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News for 26 November 2017

All the news for Sunday 26 November 2017

Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final 2017 - Day 10

Bronze Medal KOR v ENG 1 - 0
Final NED v NZL 3 - 0

Final Standing
1. Netherlands
2. New Zealand
3. Korea
4. England
5. Argentina
6. Germany
7. United States
8. China

FIH Match Centre

Classy Netherlands beat Korea in Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final to set up showdown with New Zealand

The 2013 Hockey World League champions, the Netherlands, will face host nation New Zealand in the final of the Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final 2017 after defeating Korea 2-0 at the Harbour Hockey Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand today.

In the second semi-final of the event, the world's number one team, the Netherlands took on the lowest ranked team at the tournament Korea [FIH Hero World Ranking: 9]. Where the Netherlands had cruised serenely into the semi-finals without conceding a goal, Korea had encountered some tough matches in the pool stages, including a 3-0 loss to the Netherlands. However, they had showed tremendous character to beat Germany in the quarter-finals and would certainly be intent on pushing the Dutch team hard.

One statistic the Korea side would have loved to have changed was their goal-scoring record against the Netherlands – it has been 717 days since Korea last scored against the Netherlands. How dearly head coach Huh Sang Young and his team would have loved to end that run. Unfortunately for Korea, this was not to be that day.

Early in the first quarter Korea's 'keeper Jang Soo Ji had to make a good save from a Caia van Maasakker penalty corner, the shot was high and Jang padded it away to safely. The Netherlands kept the pressure up on the Korea circle and were rewarded in the sixth minute when the tournament's current equal top scorer Maartje Krekelaar smashed the ball into the goal as it was rising on the bounce: this followed a lovely series of short, sharp passes between her teammates.

Korea struggled to contain the Dutch midfield as they pushed forward and the lead was doubled when Carlien van den Heuvel drove the ball towards the circle and then released Malou Pheninckx who took the ball to the baseline. Her cross found Laurien Leurink who had the simple task of slipping the ball home.

Goal-scoring chances for Korea were few and far between so head coach Huh will not have been pleased to see their first penalty corner scuffed at the top of the circle. The attack did signal Korea's intent to put pressure on their opponents.

Shortly before half-time Maasakker again stepped up for a penalty corner only to see her rasping shot hit the post and ping to safety.

Korea's energetic forward Park Mi Hyun was constantly searching for a gap in the Dutch defence but the Netherlands have developed a wonderfully controlled passing game that is really effective at taking the sting out of the opposition's attack.

At the start of the third quarter, Korea's Jang Heesun was given a yellow card for a tough tackle on Xan de Waard but again the Netherlands were unable to score from the resultant penalty corner. The poor conversion rate is probably the one thing that will be concerning head coach Alyson Annan as she assesses her team's perfromance at this tournament. Van Maasakker's drag flick was easily countered by Jang.

At the other end of the pitch, Park nicked possession and forced the Netherlands' goalkeeper into action.

"New Zealand will be very tough to play. They have grown into the tournament and have the confidence of two good wins behind them. We will need to make sure our structure is in place"
Marloes Keetels, Netherlands captain.

This spurred the Netherlands into a greater tempo and wave after wave of orange-shirted players started to pile on the pressure. Maria Verschoor shot high over the bar and Kelly Jonkers and Lidewij Welten were tenacious as they chased every loose ball in the Korea circle. Somehow Korea didn't concede any further goals in the third quarter but equally, their forays into the Netherlands' circle were limited to single figures.

The final quarter saw the Netherlands maintain a steady pressure without any real fireworks. In the final 15 there was a definite feel that the women in orange were using all their experience to conserve energy for tomorrow's final. Van den Heuvel and Margot van Geffen were the calming influences in the middle of the pitch and Korea really struggled to find a tactic to counter the Dutch control. 

There was a breakthrough as Korea won a penalty corner and the resulting shot went tantalisingly close to the Netherlands' goal but there was no return for the effort.

The clock counted down and the Netherlands left the pitch knowing that they had booked their spot without doing more than was needed to progress to the final.

