come at us. We therefore need to be on top of our game,” Kaunda said. Police skipper Oliver Echenje, who scored a brace in last weekend’s 4-0 win over KCA-U, will marshal the midfield alongside Willis Okeyo.
Police won the first leg fixture 4-0 on April 29 this year.
Club top scorer Amos Barkibir will lead the attack alongside Samuel Wokila and Calvin Kanu. Nakuru coach Tony Agesa has warned Police to brace for a fight.
“We will not roll over and just allow them to win, we need the points just like them. It will be thriller,” he said. Nakuru, who are in 10th place with 21 points, beat USIU 3-1 before losing 4-1 to former champions Butali Sugar Warriors last weekend.
Sharks could find themselves 15 points behind the leaders by the time they kick off at 6pm and coach Ben Owaga admits there is no room for error. The Nairobi-based side will be boosted by last weekend’s 3-1 win over Butali.
“We are hoping that they (Police) will drop points soon but we have got to win our matches to have a chance,” Owaga said.
Champions Strathmore University Gladiators, who have had a season to forget, will be hoping to move further away from the relegation zone with a win against Parklands.
FIXTURES (All matches at the City Park Stadium unless stated)
Premier Women: Strathmore University v JKUAT- 10am, USIU v Vikings – 2pm
National Men: Dedan Kimathi v Wazalendo Youth – 12noon
Premier Men: Nakuru v Kenya Police (Nakuru) – 2pm, Strathmore University v Parklands – 4pm., Greensharks v Western Jaguars – 6pm
Premier Men: KU Vultures v Western Jaguars – 9am, USIU v Chase Sailors- 1pm, TUK v KCAU- 3pm, Sikh Union v Strathmore University – 5pm
National Men: Kabarak University v JKUAT – 12noon
Maryland field hockey recovered from a slow start to reach the NCAA tournament
By Scott Gelman
Head coach Missy Meharg and assistant coach Katie Bam observe gameplay from the sideline during Maryland's 3-0 win against Michigan State on Oct. 29, 2017. (Marquise McKine/The Diamondback)
Now in her 30th season leading the Maryland field hockey team, coach Missy Meharg has built a program that annually competes for national championships. Heading into the campaign, the Terps had made the NCAA tournament in all but two seasons under her watch.
But when Maryland's record sat at 6-5 before its Oct. 6 matchup with Michigan State, the veteran coach wondered whether her team would earn a bid. Freshman midfielder Kyler Greenwalt said that after some of Maryland's early losses "a lot of people were saying they were kind of scared."
The Terps responded with a seven-game winning streak heading into the Big Ten tournament. Despite a semifinals loss to Penn State in that competition, Maryland's late run earned an NCAA tournament spot.
The unseeded Terps will face an experienced Wake Forest team Saturday in Durham, North Carolina.
"This was the closest, when we sat at 6-5 or 7-5," Meharg said. "I was really wondering if we would be in this position."
Meharg urges other Big Ten schools to schedule as many ACC teams as they can each season, but Maryland is the lone member of the conference that faced four ACC foes. The Demon Deacons, meanwhile, were one of two ACC squads to face five Big Ten opponents.
Wake Forest topped two of its Big Ten adversaries — Ohio State and Iowa — and played 12 ranked teams. Maryland comparably won a pair of contests against ACC squads, tallying a 1-0 victory against then-No. 9 Louisville and a 5-4 triumph against then-No. 3 Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Meharg said the Demon Deacons' style of play resembles Northwestern more so than other ACC teams. The Terps lost to the Wildcats, 3-2, on Sept. 24.
The matchup could challenge Maryland's defense, which enters the game allowing fewer than two goals per contest. The Demon Deacons will likely move around their midfielders in an attempt to force Maryland out of its familiar zone, Meharg said. Their forwards play closer to the midfield at times, encouraging the Terps to play a man-to-man style.
"We haven't seen that from a lot of other teams," Greenwalt said.
Meharg said Wake Forest creates different game plans for each opponent. As a result, it'll likely prepare for Maryland's aggressive press and attempt to eliminate midfielder Lein Holsboer, who boasts a team-leading 11 scores, and forward Linnea Gonzales from the Terps offense.
Regardless, Maryland plans to use its youth to its advantage. Five of Maryland's seven freshmen have received regular playing time but haven't played in an NCAA tournament contest. Until recently, some were unsure whether they would have the opportunity to do so.
"I think about them the same way I did on Aug. 8 when we first got together," Meharg said. "There's a lot of unfamiliar eyes. We're going to use that freshness to our advantage. They're very inspired. They're motivated."
Kilgraston crowned Midland schools’ champions
Kilgraston was crowned Midland senior schools’ champions for the first time, with Scotland internationalist Emily Dark scoring a sensational solo effort in the final against Dollar Academy.
The team followed up a goalless draw against Strathallan with Dark scoring two and Corrie Hay striking to take them through to the semis with victory over Dundee High before Morrison’s Academy was undone in an identical manner.
Having lost out to Dollar in the second round of the Scottish U18 Cup 24 hours earlier, Kilgraston gained revenge with an impressive performance rounded off when Dark picked up the ball on the half way line before carving her way through the opposition to change the game with a superb reverse strike to the far post.
