All the news for Thursday 30 November 2017
Belgium Overcome Ireland As Evans Earns 150th Cap
Ireland lost 4-2 to Belgium in the second of four games in the 3 Nations at a very wet Alcala earlier today. A scoreless first quarter in which both sides created chances but defences held strong. Belgium took the lead in the 17th minute from their second PC of the game, the initial shot saved by captain for the day Yvonne O’Byrne but the rebound was slapped home by Alix Gerniers. Ireland were countering well and forced their first PC of the game after good work by Deirdre Duke but due to surface water impacting the push out the shot was saved. Belgium created a couple of chances of their own but the Irish defence, which included Leah McGuire who stepped into the squad following a late injury to Ellen Curran, cleared any danger with Emma Buckley saving well from close range on the half time hooter.
Duke was again to the fore early in the 3rd quarter winning PC no. 2 and a lovely combination between Zoe Wilson and Elena Tice took a deflection and looped over the keeper for the equaliser in the 34th minute. Ireland were now on the front food with Chloe Brown, who was earning her 50th cap today, combined well with Jessica McMaster whose shot was tipped over the crossbar by the Belgian keeper. A great finish by Nikki Evans in the 43rd minute with her reverse shot from an acute angle found the backboard and gave Ireland a 2-1 lead. It was the strikers 35th goal for her country on her 150th cap a great milestone. The lead was short lived as two minutes later from a PC Belgium drew level with Joanne Peeters dragging mid high to the keepers right.
Three minutes into the final quarter Belgium went back in the lead following a debatable PC this time Stephanie Vanden Borre credited with the goal and very quickly their lead was doubled
Louise Versavel scoring. Ireland pushed forward but Belgium held out for a 4-2 victory.
Ireland next play on Friday 1st December against Spain at 11:45am (local time).
Belgium 4 (Alix Gerniers, Joanne Peeters, Stephanie Vanden Borre, Louise Versavel)
Ireland 2 (Lena Tice, Nicola Evans)
Squad: E Buckley, J McMaster, Y O’Byrne (Capt), , N Evans, N Carroll, C Watkins, L Colvin, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson, D Duke, L McGuire
Subs: C Brown, E Getty, E Tice, S Torrans, E Russell, A Meeke
3 Nations Fixtures at Club Hockey Alcalá:
Ireland 2vs4 Spain 28/11/17 11:45am
Ireland 2vs4 Belgium 29/11/17 11:45am
Spain vs Belgium 30/11/17 11:45am
Ireland vs Spain 1/12/17 11:45am
Ireland vs Belgium 2/12/17 11:45am
Spain vs Belgium 3/12/17 11:45am
*All times listed are local
Irish Hockey Association media release
Back-to-back 4-2 defeats for Ireland in Alcala
Ireland's women started their final series of international matches for 2017 with two close run defeats against Spain and Belgium in Alcala with Nikki Evans reaching her 150th cap and Leah McGuire returning after five years
International Olive Oil Women’s Three Nations tournament (Alcala, Spain)
Tuesday: Spain 4 (G Oliva 2, A Magaz, C Ycart) Ireland 2 (E Russell 2)
Ireland’s women lost the first of their four games in southern Spain this week in their final warm-weather training camp of a productive 2017, falling to the hosts 4-2.
Cork Harlequins’ Rebecca Barry clipped the post early on before Spain hit the front in the eighth minute via Alicia Magaz at the back post.
Emma Russell equalised on her backhand after Anna O’Flanagan – on her return to the side having missed last month’s series against Scotland – had stolen possession.
Along with O’Flanagan, the vastly experienced Chloe Watkins and Nikki Evans were available again following European club commitments with Lizzie Colvin also coming back in, combining in a team that featured six teenagers.
Gigi Oliva and Clara Ycart, however, stretched the lead out to 3-1 at half-time. Oliva fired home a fourth goal in the second half to extend the advantage.
Russell got a second back for Ireland from Evans and Lena Tice’s approach work while Deirdre Duke had another effort disallowed in the closing stages.
Ireland: G O’Flanagan, J McMaster, Y O’Byrne, N Evans, N Carroll, H McLoughlin, C Watkins (Captain), L Colvin, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson, D Duke
Subs: E Buckley, C Brown, E Getty, E Tice, E Russell, A Meeke, R Barry
Wednesday: Belgium 4 (A Gerniers, J Peeters, S van den Borre, L Versavel) Ireland 2 (L Tice, N Evans)
Nikki Evans scored on her 150th appearance for Ireland but was not able to stop Ireland falling to a second successive 4-2 defeat during their International Olive Oil Three Nations tournament in Alcala in southern Spain.
