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News for 22 March 2018

All the news for Thursday 22 March 2018

2018 Test Matches: ESP v GER (W) - 2nd Test
Malaga (ESP)

ESP v GER     1 - 2

Germany wins the 2 Test series 1-0

FIH Match Centre

Blow to hockey squad

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia hockey squad will have a difficult time at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, with the absence of four key players.

They are defenders Mohd Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin and Faiz Helmi Jali, midfielder Mohd Marhan Mohd Jalil and forward Nik Muhamad Aiman Nik Rozemi.

Izad, who missed the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh two weeks ago, is still nursing a knee injury while pint-sized Faiz has opted out to complete his final semester studies at Universiti Malaya.

The hardworking Marhan is still recovering from a broken toe which he suffered in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup two weeks ago and Aiman is also down with a hamstring injury.

Without the two experienced defenders Izad and Faiz, coach Stephen van Huizen’s men will likely face another beating in the Common­wealth Games as India and England are in the same Group B with Malaysia.

Malaysia lost heavily to the two teams in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup early this month.

The other two teams in the group are Pakistan and Wales.

Defending champions Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Scotland are drawn in Group A.

The Star of Malaysia

Dawson ’Looking On The Bright Side’ After Freak Eye Injury

Ben Somerford

Kookaburras defender Matthew Dawson admits his vision is still blurry after a freak training ground incident where he feared he may have lost his sight.

The 23-year-old from Killarney Vale in New South Wales was on the wrong end of a hockey stick to his eye when a teammate attempted to shoot at goal.

Dawson initially feared the worst, but has recovered adequately to be selected in the Kookaburras’ 2018 Commonwealth Games team.

“It was just at training. Normal drill, player missed a shot and I was in a bad position and unfortunately copped a stick straight to the eye,” he recalled.

“The past few weeks have been pretty tough for me.

“I have seen the footage. I’ve not heard it but apparently the screams were pretty loud. Obviously it was pretty painful.

“I was pretty lucky not to burst an eyeball. Looking on the bright side, I can still see, I’ve still got my vision.”

Dawson was forced to withdraw from the Azlan Shah Cup which Australia, putting at risk his spot in the side for Gold Coast.

“I didn’t really now where I stood within the group looking forward,” he said.

“I knew I didn’t have a great deal of time before a home Commonwealth Games which, apart from the World Cup at the end of the year, this is the main goal for me.

Dawson has been given the all-clear by doctors, having returned to training last week, although he still needs to pass a hockey test from medical staff.

He will need to wear protective glasses should he play in the Commonwealth Games, where he’s likely to reach 100 caps for Australia, currently sitting on 98.

“I’ve been training and everything is looking positive,” he said.

“My vision is a little bit blurry but I can see, so that’s positive.

“The eye has opened up a fair bit over the last week. We’ve still got two weeks before our first match, so that’s a positive for me.”

The Kookaburras, who are in Pool A alongside New Zealand (ninth), Canada (11th), South Africa (15th) and Scotland (23rd), will head to the Gold Coast on Wednesday 28 March.

Hockey Australia media release

Hockeyroos’ Youthful Flavour Is ’Refreshing’

Ben Somerford

Hockeyroos captain Emily Smith believes the side’s youthful flavour is a major positive as Australia chases gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Ten members of the Hockeyroos’ 18-member team named late last week for the Gold Coast event have never competed at the Commonwealth Games before, with several members 23 or younger.

Smith, who has 189 caps, was part of the side that won gold in Glasgow in 2014.

The 25-year-old forward insisted that the lack of Commonwealth Games experience wouldn’t be an issue, instead claiming it was a major positive for the group.

“This young group that we have bring youth and excitement,” Smith said.

“It’s refreshing for us older girls like myself, I’m almost up to 200 games, to see the passion and desire they have to wear the bodysuit brings it back in myself.

“It does get monotonous sometimes where you’re training day-in day-out and you put that much pressure on yourself.

“You see these young girls, they have no expectations, they don’t have that pressure, they just play with the freedom and flexibility of a well-experienced player.

“That balance is something we’ve got to manage.”

Smith acknowledged she was feeling some pressure ahead of the games as captain, given Australia have won the past three gold medals and four of the five overall.

“I have thought about it,” she said, when asked if she dreaded being the captain that saw the Hockeyroos’ streak end.

“It does put on that bit of added pressure. We have to go out there and have confidence in the preparation we’ve done. Once we get there all the hard work is done.”