Marloes Keetels: "I think in the first quarter we started well but we didn't play so well later in the game. I think the whole team has done well to keep clean sheets throughout the tournament and that is down to a good attack which helps us defend well."

Talking about their opponent's in the final, she added: "New Zealand will be very tough to play. They have grown into the tournament and have the confidence of two good wins behind them. We will need to make sure our structure is in place."

Youngran Kim said: "That was a tough game. In the first quarter the goal took the wind from our sails but overall I think our team is doing great. There have been some injuries but we are looking forward to playing for the bronze tomorrow night."

It was goals galore in the 7th/8th place play-off match between USA and China. The teams ranked seventh and eighth in the world really let their defensive guards down and went all-out attack in this 10-goal thriller.

China took the lead in the match through the simplest of goals.  A free hit outside the USA circle saw Guo Qiu play the ball to Bingfeng Gu, who just turned and slammed the ball at speed towards goal, the speed and simplicity of the manoeuvre caught Jackie Briggs in the USA goal completely off guard.

In the last three minutes of the first quarter, USA piled on the pressure but found the entire China team defending the goal. The only way through was to work for a penalty corner and that is exactly what the smart USA forward Kat Sharkey did as she jinked her way through the defence, eventually drawing the foul. Her subsequent first-time strike edged its way underneath Li Dongxaio's arm as the tall 'keeper dived to stop the shot.

The USA got their second through Loren Shealy - the forward deflected a loose shot into the China goal to give her team a 2-1 lead.

Although China had the lion's share of possession in the second quarter, it was USA who scored their third just before half-time. Erin Matson drove into the circle to win a penalty corner and Jill Witmer was on hand to strike the ball home after it struck a China defender on the hand.

Song Xiaoming then showed her ability as she picked up the ball on the edge of the USA circle and shot past Briggs with a superb reverse stick shot to bring the score to 3-2.

Almost immediately USA sped down the pitch and a fierce shot by Michelle Vitesse was saved but Shealy was on hand to put the rebound home to make it 4-2 going into the break.

Vitesse spoke about the need to keep the defence tight in a half-time interview but it seemed neither side listened to that advice. A further four goals were scored in the next 30 minutes.

China came out with all guns blazing and in the third quarter they brought the score back to 4-4, firstly through Song Xiao Ming who was given the space to run at the goal and shoot into Briggs' right-hand corner. This was followed by a goal for Wang Shumin who was lurking behind the defence to pounce on a loose ball.

On another day, the USA player's heads might have dropped at conceding the lead but this was a team that has great resilience. Goals from Erin McCrudden – an overhead shot that was cleverly controlled – and a final penalty corner from Kat Sharkey were enough to give the USA the win.

Both coaches showed frustration at the defensive performances but USA's Janneke Schopman will be pleased with a 100 per cent penalty corner conversion rate in this game and Jamilon Muelders would have enjoyed seeing the goal scoring and attacking capabilities of his players.

USA's double goal scorer Kat Sharkey said: "I think we are happy we have finished on a high note, this tournament had a lot of ups and downs for us and overall we learned a lot. We are pretty happy with our attacks."

China's goalkeeper and captain Li Dongxaio said: "The whole tournament saw us get better and better. Today we really improved our attacking game, which was good to see."

Her team mate Zhang Lijia added: "We have gathered for a short time in preparation so we are happy that we have made progress with each game."

Sunday's matches see Korea take on England in the bronze medal match at 18:00 while Netherlands take on New Zealand at 20:15 in the final.

Semi-Final: Korea 0, Netherlands 2
7/8 Classification: USA 6, China 4


FIH site

USWNT Prevails in High Scoring Match to Defeat China at Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final

Images Courtesy of Ned Dawson/Planet Hockey Magazine & World Sports Pics/FIH

AUCKLAND, New Zealand –  In their final match of the Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final in Auckland, New Zealand, the U.S. Women’s National Team met No. 8 China. The last time these two teams faced off was at the 2015 Hawke’s Bay Cup where China came out the victors. Tied after the first quarter, the remaining saw a variation of goals produced from both sides as USA tallied five more to China’s three as the red, white and blue came out on top 6-4.

