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News for 27 January 2018

All the news for Saturday 27 January 2018

2018 4 Nations Invitational Tournament (M) - Day 3
Hamilton (NZL)

IND v JPN     4 - 2
NZL v BEL     0 - 4

Rank Team GP W D L GF GA GD P
1 India 3 3 0 0 12 8 4 9
2 Belgium 3 2 0 1 11 7 4 6
3 New Zealand 3 1 0 2 8 9 -1 3
4 Japan 3 0 0 3 6 13 -7 0

FIH Match Centre

Vantage Black Sticks sunk by Belgium

Photo: www.photosport.nz

The Vantage Black Sticks Men have been defeated 4-0 by Belgium in their final round robin match at the University of Waikato Four Nations in Hamilton.

The world number three ranked Belgians were rampant in a first half which saw them score four goals inside the opening 20 minutes.

New Zealand played a much tighter second half but weren’t able to claw back the deficit in striker Stephen Jenness’ 200th test.

The Vantage Black Sticks now meet Japan in a playoff for third place at 2:00pm tomorrow, while Belgium and India meet in a rematch of the final from the Tauranga leg last week at 4:00pm.

Head coach Darren Smith said it was tough clash in searing hot conditions against a world class side.

“Belgium are a class side and they took it to us in the first half. We let in a few goals we aren’t happy with and were a bit wasteful at times so have to take the result on the chin,” he said.

“We’ll do our best to recover now, there will be some sore bodies tomorrow and it’s going to be just as hot again. I think it’s good though, we often go to a big tournaments that are played in the heat so it’s good preparation to make sure we can cope in situations like this.”

Belgium made a fast start against the home side and lit up the score board in the 11th minute through a Victor Wegnez field goal.

Tom Boon stunned the Kiwis by scoring a double in the 12th minute, sending back to back penalty corner flicks into the back of the goal.

Yet another penalty corner gave Loick Luypaert the chance to strike and give his side a 4-0 halftime advantage.

The game tightened up after the break with both sides still creating solid scoring opportunities but not able to trouble the scorers.

In the day’s earlier match, India mounted a late charge to overcome Japan 4-2 and cement their place in Sunday’s final.

Both finals day matches will be streamed live and then available on demand through the Vantage Black Sticks Facebook page (facebook.com/nzblacksticks).


BELGIUM: 4 (Tom Boon 2, Victor Wegnez, Loick Luypaert)
Halftime: Belgium 4-0

INDIA: 4 (Vivek Prasad, Varun Kumar, Mandeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh)
JAPAN: 2 (Seren Tanaka, Shota Yamada)
Halftime: India 2-1

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Black Sticks miss out on Four Nations final after losing to Belgium

New Zealand's Hayden Phillips in action against Belgium. Photo / Photosport

New Zealand have been denied a place in a Four Nations tournament final for the second time in two weeks after they were outplayed 4-0 by Belgium in Hamilton.

The third-ranked Belgians flexed their muscles to excellent effect in their final-round clash, ensuring they will face India in the decider on Sunday.

The Black Sticks will play off for third against Japan, meaning it's an identical scenario to last week, when the same four teams squared off in Tauranga. Belgium beat India in last week's final.

Sixth-ranked India retained their unbeaten record this week, beating winless Japan 4-2 in hot conditions.

World No.9 New Zealand only needed a draw on Saturday to shut the Belgians out of the decider but they were on the back foot from the outset.

They conceded three goals in the opening quarter and another before halftime against a Belgium team who shifted the Black Sticks defence around cleverly and finished in clinical fashion.

The hosts forced more penalty corners but lacked finishing sharpness in striker Stephen Jenness's 200th Test, unlike last week when they stunned the European side 5-4.

Coach Darren Smith admits his side failed to cope with the draining conditions and their slick opponents.

"Belgium are a class side and they took it to us in the first half," he said.

"We let in a few goals we aren't happy with and were a bit wasteful at times so have to take the result on the chin.

"We'll do our best to recover now, there will be some sore bodies tomorrow and it's going to be just as hot again."

For Belgium, Tom Boon scored a double from penalty corner strikes while the other goals went to Victor Wegnez and Loick Luypaert.

The New Zealand Herald

Two goals in a minute save Indian blues Vs Japan

s2h team

Two goals in the 58th minute, one by otherwise sluggish and truggling Mandeep Singh and the other by surprising Ramandeep Singh saved India from fighting Japan blues before it posted a statistically superior but morally pinching 4-2 victory in the last pool match of the Hamilton 4-Nations. Till the Indian blitzkrieg, Japanese appeared all set to upset the apple cart of higher ranked Indians. The Japanese twice equalized India to stand tall with a 2-2 scoreline, and then their dependable defender, the one who struck a gem through penalty corner Shota Yamada, just pushed a hard earned stroke high and wide to the right of the cage. Had that been converted, India would have been in a big trouble. So it was not and with three wins in as many as matches, India, like in Tauranga leg, tops the pool.

India will now take on Belgium on the Sunday final as the European side outplayed the hosts for a fluent 4-0 win. Belgium struck all its goals in the first half, which includes two goals by Tom Boom in a minute!

It was young Vivek Prasad who set the Hamilton turf on fire when he fired the first goal in the twelfth minute. Two minutes later, Seren Tanaka equalized. At the stroke of half time, Varun Kumar got his name on the scoreboard with an immaculate penalty corner conversion.

After lemon time, two minutes before the end of third quarter, Shota Yamada sent a high flick into the cage, stranding Krishan Pathak -- India's first goalie PR Sreejesh was rested today -- on the other corner.

After the stunning equalizer, Japanese appeared on top gear, putting Indian defence on wrong foot. A couple of attempts just missed their target.

Indian coach Sojerd Marinje brought experienced lot in the last moments which paid rich dividends. First, Manpreet Singh weaved past a couple of markers to send a close, but penetrating pass to Mandeep, who was on the right edge of the circle. Known for hurrying shots, Mandeep Singh for once took a quicksilver reverse shot to see the ball on the left corner.

Within seconds after the stunner, Rupinder Pal Singh fed Ramandeep Singh on the same spot to see him finishing off with a magical touch.


India beat Japan 4-2 to enter 4-nation tourney final

HAMILTON (New Zealand): Indian men's hockey team defeated Japan 4-2 to remain unbeaten in the second-leg of the Four-Nation Invitational Tournament, here on Saturday.

After stunning victories against New Zealand (3-2) and Belgium (5-4), India overcame Japanese challenge with late strikes from Mandeep Singh (58th minute) and Ramandeep Singh (58th).

The other goal scorers for India were Vivek Sagar Prasad (12th) and Varun Kumar (30th) while Seren Tanaka (14th) and Shota Yamada (43rd) scored for Japan.

India will next play world no.3 Belgium, who beat hosts New Zealand 4-0, in the summit clash tomorrow.

It was India who started well, keeping the ball for most part of the first quarter and came up with accurate passes to make their way into the Japanese striking circle.

India drew first blood when Harjeet Singh dribbled through the midfield to find forward Arman Qureshi who passed it on to Vivek for the first goal.

Vivek has been impressive in this tour, creating scoring opportunities for India and even has two goals to is credit in his debut match in Tauranga.

India were slightly dodgy in the next few minutes after as they gave up possession and were punished when Japan broke into a quick counter, paving way through the left flank.

It was Seren Tanaka who drove into the Indian circle, beating defenders to level the scores.

While India built on their game in the second quarter, Japan kept fighting back trying to defend with all their might.

But some lapse in concentration from Japanese defenders earned India back-to-back penalty corners, and Varun Kumar converted from the second opportunity give his a 2-1 lead.

Both the teams traded penalty corners at the start of the third quarter.

