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News for 24 February 2018

All the news for Saturday 24 February 2018

USWNT Emphasizes Development and Growth Through Four-Game Test Series with Canada

CHULA VISTA, Calif - To finish out the U.S. Women's National Team's West Coast training block, the squad is in the middle of a four-game closed test series against northern neighbors, Canada. Using these matches to emphasize development and growth, USA is giving younger athletes, even some on the U-21 USWNT and Development Squad, the chance in an international competition. The USWNT's final two matches of the series against Canada will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

Game 1: USA 3, CAN 4

In the first game of the four-game test series, Canada came away victorious following a late surge by the U.S. Women's National Team.

Taylor West (Princess Anne, Md.) opened up the scoring in the 11th minute off a penalty stroke. The opportunity came when Mary Beth Barham (Fairfax, Va.), deflected it past Canada's goalkeeper and into a defender on the goal line resulting in the call.

Canada's Stephanie Norlander added one back in the 24th minute resulting in a halftime score of 1-1.

In her debut, Margaux Paolino (Villanova, Pa.) out USA ahead five minutes into the third quarter after driving the right baseline and putting it through the goal keeper. Canada went on to score three unanswered goals, two from Natalie Sourisseau and one from Brienne Stairs, to grab a 4-2 lead. The USWNT continued to fight and in the 59th minute was successful off a penalty corner when Ali Froede's (Burke, Va.) direct sweep went stick side of the goalkeeper. The final score stood at USA 3, Canada 4.
The USWNT's post-game and debrief focused on growth and awareness throughout the four game series and the importance of connection.

A special congratulations goes to USWNT athletes Mary Beth Barham (Fairfax, Va.) and Margaux Paolino (Villanova, Pa.) recorded their first international cap for Team USA during this match.

Mary Beth Barham & Margaux Paolino

Game 1 Roster: Mary Beth Barham (Fairfax, Va.), Lauren Blazing (Durham, N.C.), Catherine Caro (Martinsville, N.J.), Anna Dessoye (Mountaintop, Pa.), Amanda Dinunzio (State College, Pa.), Stefanie Fee (Virginia Beach, Va.), Ali Froede (Burke, Va.),  Amanda Magadan (Randolph, N.J.), Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.), Alyssa Manley (Lititz, Pa.), Erin McCrudden (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.), Lauren Moyer (York, Pa.), Alyssa Parker (Woodbine, Md.), Margaux Paolino (Villanova, Pa.), Loren Shealy (Charlotte, N.C.), Carissa Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.), Taylor West (Princess Anne, Md.), Alesha Widdall (Whitney Point, N.Y.)
Game 2: USA 1, CAN 2

Upon the start of the second game, USA looked front footed and ready to contest everything as outlets were strong which allowed a lot of upfield connections. The red, white and blue looked to play into the pockets and kick the ball back out to help generate numbers up attack. The connecton continued early on and resulted in a few decent attacking circle entries. On the other end, Canada defended well and limited USA's conversion rate.

West scored first in the 7th minute off an assist from rookie Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.). The goal came from a USA baseline entry, which Canada tried to turnover, but USA regained possession and found a pass across the net that West one touched into the back of the goal. The first half closed with USA holding a 1-0 lead.

It took until the 50th minute of play for Canada to tally a goal which came from a right baseline entry, where the striker threatened the goal mouth but passed the ball across the cage, where it was deflected multiple times and finished on the back post by Kate Wright. Just two minutes later, Canada grabbed the lead off a penalty corner that was pushed past the flyer and teed up and hit out of mid air by Brienne Stairs past the goalkeeper. As the game neared the end, USA pushed forward with a lot of potential attacking opportunity but their chances were met by a tough Canada defense. The final score stood with USA losing 1-2.

Another highlight in the second game was that USWNT athletes Laura Hurff (Newark, Del.) and Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) received their first international cap.