“Today our goal was to go out there and play as a team and do our jobs all over the field,” said Loren Shealy (Charlotte, N.C.), who scored twice in today’s match. “We did a good job of connecting with each other in the attacking half of the field but there is obviously a lot we can learn and take away from the game. Overall, we are really happy to end the tournament with a win.”

USA started on the front foot as they produced a good passing combination down the left side of the field. Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.) fed a ball to Jill Witmer (Lancaster, Pa.) who’s backhand shot was saved by China’s goalkeeper. Quick transfer passes through the midfield allowed USA to attack the opposite side of the circle but no results were formed. Transitioning the other way, China had a near chance when a backhand attempt didn’t connect. After working the ball from the defensive line to the midfield, China sent a long pass toward the circle which was deflected and found Bingfeng Gu who drilled it in to grab the lead. The change on the scoreboard did not diminish USA’s effort as just three minutes later they earned their first penalty corner. Off the attempt, Sharkey answered with a well hit shot to tie the match at 1-1. China responded the other way with their own penalty corner, but the chance did not translate as the quarter came to an end.

The scoring in the second quarter was a game changer. China tested USA’s defense early as a few chances were present. Working the ball forward, USA entered the circle when Casey Di Nardo (Virginia Beach, Va.) drove the left baseline, dumped it back and Shealy finished to make it USA 2, China 1 in the 21st minute. Back and forth possession battles came for a few minutes before great communication came from USA’s captain Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) to force a channel as she easily intercepted possession. This lead to ball movement through the midfield that found Alyssa Parker (Woodbine, Md.) who drove the left baseline and earned a penalty corner for USA in the 28th minute. The initial sweep was deflected by Witmer and Amanda Magadan (Randolph, N.J.) finished the play to extend USA’s lead to 3-1. Just a minute later, China responded with a well-executed finish off a backhand by Xiamoing Song. It seemed as China was in celebration, USA took the opportunity to counter as Shealy received a high deflected ball and fired it into the goal to give USA a two-goal edge, 4-2, at the half.

As the excitement built, China broke out in the third frame with a high press that stemmed a lot of positive offense. Five minutes in, China took advantage of being marked on the wrong side as Song scored again to cut the lead to 4-3. As China was still on the attack and in the hunt for an equalizer, they produced nice control as they threaded balls through to the forward line. Being patient with their movement, a long ball into the circle found Shumin Wang on the post who deflected it in to draw the match. Seconds later as time ticked down USA was on the counter and Sharkey got a backhand off that hit the pads of China’s goalkeeper and out of the air Erin McCrudden (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) touched it in to make it USA 5, China 4.

China came out strong in the final quarter actively searching to break through USA’s defense. Caitlin Van Sickle (Wilmington, Del.) made key back-to-back plays in both circles. One on defense to clear the ball out of danger and immediately after on attack, she grabbed a penalty corner. In the 54th minute, Sharkey’s hard shot on goal tipped off the goalkeeper’s pads into the net to notch another goal and make it 6-4. China maintained the pressure, even pulled their goalkeeper, but USA held on for the victory.

The next competition for the U.S. Women’s National Team will January 25-30, 2018 when they face No. 1 The Netherlands on the West Coast at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. for a four-match series. Tickets for this event are on sale and can be purchased by clicking here.

USFHA media release

2017 Men's Asian Challenge - Day 2

TPE v HKG 3 - 1
BRU v MYA 0 - 11

Rank Team GP W D L GF GA GD P
1 Chinese Taipei 2 2 0 0 7 3 4 6
2 Myanmar 2 1 0 1 13 4 9 3
3 Hong Kong China 2 1 0 1 12 3 9 3
4 Brunei 2 0 0 2 0 22 -22 0

FIH Match Centre

Surbiton return to top of women's Premier Division

Surbiton's Emily Atkinson in action by Tim Reder

Defending champions Surbiton go into the winter break top of the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division after a 2-1 home victory over former leaders University of Birmingham.

Robyn Collins opened the scoring for the hosts two minutes before half time from a penalty corner before doubling her and Surbiton’s tally five minutes after the restart.