Alix Gerniers gave Spain the lead from a penalty corner rebound for a 1-0 half-time lead for Belgium. Ireland fought back in the second half and went ahead when Lena Tice deflected in an equaliser before Evans shot home from an acute angle in the 43rd minute.
The European silver medalists, however, struck three times in the last 15 minutes courtesy of Joanne Peeters, Stephanie Van den Borre and Louise Versavel.
It was a much-changed Ireland side from the week’s first date against Spain with Leah McGuire – née Ewart – making her first appearance for the side since her three caps against Wales in 2012. She came in as a late replacement for the injured Ellen Curran for this tour while Chloe Brown had a lively game in her 50th international cap.
Ireland face Spain for a second time this week on Friday before facing the Belgians again on Saturday.
Ireland: E Buckley, J McMaster, Y O’Byrne (captain), N Evans, N Carroll, C Watkins, L Colvin, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson, D Duke, L McGuire
Subs: C Brown, E Getty, E Tice, S Torrans, E Russell, A Meeke
Meet the teams: players to watch at the 2017 Odisha Men's Hockey World League Final
With the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final, Bhubaneswar, about to burst into 10 days of high tempo sporting action, we take a look at the eight teams taking part and the players who will be stealing the show at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India.
Argentina come to the Hockey World League Final looking to improve upon their fifth place finish in this event two years ago. Then the team was ranked sixth in the world but an Olympic Gold medal in 2016 and gold at the 2017 Pan Am Cup means Argentina now occupy the number one spot and will hope to solidify that. They are a team bristling with talent, but the one to watch is a relative newcomer to Los Leones – Maico Casella. The striker is pacey, tricky and has an unerring sense of where the goal is. He starred at the Junior Hockey World Cup in 2016 and has now sealed his place in the senior squad.
Australia are on the hunt for their world number one status, a position they lost on the back of an appalling Olympic Games in Rio, where they finished sixth. A third place at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg was followed by a comprehensive retention of the Oceania Cup at the expense of New Zealand, but this is a team that is now in search of more major global medals. There are some big names and some big reputations in the Kookaburra’s squad, not least their ever-green captain Mark Knowles. One player who always catches the eye with his razor sharp reactions and intelligent play is Jake Whetton – a tricky forward whose darting movements will keep defenders on their toes.
Belgium are on an ever-upwards trajectory. They are currently ranked three in the FIH Hero World Rankings following a win at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg and silver at the Rabo EuroHockey Championships. With attack-minded players such as Sebastien Dockier and Tom Boon in their ranks, the Red Lions are always going threaten the opposition’s goal but the presence of 2016 Rising Star Arthur van Doren in defence means they are also composed and difficult to break down in their own circle.
England have two third place finishes to their name this year, winning bronze at the Rabo EuroHockey Championships just a few weeks after they won the same colour medal at the Hero Hockey World League Semi-Final on home turf in London. This is already an improvement on a string of fourth place finishes in recent years and this new crop of players has enormous potential to become regulars on the podium. Liam Ansell, James Gall and James Albery are all exciting new names on the team sheet but, at 397 caps (combined England and Great Britain), in Barry Middleton, there is little doubt where the experience in the side will be coming from. England’s danger player upfront is the bustling forward Sam Ward, who seems able to conjour shots from seemingly impossible angles.
Germany are always in the frame when it comes to major tournaments and expect it to be no different in Bhubaneswar. That said, a fourth place finish at the Rabo EuroHockey Championships was well below the standard that head coach Stefan Kermas would be looking for. Their second place finish at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg is a far better indicator of what this team can do. The squad has experience and composure in the form of Tobias Hauke, Martin Zwicker, Martin Haner and Florian Fuchs but, for many spectators, the two standout stars of this team are the creative midfielder Mats Grambusch and the sharp-shooting Christopher Ruhr.
As host nation, India will have the hopes of thousands of hockey fans on their shoulders but it is a pressure under which the team thrives. India on home soil is both a joy to watch and a difficult team to beat. India won the Asia Cup earlier this year, the first time since 2007, and the team, led by Dutchman Sjoerd Marine, will be hoping to end the year on a high point. Harmanpreet Singh is one of a number of young India players who are taking on responsibility for the future success of this hockey-loving nation. He was integral to India’s victory at the Uttar Pradesh Hockey Junior World Cup in 2016 and was joint top scorer at the Asia Cup in 2017.
On current form, Netherlands will be one of the early favourites for the title in Bhubaneswar. The men in orange finished first at the Hero Hockey World League in London, then a few weeks later they beat Belgium in the finals of the Rabo EuroHockey Championships. Head coach Max Caldas has a glittering array of talent at his disposal, from the veterans of the team such as Mink van der Warden and Robbert Kemperman, through to young stars such as Thierry Brinkmann and Joep de Mol. One man who has become a superstar within a team of stars is the hot-shot striker Mirco Pruijser who regularly tops the leading goal scorer tables at major internationals.