The Commonwealth Games will be Smith’s first major tournament as captain, having been appointed in September for the Oceania Cup.

Smith took over from Hockeyroos legend Madonna Blyth who retired after the 2016 Rio Olympics, where they played alongside.

“There’s always nerves that come along with the captaincy,” Smith said.

“But I’ve been to the Comm Games before, I’ve been to the Olympics so I’m just hoping to use that experience to help the other girls that haven’t been there.

“Once the games starts, all that stuff goes out the window.

“We’ve trained this everyday and when you get out there, it just comes down to playing hockey which is what we do everyday.

“Hopefully once the nerves settle and we get those first few touches in, everyone can go to their game plan and perform how we want to.”

The Hockeyroos, who are in Pool B alongside New Zealand (fourth), Scotland (18th), Canada (21st) and Ghana (30th), fly out for Gold Coast on Wednesday 28 March.

Hockey Australia media release

Rocky's hockey champ home to run leg of Queen's Baton Relay

by Pam McKay

GOLDEN GOAL: Rockhampton's Mark Knowles will lead the Kookaburras in their quest for a sixth straight gold medal at next month's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. HOCKEY AUSTRALIA

ROCKHAMPTON hockey champion Mark Knowles will make a flying visit home tomorrow to run a leg of the Queen's Baton Relay.

The Australian men's hockey captain will take a break from his Commonwealth Games preparations to join the host of locals afforded the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The Rockhampton leg of the relay starts at 3.23pm at Kenrick Tucker Velodrome and Mark will receive the baton at 4.15pm in Goodsall St.

Mark, who will retire from international hockey following next month's Commonwealth Games, said he was excited to be running the baton in his home town.

"Rockhampton as a region has been an amazing supporter of my journey since I was a kid and I hope there is plenty of support for all the people involved and who are getting this honour,” he said.

Captain Mark Knowlees celebrates the Kookaburras win at the Azlan Shah Cup with parents Barb and Ryan Knowles.

Parents Ryan and Barb Knowles said it was great that Mark was returning to Rockhampton for the community celebration.

"We'll be very proud to see him carrying the baton, just as we have been watching him in every one of his hockey endeavours,” Ryan said.

"We're just so pleased that he's had such a wonderful career and we're thrilled at the way he has performed and carried himself over a long period of time.

"He's leaving the national side as World No.1 and in a really good place moving forward.

"We've had a fantastic journey with him and we're happy knowing that he's ready to move on to new challenges in his life.”

Ryan and Barb were in Malaysia earlier this month to watch the Kookaburras claim the Azlan Shah Cup, the same tournament where they witnessed their son's international debut in 2004.

The grand final, which the Aussies won 2-1 against England, was played on Mark's 34th birthday and he was named Player of the Final.

Mark Knowles was named Player of the Final at the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia. HOCKEY AUSTRALIA

While clearly still at the top of his game, the decorated stalwart has no regrets about calling time on his career.

"It actually makes me feel great that I have the opportunity to leave the team and game I love feeling fit and healthy and playing well,” Mark said.

"My decision was based on the fact that I don't think I can play, train and maintain the same level of commitment and quality moving forward that I have prided myself on through my career.

"I'm ready (to retire) but I'm also aware that a big part of my life will be gone so I don't want to think too much about it at the moment.”

The Kookaburras are aiming for a sixth consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medal at the Gold Coast and Mark says they are keen to uphold their amazing record.

"We've had a fantastic preparation, winning the World League Finals in India in December, playing four Tests in Perth against the Dutch in February and winning the Azlan Shah in Malaysia,” he said.

The Kookaburras will chase a sixth consecutive gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Koen Suyk

"This makes me very confident that if our team plays at its best, we are very hard to beat.

"The key now is playing well in big moments under pressure and I know I can play a strong role in this.”

Mark's resume is impressive and he rates Olympic gold in Athens in 2004 and World Cup gold in Holland in 2014 as "two stand-outs among many wonderful memories”.

He maintains the support of his family has been paramount to his success.

"It means everything and it has certainly made me a much more well-rounded athlete and person,” he said.

The inspirational leader is doing everything he can to ensure he is in peak condition for his last international tournament.

Asked how he would like to be remembered when the curtain falls on his celebrated career, he offered this: "I think people will remember my work ethic, commitment, discipline, team-first mentality and that I have extracted every bit out of my body, physically and mentally, for this game.”