India won their third penalty corner in the 32nd minute but Harmanpreet Singh's flick was well-saved by Japanese goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa.

Japan won a penalty corner in the following minutes but couldn't make much of the opportunity.

India then broke into a fierce counter and made a successful circle entry but Vivek's reverse hit was well-saved by Japanese custodian.

Japan, though, made the most of their second penalty corner when Shota Yamada used a smart variation to caught Indian goal keeper Krishan Pathak off-guard and level the scores in the 43rd minute.

Japan did well in the next quarter, cutting down space which made life difficult for the Indian forward.

Japan had a great chance to take a 3-2 lead when they were awarded a penalty stroke after Indian infringement but Shota Yamada's flick was wide off target.

Mandeep then deflected in an improvised fashion to restore India lead in the 58th minute.

Ramandeep then added another for India in the very next move to seal the match in his side's favour.

The Times of India

Another win for Scotland women in Gran Canaria

Becky Ward for Scotland against Wales in Glasgow, Feb 2017 – photo by Mark Pugh

Scotland women won their fourth match of five against Wales with a 2-0 victory in Gran Canaria. Sarah Jamieson and Lucy Lanigan were the scorers as the Scots made it three series wins and a draw against the Welsh, as they prepare for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.

This fourth encounter between the two can best be described as a game of two halves. In the first half Wales played some really nice hockey and put the Scots under pressure.

The Welsh performance forced Nikki Cochrane into making a few good saves, one in particular where the keeper came sliding out to block the Welsh attack and prevent a goal.

The Scots also had a couple of chances of their own in the first half – one from a corner, and a near-miss from Laura Swanson. Swanson took the ball on the turn at the top of the D but her reverse shot went over the bar.

In the second half the Scots took over and enjoyed possession of the ball, were stronger at the back, and looked dangerous in attack.

Sarah Jamieson scored the opener in the third quarter of the match. Bex Condie played a lovely pass up the middle for Jamieson and she buried it in the bottom corner. It was a great finish by the striker and put her side firmly in the driving seat.

It could have been 2-0 early in the fourth quarter, this time Amy Costello from a penalty corner was teed up but couldn’t quite get her shot off.

It was Lucy Lanigan who made it 2-0 when she finished off a really nice team goal. A lovely ball into Jamieson saw her beat a defender and slip the ball to Charlotte Watson – Watson drew the keeper out and knocked it to Lanigan to finish it off. It was excellent link-up play by the forwards and a stylish goal to put some Gran Canaria daylight between the teams.

The Tartan Hearts continued to look dangerous, and could have scored more from a number of crosses into the D, but the match ended 2-0 securing another victory, and clean sheet, for the Scots in Gran Canaria.

Scotland women’s Head Coach, Gordon Shepherd, said, “We played really well in the second half. It was pleasing to see how well the players picked themselves up after the first half, where we weren’t at our best, and came out for the second half and really took control – and showed good character.

“Again, we’ll be looking to build on the performance in the next match. We did well but we can improve and we’ll be focussing on better concentration right from the start of the match. We made eight changes from the last match and we’ll look at the video and change things again for the next game.”

Scottish Hockey Union media release

GRA stand between Telkom and 10th Africa title


Telkom's Lillian Aura (left) in action against Ghana Police during their Africa Cup for Club Championship match on January 25, 2018 at the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium in Accra, Ghana. PHOTO | BRIAN OTWAL |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Champions Telkom will be out to make more history when they tackle hosts Ghana Revenue Authority in the final of the 2017 Africa Cup for Club Hockey Championship on Saturday.

After seven days of intense action, it is only fitting for the two best teams in the competition to contest for the title at Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium. The men’s final will be an all-Egyptian affair as champions Eastern Company take on 23-time winners Sharkia as the week-long annual tourney comes to a close.

Telkom and GRA renew their rivalry once again, three days after they faced each other in the preliminary stage with the Kenyans nicking it 1-0 courtesy of Terry Juma’s strike a minute to the end. The result is a pointer as to just how closely contested the final will be.


Telkom are gunning for record 10th title, while GRA are looking for their maiden title after years of heartbreak. The Kenyans will certainly fancy their chances of silencing the home side who will once again be backed by a charged home crowd.

A bullish Telkom coach Jos Openda believes the trophy is theirs to lose.

“This is the dream final and we are confident that we can once again prevail over them even with a packed stadium that will be behind GRA," Openda said.

“My side is more than able to handle the pressure and we have worked on the lapses that saw us concede a goal on Thursday,” Openda said. The long serving tactician is likely to start with the side that drew 1-1 with Ghana Police in their final preliminary match.

Upfront the trio of Jackline Mwangi, who is team’s top scorer with five goals will be supported by Audrey Omaido and Maureen Okumu on either wings.

Lillian Aura will anchor the midfield alongside skipper Tracy Karanja, Caroline Guchu and Barbara Simiyu. At the back the experience of Juma will be needing to keep out the GRA attack with Lucy Wangeci and Flavia Mutiva occupying the right and left fullback wings respectively.

International Cynthia Anyango, who has only concede one goal, will retain her place in goal. For GRA, revenge will be on the cards as they chase their maiden title. After losing in their last six meetings against Telkom, the hosts will be seeking to end their losing streak.

GRA lost 2-0 to Telkom during the final of the last edition held in Kenya.

“Our defeats to Telkom have been very close and we intend to stop that on Saturday. We are playing in front our fans and we don’t want to disappoint them," GRA coach Osei Boakye said.

GRA have won two silver medals in the 2012 and 2016 editions, with four other bronze medals in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Elsewhere, Strathmore University Scorpions beat Nigeria’s Yobe Desert Queens 3-1 to secure fifth place on Friday.

Saturday’s Programme

Women’s final: Telkom v GRA – 4pm
Men’s final: Eastern Company v Sharkia – 6.30pm

Daily Nation

Telkom battle GRA in hair raising final

They have eyes fixed on record 10th African title in Accra, Ghana, today.

By Elizabeth Mburugu

A mother of all battles is expected today when African hockey champions Telkom take on arch-rivals Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in the women’s final of the Africa Cup of Club Championships (ACCC).

With eyes fixed on a record 10th Africa title, the Kenyan girls need to be at their best to contain their opponents that enjoy home support from hockey enthusiasts who include from neighbours Togo and Benin – who have travelled to catch up with the action at Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium in Accra, Ghana.

Telkom will be out to extend their dominance over the Ghanaians whom they have beaten in the past encounters, with the latest being Wednesday’s 1-0 win. With their title on the line, the nine-time champions will leave nothing to chance as they seek to extend their reign.

Telkom coach Jos Openda remained optimistic, saying his charges were ready to defend their crown. “We are here on a mission to successfully defend our title and we are determined to fight tooth and nail to make it a reality,” said Openda. 

Openda, who has led Telkom to nine African titles -- five of which have been won since 2012 -- said they are looking to create goal-scoring chances in today’s final.

“We will not only create more scoring opportunities but also utilise all the opportunities. We expect a tough encounter. So there is need to control the match from the opening whistle,” he said.

GRA is a tough team, said Openda, adding that the opponents will get into the pitch seeking to avenge their past losses. “Our title is at stake and the girls know that our fate is in their hands. We will not allow room for mistakes until the final whistle. I think GRA not only want the title but are also looking to revenge against us,” he said.

Telkom have beaten GRA since 2012 and they will be hoping to extend their smooth run against the Ghanaian women’s league champions. They beat GRA 4-2 in a penalty shootout in 2012 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and have ruled continental shows since then. They won in Kampala in 2013, Bulawayo again 2014, Lusaka 2015 and Nairobi 2016.

Openda is expected to have veterans Jackline Mwangi and Terry Juma in starting eleven.