Spain finished fourth in the Hockey World League Final in Johannesburg and there are all the signs that the Red Sticks, under head coach Frederic Soyez, are in the hunt for medals after a few years in the wilderness. There last major international medal was silver at the Beijing Olympics and one of that Olympic squad, Sergi Enrique, will be instrumental in pushing Spain to a podium finish here in Bhubaneswar. The experienced defender, who is Spain’s most capped player, is a classy defender who can play the role of creative midfielder when required. Along with Pau Quemada, Miguel Delas and ‘keeper Quico Cortes, Spain have a wealth of experience to call upon.
Kookaburras Set For World League Final Title Defence
The Kookaburras will begin their FIH Men’s World League Final title defence on Saturday morning AEDT in Bhubaneswar live on Fox Sports.
World number two Australia are grouped in Pool B alongside hosts India, Germany and England, with 2016 Olympic gold medallists Argentina and silver medallists Belgium along with the Netherlands and Spain in Pool A.
Australia will begin their campaign at 1am AEDT Saturday 2 December against India.
Every Kookaburras’ match during the event, which runs from December 1-10, will be televised live on Fox Sports. Each match will be live tweeted at @Kookaburras too.
Kookaburras head coach Colin Batch said in the lead-up: “It’s no different to any other tournament where we go to perform to our best.
“We’re also assessing players in their capacity to play against the other top nations in the world.
“We always go out there to win every game we play, so nothing changes.”
Australia were forced into two late changes to the 18-member team due to injury, with Tom Craig and Ben Craig withdrawn and Jake Harvie and debutant Lachlan Sharp added.
The World League Final will be Australia’s final tournament of 2017 ahead of a big year where the Kookaburras will compete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2018 World Cup.
Australia’s Pool B fixtures:
Australia v India – Saturday 2 December 1am AEDT
Australia v Germany – Saturday 2 December 11pm AEDT
Australia v England – Monday 4 December 11pm AEDT
Kookaburras team for World League Final:
Athlete (City, State)
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD)
Tristan Clemons (Bunbury, WA)
Matthew Dawson (Killarney Vale, NSW)
Jeremy Edwards (Hobart, TAS)
Blake Govers (Wollongong, NSW)
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT)
Jake Harvie (Dardanup, WA)
Aaron Kleinschmidt (Melbourne, VIC)
Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD)
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA)
Edward Ockenden (Hobart, TAS)
Lachlan Sharp (Lithgow, NSW)
Matthew Swann (Mackay, QLD)
Jacob Whetton (Brisbane, QLD)
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW)
Tom Wickham (Morgan, SA) *Plays for WA
Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah, NSW) *Plays for QLD
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA)
Hockey Australia media release
Shin Kyo: Academy is answer to Asia hockey revival
Bhubaneswar: As a player, Shin Seok-kyu had given India a run for victory on the hockey battlefield; years later as a coach he longs to do the same but things are different now. South Korea failed to make a cut for the Hockey World League Finals which starts from December 1 and the Hockey World Cup next year. But the team wants to come up and is working hard to regroup, reassess and reassert. His team comprising 20 players are in Bhubaneswar to sweat out hard for the next year Jakarta Asian Games.
In an exclusive chat with stick2hockey, the coach spoke on what is going wrong with Asian hockey.
“It is a sad state of affairs for Asia Hockey. When I used to play Sohail Abbas from Pakistan would often tell me that we as Asians should feel proud of our skills and take it at par with the world level. Perhaps, only after becoming the coach of the Korea national team, I realised why he directed this statement to me,” Shin Seok-kyu says.
“It is indeed sad that none of the Asian teams are participating in the Hockey World League Finals. Though India will be playing, it is only because they are the host country. Whichever stage you see, Asia hockey is nowhere to be seen – be it Olympics or any big tournament. It is sad.” Though Shin believes India is currently the stronger team among the Asian lot, much has still to be done to be at par with the European teams.
“When I used to play, India was fairly good in individual game. Now the individual tactics is same, but as a team, they have improved. They are very successful inside the D. During the Asia Cup, we had a tough time thinking how to beat India. We were looking when they would make mistakes, giving us an advantage. But we did manage to score against them in the dying minutes,” Shin said.
The coach, who is known for his unique coaching style, believes, the trick to come at par with the European nations will only be possible if an Asian Academy opens up.
“An academy exclusively for Asian teams is the solution. There needs to be an academy where the coaches need to communicate with one another on the tactics and pass on the training methods to each other. Once that happens, we would come at par with the European countries in ten-year time.”