Laura Hurff & Tara Vittese

Game 2 Roster: Lauren Blazing (Durham, N.C.), Catherine Caro (Martinsville, N.J.), Anna Dessoye (Mountaintop, Pa.), Stefanie Fee (Virginia Beach, Va.), Ali Froede (Burke, Va.), Laura Hurff (Newark, Del.), Amanda Magadan (Randolph, N.J.), Alyssa Manley (Lititz, Pa.), Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.), Lauren Moyer (York, Pa.), Margaux Paolino (Villanova, Pa.), Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.), Loren Shealy (Charlotte, N.C.), Caitlin Van Sickle (Wilimington, Del.), Carissa Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.), Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.), Taylor West (Princess Anne), Alesha Widdall (Whitney Point, N.Y.)

The U.S. Women’s National Team will host Chile in a four-game test series at Spooky Nook Sports, the Home of Hockey, in Lancaster, Pa. from April 9-14. For more information on this series, including ticket sales, check out the official USWNT vs. Chile, presented by Citi, Event Page.

USFHA media release

Comebacks and debuts mark India this month

s2h team

Return of injury-recovered Women hockey stars and debut of youngster on the men's front mark what seems to be a busy and crucial February for Indian hockey.

Recovering completely from injuries, time tested stars forward Poonam Rani and defender Deepika Thakur have been included in the year's first international outing for women, a test series against superior South Korea.

Its perhaps first time India will be playing Test Series against South Korea on their soils, though India used to be a regular in the now abandoned Telecom Cup.

In the forthcoming Korea Tour that will be held between March 3 – 12, will see five matches against the hosts at the Jinchun National Athletic Centre, Jinchun, Korea.

On the men's front, three youngsters Sumit, Anand Lakra and Mandeep Mor (younger brother of Pardeep Mor) will be making their senior international debut while Sardar Singh has been recalled to lead the side. They will be moving to Malaysia to take part in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Both the recall of Sardar Singh and the bunch of debutantes occupy the analysts' mind.

Men's side has two youngsters in goal, Suraj Karkera and Vivke Pathak, while experienced Savita Punia is rested with a new face Swati taking her place for Korea tour.

Goalkeepers: Suraj Karkera, Krishan B Pathak
Defenders: Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Mandeep Mor
Midfielders: S.K. Uthappa, Sardar Singh (Captain), Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Simranjeet Singh
Forwards: Gurjant Singh, Ramandeep Singh (Vice-captain), Talwinder Singh, Sumit Kumar (Junior), Shilanand Lakra.

Goalkeepers 1. Rajani Etimarpu 2. Swati
Defenders 3. Deepika Thakur, 4. Sunita Lakra (VC), 5. Deep Grace Ekka, 6. Suman Devi Thoudam, 7. Gurjit Kaur, 8. Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam
Midfielders: 9. Monika, 10. Namita Toppo, 11. Nikki Pradhan, 12. Neha Goyal, 13. Lilima Minz, 14. Udita
Forwards: 15. Rani Rampal(C), 16. Vandana Katariya 17. Lalremsiami, 18. Navjot Kaur, 19. Navneet Kaur, 20. Poonam Rani.


Tough opening day of EuroHockey Indoor Club Cup 2018 for Wanderers

Photo by Duncan Gray

Dundee Wanderers had a tough opening day of EuroHockey Indoor Club Cup 2018 losing both matches against strong European opposition.

The club is hosting the tournament at DISC as some of the world’s top indoor players come to Dundee. Wanderers end day 1 bottom of Pool A and face Germans UHC Hamburg tomorrow before the latter stages of the tournament.
4 February 2017 at Bells Sports Centre, Perth.

Club Campo de Madrid 8-2 Dundee Wanderers

It was a strong start by Wanderers who set off on a number of fleeting attacks to put the Spaniards under early pressure.

The team from Madrid soon settled however and five minutes into the half they opened the scoring when Rebecca Grote spun and slid it under Carmin Dow for the goal.

It went to 2-0 after a quick move down the right saw the attacker move past the advancing goalkeeper and left Lucia Lopez- Alonso with a tap in for 2-0.

Wanderers pulled when back soon after. The Taysiders scored through a slick finish by Amy Snelle slipping the ball under the goalkeeper from a long pass to make it 2-1, before calling a time out.

Catriona Roberts very nearly equalised after snatching the ball from a defender, she stepped forward and slid the ball just past the left post.