The Standard Online

Terengganu move to top after Peillat brace sinks Tenaga

By Aftar Singh

A miss: Maybank’s Muhammad Firdaus (right) vying for the ball with KLHC’s Muhammad Haziq Samsul in the Premier Division match at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium yesterday. — FAIHAN GHANI / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Penalty corner specialist Gonzalo Peillat is the toast of Terengganu again.

The Argentine converted two penalty corners to help the East Coast team beat Tenaga 2-0 at the Batu Buruk Hockey Stadium in Kuala Terengganu yesterday.

And Peillat’s heroics have propelled the team to the top of the six-team Premier Division with 15 points from four wins and three draws.

The 25-year-old defender fired Terengganu ahead off their first penalty corner in the 11th minute when his powerful drag flick sailed past Tenaga goalkeeper Muhd Hairi Abdul Rahman.

A relentless Terengganu then piled on the pressure, earning another penalty corner in the 26th minute which the immaculate Peillat flicked home again.

Tenaga, who were top of the table before the match, earned three penalty corners but they failed to make any count.

Peillat was happy to live up to the expectations.

“I scored two against Tenaga in the first round (on Jan 19) and I did it again today. I’m happy to take the team to the top,” said Peillat.

Terengganu coach Sarjit Singh was happy with the 100% conversion rate from penalty corners.

“We earned two and we scored from both. It was an important win for us with three more matches left,” said Sarjit.

“Tenaga played well and they created a number of chances but goalkeeper Mohd Hafizuddin (Othman) stayed solid to make the saves.”

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) defeated Maybank 3-1 at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium to move up to second in the standings.

KLHC have 14 points from seven matches and are a point adrift of leaders Terengganu.

The Tigers drew first blood in the fourth minute through Allan Oscar William but KLHC came back strongly to score three goals via Mohd Rashid Baharom (14th), Muhd Syamim Mohd Yusof (29th) and Thomas Carson (56th).

The Star of Malaysia

Stars galore at the Jaffa Super 6s

Strap yourselves in and prepare for a treat this weekend as the Jaffa Super 6s takes the Copper Box by storm.

Eight teams from across the country will take to the floor in the battle to be crowned the best indoor hockey side of 2017/18 on Sunday and there will be no shortage of talent on show.

Indeed 31 current and former international stars from six nations are set to take part, from reigning Olympic champions including Sam Quek to legends of the game such as Simon Mantell and emerging talents including Ed Horler and Amy Tennant.

Between them they boast more than 2200 international caps – including triple centurion Kate Richardson-Walsh and five players with 200+ appearances – 450 international goals and 100 medals from global tournaments.

Furthermore there is also British representation from each of the last six Olympic Games stretching back to Atlanta 1996 when Bowdon’s Tina Cullen was part of the GB side narrowly pipped to bronze by The Netherlands.

Current England and GB stars George Pinner, Maddie Hinch, David Goodfield and Jo Hunter will also be attending, meaning there will be hockey stars almost everywhere you look.

Whether you are at the event yourself or watching on the BBC, make sure you do not miss out on what is set to be a pulsating day of hockey!

England Hockey Board Media release

Railway and Rovers indoor re-match to be live streamed

Railway Union’s key player Kenny Carroll. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Railway Union and Three Rock Rovers face an almost instant re-match as the National Indoor Trophy follows seven days after the former dethroned Rovers in Leinster at St Columba’s.

They will be involved in a three-team group at St Columba’s with Ulster winners Queen’s battling with them with the best finisher winning the All-Ireland crown as well as a ticket to Europe in 2018.

Railway won 7-4 last Sunday with Jeremy Duncan in spectacular form, scoring five times and playing a key role in the other two. The Sandymount side, though, will have to find an alternative route to goal than his virtuous skills as he travelled to Malaga in midweek with the senior men’s outdoor team.

Perhaps corners are the avenue they need to take. They earned minimal set pieces in the final, scoring all seven from play, and so they can potentially exploit a changed Rovers defensive line-up as Luke Madeley and Daragh Walsh – key players at the back – are not around, too, because of the Spain trip.

As such, Kenny Carroll for Railway and Jody Hosking and Ross Canning for Rovers will see their importance rise as the most adept performers of the indoor art.

A wider audience will get to take in the competition with Hockey Ireland – via Guy Robbins and Tristan Seaton-Stedham – providing a live stream throughout finals day. For Queen’s part, they look like outsiders based on previous years results but the nature of the tournament means goal difference could become a factor.

In midweek, Banbridge made something of a statement with a 7-1 win over Cookstown – their second win of 2018 having gone several games without one – in the EYHL. Philip Brown and Eugene Magee set them rolling with goals in the first quarter; Neil Gilmore made it three at half-time.

Another from Magee and two from Jonny McKee extended the advantage to 6-0 before Brown and Michael Kerr exchanged goals in the last quarter. Lisnagarvey’s date with Annadale, due to be played on Wednesday, was postponed too due to its proximity to the Irish men’s team’s departure to Spain.

On Saturday, the Mills Cup quarter-final takes centre-stage with the top clubs set to be without their senior internationals which could narrow the gap in some ties.

Monkstown advanced to the second round when they finally won their first round match against YMCA in midweek with Davy Carson, Nick Dee and David Cole all scoring in a 3-2 win, Ben Campbell and Grant Glutz getting the replies.

Their next round sees them line out against Railway Union though they won’t have the services of midfielder Stephen Cole and first choice keeper David Fitzgerald – Gordy Clarke minded the net against the Y.

Their previous meeting saw Town hold most of the possession with Alan Browne – the Union player-coach – and his side defending compactly.

Town, though, do have Gareth Watkins, Carson and Geoff Cole all back in the forwards to give them much more bite in front of goal, something they lacked pre-Christmas.

Corinthian face Kilkenny for the second week running at Whitechurch Park following a battling 2-0 win last time for the reds with Ian Stewart the difference between the teams.

Three Rock go to Rathgar without Walsh, Jamie Carr and Madeley with Conor Quinn set to come in between the posts. For Rathgar, Alan White comes up against the side he won an Irish Senior Cup with TRR in 2014 and will look to Andrew and Stu Malcolm to cause the problems.

Glenanne host Clontarf at St Andrew’s with Shane O’Donoghue and Sam O’Connor on international duty.

In Leinster Division One, YMCA face UCD in a crucial game for both sides who have had low-key starts to 2018.

At Christmas, both seemed well out of range of the chasing pack but defeats to Trinity and Clontarf, respectively, could spark renewed interest in the playoff race for those in mid-table. For UCD, David Nolan is a big miss for the second half of the season.

Portrane travel to Limerick, bidding for a place in the Irish Hockey Trophy second round where Dublin North are waiting.

Men’s fixtures (Saturday unless stated)
National Indoor Trophy (all Sunday at St Columba’s): Railway Union v Queen’s, 10am; Three Rock Rovers v Queen’s, 1pm; Railway Union v Three Rock Rovers, 3pm

Mills Cup, quarter-finals: Rathgar v Three Rock Rovers, 2.15pm, High School; Railway Union v Monkstown, 12.40pm, Park Avenue; Corinthian v Kilkenny, 1.15pm, Whitechurch Park; Glenanne v Clontarf, 2.45pm, St Andrew’s

Leinster Division One: YMCA v UCD, 3.30pm, Wesley

Irish Hockey Trophy, round one: Limerick v Portrane, 1pm, Villiers.

Munster Senior Cup, first round: UCC v Bandon, 2pm, Mardyke.