Lakra raring to go after a tough period
Appreciative of support given during rehabilitation period
Birendra Lakra back in action. Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout
In February 2016, Birendra Lakra crashed during a Hockey India League game and hurt his knee. In March, he underwent surgery. On Friday, he would take to the field against World champion Australia in India’s opening game of the Hockey World League Finals, almost two years since that injury.
It had turned out to be a ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) — an injury that is fairly common among elite sportspersons but one of the toughest to come back from and requiring loads of rehabilitation and recovery.
Another freak injury in the same knee only delayed the return. In between, he was tried out at a six-nation test event before Rio Olympics and the Asian Champions Trophy after but neither inspired enough confidence among the management to cement his comeback.
The 26-year old admits it was a tough period. “These were very tough one-and-a-half years. After any injury, negative thoughts are common, there are lots of things that go through your mind, lots of things happen. It was not impossible but it wasn’t easy either.
“The biggest factor in my recovery was the support from Hockey India, the staff and entire team and my family. I was determined to come back,” Lakra told The Hindu here on Tuesday that saw the coach use him optimally on field and express satisfaction at the end of it.
He credits the federation for not leaving him by the wayside in this period. “If I had had time to think about it or stay alone away from the game, things might have been different, frustration seeping in and desire lost. But the management did not allow that.
“All through this period I was always included in camps, kept with the team all the time and trained with them. I was not dropped from the side even once and given every support and treatment so it was always in the back of my mind that if I do my best and work hard then I will be back,” he adds.
That doesn’t mean he did not have the low periods. Staying away from the game was not easy for Hockey India’s 2015 Player of the Year. “Injury hai to time to lagega (it will take time to heal). You think you have to start everything all over again, and when that doesn’t happen because your body is not supporting you, it gets irritating.
“You try to do something, it doesn’t happen, it’s frustrating. You start doubting yourself, you watch others practice and keep thinking about your return to play. But everything has to move forward step by step, you cannot just run out on the field. But all that did not break me, it only increased my motivation to work harder on my comeback,” Lakra adds.
He is not glad he did not rush. The long layoff has resulted in his getting to display his wares in front of an adoring home crowd that considers him the biggest hero after Dilip Tirkey.
“It feels good to come back to world level hockey on home ground. As local boys (along with youngsters Amit Rohidas and Dipsan Tirkey) obviously the crowds expect us to do well here. I am preparing myself for the same now, focus on my game, do my best for the team and give the crowds something to cheer,” he signs off.
The future is now, says Rupinder
The experienced drag-flicker returns from injury after nearly six months
Rupinder says his aim is to guide youngsters to get the best out of them. Photo Credit: BiswaranjanRout
Having been out of action for almost six months due to a groin injury, Rupinder Pal Singh is keen to get back. The time off from the field has given the lanky 27-year-old a new perspective to the game’s and his own future.
“Personally, the target now is to improve our performance and every game is important to improve ourselves. I think ab bahut ho gaya ki ‘hum dekhte hain, dekhenge’ (the ‘we will look into it’ attitude has been going on for too long). The future is now. We have to prepare ourself mentally and look at winning every game from here on,” Rupinder told The Hindu after the team’s penultimate practice session before the Hockey World League Finals kicks-off on Friday.
“This is the start of the big tournaments. Individual performance here will count a lot for the next year. My aim is to guide the youngsters, keep them calm on field and get the best out of them. As a team, we will get to know where exactly we stand in the world. We look to make each other better. I am playing with this group and under the new coach for the first time. There is not much change in strategy. We are trying new combinations and everything depends on player understanding, we need to work a lot on it,” he added.
His own fitness has been a concern, but the lanky 27-year-old admits the doubting phase is over. “Overall it is fine, but there is still the need for a lot of improvement,” he admitted. “The training I did before this and now after coming here with the team has been good. Earlier, there was a bit of hesitance in terms of the load I put on my body and doubts of the pain recurring if I did too much. But now there is no pressure psychologically,” he said.
The fact that he would team up with Birendra Lakra in the defence, here at the Hockey World League Finals, after almost two years, has also excited the experienced drag-flicker. “Biru and I started around the same time so it feels good to be back together on the ground. There are a lot of youngsters also and we have to talk to them a lot more to get the entire structure bang on. But, things are falling into place,” Rupinder signed off.
Rupinder returns, more as defender, less as drag-flicker
Rupinder Singh discusses strategies with his teammates during a practice session on Wednesday. HI
Bhubaneswar: Rupinder Pal Singh clapped a couple of times and then shouted, “come on, guys”, urging his teammates to finish the practice session. The players started post-training stretching and inadvertently formed a rough circle around Rupinder. Captain Manpreet Singh recounted an old incident about Rupinder and said: “Back then I was a kid while you were already a star.” The comment was meant to be a joke, but there is no denying that Rupinder has been one of Indian hockey’s biggest stars in the last few years. Indian fans love goal-scorers, and no one scores more than a drag-flicker. Rupinder has been India’s main penalty-corner specialist for many years now.