Before long it went 3-1 from a penalty corner, Gil Empar picked out the top right corner with a delightful finish.

It went 4-1 soon after. Another penalty corner was blocked prompting the Spaniards to rebuild another opportunity, they worked the ball left and set up Laura Barrios for the goal

Wanderers made another strong start in the second half, looking comfortable in possession and positive in attack. They were soon hit by a sucker punch however when Madrid tore forward and scored to make it 5-1. The ball was slipped under Dow who came charging out to the right, and it was tapped home by Beatriz Perez Lagunas to put the team from Spain well in front.

Then a lovely finish by Grote from the right of the D made it 6-1, her second of the match.

Wanderers pulled one back from a penalty corner, Sam Sangster slammed the ball low into the backboard to make it 6-2.

Madrid was then awarded a penalty stroke, which Dow saved well at her right post with her leg guard to keep Madrid on six.

They wouldn’t be denied a seventh for long and it went to 7-2 when Lopez Alonso finished clinically after a series of saves by Dow.

Barrios made it 8-2 just before full time, deflecting home from a nice pass from the left flank.

SV Arminen 1-0 Dundee Wanderers

It was a good start to the match again for wanderers  in their second match of EuroHockey Indoor Club Cup 2018 in Dundee. The team looked comfortable in possession and were working hard to control the match in the early stages.

The first opportunity fell to SV Arminen’s Marie Hahnenkamp. A penalty corner routine saw her shoot wide of left post.

The first chance for Wanderers came after some lovely skill by Emily Dark, she went past a succession of players and passed into the D, but the Arminen defence mopped up well.

The next chance for a goal prompted an excellent save by Carmin Dow from an Arminen penalty corner, the keeper charged out and blocked spectacularly.

Seconds later the goal came and was scored by Lucia Graser. A long pass for forward found Graser and she turned and struck the ball low into the net. 1-0.

The second half was very competitive but void of clear opportunities for either side. Neither side took control of the contest, but it was Wanderers who needed a goal.

It was only in the closing stages where an opportunity presented itself, and it came through a Wanderers penalty corner. Dark struck it well but it was saved low by the rushing goalkeeper to keep the Scots at bay.

A frantic end to the match saw Wanderers try their best to unlock the Arminen defence but the Austrians held firm and took the victory against the hosts.

EuroHockey Indoor Club Cup 2018 continues tomorrow, head along to DISC in Dundee and watch the best European indoor hockey teams in action.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Holcombe to field fresh-faced line-up for EHL KO16 against Polo

©: Frank Uijlenbroek/world Sport Pics

Holcombe Hockey Club look set to field a weakened team in the EHL KO16 as a number of call-ups to England’s Commonwealth Games panel look set to leave them shy their top stars.

The English club will be playing in the EHL for a second consecutive season, beating KS AZS AWF Poznan 8-1 before falling 2-1 to SV Kampong in ROUND1 in Banbridge. They will play Real Club de Polo on Friday, March 30 in the KO16, hoping to set up a date against either Herakles or Atletic Terrassa.

This time around, England Internationals George Pinner (GK), and the legendary Barry Middleton will be representing their country in Brisbane, Australia for the Games having recently been named in the international squad for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. David Ames is currently injured and unlikely to feature while Dan Fox has retired from playing.

“We are still confident, however, of positively representing England and putting in a strong performance against Real Club de Polo in the opening game on Good Friday,” said the club’s Keith Martin about the situation in a press release this week.

“We have a mixture of experience and youth in our squad, captained by Richard Lane in midfield. Our leading goal scorer this season, Nick Bandurak, is firing on all cylinders and will be a constant threat up front.

“Australian U-21 players Jonathan Bretherton and Coby Green are new additions to the squad after winning a gold medal at last October’s Sultan of Johor Tournament in Malaysia.

“Mo Mea, fresh from representing South Africa at the World Indoor Cup in Berlin, is a calming influence for us in defence and Glenn Eyers from New Zealand, alongside defensive stalwarts Martin Robbins and Alistair Bray provide solidity at the back with Jack Pogson supporting our defensive line.