Birmingham hit back just three minutes later, Catherine Ledesma finding the target, but it was not enough to prevent Surbiton taking the points and returning to the top of the standings.

Buckingham and Holcombe both moved above Birmingham after home victories on Saturday, the second half of the season set up to be a thrilling one with the top four separated by just three points.

Abbie Brant scored twice as Buckingham defeated Slough 4-1 at home to go second.

Slough won the reverse fixture back in September but that never looked on the cards this time around, Kitty Higgins opening the scoring on 13 minutes before Brant’s brace either side of the break put the hosts in control.

Georgina Bathurst reduced the arrears on 44 minutes, but Buckingham had the final say, Natasha James scoring six minutes from time to secure the points.

Holcombe are third after a 3-0 home triumph over mid table Clifton Robinsons.

Two goals in the space of a minute just before half time gave the hosts the initiative, first Philippa Lewis followed by an Emma Trunks penalty corner.

The points were secured nine minutes after the interval, Dirkie Chamberlain’s third goal in as many games wrapping up the win.

Bowdon climbed two places up the table to seventh after a surprise 2-1 victory at East Grinstead.

Julie Whiting opened the scoring for the visitors on 22 minutes to give them the advantage at the break, only for Alexandra Malzer to equalise five minutes into the second half.

However, Bowdon were not to be denied their third victory of the season, Rosie Bailey converting a penalty corner 11 minutes from time to secure the points.

Bottom club Canterbury are now unbeaten in four games after they came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw at home to Leicester.

Rachel Mack put the visitors ahead after a quarter of an hour, but Sarah Kerly’s fourth of the season ensured the points were shared.

Investec Conference East

Sevenoaks moved level on points with leaders Hampstead & Westminster in the Investec Conference East after a 5-1 victory at Barnes.

Sally Sime had put the hosts ahead but two goals apiece from Maddie Thompson and Cathy Gilliat-Smith, along with one from Katherine van Woerkom, gave the visitors the points.

Hampstead’s home game against Bedford was called off, but they remain top on goal difference with a perfect nine wins from nine so far this term.

The conference’s leading scorers Wimbledon recorded a comfortable 6-0 win at Southgate to remain three points off the pace, Crista Cullen scoring a hat trick to take her total to 15 for the campaign.

Meanwhile, Cambridge made it four unbeaten after a 3-0 win over lowly Chelmsford, whilst St Albans secured a much needed three points in a 2-0 win at home to Harleston Magpies.

Investec Conference North

Beeston go into the winter break top of the pile in the Investec Conference North, a 3-0 victory over Fylde seeing the leaders to their 10th straight victory.

Sophie Robinson and Caroline Hulme put the hosts two up after just 11 minutes, with Nina Apoola’s second half strike sealing the victory.

Second place Brooklands Poynton remain six points behind the leaders after a 1-0 win at the University of Durham, Annie Mills’ eighth of the season the games’ only goal.

Ben Rhydding won 3-2 at Loughborough Students, Kelly Baxter with the winner after the hosts had fought back from two down.

Elsewhere, Jane Sixsmith and Bethan Merriman were again on the scoresheet in Sutton Coldfield’s 5-1 win over Wakefield, whilst Timperley gave themselves some breathing room at the bottom of the table after a crucial 2-1 win at Liverpool Sefton.

Investec Conference West

First clashed with second in the Investec Conference West as leaders Trojans entertained Reading and it was the hosts that ran out victors by an unexpected 4-0 margin.

Trojans struck twice in each half with Jill Tombs, Lauren Anning, Jenny Peebles and Hannah Leigh all on target.

The result allowed Stourport to move up to second after they beat Cannock 4-1. Sarah Parkinson-Mills was quick out the blocks, scoring from penalty corners in the sixth and seventh minutes. Further goals from Lora Symonds and Sarah Cavendish saw them over the line.

Team Bath Buccaneers claimed only their second point of the season in a 1-1 draw with Oxford Hawks whilst the game between Swansea City and Isca also ended 1-1.

The other game of the day between Olton & West Warwickshire and Gloucester City ended 2-2, Gloucester coming back from two down at the break.