The Hook

Farmer’s Cross beckons for a dozen international stars for crucial Cork Quins-UCD showdown

Cork Harlequins coach Stephen Dale. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Cork Harlequins' date with UCD is the marquee EY Hockey League game of a brilliant weekend of women's hockey on the agenda with the National Indoor Trophy finals on Sunday

With over a dozen internationals on display, women’s EY Hockey League showdowns do not come much more enticing than Saturday’s massive date between Cork Harlequins and UCD at Farmer’s Cross.

It brings the league back into view for 2018 with a tie set to have a major bearing on the outcome of the title, even at this early stage of the campaign. Just a point separates the two sides at the half-way stage of the EY Hockey League with the reigning champions from Dublin with the upperhand.

They also have the benefit of a couple of Leinster senior cup games under their belt and some competitive indoor ties. Quins, meanwhile, have had a month of a winter break – something many others will be envious of given the inclement weather conditions – following their decision last summer not to take part in the Munster Senior Cup.

It means Stephen Dale’s panel is in full health but they struggled to find sides to play, hence their in-house games against the men’s teams – yielding a draw and a loss – to prepare for the biggest game of the season to date.

“It is a bit frustrating; we are not involved in the Munster Cup – that’s a decision we made – but there’s not much more we can do it about other than control the controlables. We just get on with it and tried to get as much done as we can.

At Belfield on the opening day of the campaign, Quins won 2-1 with a superb defensive effort, Emma Buckley and Roisin Upton frustrating UCD at every turn.

“Looking back, we got lucky and it was a good time to play them before they got into a rhythm. We rode our luck and took our chances but I don’t think it will be the same game. We are both up to speed now.”

The students will be without Irish international Ellen Curran due to an ankle ligament injury sustained before Christmas but Deirdre Duke, Clodagh Cassin, Katie Mullan, Lena Tice, Emma Russell and Leah McGuire are all in line to take on Quins’ six internationals.

A crucial factor could be the venue. Quins will enjoy home comforts for just the third time this season in 10 games. Dale says the glut of home ties coming up “should make a difference” in the run-in to the title but adds that the team’s mindset will be the decisive factor.

“It is still just a pitch and the home crowd can bring its own pressures but I am a firm believer that a lot of these games are won in the head if you go in with the right mentality, you back yourself and are confident.

“All the girls are very clever enough and are tuned in that they won’t take anything for granted [against UCD].

“It’s a tight, tight league. The teams in seventh or eighth can still take points off the top two; there’s no gimmes. Points will be lost between now and the end, I can guarantee that. And the run-in is very tight for top three and top four and it will come right down to the wire.”

Pegasus are waiting in the wings, five points off the pace but with a game in hand. Theywill fancy their chances when they travel to Santry Avenue to face Trinity.

Railway Union is another vital game in their respective pushes for a place in the top four and an EY Champions Trophy shot. Nicci Daly’s return from the US for the second half of the season will give Loreto an extra impetus but they will hope that there is not too much faitgue in the legs of Christine Hamill, Siofra O’Brien, Hannah McLoughlin and Caitlin Sherin from their schools Senior Cup game against Muckross Park in the morning with Loreto Foxrock.

Railway have an extra busy weekend as they bid to wrest the National Indoor Trophy title off Ards for the first time in seven years (Live stream will be available in the Youtube video

The Dubliners face Galway in their semi-final while Ards are up against a Glenanne side who have been bolstered by Irish internationals Niamh Small and Ali Meeke earlier in the competition but have an EYHL back match against Belfast Harlequins on Sunday.

Ards play Pembroke on Saturday in the EYHL with stalwart Naomi Grundie telling the Belfast Telegraph it makes for a big road-trip.

“We’ll stay overnight in Dublin on Saturday to be in the best possible shape for the indoor championship but the Pembroke game is obviously important as well.

“I wouldn’t say we are particularly confident for the indoor due to our relative lack of preparation. I know it’s a bit of an old chestnut but I really think it’s time to consider expanding the competition in Ulster, to be played over the winter weeks.”

Their qualification route came via a one-day, four-team blitz, while Leinster held a longer competition with action on four Sundays.

Belfast Harlequins, meanwhile, will hope they can finally start to get some flow to their season. They have played just seven league matches to date in the national league and also have to make up a round of the Irish Senior Cup, leaving them with plenty of double-headers on the bill.

It starts with an away date against Hermes-Monkstown on Saturday before Sunday’s tie with Loreto with Lizzie Colvin potentially lining out against her former club.

Five back matches in the Irish Hockey Trophy take the field with the weather set fair to see the second phase of the competition finally completed.

Roisin Upton and Lena Tice are two of the star performers on display at Farmer’s Cross on Saturday. Pic: Adrian Boehm

In Leinster Division One, Corinthian fought back from 3-1 down in midweek against Our Lady’s but still dropped a couple of points in their title pursuit.

Jessica McGrane put the reds one up as they held most of the ball in an intense first 20 minutes, one in which Niamh Mahon and her defence were in mean mood not to concede further.

The goal actually came in a rare Terenure spell on the front foot, breaking the line and winning a couple of corners but Corinthian broke out and McGrane scored with a very clever finish, hitting the ball into the ground with her back to goal and into the top corner.

But Our Lady’s stunned their opponents with the next three goals with Emma Kilbride striking twice form the top of the circle from corners and Aoife Kelly got another at the right post from a Kilbride strike, making it 3-1.

During this purple patch, Terenure also hit the post. Corinthians looked stunned and it was not till the last 12 minutes that they steadied the ship and pulled one back.

From then on, Corinthian turned the screw and got their equaliser with McGrane and Lynne Pomerory on the mark. The reds travel to Glenanne on Saturday for their next outing while Genesis against North Kildare is the most well-matched tie on paper.

Leaders Old Alex and playoff contenders Muckross will expect to win well at home against Clontarf and Rathgar, respectively.

Women’s fixtures (all Saturday unless stated)
EY Hockey League
Saturday: Cork Harlequins v UCD, 2.30pm, Farmer’s Cross; Hermes-Monkstown v Belfast Harlequins, 2.30pm, Merrion Fleet Arena; Pembroke Wanderers v Ards, 2.30pm, Serpentine Avenue; Railway Union v Loreto, 2.40pm, Park Avenue; Trinity v Pegasus, 2.30pm, Santry Avenue
Sunday: Loreto v Belfast Harlequins, 2.15pm, Beaufort

National Indoor Trophy schedule (St Columbas’s College, all Sunday)
Semi-finals: Glenanne v Ards, 11am; Railway Union v Galway, 12pm
Final: 4pm

Irish Hockey Trophy, round 2: Ballymena v Portadown, 2.30pm, Ballymena; Belvedere v Omagh, 2.30pm, Ballincollig CS; Bray v Avoca, 1.30pm, Loreto Bray; Three Rock Ladies v Waterford, 12pm, Grange Road; YMCA v Bandon, 1.30pm, Wesley College

Women’s Leinster Division One
Thursday: Corinthian 3 (J McGrane 2, L Pomeroy) Our Lady’s 3 (E Kilbride 2, A Kelly)
Saturday: Genesis v North Kildare, 1pm, St Raphaela’s; Old Alex v Clontarf, 1.30pm, Milltown; Glenanne v Corinthian, 2.30pm, Glenanne Park; Muckross v Rathgar, 3pm, Muckross Park

Munster Senior Cup, first round: Catholic Institute v UCC, 3pm, Rosbrien.

Munster Division 1 (Friday): Cork C of I v Ashton, 8pm, Garryduff.

The Hook

Penultimate day of Scottish men’s indoor hockey as GALA Day approaches

Photo by Duncan Gray

The semi-final line-up for this season`s men`s Indoor National League 1 championships looks as if it may be shaping up to pair Inverleith against Dundee Wanderers and champions Grove Menzieshill with Bromac Kelburne – but that is assuming the earlier final pool matches go to form and the goal differences do not markedly alter.