    Start 3:23pm Kenrick Tucker Velodrome
    Left on Berserker St
    Right on High St
    Left on Musgrave St
    Continue on Little Musgrave St
    Continue on Goodsall St
    Right on Reaney St
    Down Boat Ramp
    Downstream on Fitzroy River
    Up South Rockhampton Boat Ramp
    Right along Quay St
    Continue on Victoria Pde
    Left on North St
    Right on Lion Creek Rd
    Right on Sir Raymond Huish Dve
    Finish 5:30pm Sir Raymond Huish Dve followed by Rockhampton's Own Baton Relay celebration


    The Queen's Baton carries a message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II that calls the Commonwealth's athletes to come together in peaceful and friendly competition.
    The 2018 relay is the longest in history, travelling through the entire Commonwealth for 388 days and 230,000km.
    It started on March 13, 2017, at Buckingham Palace and was entrusted to the first baton bearer, Central Queensland Olympian Anna Meares.
    It began its journey in Australia on December 25, 2017, and will involve 3800 baton bearers.
    It will arrive on the Gold Coast for the XXI Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on April 4, 2018.

The Morning Bulletin

Resilient Holcombe to bring their intensity to battle with Polo

©: Frank Uijlenbroek/world Sport Pics

Holcombe’s Nick Bandurak says his team’s “resilience and determination” will play a key role as they look to take down Real Club de Polo in the KO16 and reach the last eight for the first time.

They have been preparing in recent weeks without some of their star names, something that has been well-flagged with George Pinner and Barry Middleton in the England squad for the Commonwealth Games while David Ames is on the comeback trail from injury.

In their absence, though, they have recorded some big wins, getting the better of Hampstead & Westminster and Surbiton which has belief bubbling along nicely ahead of their trip to Rotterda,

“It's no secret that we'll be missing some big players and characters,” Bandurak told the EHL website. “We've had to adjust in recent weeks and we've integrated some new guys into the group that have had a really positive impact on how we play.

“There has been an inevitable learning curve for us as a team and we're definitely heading in the right direction in the build up to KO16. We're a young, tight-knit side that works exceptionally hard and as a group, we're excited at the opportunity we have before us.

“Beating Surbiton away from home was massive for us, both in the context of the league and for the confidence of the group.”

They qualified in a strange way for the competition, accepting an invitation when Surbiton withdrew from the competition as England’s number one seeds due to potential Commonwealth Games commitments.

The Kent club jumped at the chance: “Holcombe has always been an ambitious club. We've set our sights as high as we can do and this season of re-building has been no different. When the opportunity to play in Europe came about once again, we were never going to decline, no matter who we drew in the KO16.”

They complete their preparations with a game on Friday evening against Canterbury and then a final regular season league tie on Sunday at Brooklands MU. An English playoff place is out of their reach, meaning there is an additional focus on the EHL but they are capable of switching up their styles of play.

“We're a resilient group that likes to attack with pace. We stay disciplined in defence and it just so happened [against Surbiton] that our goals came from counter attacks.

“It is a definite strength of ours but not necessarily a style which we'll look to utilise at the KO16. We like to build an offence just as much as we like to attack at pace so hopefully we can find the right balance in Rotterdam.

“We've seen bits of Polo and are aware of their prominent threats. They're enjoying a great season in the Spanish league and will be no doubt full of confidence going into the weekend.

“Casasayas and Alegre will be pivotal to their offence but we know they have talent all over the field and it will be up to us to nullify their pace and skill in attack the best that we can.

“Our resilience and determination in defence will no doubt be the cornerstone of a strong performance next Friday and hopefully we can negate their attacking flare.

“From there, hopefully we can string some good attacking passages of play together and take any chances that fall our way.”

It is Holcombe’s second appearance in the EHL. They impressed in ROUND1 in Banbridge in 2016 with a big win over AZS AWF Poznan and they led against the then-reigning champions SV Kampong 2-1 with Sander de Wijn scored twice in the second half to turn thing around.

“It was great to be a part of Holcombe's first experience in the EHL. To start so positively against AZS AWF Poznan was perfect to settle the group and we gave it our all against Kampong.

“It was always going to be tough facing Kampong in our second game in 24 hours but we fought hard and are proud of how hard we pushed the reigning champions.

“The biggest learning curve for us was the intensity in defence that Kampong showed. We had worked hard to be up at the interval and to not hold on to that lead was disappointing, despite playing a side of such obvious class.

“Experiencing such differing styles and the excitement around the competition as a whole was invaluable for the squad and hopefully will serve to benefit us next week.”