England Hockey Board Media release

Mixed fortunes for defending champs at soggy start to PHL

A good dose of sibling rivalry was just the thing to inspire Amkelwe Letuka to his first ever goal for the Drakensberg Dragons as South Africa's Premier Hockey League kicked off in a rain-soaked Johannesburg today.

Playing against his twin brother, Onke, Letuka’s was the second of four goals that his side scored against last year’s runners up – the Addo Elephants.

It was an impressive result for the team that finished bottom of the pile last year and came via two successful penalty corners and two field goals.

“We were expecting a good result because this team is a really good team. But we didn’t expect 4-0,” admitted Letuka afterwards.

“It was pretty tough – and even tougher when you’re playing against your brother as a defender. I won the battle today so I’m pretty chuffed with that. I’m very happy – it was pretty good goal.”

The other goals came from Gareth Heyns, Dylan Swanepoel and Nqobile Ntuli, whose brother Sihle coaches the team. “It was a much tougher game than the result suggests. 4-0 is a very flattering result but for our first game, we’re very happy,” said the coach afterwards.

“We actually spoke about it yesterday. The biggest disappointment last year – if we look at all our games, we actually outplayed our opponents. The stats were in our favour but we just didn’t convert so for us to come away with four goals today is a really good start to our tournament.

“A big thing for us today was to not concede – that’s a very good sign for us. The Elephants team have some good players up front so it was a great defensive effort,” added Ntuli, whose side were lucky to avoid the worst of the rain that was to follow.

The next couple of matches were badly affected by downpours. Defending women’s champions, the Blyde River Bunters, managed to get in 30 minutes against the SA under-21 team, playing as the Namaqualand Daisies, before the pitch became too water-logged.

The Bunters were 1-0 up at the time, thanks to an early penalty corner goal from Elmien Marais. But that counted for nothing as the match eventually had to be decided in a shootout, starting back at 0-0. Much to the 2016 winners’ relief, they maintained the upper hand and won the shootout 2-1.

“With the weather turning as it is, being 1-0 up and it becoming more and more difficult, to have to go to a shootout was a little bit disappointing but that’s the rules,” explained Bunters coach Lindsey Wright afterwards. “And it was good experience to get the shootout under our belts and to show good character to be able to hang in there and grab the three points.”

Asked if she was happy with the team’s performance in the half they did manage to play, Wright said: “Not totally. The conditions were difficult to play flowing hockey. There were a couple of concepts that they did very well though.

“We’ve just got to do a few tweaks and I’m happy that we can do that before tomorrow’s game. So I have all the confidence in the world that they will get better as the tournament progresses,” said Wright, adding that she hoped national star player Celia Evans would have recovered from illness to rejoin the team by next weekend.

The men’s defending champions, the Maropeng Cavemen, were also scheduled to be in action on the opening day. But no regular play was possible due to the persistent rain and their match against the Garden Route Gazelles was also reduced to a shootout – which last year’s bronze medallists won 2-1.

The storm clouds cleared just enough for the last two matches of the day to be completed, albeit in unseasonably chilly conditions. The St Lucia Lakers pulled off a comfortable 4-1 victory over the Orange River Rafters. Tiffany Jones and Bianca Wood scored in the opening quarter to give the Lakers a 2-0 lead going into the first break. Lerato Mahlangu pulled one back for the Rafters in the 35th minute, and while her side thought that they had managed to draw level not long after, the goal was disallowed on referral.

The Lakers’ Ayanga Baleni then found the back of the net in the 59th minute for the 3-1 lead, with Pollert Mashau slotting in the last goal of the game with less than 10 seconds on the clock.

It was then the Mapungubwe Mambas who secured a massive victory in the final match of the day, beating the SA men’s under 21 team, the Golden Gate Gladiators, by a margin of 6-1, which included a hat-trick from Jarryd Jones.