“With the absence of George Pinner, Goalkeeping duties will be taken over by Joe Neighbour and Andy Perkins.

“Dan Webster, Harry Trusler, Tom O’Keeffe, Coby Green and Jon Bretherton will join Richard Lane in Midfield with Youngsters Dan Edwards and Rob Field leading the line with Nick Bandurak up front.”

Holcombe currently sit seventh in the English league after 13 rounds of matches; their preparations see them face Hampstead & Westminster next on Sunday.

Euro Hockey League media release

Ards in European Indoor Action

Ards are in European Indoor action in Prague this weekend in the Eurohockey Indoor Club Trophy. They sit in Pool A with SK Slavia Prague, Hahk Mladost from Croatia and Gintra Strekte Uni HC from Lithuania. All pool matches will be wrapped up on Saturday morning before the crossovers take place where they could face teams from Belgium, Russia, England or France.

Follow all the matches live here.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Corinthian show how its done with big win over Glenanne

Corinthian’s Ian Stewart. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Unbeatable on the national stage, Leinster league side Corinthian – and Ian Stewart in particular – showed how its done as they eliminated Glenanne from the Leinster Senior Mills Cup in midweek 4-2.

It puts them through to the St Patrick’s Day final where they will play either Three Rock Rovers or Monkstown, advancing to the marquee day for the third time in the last four years.

The Glens were without Shane O’Donoghue – he was also out for the game against Cookstown last week – and so called on Shannon Boucher to take over short corner duties and he delivered the first goal of the game beating Ross Murray with a direct drag midway through the first half.

The reds bounced back with a well worked team goal finished off by Stewart with a reverse stick shot. Then, against the run of play, Corinthian took the lead with school boy Henry Ellis and Ross McWilliam linking up to make it 2-1.

Glennane went looking for an equaliser with Sam O’Connor and Richie Shaw creating good chances but the Corinthian defence, led by Ben Murphy, appeared up for the challenge as the first half ended 2-1.

As the second half started, Murray was again called on to make a number of good saves before the reds managed to score a third through a Jonny Bruton cross for Stewart to pick up his second.

O’Connor continued his fine performance and was unlucky not to get more for his work, but the Glens did get one back when Gary Shaw picked out Boucher on the far post mid way through the second half.

At this point, the game started to really bubble with a number of cards issued, and it was during a yellow card sin bin for Boucher that the reds scored their fourth and Stewart picking up a hat-trick.

Iain Walker was sacrificed with around 10 minutes to go but Glennane just couldn’t make the advantage count as the reds were happy to sit back and close out the game.

For the Glens, they will look to get back on the horse when they travel up to Annadale this weekend in the men’s EY Hockey League.

They do so with a small bit of extra pressure from Lisnagarvey who narrowed the gap at the top to eight points – with two games in hand – with a 2-0 midweek win over Dale.

Daniel Buser opened the scoring from the penalty spot early in the second half before Daniel Nelson made the points safe from Neal Glassey’s assist.

Garvey travel down to Cork on Saturday to face a C of I looking to improve markedly on their 10-0 defeat to the same opposition before Christmas. They come into the tie off the back of two good draws on the road with John Jermyn firing three in the last two games.

Perhaps the most crucial game is the meeting of Cookstown and Railway at the bottom. A win for the Ulster side would likely be the killer blow for the Park Avenue hosts (4.30pm) but a win would make for a huge dogfight in the run-in to decide who gets the playoff and who goes straight down.

Last time out, Stu Smyth was the match winner for Cookstown, scoring twice in the 4-2 win for the Tyrone men.

“I think we can look to a number of positives as well as a good few lessons from our match against Glenanne and take those into the Railway game,” said Smyth.

“The scoreline obviously was pretty one-sided, but we actually performed pretty well in a number of areas. We created a lot of chances but couldn’t take advantage. If we can change that and be strong around the back then the hope is that we can get all the points down in Dublin.

“That first quarter really did the harm – every time Glenanne got into our circle it seemed to end up in a goal. But we’ll take it on the chin and look to get going again against Railway.