Euro Hockey League media release

Edinburgh University comes out on top in dramatic penalty showdown

Photo by Andy Lovat

Edinburgh University won the British University Trophy for the first time after seeing off Cardiff in a dramatic penalty shoot-out at Nottingham yesterday.

The final was a tight affair from the start with either side unable to gain the upper hand, consequently the first half finished goalless.  Midway through the second half, Cardiff broke the deadlock at a penalty corner but the Scottish first division side never gave up and with five minutes left, Will Harper equalise from another set piece.

With the momentum now going Edinburgh`s way, they scored all five penalty opportunities while the Welsh missed their third, allowing the Trophy to make its first trip to the Scottish capital.

Edinburgh marched into the final of the British Universities Trophy for the first time after beating King`s College London 4-2 in the semi-final at Peffermill on Monday

The students not only had to beat the English side but also the snow to advance them to the final; the snow causing the biggest scare taking the squad and Peffermill staff eight hours to clear the pitch to allow the game to go ahead.

Edinburgh marched into a two-goal lead by the interval with Jack Jamieson scoring both. The contest was over when the home side doubled their tally, Antonis Efthymiou from a penalty corner and a close-range conversion from Ben Pearson after good work by Callum White.

All in all, very good game from the Scottish side and a fantastic way to end lifting the British University Trophy.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

NSWS & Victoria Crowned Under-18 Australian Champions

Ben Somerford

New South Wales State and Victoria have been crowned the Girls’ and Boys’ Under-18 Australian Championships title winners after triumphing in Wednesday’s gold medal matches in Launceston.

Wednesday’s gold medal and bronze medal matches wrapped up a big week at the Northern Hockey Centre with 64 matches across two divisions which ran from Tuesday 13 March.

NSWS defeated Western Australia 3-2 in an exciting final in the Girls’ division, capping a strong week for NSWS who had won four games and drawn one in the pool stage, scoring 29 goals and conceding only four.

Hannah Kable gave NSWS a 14th minute lead, before WA hit back through Jade Vanderzwan from a 25th minute penalty corner.

Goals from Maddison Smith (45’) and Helena Tobbe (50’) opened up a two-goal buffer for NSWS, before WA ensured a tense finale to the game with a goal from Georgina Dowd (66’).

Queensland Maroon defeated Victoria 6-1 in the Girls’ bronze medal match, with Kendra Fitzpatrick and Ruby Harris netting doubles.

In the Boys’ division gold medal match, Victoria edged Queensland Maroon 2-1 after a tight goalless first-half.

Luke Jackson fired the Vics ahead in the 42nd minute with Connor Holland doubling their lead in the 58th minute.

Queensland pushed until the end with Liam Hart netting from a penalty corner in the 66th minute but the Vics held on.

Western Australia beat Queensland Gold 2-1 in a shootout in the Boys’ bronze medal match after a 3-3 draw.

Joseph Sandor scored two goals for the Queenslanders, but it was WA’s Kyle Potter who netted twice late on to send the match to a shootout.

WA had trailed 1-0 in the shootout after four attempts, before Justin Schonken scored to send it to sudden death, where he netted again and Sandor was denied by Christian Starkie.

Head to https://hockeyaustralia.altiusrt.com/ for more details on the competitions.

Hockey Australia media release

UNDER 16: Penang check into medal rounds

Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Defending boys champions Perak were drawn with Pahang and Malacca in the medal rounds of the Malaysian National Under-16 tournament at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

And the other group will have Johor, Kuala Lumpur and Penang. A fresh draw of six teams, with none seeded, was held yesterday.

The three teams in each group, X and Y, will play among each other and the champions of Group X will play champions of Group Y in the final. The group runners-up will battle for bronze.

In the women's tournament, Group X is made up of Terengganu, Pahang, Sabah, while Group Y has Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca.

Yesterday, Penang and Malacca were the last boys teams to qualify for the medal rounds.

Penang beat Selangor 2-0 to top Group B with goals from Aliff Aqharni (22nd) and Faris Harizan (42nd).

Penang coach Jivan Mohan, a former national player, said: "We need to improve our penalty corners to have a chance of winning a medal. We won more than 10 penalty corners against three teams in Grou B, but failed to score even one."

Penang topped Group B with seven points, and will meet Group A runners-up Johor and Group C runner-up Kuala Lumpur in the medal round.