On Wednesday, the 6ft 4in tall defender’s commanding presence on the field was undeniable. However, the other players didn’t see him as a star, they saw him as a leader. For the first time in his career, Rupinder’s importance in the team will not be gauged by his penalty corner prowess.
The 27-year-old, along with Birendra Lakra, will be leading a young and inexperienced defence in the Hockey World League Final, starting on Friday. India’s defence includes Harmanpreet Singh (48 international caps), Varun Kumar (12) and Dipsan Tirkey (12). “At his best, he is a top-class defender,” said David John, High Performance Director. “And for this team, his experience is crucial.”
No drag-flicking for 6 months
However, the Australian sounded hesitant when asked if Rupinder would be able to handle the added responsibility. Especially, as he is coming back from a 6-month injury layoff. “This is a fresh start for me. I am playing after a while and my intent is to bring a lot of energy on to the field,” said Rupinder, who will be playing his first tournament since May’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
John, who oversaw Rupinder’s recovery, explained the process and time it took to get the dragflicker to playing hockey. “He had a groin injury. It was a fatigue injury, which he picked up over a long period,” he said.
“The first thing we had to identify was whether it was caused due to a wrong posture or was it strength imbalance in his legs. But that wasn’t the case,” he added.
“We found out that his core was weak and because of bending low while drag-flicking, he picked up the injury. We didn’t want to change his drag-flicking technique, so the only other cure was absolute rest. We patiently worked on building his core strength, especially in the surrounding muscles.”
For Rupinder, it was a frustrating time, considering the injury was caused by his main passion – drag-flicking. “But he understood that rest was the only way. He had been playing continuously for two years,” said John.
“However, he was worried about how long the recovery would take. Every time we tried to bring him back, he felt soreness in the groin after training.”
Not India’s main weapon
That is the reason why Rupinder will not be India’s main drag-flicker at the tournament. “We are putting no pressure on him to drag-flick. We have many other options. Maybe he can share the responsibility with Harmanpreet,” said John.
In India’s practice game against Argentina, Rupinder scored one goal while one of his attempt was saved. “It means he is getting comfortable and regaining his confidence. But we are not putting any pressure on him,” John added. Rupinder is not troubled by the prospect of not being the team’s first-choice drag-flicker, saying he understood the importance of defence. “Defence is my top priority. In our practice match against England (1-1), we couldn’t get penalty corners. I believe that defence wins matches,” Rupinder said.
It’s not just as a defender that Rupinder could prove crucial for the team. At a time when John and coach Sjoerd Marijne are pushing for a more player-oriented team atmosphere, the senior player’s tactical inputs would be priceless, the Australian believes.
Rupinder, who could be seen getting actively involved in discussing team strategy during the training session, said he had grown as a player. “I learnt new things during this injury period. The biggest change is how I observe and read a match. I want to bring positive energy into the game and communicate more at the back. I have waited for this moment patiently and I want to do well,” Rupinder said.
Defence is my top priority, says Rupinder Pal Singh
BHUBANESWAR: Back in national colours after recovering from an injury, dragflick specialist Rupinder Pal Singh said defence will be his top priority as he looks to make a fresh start during India's campaign at the Hockey World League Final.
It was a hamstring injury in his right leg that kept him out of action for nearly six months and now that the anxious wait is over, Rupinder is looking to bring a lot of positive energy to the team.
"This is a fresh start for me. I am playing after a while and my intent is to bring a lot of energy on the field," said Rupinder, who had scored two goals through a penalty corner and a penalty stroke against Olympic Champions Argentina in India's first warm-up game.
"I have learnt new things during this injury period and one of the biggest changes is how I perceive a match.
"I want to bring a positive energy into the game and have an attitude that makes you stand firm against the opponent, communicate more at the back. I have waited for this moment very patiently and I am eager to do well here."
In the match against England, the team drew 1-1 with India's defence constantly pressing in England's 15-yard mark, making it difficult for them to enter the circle.
Rupinder said: "Personally, defence is my top priority because if you saw our practice match against England, we couldn't get PCs.
"My belief is that defence wins matches and it's not that just defenders need to protect our goal post, it is the entire 11 who need to ensure we don't concede and that's exactly what we are focused on."
On India's arrival here, chief coach Sjoerd Marijne emphasized on the importance of warm-up matches specifically for Birendra Lakra and Rupinder who are coming back into the team after a long lay-off.