Cookstown’s Stu Smyth. Pic: Adrian Boehm

“Railway are obviously past masters at surviving in this league and have a number of really talented guys in their ranks.

“They will be better than they were up in Cookstown, and so we will have to be as well if we are to come away with anything from the match.

“We’ve a month off after this match so we can really throw everything at it and hopefully, with a bit of luck, it will be good enough to win the points.”

Banbridge hope to beat the frost to close the gap on fifth placed Pembroke. Monkstown’s game with Three Rock Rovers is off due to the funeral of Michael Darling, father of Mitch, on Saturday morning.

In Leinster Division One, the three horse race at the top continues with YMCA hosting Avoca, UCD going to Weston and Rathgar facing Corinthian.

Men’s weekend fixtures
EY Hockey League
Wednesday: Lisnagarvey 2 (D Buser, D Nelson) Annadale 0
Saturday: Annadale v Glenanne, Strathearn School, 2.30pm; Banbridge v Pembroke Wanderers, Havelock Park, 2.45pm; Cork C of I v Lisnagarvey, Garryduff, 1pm; Railway Union v Cookstown, Railway Union HC, 2.40pm.

Irish Hockey Challenge – semi-finals: Ballynahinch v Cliftonville, St. Colmans H.S., 1pm; Catholic Institute v Mullingar, Rosbrien, 2pm.

Leinster Division One: Kilkenny v Clontarf, 2pm, Kilkenny College; Weston v UCD, 11.30am, Griffeen Valley Park; Dublin North v Dublin University, 12pm, NSC; Rathgar v Corinthian, 12.30pm, High School; YMCA v Avoca, 2pm, Wesley

Mills Cup semi-final: Corinthian 4 (I Stewart 3, R McWilliam) Glenanne 2 (S Boucher 2)

Munster Senior Cup – semi-finals: Ashton v Bandon, Ashton School, 12.15pm; Limerick v Cork Church of Ireland B, Villiers, 12pm.

Munster Division 1 (Sunday): UCC v Limerick , Mardyke, 12pm.

The Hook

Belfast Quins and Pembroke hope to finally beat the frost

After almost three months, Belfast Harlequins and Pembroke will hope they can finally get the go-ahead for their Irish Senior Cup second round date at Deramore Park.

The tie was originally scheduled for November 25 but has been pushed back a number of times due to the big freeze, leaving Cork Harlequins lying in wait in the last eight. The overnight forecast for Belfast of between 2 to 4 degrees, though, means it will be touch and go.

On paper, it is a reasonably well-matched tie between seventh and eighth place in the table with both sides coming off disappointing results a week ago. Quins were hit for five by UCD while Pembroke had a glut of chances with plenty of speed in the turnover but could not fully dispatch Trinity and drew 2-2.

Railway Union against Loreto is another close-run thing, especially after two draws in the league – 1-1 and 0-0 – as they sit fourth and fifth, respectively. Indeed, both come into the game off the back of 2-0 wins, showing this one could go the distance.

UCD were without the injured Emma Russell last week but should prove too strong for Lurgan who sit third in the Ulster Premier League.

Elsewhere, Ards lost their opening two games in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy in Prague, falling 5-0 to the hosts and 2-0 to Croatia’s HAHK Mladost. They complete theor group phase against Lithuania’s Gintra Strekte.

Mossley host Cork C of I with each bidding to be the last side to take up a place in the Irish Hockey Trophy semi-finals. In the Challenge, NUIG face NICS in the semi-final at Dangan.

In Leinster Division One, the top four face off with Corinthian and Old Alex’s meeting guaranteeing that there will be some sort of shake-up. The reds won the first meeting, stunning Alex with a 2-0 win which threw the cat among the pigeons.

Since Christmas, Corinthian have not been quite a free-flowing in 2018 but remain unbeaten in the league, edging single-goal wins over Rathgar and Clontarf in the past two weeks while they have drawn with Our Lady’s and North Kildare.

Alex’s seven-game winning streak was abruptly ended by Muckross two weekends ago but they bounced back with a 4-0 win at Genesis.

Genesis face leaders Muckross who are on a seven-game winning streak of their own. The top three are all but assured of a ticket to the EYHL promotion playoffs.