In Pool A the Tayside rivals Grove Menzieshill and Wanderers share the 12 point mark although the former have a ten-goal advantage which may be too much for Wanderers to claw back. Perhaps even more unlikely as Grove Menzieshill put eleven past Clydesdale earlier in the campaign, and they are the opponents on Saturday morning.

As Grove Menzieshill are on first, Wanderers will know their target for their encounter with Edinburgh University, but they only managed a 7-5 win in the opening day of the season. So, barring the unexpected, Grove Menzieshill will finish in pole position in Pool A.

Pool B took an interesting turn at the end of last Saturdary`s matches, with Inverleith and Kelburne tied on nine points, the former duly saw off Hillhead 9-2, but the latter crashed 12-2 to Grange, leaving the Edinburgh side with an unexpected three-point lead.

There may still be a twist in the Pool B saga yet. Take this scenario, Kelburne fall to Hillhead and Grange beat city rivals Inverleith, then it is Grange who suddenly grasp the semi-final slot. Perhaps unlikely, and the fairy tale would of course be firmly discounted if the Paisley side repeat their comfortable 8-3 victory from earlier in the campaign.

Meanwhile Inverleith, on a run of six wins in a row, only need a point from the Grange encounter to secure top spot in the pool.

And so on to the semi-finals where earlier form in the league and pool competition may not count for much, instead it is the side that grasps the occasion, takes their chances, limits the defensive errors, and perhaps inherits a slice of luck, that takes the honours in a winner-take-all scenario.

On the opposition Inverleith coach Stuart Neave remarked: “Dundee Wanderers have shown how competitive they are this season. Therefore whichever team we meet, it is certain to be a difficult game.”

The league match was close with Inverleith taking the show 6-4, but Neave will be well aware of the fire power of Fergus and Elliot Sandison along with Bobby Ralph.

The Edinburgh side have the added advantage of the recent return to duty of Stephen Dick after several months out with injury. His presence gives additional options up front to support Patrick Christie, Ewen Mackie and Stuart Hatton. His four goals last weekend was the catalyst in the narrow 8-7 win over Kelburne.

Neave announced: “The squad is much the same as at the start of the season, young with some exciting players.” His young side have certainly developed under his tutelage and have a good chance of progressing if they play to their potential.

The clash between Grove Menzieshill and Kelburne is fraught with possibilities and uncertainties. Until last weekend Grove Menzieshill looked invincible, without a blemish in the league competition, but then they unexpectedly fell 5-2 to their great rivals Wanderers, and suddenly the shining armour looked a little tarnished.

The champions will also be without Gavin Byers, Cameron Golden, Aidan McQuade and Ben Cosgrove – they have the honour of representing Scotland at the five nations tournament in Malaga, after which selection will be made for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Bromac Kelburne v Grange

However, Kelburne`s vulnerability was also exposed, they lost narrowly to Inverleith – but then succumbed 12-2 to a Grange side that seemed to struggle for much of the indoor season.

Now it is difficult to guess which side will regain their composure sufficiently to push their cause to the final. Much may depend on the success, or otherwise, of Kelburne`s tactic of playing six outfield players with Josh Cairns acting as a kicking-back instead of the traditional goalkeeper approach. Grove Menzieshill may exploit the down side of this tactic, or alternatively they may find it difficult to cope with being outnumbered in the main field of play.

At the other end of the spectrum the relegation play-off brings together Hillhead and likely opponents Edinburgh University – the latter would have to beat Dundee Wanderers in the final pool match to avoid that eventuality.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Trio battles for their lives in hockey Premier league


JKUAT’s Elizabeth Okama (left) tussles with Amira Sailors’ Yvonne Madowo during their women’s Premier League match in Nairobi on January 20, 2018. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

With the Kenya Hockey Union men’s Premier League title winners already know, focus shifts to the relegation battle where three teams are battling to avoid the big drop.

Technical University of Kenya have already been relegated and one more side will join them in next season’s men’s National League.

Kenya College of Accountancy University are second from bottom with 22 points, one behind 13th placed Kenyatta University Vultures. Chase Sailors on 25 points are also far from safe. KCAU have four matches left, Vultures have two to go, while the Sailors have one left to play.

KCAU take on former champions Butali Sugar Warriors Saturday evening at the City Park Stadium, Nairobi in one of the 13 matches lined up this weekend.

The varsity lads’ captain Gordon Odiwuor said they would play their remaining matches like they were finals.

“It would be disastrous for us to get relegated because it would mean losing some key players and that is why we just have to ensure we don’t go down.

“It is do-or-die for us and we are confident of getting the results to secure our survival,” the skipper said Friday. A win against the lake side will move them level on points with 12th placed Chase Sailors.

The students will, however, need to be at their best to overturn their poor record against Butali.

They have lost their five previous meetings including a 3-0 defeat in the first leg.

Butali, who have already clinched second spot behind champions Kenya Police, will be out to end their season on a high after missing on the title.

Butali coach Godfrey Wakachunga admits it was painful to watch Police run away with the title but has challenged his charges to end their campaign with a decent points tally.

“We are not used to playing second fiddle and it hurts that we are not the champions. But we have games to play and we want to ensure we end the season on a high,” the coach said. Butali face Wazalendo on Sunday to end their weekend engagements.

In other men’s Premier League matches, 2012 champions Sikh Union Nairobi play Parkroad Badgers at City Park as Western Jaguars welcome TUK in Kakamega. In the women’s Premier League, bottom placed UoN face Amira Sailors at the City Park Stadium.

FIXTURES (All matches at City Park Stadium unless stated)


Women’s Premier: UON v Amira- 10am

National Men: Multimedia v Kabarak-12noon, Parkroad Tigers v Daystar- 2pm, Mvita v Mombasa West-Mombasa (2pm)

Premier Men: Western Jaguars v TUK- Kakamega (3pm), Butali v KCAU- 4pm, Sikh v Parkorad – 6pm


Premier Women: MSC v Vikings- (Mombasa) - 9am

National Men; Gorilla v Daystar- 9am, Wazalendo Youth v Kabarak- 11am, JJKUAT v Dedan Kimathi- 1pm

Premier Men: Butali v Wazalendo – 3pm, Greensharks v Parklands – 5pm

Daily Nation

Kookaburras Team Confirmed For Narrogin Matches

Ben Somerford

The 20-player Kookaburras team for the opening two matches of the four-game Test Series against the Netherlands has been confirmed.

Mark Knowles will skipper the world number one Kookaburras, with Matt Bird in line for his debut while Flynn Ogilvie returns after a long-term hamstring injury.

Australia face the Netherlands in two matches in Narrogin on Saturday and Sunday from 4.30pm WST/7.30pm AEDT, with the games live streamed at www.epicentre.tv.

The Kookaburras won the World League Final in December, regaining their number one ranking status.

There’s plenty on the line in the series with Australia keen for some revenge after the Dutch knocked them out of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The Kookaburras are also preparing for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April.

You can follow the matches with regular live updates on Twitter @Kookaburras and the FIH Match Centre.