25 November 2017:

Pro-Grip Drakensberg Dragons 4-0 Kilimanjaro Addo Elephants
Tivoli Blyde River Bunters 2-1 (shootout) iWYZE Namaqualand Daisies
Garden Route Gazelles 2-1 (shootout) Crossroads Maropeng Cavemen
Private Property St Lucia Lakers 4-1 Orange River Rafters
Mapungubwe Mambas 6-1 iWYZE Golden Gate Gladiators


Sunday, 26 Novembers 2017:

8am: Top T Madikwe Rangers v Wineland Wings
10am: Crossroads Maropeng Cavemen v Kilimanjaro Addo Elephants
12pm: iWYZE Namaqualand Daisies v Orange River Rafters
2pm: Pro-Grip Drakensberg Dragons v iWYZE Golden Gate Gladiators
4pm: Private Property St Lucia Lakers v Tivoli Blyde River Bunters

SA Hockey Association media release

Pahang set to retain Razak Cup title

By S. Ramaguru

Too close for comfort: Pahang’s Siti Shaidaha trying to get away from an Indonesian player during the group match at the KL Hockey Stadium last Monday.

KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions Pahang are set to lift their second consecutive women’s Razak Cup title when they meet Selangor in the final today.

Pahang, with nine national players, have been a cut above the rest in the competition.

They qualified for the final unbeaten and have scored 17 goals and conceded just one. Their opponents Selangor have scored 11 goals and let in five.

Can Selangor overcome the odds and win their maiden title at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium?

Selangor skipper Raja Norsharina Raja Shahbuddin believes they can.

“We are the underdogs and there is no pressure. There’s no doubt Pahang are the strongest side based on their line-up,” said the national senior team midfielder.

“We must remain cohesive, positive and play as a unit. And we have been playing well too. The pressure is certainly on them as defending champions,” she added.

Pahang reached the final following a 2-0 victory over 2016 runners-up Armed Forces while Selangor edged Kuala Lumpur 3-2 in the semis.

Unlike Pahang, who enjoyed an unbeaten run in Group A, Selangor got off their group matches with a 1-1 draw against Melaka, defeated Armed Forces 2-1 and crushed Johor 5-1 to finish top of Group B on seven points.

Selangor coach Ikmal Abdul Jabar wants his payers to produce the same kind of performance against Kuala Lumpur in the final.

“We are aware of Pahang’s strength. They are a complete side right from the goalkeeper to the forward line.

“I might make some changes and adopt a different strategy to neutralise them,” added Ikmal.

His counterpart, Benedict Arrais, said they will not take Selangor for granted.

“We respect all teams in the tournament. Selangor are a tough opposition and there is always a chance their players will rise to the ocassion since this is the final.

“Our plus point is our goal scoring and defensive play. I just hope the team will play much better than they did against Armed Forces.

“They did show some urgency but their finishing were poor,” said Arrais.

The Star of Malaysia

Kenya Police juggernaut rolls on


Kenya Police's Amos Barkibir (left) celebrates his goal with Calvins Kanu during their Kenya Hockey Union men's Premier League match against Parkroad Badgers on November 19, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | 

Kenya Police maintained their unbetean run in this season's Kenya Hockey Union men's Premier League after a 1-0 win over USIU on Saturday at the City Park Stadium, Nairobi.

Captain Oliver Echenje's 36th minute strike settled the tight contest, moving the law enforcers to 61 points, 15 ahead of second placed Greensharks who are not in action this weekend.

Police, who are seeking to reclaim the title they won in 2013, are now three wins away from clinching the crown.

In another men's top flight match, two goals in the last 10 minutes helped Chase Sailors beat former champions Sikh Union Nairobi 2-1.

Nixon Amadi and Douglas Nyerere struck in the space of two minutes to give the Sailors a 2-0 lead with nine minutes left. Sikh pulled a goal back three minutes from time through the legendary Inderjit ‘Cooly’ Matharu but were unable to complete the comeback as the bankers held on for the three points.

The win moved Sailors two places up to eighth and they now have 25 points, seven points clear of the relegation zone. Sailors coach William Oketch praised his charges for their fighting spirit.

“We improved as the match went on and the two goals in the last quarter were the turning point. Two more wins will guarantee our safety in the league this season,” the former Kenya international said.

The result left Sikh in sixth place with 31 points from 21 matches.