How the IHL2 places play out, however, still has plenty of twists and turns. With three Leinster teams at the bottom of the EYHL, should two be relegated in May just the winner of the provincial league will be guaranteed an IHL2 place.

It means top spot is a crucial position to chase in the remaining weeks of the season.

Women’s weekend fixtures (all Saturday)
Irish Senior Cup – quarter-finals: Lurgan v UCD, Lurgan Junior H.S., 2.30pm; Railway Union v Loreto, Railway Union HC, 12.40pm.
Round 2: Belfast Harlequins v Pembroke Wanderers, Belfast Harlequins HC, 2.30pm.

Irish Hockey Trophy – quarter final: Mossley v Cork Church of Ireland, Mossley HC, 4pm.

Irish Hockey Challenge, semi-final: NUIG v NICS, Dangan Sports Ground, 1pm.

Leinster Division One: Avoca v Clontarf, 12.30pm, Newpark; Our Ladys v North Kildare, 1pm, Terenure; Muckross v Genesis, 1.30pm, Muckross Park; Corinthian v Old Alex, 2.30pm, Whitechurch Park; Rathgar v Glenanne, 2.30pm, High School

Munster Division 1: Bandon v Ashton, Bandon Grammar Sch., 3.30pm; Catholic Institute v Belvedere, Rosbrien, 12pm; Waterford v Limerick, Newtown Sch., 12.30pm.

The Hook

Second half of Scottish outdoor season gets underway

Photo by Duncan Gray

The outdoor National League 1 programme starts in earnest after the winter shutdown with four games each on the men`s and women`s card.

The top fixture of the day in men’s National League 1 is undoubtedly Grange`s trip to Tayside to take on third placed Grove Menzieshill. A banana skin encounter for the unbeaten leaders, last season the Edinburgh side found themselves three down with ten minutes left, but still managed to salvage a 3-3 draw in the end.

But the wind could be in Grange`s favour. Grove Menzieshill will be approaching the game on the back of a tough indoor European campaign last weekend and have less than a week to readjust to the outdoor game. In contrast, Grange already have a competitive league game under their belt, last weekend they were also in Dundee and came away with a 6-2 victory over Wanderers.

However, all this is conjecture and certain to be ignored by Grange coach David Knipe as he prepares his charges for one of the most difficult games of the season. The league leaders did take the three points in the initial encounter at Fettes, a penalty corner conversion by Dominic Wild and a good finish from the top of the circle by Frank Ryan was sufficient for a 2-1 win, Albert Rowling replied for the Taysiders.

Kelburne will host Clydesdale, and Clydesdale start the second half of the season on the back of a five game losing streak and lost the earlier game 6-3, that day there were hat-tricks for Johnny Christie and Josh Cairns. But Gordon Shepherd will guard against the possibility of a rogue result, just like the unexpected 4-4 draw with second bottom Uddingston back in October.

Western Wildcats currently occupy fourth place in the table, only two points adrift of Grove Menzieshill and six ahead of Edinburgh University, coach Harry Dunlop will want to consolidate that top four spot with a home win over Uddingston. Wildcats were 1-0 winners in the equivalent fixture earlier in the season, Rob Harwood with a first half penalty was the only scorer that day. The Wildcats` striker may want to celebrate his recent first Scotland cap and Commonwealth Games selection with further goals at Auchenhowie on Saturday.

Inverleith have had a season of dramatic contrasts, only a couple of weeks ago they claimed the indoor championship, and yet sit firmly at the foot of the outdoor first division with only a single point. On Saturday they make the short trip to Peffermill to take on an Edinburgh University side that must still harbour aspirations of a top four spot.

Photo by Andy Lovat

The women`s card is unlikely to change things at the top of the table, in the earlier outdoor encounters Edinburgh University, Milne Craig Clydesdale Western, Grove Menzieshill and Wildcats totalled 16 goals against the opposition from the lower reaches of the table.