Kookaburras team: Daniel Beale, Matt Bird, Andrew Charter, Tristan Clemons, Matt Dawson, Blake Govers, Jake Harvie, Jeremy Hayward, Tim Howard, Aaron Kleinschmidt, Mark Knowles, Lachi Sharp, Trent Mitton, Eddie Ockenden, Flynn Ogilvie, Corey Weyer, Jake Whetton, Tristan White, Dylan Wotherspoon, Aran Zalewski

Australia-Netherlands Test Series Fixtures:
Saturday 27 January 4.30pm WST - Narrogin Hockey Stadium
Sunday 28 January 4.30pm WST - Narrogin Hockey Stadium
Thursday 1 February 7pm WST - Perth Hockey Stadium
Saturday 3 February 7pm WST - Perth Hockey Stadium

Hockey Australia media release

USMNT Begins 2018 Schedule at 5 Nations Tournament in Spain

MALAGA, Spain - In three days time, the U.S. Men's National Team looks to follow up on their successful 2017 campaign on a high note as they prepare for the 5 Nations Tournament in Malaga, Spain. The team's momentum from medaling in two major competitions, including the men's Pan American Cup, has the squad looking nowhere but up as they look to start 2018 with an exclamation mark. The USMNT will face familiar opponents in this five-team tournament, which features some of the top in the world.

The 5 Nations Tournament will take place from January 29 to February 4, with each team playing each other once. USA comes into the tournament ranked No. 26 in the FIH Hero World Rankings, the same ranking the team has held since rising from No. 29 last April. They will open the tournament against No. 23 Scotland, a team that previously bested USA in a four-game series in 2010. USA will also be going up against host nation No. 9 Spain, as well as No. 10 Ireland and No. 11 Canada.

US 5 Nations Tournament Schedule

Monday, January 29, 2018

USA vs. Scotland        10:30 a.m. ET

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

USA vs. Spain            11:00 a.m. ET

Friday, February 2, 2018

USA vs. Canada        11:00 a.m. ET

Saturday, February 3, 2018

USA vs. Ireland        8:00 a.m. ET

5 Nations Tournament Roster:
Michael Barminski (Ventura, Calif.), Tom Barratt (Greensboro, N.C.), Amrit Beaty (Simi Valley, Calif.), Sean Cicchi (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Christian DeAngelis (Doylestown, Pa.) Ajai Dhadwal (Agoura Hills, Calif.), Mohan Gandhi (Ventura, Calif.), Alex Grassi (Brookeville, Md.), Pat Harris (Moorpark, Calif.), Will Holt (Camarillo, Calif.), Deegan Huisman (Almere, The Netherlands), Aki Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany), Brandon Karess (Allentown, Pa.), JaJa Kentwell (Spring City, Pa.), Jon Klages (Berlin, Germany), Adam Miller (Panama City, Fla.), Nick Molscan (Wanganui, New Zealand), Johnny Orozco (Ventura, Calif.), Paul Singh (Simi Valley, Calif.), Tyler Sundeen (Simi Valley, Calif.)

Prior to the 5 Nations Tournament, Team USA will face Spain in two friendly test matches on January 27 and 28. The No. 26 FIH Hero World Ranked USA opens up tournament competition on Monday, January 29 against No. 23 Scotland. This is followed by games with No. 9 Spain, No. 10 Ireland and No. 11 Canada. To finish the trip, they will play Chile in an additional pair of friendly matches on February 6 and 7.

For more information regarding the 5 Nations Tournament, including full schedule, results and coverage throughout the tournament, visit the event page by clicking here.

USFHA media release

Citing ‘costly exercise’, PHF cancels junior team’s tour to Argentina

LAHORE: Poor planning by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has once again been exposed as it has cancelled the national junior team’s tour to Argentina, which was to start from Feb 5, on the pretext of inadequate funds.

It is significant to mention here that the preparations for the said tour had started plus the team had also been selected.

The final phase of the training camp for the above-mentioned tour was to be set up from Saturday in Karachi where the selected players of the national team were to participate.

Recently, the PHF also pitted its junior team against the touring World XI side in a two-match series as part of preparations for the Argentina tour.

However, now all of a sudden the federation realised that the said tour would be too expensive to manage, particularly the air travel.

“As the PHF has decided to fully concentrate on the senior team, the junior side’s tour to Argentine has been cancelled. It would have been a very costly exercise, especially the air travel to Argentina,” a press release issued by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) said.

“The PHF has sent a message of regret to the Argen­tine Hockey Confe­deration, who were quite keen to host Pakistan juniors.”

Unfortunately, the incumbent PHF body headed by retired Brig Sajjad Khokhar with Shahbaz Ahmed Senior as secretary has a long list of such poor planning.

Last year, the PHF failed to send the team to the Junior World Cup held in India because of not applying for visa for the team in time.

The PHF, which spent millions of rupees on preparing the team for the Junior World Cup, due to its own mistake in management, deprived many national players of the opportunity to compete in the mega event.

Meanwhile, the PHF press release added, “The year 2018 is very important for Pakistan’s national [senior] hockey team. There are three quadrennial title tournaments this year: Com­monwealth Games, Asian Games and then the biggest of them, the World Cup.

Pakistan has been included in the Champions Trophy. Pakistan would also be figuring in a three-nation tournament in Oman beginning from Feb 14.

“These two events, Champions Trophy and the Oman three-nation event, were not part of the original annual calendar of the PHF. So the federation has to make some budgetary adjustments.”


FIH reveals top three candidates for Hockey Stars Player, Goalkeeper and Rising Star of the Year Awards

Find out which athletes are still in with a chance of winning this year's Awards

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced the top three candidates for the Hockey Stars women’s and men’s Player, Goalkeeper and Rising Star of the Year Awards for 2017.

After voting closed on 15 January, calculations have been made incorporating both the online fan vote and peer voting, which includes votes from fellow players. The winners will be revealed at the official Awards ceremony on the evening of 5 February 2018 in Berlin, Germany.

Listed in alphabetical order, these are the top three candidates from the initial shorlist who received the most votes:

Women’s Player of the Year: Delfina Merino (Argentina); Lidewij Welten (Netherlands); Stacey Michelsen (New Zealand).

Men’s Player of the Year: Arthur van Doren (Belgium); Gonzalo Peillat (Argentina); Mats Grambusch (Germany).

Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year: Aisling D’hooghe (Belgium); Jackie Briggs (USA); Maddie Hinch (England).

Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year: David Harte (Ireland); Juan Vivaldi (Argentina); Vincent Vanasch (Belgium).

Women’s Rising Star of the Year: Maria Jose Granatto (Argentina); Nike Lorenz (Germany); Xan de Waard (Netherlands).

Men’s Rising Star of the Year: Arthur van Doren (Belgium); Timm Herzbruch (Germany); Victor Wegnez (Belgium).

The world will be able to find out who wins by tuning in to FIH’s social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The results will also be posted on the official event website following the conclusion of the ceremony. 

Previous winners can be found on the official event website here.


FIH site

Seven FIH Star nominees part of EHL KO16 attractions

©: Frank Uijlenbroek/world Sport Pics

Seven of the players on the final shortlists for the FIH’s Hockey Stars awards will play at the EHL KO16 in Rotterdam at Easter, showcasing the quality of talent on display at the world’s best club competition.

It follows the announcement earlier today of the last three in each of the categories with all of the men’s player of the year nominees set for the EHL as a result of the combination between the public vote and peer voting from fellow players.

Indeed, KHC Dragons’ star defender Arthur van Doren – the EHL FINAL4 ambassador in Antwerp last June - is included in the last three for both the men’s and Rising Star categories. He won the 2016 Rising Star award.

For the top men’s honour, Mannheim and Argentina corner ace Gonzalo Peillat and Rot-Weiss Köln’s driving force Mats Grambusch are up against van Doren.

On the Rising Star list, Uhlenhorst Mülheim’s Timm Herzbruch and KHC Dragons new midfield signing for this season, Victor Wegnez, are the talents vying for the laurels.

For the Goalkeeper of the Year, SV Kampong’s David Harte – having helped the Utrecht club to the Hoofdklasse crown in 2017 – won the last two editions of the prize. He is shortlisted along with Argentina’s Juan Vivaldi and Belgium’s Vincent Vanasch.