Fittingly the trophy presentation was made by Kilgraston former pupil Katie Robertson who has recently been inducted into the GB Elite Development Programme.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
Belgium and Burkina Faso join forces to grow the game
If ever a person understands how sport in general, and hockey in particular, can help develop people’s minds, then it is Gabriel Tuscher. The Swiss-born hockey player and coach has lived in Belgium for the past 10 years and is heavily involved in Brussels-based Wellington Hockey Club. But Tuscher’s heart lies in the African nation of Burkina Faso, a country he has lived in and visited regularly for the past 20 years.
Tuscher is also an advocate for using hockey as a tool to help youngsters in developing nations to improve their health, education and life chances, so when he heard that the Burkina Faso Olympic committee was setting up a National Association for hockey, he was the first to step forward and offer to help.
In 2016, Tuscher travelled to Burkina Faso to run a Level One coaching course for 35 adults. These coaches then took over coaching duties at 15 newly-formed hockey clubs dotted around the country.
Then in July 2017, Tuscher embarked on a month-long trip around the hockey clubs of Burkina Faso with a group of eight young Belgium hockey players. The aim of the trip was for hockey players from the two countries to meet and share ideas. Local children and adults would benefit from coaching sessions run by the visiting group, while a trip around the country, visiting the clubs, would open the Belgium group’s eyes to a totally different culture and way of life.
As well as coaching, the clubs also played matches against the visiting coaching group, giving the local players a taste of European hockey.
Aside from hockey, the group from Wellington HC visited an orphanage, where they handed over boxes of clothing and taught some of the children the basics of hockey.
The training and matches took place on a variety of surfaces, including scrubland, sandy pitches and indoor surfaces. The country's only asphalt pitch was ear-marked as a future championship ground because as one young player said “the ball didn’t bounce all the time.”
As one of the poorest countries in Africa, suffering drought plus violence in its northern regions, it is hardly surprising that the clubs have very little playing kit or equipment. Before they left for Burkina Faso, the group ran fundraising events, sold t-shirts, held African-themed evenings and sponsored events and collected as much donated equipment as they could. Tuscher also set up a crowdfunding site, so people could support the project. As Tuscher explained however, the funds were mainly used to buy more hockey equipment, not to fund the group’s travel. As an example of the generosity of donors, 35 sets of goalkeeping kit found their way onto the containers bound for Burkina Faso.
While hockey in Burkina Faso is just two years old, the National Association has big ideas. The first ambition was to participate in the Hockey World League next year, but as Tuscher pointed out, the team would get soundly beaten in every match. A more realistic aim is for the national team to play in the proposed Hockey5s, which the African Hockey Federation is planning to initiate within the year.
Considering the huge problems this country faces, both economically and politically, the growth of hockey has been extraordinary. A visit to the Facebook page of the Federation Burkinabe de Hockey sur Gazon has pictures of men, women and children playing, training and enjoying their sport, while another picture shows a team kitted out in shirts donated by the Belgium Hockey Federation.
Financing sport in the developing country is an obvious problem but Tuscher’s aim, through his project 'Wellington for Burkina Faso', is to get Belgium hockey clubs on board as sponsors to clubs in Burkina Faso. Under his plans, the Belgium clubs would provide advice, support and financial assistance to their adopted club. This could involve collecting equipment and sending it out to the African nation or help with the logistics of running a hockey club. Tuscher’s plans received a big boost when the Begium Red Panthers donated 15 cases of hockey equipment to his cause.
This project is one of many such initiatives across the world which mirror the aims of the FIH's 10-year Hockey Revolution strategy aimed at making hockey a global game that inspires the next generation.
Barbara Morgan wins SWiS Official of the Year
Barbara Morgan wins SWiS Official of the Year
Scottish Hockey official Barbara Morgan has won the Official of the Year Award at the Scottish Women in Sport (SWiS) Awards in Glasgow.
The Official of the Year award is presented to the official who worked consistently and fairly throughout the year and recognises the hard work and dedication that referees, umpires and match officials make to playing and the competition structure of their sport.
It is tremendous recognition for one of Scotland’s top officials who has year-on-year contributed to the sport in Scotland.
Barbara has a strong international reputation as an official and is currently graded as the highest-ranking Technical Official in Scotland by the FIH.
In a highly successful year for Barbara she was Technical Delegate for the RABO EuroHockey Championships in Amsterdam in 2017, a tremendous achievement.
She also serves on the Education committee (working group officials) of the EHF and is an FIH Academy registered Educator for Officials.
SWiS held the ceremony on Friday 10th November in the GoGlasgow Hotel in Glasgow. The event was hosted by sports broadcaster Emma Dodds and celebrated, recognised and rewarded the achievements of female athletes and respective support staff and volunteers.
Scottish Hockey CEO David Sweetman said, “I’m delighted for Barbara to have won such a fantastic award. It’s a great success for officials and for hockey and I’d like to congratulate Barbara on the well-deserved recognition from Scottish Women in Sport.”
Scottish Hockey Union media release