University are still in pole position three points ahead of Grove Menzieshill, and will look to maintain that status at home to Watsonians. The latter emerged the best of the teams in the bottom half of the league with 13 points from their ten games, but they succumbed 5-2 in the first encounter, Laura Swanson (2), Ali Eadie, Hanna McKie and Zara Malseed doing the damage for Sam Judge`s side.

Grove Menzieshill should certainly keep up the pressure against a Grange side that presently occupy second bottom spot in the table, especially if Sarah Jamieson is going to maintain her lethal form in front of goal.

Western will hope to see off bottom side Kelburne, the Paisley side have yet to break their duck this season.

Wildcats are well established in fourth place and have GHK as visitors to Auchenhowie. A repeat of the 2-0 win in the first game, Alex Stuart and Lucy MacArthur were on target, would cement their top four position.

Dundee Wanderers are competing in Women’s EuroHockey Indoor Club Cup at DISC so will not be in National League action this weekend.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Politeknik banking on Koreans to upstage UiTM in President Cup final

By Aftar Singh

On fire: Politeknik-KPT’s Oh Se-yong (left) is one of five South Korean players in the team up against UiTM-KPT in the President Cup final today.

KUALA LUMPUR: Politeknik-KPT will be banking on their South Korean players to win their maiden title in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

Politeknik, powered by five South Koreans, face Division One league champions Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM)-KPT in the President Cup final today at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Politeknik lost 3-1 to UiTM in last week’s league final.

Korean midfielder Choi Jin-young and forward Oh Se-yong combined well in the 3-1 win over Kedah in the semi-finals on Thursday. Se-yong scored a brace while Se-yong was also on target.

Jin-young said they would be going all out to avenge their league final defeat to UiTM and end their nine-match winning streak.

“We (the Koreans) have combined well with the others in the team and we’re out to turn the tables on UiTM,” said Jin-young, who featured in the 2016 Junior World Cup in India.

The Star of Malaysia

Mitton’s Stroke Of Fortune With Baton Relay

Ben Somerford

Kookaburras forward Trent Mitton cannot wait for his moment of history on Saturday when he steps up as one of the main runners in the 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay, although it almost didn't happen.

Mitton is one of a handful of Australian hockey stars who’ll take part in the relay in Perth on Saturday, along with current Hockeyroos Rachael Lynch and Emily Smith and Hockeyroos great Rechelle Hawkes.

Former Kookaburras and Commonwealth Games gold medalists Chris Ciriello and Simon Orchard will also take part in the relay in Perth on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Kookaburras forward, whose father Grant and grandfather Don both represented Australia in hockey, will be the final runner in the Perth leg before the baton reaches the Supreme Court Gardens at 5.30pm WST on Saturday.

Mitton may have missed the opportunity altogether, after a late re-shuffle due to his commitments with the Kookaburras.

“It’s really cool,” Mitton said. “I was actually a little bit lucky, as I was originally scheduled to run on Monday morning but we fly out for the Azlan Shah Cup on Sunday.

“I had to contact the organisers about it but they managed a re-shuffle as someone withdrew and it opened up a spot.

“I’m not sure what I’ve got myself into running last leg of the day but it’ll be great to be involved in such a major event.”

Mitton has been to two Commonwealth Games previously, helping Australia claim gold in both 2010 and 2014.

The side is targeting more gold in 2018, which would make it six consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medals for the Kookaburras.

“I went to my first in 2010 when I was pretty young at 19 and was lucky enough to win gold at both of them,” Mitton said.

“I think we’ve got a really good chance at it in 2018. We’ve got a really good team.

“We always compete well against the Commonwealth nations so hopefully we can get to the final and claim the gold.”

Mitton only recently recovered from a thumb injury, having missed the triumphant World League Final in India in December.

The WASPS forward played in Australia’s Test series against the Netherlands and will look to build up his match fitness at the Azlan Shah Cup which starts on Saturday 3 March in Malaysia.

“I’m fully over the thumb injury now. The bone has healed,” he said.

“It’s now about the confidence getting the thumb near the ground.

“I’m moving well and looking forward to getting some more games under my belt to build up that match fitness at Azlan Shah.”

Australia’s 18-man team for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast will be named in mid-March after the Azlan Shah Cup.

Hockey Australia media release

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