For the women’s awards, Argentina’s Delfina Merino, the Netherlands’ Lidweij Welten and New Zealand’s Stacey Michelsen are up for the player of the year.

Aisling d’Hooghe, USA’s Jackie Briggs and England’s Maddie Hinch vye for the goalkeeping honours and the Rising Star is between Maria Granatto (Argentina), Germany’s Nike Lorenz and Dutch woman Xan de Waard.

The winners will be revealed at the official Awards ceremony on the evening of February 5 in Berlin.

Euro Hockey League media release

Walking Hockey proves important development tool for sport’s growth

Walking Hockey can be played by all ages and all abilities Photo: Alan Gormley

Fast-paced, speedy, high energy – all words that you associate with hockey. But for some people, these descriptors make hockey an intimidating activity in which they feel they can take no part.

“In October 2016 one of our ladies came to me and said that she was finding our back to hockey coaching session ‘too much’. It was something that, as a coach who was concerned with inclusivity, I had to do something about.”

The coach was Alan Gormley and his solution was to create Walking Hockey.

The first six-week taster session took place in January 2017 at Bromsgrove Hockey Club in England, where Alan is Head Development Coach, and 35 people turned up. A year on and the Walking Hockey Club at Bromsgrove has seen more than 70 people, ranging from youngsters who are trying the activity for the first time to 70-year-olds who have always enjoyed the game but needed to reduce the pace as injuries took their toll.

“I came along to Walking Hockey because I could no longer run due to knee injuries,” said club regular Charlotte Wright. “It was a chance to play competitively without damaging my knees further.”

Another regular at the Walking Hockey club is Anne Turton. She is using the sport as rehabilitation after she received treatment for cancer: “I played a lot of hockey as a youngster and it was my passion. I played a couple of seasons with Bromsgrove Ladies but then I stopped and I wasn’t very active. In August 2015 I was diagnosed with myeloma – bone marrow cancer. I have come through some pretty hefty chemo sessions and this is part of my recovery periods, to build up stamina and to get as fit as I can. I wanted to get out and meet people rather than sitting at home feeling sorry for myself.”

For its creator, Anne’s words would have been enough. “The thing that did it for me was in the early days at Bromsgrove,” recalls Alan. “Anne came up at the end of the third week and said ‘thank you, you have given me a new lease of life. I almost burst into tears. I could have walked away then, it was job done for me.”

But Alan didn’t hang up his stick and the game is spreading rapidly. Alan regularly receives messages from clubs and other organisations who are looking to start their own Walking Hockey club. There are currently more than 20 clubs offering Walking Hockey in England, a handful in Wales and many more clubs considering offering it as an option.

And if the interest in Great Britain wasn’t enough, June 2017 saw Alan heading out to Australia and New Zealand to talk to everyone from state government officials and the former Minister for Sport in Queensland to representatives from the national hockey associations.

“More than in Great Britain, it seems the governments of Australia and New Zealand recognise the value of sport in promoting good health and are prepared to fund physical activities that have a health benefit,” explained Alan. Indicative of this is the fact that the Minister for Health in Australia is also Minister for Sport.

“We had a good talk with the Head of Adult Participation in New Zealand and she is contacting the national equivalent of Help the Aged. They are planning on getting something off the ground there at the moment, so that is pretty cool. The Head of Youth Participation was also very interested.“

There were also talks with the Auckland Hockey Association who have shown considerable interest in this discipline.

In Australia there was an equally positive reaction. Since Alan’s visit, there has been an officer appointed in Cairns to promote Walking Hockey across the territory and a pilot scheme run by the Sunshine Coast Hockey Association. Fremantle Hockey Club is also planning a Walking Hockey club to be launched in the near future and Hockey Australia is also exploring ways of introducing the activity into their structure. And already this week Alan has been contacted by Field Hockey Canada and a college in Massachusetts, USA.

Back in Great Britain, and life is getting even busier for Alan as more groups and organisations want to learn about this new sport. One of the Bromsgrove Walking Hockey regulars is also a pulmonary health nurse and following her recommendation, Walking Hockey will be getting a mention in the latest documents to be released by the British Lung Foundation as a way for people to improve their cardiovascular fitness.

In addition to this, Alan is working very closely with Hockey England to put together a 'How To' package due to be released this year. "England Hockey have been been very supportive," said Alan, adding "They have been on board since day one."

Also in the pipeline is the creation of a Flyerz Club at a school for children with learning difficulties. This should be off the ground just before Easter. Alan explains that Walking Hockey is a great activity for the children. “The playing area is quite small so a small-sided game works well but the main thing is the slower paced nature of the game. The children find the chaos of team sports difficult, so we are spreading the game out into areas, dividing the game into thirds – it is a mix of Walking Hockey and ‘J-ball’, which I learnt about on my visit.”
In May last year, Alan and the Walking Hockey Club were short-listed for an Innovation Award by England Hockey as a way of recognising the success of the initiative and were honoured to be chosen as winners. The project also won the Community Project award at the Hereford and Worcester Sports Awards.

While Alan might once have been tempted to hang up his hockey stick, the growth of the game means that life for this particular member of the hockey family will be busier than ever.

This is another inspiring project which aligns to the core aim of FIH’s Hockey Revolution strategy – to make hockey a global game that inspires the next generation. As part of this strategy, global does not just refer to geographical reach, but also to the wider spectrum of people that can engage in the sport.

For more information on Walking Hockey, contact Alan Gormley via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


FIH site

Khelo India: Jingles and Jamborees nothing else

K. Arumugam

Government of India launched Khelo India a couple of years ago. This year it has taken wings, at least this impression is created. Khelo India concept gets a push now with an Olympic medallist appointed as Union Sports Minister. Famous players including hockey stars Sardar Singh and Rani Rampal figure in a 3-minute jingle to popularize the new avtar of Khelo India. It is going to be a hit, millions will ‘like’, hear in social media.

Government is going to spend millions of rupees to make Khelo India happens.

In the last two years Khelo India was a low key affair, and was almost groping in dark. Except getting Khelo India title to already popular tournaments, and organizing internal matches, say between STCs, nothing worth was undertaken. But this year the Sports Authority of India is will organize tournament for 16 sports in Delhi on their own. From title lenders to event management, good progress!

Political class will attend the opening and closing ceremonies, crowd is going to be procured at colossal costs. Since Mr Injeti Srinivas returned to SAI as its DG and then promoted as Secretary, MYS, the SAI machinery has gained the expertise of manufacturing stands. It spends in filling up stands, distributing jerseys, procuring SAI trainees from nearby cities, and providing transport etc.

What is the Khelo India, what are its objectives? It boils down to two: Creating sports awareness in the Society, and broadbasing it. None can fault the objectives which are essential to make India a sports power.

First about the slogan itself: Khelo India. It asks Indians to play. It almost implies India doesn’t play much so far, and the brainwave in turn is going to bring millions to sports fields.

What is the fact?

Where does Khelo India concept stand in the realm of team sport like hockey.

About 20 institutions organize inter-institutional hockey annually like Railways, Services, Postal, ports, Police, etc. Hockey India organizes age group Nationals in 12 destinations each year, involving a colossal 380 teams. State Hockey Associations organize State Championships for all age groups and gender. Besides, various All India Grade I tournaments, about 50, are organized by various private Clubs and Societies like Surjit Cup, Nehru Cup, Beighton Cup, Bombay Gold Cup etc.

Do you in this context term hockey is not played in India, and it needs a Khelo India push? Certainly Not. The requirements for hockey are different, and are touched upon later. However, Khelo India this year turned its focus on schools, a great step, and for that tied up with School Games Federation of India. The Govt on its own will organize 8-team tournament for each sporting discipline in Delhi the coming week.