Rupinder said the two matches against Argentina and England has put the team in competition-mode.
"Physically and mentally it's important to feel the momentum of the tournament and the competition. There are small areas where we think we can improve before going into our first match against Australia," he added.
Apart from his own role as dragflicker and defender, Rupinder also plays the role of a mentor guiding youngsters such as Varun Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Dipsan Tirkey and Amit Rohidas in the backline.
"They know their role well and execute them to perfection but as a senior I motivate them to get the best out of them and they too keep me in high spirit," he said.
On December 1, India will take on defending champions Australia in their first Pool B match.
The Times of India
Hockey WC logo unveiled
Countdown begins: India’s Amit Rohidas, Birendra Lakra and Dipsan Tirkey pose next to Olly the mascot for the men’s hockey World Cup 2018. Photo Credit: BiswaranjanRout
With two days to go for the Hockey World League Finals, the Odisha Government on Wednesday unveiled the logo and the one-year countdown for the next big-ticket event in the sport here — the 2018 World Cup.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also gave away cash awards worth ₹76.75 lakh to 59 State sportspersons for their achievements across various sports and competitions.
The largest chunk of that went to hockey players — two men and five women — who were part of the victorious Asia Cup campaigns.
Dipsan Tirkey, Amit Rohidas, Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz, Sunita Lakra and Rashmita Minz each received ₹7.5 lakh at the ceremony that also saw 25 para and special athletes being recognised.
Men’s Four Nations to heat up Kiwi summer
Photo: Planet Hockey
Some of the world’s best hockey teams will hit our shores this summer for the Men’s Four Nations in Tauranga and Hamilton.
The Vantage Black Sticks Men are set to host Olympic silver medallists Belgium (world ranking 3rd), India (6th) and Japan (16th) in a quad series from 17-28 January.
Split across two separate five-day series, Blake Park in Tauranga hosts the action from 17-21 January before teams head to Gallagher Hockey Centre in Hamilton from 24-28 January.
The Kiwis will be looking to start 2018 off with a bang as they begin their build-up for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in April.
New Zealand last played Belgium and Japan at the Hockey World League Semi Finals in Johannesburg where they recorded a 2-0 defeat and 3-1 victory respectively.
The Black Sticks will also be looking for revenge against India who came away with a 4-0 win in their last clash at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup earlier this year.
Tickets for all days of the 2018 Men’s Four Nations are on sale now and start from just $5 through www.dashtickets.co.nz
The 2018 Men’s Four Nations is proudly supported by Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust (TECT), Tauranga City Council and Hamilton City Council.
CLICK HERE to buy tickets now
2018 MEN’S FOUR NATIONS – MATCH SCHEDULE
BLAKE PARK, TAURANGA
Wednesday 17th January
5:45pm – India vs Japan
7:30pm – Vantage Black Sticks vs Belgium
Thursday 18th January
5:45pm – India vs Belgium
7:30pm – Vantage Black Sticks vs Japan
Saturday 20th January
12:15pm – Vantage Black Sticks vs India
2:00pm – Belgium vs Japan
Sunday 21st January
12:00pm – Bronze medal match
2:00pm – Gold medal match
GALLAGHER HOCKEY CENTRE, HAMILTON
Wednesday 24th January
5:45pm – India vs Japan
7:30pm – Vantage Black Sticks vs Belgium
Thursday 25th January
5:45pm – India vs Belgium
7:30pm – Vantage Black Sticks vs Japan
Saturday 27th January
12:15pm – Vantage Black Sticks vs India
2:00pm – Belgium vs Japan
Sunday 28th January
2:00pm – Bronze medal match
4:00pm – Gold medal match
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Japan to join hockey tourney
JAPAN is the first team from outside Oceania to compete in the Fiji Invitation Series which is titled this year as the Oceania Challenge Cup.
The tournament will be held from December 9 - 16 at the National Hockey Centre in Suva.
Fiji Hockey Federation president Dr Robin Mitchell said the annual event had grown out of the Oceania Pacific Cup which was held for the first time in 2008.
"The series involved annual competition between men and women's teams representing Australian Country, NZ President's XI and Fiji President's XI teams.
"This year's competition includes for the first time teams from outside the Oceania region and the Japan U21 men's team and U18 women's team will be taking part," he said.
"Fiji will be represented by the men's and women's President's XI and a second women's team composed mainly of U18 representatives who were selected after the secondary school championship in Levuka in August.
"It is expected that representatives from Ba, Lautoka, Ovalau, Nadi and Suva schools will have their first opportunity to take part in high level international competition."
The U18 squad is preparing for the Oceania Qualification Tournament next April to select the two teams to represent Oceania at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires Argentina.