In men’s National League, Impala improved their chances of securing promotion to next season’s top-flight league after securing a 3-0 win over Gorilla at the same venue.

A brace from Kelvin Ronoh and a further goal from Peter Cajetan gave the Ngong Road-based side the three points. The win took Impala to second place in pool A with 27 points, three behind leaders Wazalendo Masters.

The winners from the two pools in the second-tier league will earn promotion to next season’s top flight, and Impala’s win saw them improve their chances of clinching top spot.

Impala have two matches left this season against Daystar and Mvita and will be hoping to win both and hope the leaders’ drop points in their final two matches.

Impala coach Amai Olubayi is hoping that this will be their year after narrowly missing out on promotion this season.

“We have been here before and this time we hope things will go according to plan and our dream of playing in the Premier League becomes a reality.

“We just need to keep grinding out wins in the last two matches and hope that our opponents drop points,” the coach said.

Gorilla had kept out their opponents in the opening three quarters before their defence was finally breached in the 43rd minute as Ronoh’s sliced shot sailed past Gorrila keeper Fulgence Ondoro.

Impala doubled their lead in the last seven minutes as Ronoh was again made space for himself before sounding the boards.

They made the points safe in the last five minutes through another field goal.  In the women’s Premier League, University of Nairobi played out a 1-1 draw with Multimedia University.

Daily Nation

McCann’s Mannheimer HC facing perfect EHL KO16 opponent

©: Dirk Markgraf

Mannheimer HC coach Michael McCann says facing the EHL KO16 hosts HC Rotterdam is the “perfect opponent for us” as they look forward to build on last year’s run to the KO8.

“We think it's the perfect opponent for us,” he said this week. “We play in the EHL to play against the best teams in Europe on the biggest stage. There is no bigger opponent in the KO16 than Rotterdam at home.

“We are all about development, and we want to be better than we were last year in the EHL. This will be another opportunity for us to collect the experience we need to be better in the future.”

Focusing on the tie, McCann – who coached the club to the German title last season – added: “We will have to bring our A-Game. Anything else will not be enough. We need to bring the typical German defense that we are renowned for.

“With the introduction of the double field goal, this will be a huge advantage for the Dutch teams and we need to make sure that we limit field goal opportunities.

“We also expect that the crowd will also be a factor, so we will have to do our best to keep them quiet by controlling the tempo of the game and not get frustrated and caught up in the emotion in crucial parts of the match. We must also continue to play our MHC style regardless of the score or situation.”

Mannheim finished the first half of the German outdoor season in second place with seven wins and two draw out of 11 games, sitting two points off leaders Rot-Weiss Köln and comfortably in the playoff places.

“We are extremely happy with the first half of the season. After winning the championship last year, we had many changes in the team due to careers ending or relocation and have been re-establishing ourselves in the top tier of the Bundesliga.

“This has also given us opportunity to develop many of our younger or more in-experienced players with valuable match practice. With the return of Felix Schües [uni in USA] for the second half of the season, we can expect more dynamic offensive focus that will also assist us well in the EHL in Rotterdam.”

Euro Hockey League media release

PHF to conduct open trials for provincial teams

LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), for the first time, has decided to conduct open trials, to be supervised by the national selection committee, in all the four provinces to select the respective teams for the forthcoming National Championships in Sukhur starting from Dec 15.

It is the first time that the PHF is conducting the trials of its affiliated provincial bodies through its own selectors. In the past, every provincial hockey association had to pick up its team through their own selectors.

The decision also shows that the PHF has little confidence on the abilities of the provincial bodies in picking up the teams.

The PHF has also issued the schedule of the trials, according to which the trials for Sindh will be held on Nov 25 and 26 at Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium, for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Nov 29 and 30 in Mardan, for Punjab on Dec 3 and 4 at Lahore`s Johar Town Hockey Stadium and for Balochistan at Quetta’s General Musa Hockey Stadium on Dec 8.

The national selection committee headed by former great Olympian Hasan Sardar will select the players. However, the provincial hockey associations are allowed to appoint the team’s officials: manager, coach for their teams.

The Daily Times

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