Here lies the problem. The SGFI is not a best of National Federations. That they control all sports in schools, about 30, give them a mighty powers. By taking away schools from National Federations, at least by practice, they pose challenge to NFs. It has created an impression that schools are out of purview of NFs. The SGFI is also a NF known for mismanagement of its affairs, sure of this in hockey sport. Recent visit of their hockey and football teams to Australia for Pacific School Games, where hockey girls did not play their matches and a football girl lost her life, had not faded away from our memory.

Further, they failed to check age fraud and impersonation so prevalent in School Games Nationals. Delhi branch of SGFI, for instant, used to train Under-18 boys and play them in Under-14 School Games Nationals! This writer exposed such happenings two years ago with irrefutable documents. An inquiry was conducted, the exposure was proved correct, but alas services of a lower most in the order was suspended while the top order stayed put!

The noble idea of promoting school games by Khelo India loses its moral moorings by aligning exclusively with the SGFI.

Take for instant how Delhi team as host, for the forthcoming Khelo India tournament was selected. Delhi Govt selected Delhi team. Players were asked to come for trial shortly less than 36 hours after the circular was posted online (DE-41/2017/Sports/20188-20237 dated 27th Dec 2017). Most aspirants did not have time to complete the formality (letter from school principal) as winter vacation started on 28th Dec, a day after above notification for selection. Still, on 29th both boys and girls teams were selected within two hours! Two representative State teams were selected within two hours! Which means everything is stage managed. Its common knowledge most of the selected ones will be from Academies located in other States but will always have their names in any Delhi Schools too!

Who are the magician selectors to do their job in two hours? Certainly, Mr. Pardeep Malik was one among them. He is none other than the Manager of the recent Pacific School Games, where the hockey girls missed out their matches due to mis-management, the video of which went viral.

This is how Delhi Govt has been selecting teams for SGFI over the years. Unfortunately, this year Delhi Hockey, a unit of such professional body as Hockey India, had joined the farce selection process by sending its selector! It unnecessarily gave a legality to the unchecked fraud being perpetrated by Sports Deptt, Delhi govt. About ten boys from particular school, which the Delhi Hockey has banned for three years, are in the Delhi team. The point is that on one hand you suspend a school for three years after catching them (VS Agri Sr Sec School) red-handed in the State Championship, and on the other be part of selection committee that selects most boys from the same school! Be it as it may.

Khelo India has taken top 7, 8 teams of latest SGFI hockey Nationals for the Khelo India tournament. It boils down that School kids play only SGFI Nationals, not in the Hockey India’s age group Nationals. Hundreds of school kids get selected for Hockey India’s Sub-Junior and Junior Nationals. They are now excluded from Khelo India tournament, where stakes are high. Thus vast chunk of school kids are left out of Khelo India selection.

In every state, SGFI runs a parallel show against SHA. More so on the hockey front. Their players don’t participate or ignore State teams. Its clear in Delhi at least. None of the School Games team boys ever come for Delhi State selection trials! Delhi has been winning medals in every School Games Nationals in the last decade, but not even single of them could make it to even national camp! Where do the talents go then? It’s a big scam, job market. A thorough CBI inquiry can bring out the facts and unmask the culprits behind it all.

Organizing a tournament with top 8 teams of previous Nationals is what old timers would call Federation Cup. Its not Khelo India. Its Khelo Federation Cup. Will hockey or for that matter any sport will flourish by playing Federation Cup kind of tournament? Why then use a term India, and such a hullaballoo.

If Khelo India is really interested in School Games, it should not organize any event in Feb or March, which are EXAMINATION TIMES FOR SCHOOLS at least where the tournament is going to be held, Delhi State. Will any bureaucrat send their wards to Khelo India Games during examination times? But this is being thrust on others, especially Government school boys and girls who mostly play teams games such as hockey, football and volleyball.

Originally, the Khelo India games were to be played in December, ideal month due to various holidays, but postponed to February for unknown reasons. Perhaps their stadiums were not ready!

If Khelo India is an awareness program to spread the message of sport, it may serve the purpose to some extent, but it will be restricted to a week or twos when the Games will be on. The same reason is every time trotted out when ever IOA bids for multi-sport events like CWG.

The basic question is, how many new schools and colleges are going to take up sports or more sports due to Khelo India? Any survey done? Any efforts undertaken towards this end?

How many school principals are involved in the concept of Khelo India. None.

There is no attempt to broadbase sports, but only jingles and jamborees.

The most worrying part is, about 1000 talents are be identified for awarding hefty annual grant. The idea is good, grassroot talents should get such a push. But, Khelo India should involve all school kids, and provide them a level playing field to showcase their talent?

Not the way the Delhi team was selected. There is a need for different approach.

For example, Hockey India sends its selectors for every Nationals and identify talents for its core groups. Let those selected during the latest Sub-Junior and Junior Nationals be also considered for granting Khelo India Scholarships if they are school students and fall under the target age group. Restricting scholarships to only School Games teams, as is being thoughtlessly contemplated now, is not right in the existing conditions. A new mechanism needs to be developed, like combined trials, wherein both the pool of talents (Hockey India age group and Jr Nationals and Khelo India tournament talents) can have level playing field and stake claim equally.

This is essential for non-measurable sports like football, volleyball, hockey etc. Otherwise, every good intention behind the concept of Khelo India will not result in long term positivity.

And the monies involved are from tax payers, not from Corporate funding.

Note: This writer works for promotion of sports in schools through the NGO he founded, in the last ten years and has hands on experience.


Triple Olympian Kari Pal Kaushik no more

K. Arumugam

My long time friend and Olympic gold medallist Hari Pal Kaushik, 84, passed away in his home town Jalandhar.

Hari Pal played three Olympics (1956, 1960 & 1964) and refused to play the 1968 number on him sidelined for the captaincy.

I met Hari Pal Kaushik, of all the places, in Tamil Nadu Express in October 1998 while returning after covering MCC Murugappa Cup held after India's disastrous KL Commonwealth Games.

When I found MK Kaushik in the train - he was just appointed chief coach of Indian Men's team - he showed me the top berth of his compartment. There was Hari Pal Kaushik, who was also returning from Chennai. He was there as Selector.

Since then we have developed a good friendship.

Hari Pal was frank and forthright in his views, and never hesitated to speak against the administration when he found they were wrong, or coaches when he found them wanting in their approach, attitude and giving results.

In one of the selection committee meetings in the early 90s, he castigated a Coach who did not want a particular defender as he is not taking hit-ins properly. "Then what were you doing till now. You should have corrected as he was with you in various camps for over a year". This drew him closer to administration.

He was manager of Indira Cup internationals, and guided the stars like Joaquim Carvalho.

He was my special guest when I organized a condolence meeting for Shankar Laxman. He took all the pains to travel from Jalandhar to Delhi. When the IHF officials did not turn up for the meeting, which was held in the green lawns of Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, where the IHF office was also located then, he fumed.

When he and other Olympian RS Bhola went near Dyan Chand statue to take a photo, guards objected. They told the duo to get permission from Stadium administrator Goindi.

Haripal blasted the administrator, telling if this is the case the statue should have been installed in his room, not in public glare.

He certainly belonged to old generation which valued values.

He was thrice made Vice-Captain for the Olympic teams. On this he used to often joke, "Vice captain without any vice"

He was a star forward of his times, and he got paens when he toured New Zealand in the 60s of which Gurbuxs recent book is full of details.

Hari Pal was from Indian Army, got vir chakra award for his services during the 1962 China war.

"I survived a war, but not against faulting administrators", he used to often say in the context of missing out being appointed as team's captain.

May his soul rest in peace


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