Several U18 players from Ovalau, Ba, Lautoka and Suva have been selected in the Fiji men's President's XI Team announced last Sunday.
Fiji's teams are being coached by Hector Smith (men), Alison Southey (women) and the Fiji Invitation side (women) is being coached by Ana Finau and Marcus Hicks.
Meanwhile, Fiji Hockey had provisionally entered teams in a bid to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast next April 2018. Invitations were sent out early this month to the highest ranked Commonwealth countries.
Fiji's chance of qualifying was dashed yesterday when the all top ranked Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada, England, India, New Zealand, Malaysia, Pakistan and South Africa took part in the bid.
The Fiji Times
Double laurel for Tiruchi college in hockey
Jamal Mohamed College wins men’s and women’s titles
The victorious Jamal Mohamed College men's hockey team.
It was double delight for Jamal Mohamed College and Khajamian Higher Secondary School in the Unified Tiruchi District Hockey (UTDH) league for 2017-18.
Jamal Mohamed College won the men’s and women’s titles, while Khajamian Higher Secondary School emerged the winner in the schools league for boys and kiddies’ league (under-14 boys).
A total of 25 teams participated in the men’s event. The teams were split into four pools and the topper of each pool qualified for the super league. Jamal Mohamed College, Central Zone Police, and Sports Hostel were tied for the top spot, with a win and two draws each, at the end of the super league.
However, Jamal Mohamed College with a superior goal difference was adjudged winner. Central Zone Police finished runner-up.
In the women’s category, Jamal Mohamed College and Kongunadu College of Engineering and Technology finished with four wins and a draw each at the end of the six-team league. But the former with a better goal difference was declared winner.
Meanwhile, R.C. Higher Secondary School finished runner-up in both the schools league and kiddies’ league.
At the valedictory function here recently, A. Mohamed Yunus, chairman, M.I.E.T. Institutions, and M. Renukalakshmi, general secretary, Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu, gave away the prizes in the presence of K. Pari, patron, UTDH.
Real Club de Polo set to represent Spain at the ABN AMRO Junior EHL
Real Club de Polo’s Under-14 boys will be the Spanish representative at the ABN AMRO Junior EHL 2018, qualifying for the second consecutive year.
The Barcelona club won their triangular tournament, played over the last three weekends, ahead of Atlètic Terrassa and Club Egara.
At the Eduardo Dualde, Polo started slowly, losing 2-0 to Atleti in the opening game but a later 2-1 win for Egara against their Terrassa rivals and a 3-1 success for Polo against Egara meant each side had three points on the board after the first weekend.
At the Can Salas, Atlètic moved top with a 2-1 win over Polo and a draw with Egara, moving up to seven points; Polo beat Egara 2-1 to move them onto six points with Egara on four.
Finally, at Pla del Bon Aire, after a 1-1 draw between Atlètic and Egara, it opened the door for Polo to snatch the top spot which they did with a 1-0 win over Atlètic.
Polo join HC Bloemendaal in the ABN AMRO Junior EHL competition with the Dutch club winning their qualifier against SV Kampong and HC Rotterdam.
They will battle it out with representatives from Belgium, Ireland, Germany and England at HC Rotterdam next Easter in the tournament that runs in parallel to the EHL KO16 from March 30 to April 2.
Euro Hockey League media release
USA Field Hockey Renews Partnership with Dita
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Field Hockey is pleased to announce an official partnership renewal with Dita USA, a move that both organizations could not be more excited about.
"Throughout the last year we have been working together to create a partnership that works for both organizations," said Adam Andrasko, USA Field Hockey's Members Services Director. "Thanks to the creativity of the team at Dita USA, we have renewed the partnership and will promote Dita USA in new and exciting ways."
A key part of the agreement is the promotion of the Stick-Matcher program.
"Dita USA's knowledge of our own sticks and their ability to bring out the best performance in each athlete who plays with a Dita, led to the creation of Stick-Matcher," said Sandy Kinnee, Dita USA's Owner. "Stick-Matcher is a tool that correctly matches a player's skill, playing style and experience with the particular stick which will benefit their game and give them optimal performance. U.S. Women's National Team member Kathleen Sharkey found her newest Dita using Stick-Matcher. Ask Kat what she thinks about her Dita Carbo Tec Pro C100. You may also ask Stefanie Fee, Manny Martinez, Amber Youtz, Paula Heimbach and many other elite players who have used Stick-Matcher to find the stick that enhances their Genius Level Hockey."
To showcase the program, Dita USA's partnership with USA Field Hockey includes a sponsor designated Stick Trial Area, which was highlgihted at the 2017 National Hockey Festival and will be at the 2018 Disney Field Hockey Showcase from January 19-21, 2018. The Stick Trial Area provides players with a designated area to test out all stick brands. Additionally, the area will include a dribbling area, Bownet goal, Blockstar shooting target and a radar gun in a safe and enclosed space.
"Dita USA is proud to be a sponsor of USA Field Hockey," added Kinnee. "We love the sport and play the sport. The game is in our hearts."
USA Field Hockey and Dita USA are proud to renew their partnership and are excited for the mutual interest in benefitting members of USA Field Hockey.
About DITA USA:
Dita began making field hockey sticks 126 years ago, in 1891. Dita has always been a field hockey company, from day one. You might call Dita unique, as they have always and only been exclusively dedicated to the sport.
Being involved with hockey all this time, especially at the highest levels, means Dita knows what is ideal, even as technology and tactics evolve, for elite field hockey players.
Dita USA came into being before the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games. Both the U.S. Men's and Women's National Teams played with Dita sticks during the Games. Dita USA has the highest standards of quality, which is seen in the performance of our sticks.
USFHA media release
The hockey players taking on the world's toughest rowing race
For many club hockey players the thought of travelling outside of a 25 mile radius to play at the weekend can be quite a daunting one.
But such a distance is nothing for four Kingsbridge & Salcombe Hockey Club players who are preparing to embark on 3000 mile row when they take part in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge.
Gemma Harvey, Chloe Harvey, Helen Symons and Lou Read make up the ‘Astro to Atlantic’ team set to compete in the race that starts in San Sebastian, Canary Islands in December 2018. In doing so they are hoping to become the fastest all-female crew to reach the finishing point of Nelson’s Harbour English Dockyard in Antigua. The current record stands at 40 days.
Helen and Lou came up with the idea while cycling from John O’Groats to Lands End a couple of years ago and a Prosecco-fuelled text last New Year’s Eve confirmed their decision to enter this non-stop race.
Before long they had recruited cousins Gemma and Chloe to create a quartet with plenty of experience of working together, having been team-mates for over a decade, a factor the latter believes will prove crucial to a successful voyage.
“I believe our hockey experiences together will be a great advantage on the challenge,” competitive CrossFit athlete Chloe said.
“We have played hockey together for 11 years and been through some extreme highs and lows. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses without having to say very much. Our ability to recognise when someone is feeling low and how to boost them on is a huge advantage.
“I personally have had the privilege of captaining our hockey team for the last three years which has taught me a lot in terms of enthusiasm and positivity. I believe our resilience, persistence and grit will serve us well on the Atlantic.”
As a group they are fully aware that this will be possibly the toughest thing they have ever done, a feat much harder than taking on even the toughest of hockey opposition.
It will be physically demanding and mentally draining, something that Lou – who will celebrate her 50th birthday during the row – is already acutely aware of.
She explained: “We will all have our own individual challenges but I think some of the hardest ones will be the sleep deprivation, dealing with prolonged periods of being cold and wet and missing our families and friends back at home.
“But I think inevitably the biggest challenge will be mentally - the monotony of being at sea on what seems like an endless ocean with no other company or entertainment than each other.”
Despite that they are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to row together across the world’s second largest ocean, with Gemma believing their togetherness will spur them on during the toughest of times.
“It is amazing to be able to complete this challenge together. Being able to share that sense of achievement with each other once we’ve made it to the other side will be the best feeling,” the University of Exeter graduate said.
England Hockey Board Media release
Scottish Hockey is sad to announce that after a long battle with illness, Gerry Toner passed away peacefully in hospital on Saturday 25 November 2017.
Gerry was the Honorary Treasurer of the Scottish Hockey Association in 1987, and became the first Treasurer of the Scottish Hockey Union when it was established in 1989. He returned to the role for a third time between 1996 and 1998. Gerry was a Qualified Accountant who was always prepared to provide sound financial advice and planning to Scottish Hockey and a number of clubs.
Gerry had a lifelong involvement with Kelburne Hockey Club, and was one of the few remaining members of Ferguslie Hockey Club, after the club moved to Whitehaugh and became Kelburne Hockey Club in 1969. Gerry was a hugely influential member of the club, fulfilling a range of club roles including President, European Competitions Manager and umpiring, in particular with the Ladies Hockey group, to which he provided valuable support and contribution over a long numbers of years and he will be sorely missed by all Club members.
Gerry was heavily involved with the Scottish LX club and was their travelling umpire for a number of their international tournaments.
We have lost a friend and passionate supporter of Hockey in Scotland, and our sincere condolences to his friends and family.
There will be a Requiem Mass for Gerry at 10.00 hrs on Tuesday 5 December in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, 2049 Maryhill Road, Glasgow with interment thereafter at Langfaulds cemetery, Baljaffray Road, Bearsden.
Scottish Hockey Union media release