RESULTS: Boys -- Group A: Johor 1 Perlis 1, Negri Sembilan 2 Sarawak 2; Group B: Selangor 0 Penang 2.
Girls Group B: Penang 1 Sabah 1, Sarawak 0 Malacca 2.


GROUP X: Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Penang.
GROUP Y: Perak, Pahang, Malacca.


GROUP X: Terengganu, Pahang, Sabah.
GROUP Y: Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca.

THURSDAY: Boys -- Johor v Kuala Lumpur (8pm, Pitch I), Perak v Pahang (8pm, Pitch II).
Girls: Terengganu v Pahang (6.45pm, Pitch I), Johor v Kuala Lumpur (6.45pm, Pitch II).

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Team Canada is Youth Olympic Bound

Team Canada receives their bronze medal at the Youth Pan American Championships. Photo: Mariano Avila/PAHF

With a bronze medal finish at the Youth Pan American Championships, Canada’s U18 Men’s Team secured a spot in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

It took an extra day, but Canada qualified for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games with a thorough 6-0 victory over Paraguay in the bronze medal match in Guadalajara last weekend. Canada finished with a 5-1-0 record. Their only loss came at the hands of host-country Mexico in the semifinals.

With the third-place finish, Canada successfully punched their ticket to the Youth Olympic Games, which will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in October. Head Coach, Geoff Matthews said he was very impressed with how the team responded to the adversity of the semi-final loss to bounce back in the bronze medal game.

“It’s an incredible achievement to qualify for the Youth Olympics,” he said. “We showed a lot of character coming back after the semi-final loss. I’m really proud of everyone on this team.”

Goalkeeper, Ethan McTavish put on a terrific display in net, allowing only four goals over the six-game event. Shazab Butt, Amraaz Dhillon and Rowan Childs led the team in offensive production with five goals apiece. Seven of the eight Canadian field-players found the scoresheet at least once. Matthews talked about the balanced attack and creativity contributing to the success of the team.

“Everybody played their part and we were able to put out very solid nine-player performances,” Matthews said. “It really showed on the last day, that we were well conditioned. We played our best game in the bronze medal match.”

Notably, the team was unable to find that offensive flair in the semifinals against a tough Mexican squad. After defeating Canada 3-0, the hosts went on to drop a heartbreaker in the finals to Argentina. Matthews said Mexico played a very solid game and didn’t’ give Canada many chances.

“They were better than us on that day. It’s that simple,” he said. “They absolutely deserved to move onto the finals. They were really good at contesting shots. In Hockey 5s, once you lose momentum, it’s very hard to get it back. Full credit to the Mexican side for their performance.”

The Youth Olympic Games is taking place in Argentina in October. Between now and then, the athletes will train with their provincial programs and in their National Training Centres. Given the many months between competitions, there is the potential for new faces to join the ranks. Players will be assessed at nationals and an additional selection camp after Nationals in July. The final Youth Olympic roster will be announced in late August.

The bronze medal at the Youth Pan American Championships marks the first time a Canadian team has medalled with representation from four provinces. Matthews said this is a testament to the growth and support of the men’s NextGEN system.

At the end of the event, Matthews said the team atmosphere was bitter sweet.

“On the one hand, we accomplished our goal of qualifying for the Youth Olympics. But on the other hand, I could tell the players were disappointed sitting in the stands, watching the finals and not playing in it,” Matthews said. “I think it’s great motivation for us moving forward. We know we can challenge the best in the world and we are looking forward to getting another chance at a gold medal in October.”

Field Hockey Canada media release

Sinyolo out to maintain perfect record

By Elizabeth Mburugu

Candy Vallary of Sinyolo Girls (Left) restrains Kisumu Girl's Beryl Achieng from the ball during their Hockey Finals encounter of the KSSSA Kisumu County Games at Maseno School. [Phillip Orwa, Standard]

Since making their debut at the national games in 2012, East Africa girls' hockey champions Sinyolo have never missed the Term One Games.

Despite finishing fourth in their first attempt, they have been to every final and ruled East Africa since their maiden appearance.

The team has won two national titles - in 2013 and 2016. However, it is the East Africa games that they have dominated with ease, winning five titles (from 2013 to 2017).

And yet again, they are hoping to qualify for the East Africa championships set for Rwanda in August as they search for an unprecedented sixth consecutive title.

Sinyolo launch their hunt for a ticket to the national games today, when the Nyanza Region Term One Games begin at St Mary’s Yala. To secure a place at next month’s nationals in Embu, they must emerge unscathed at the regionals.

The team has been placed in Group A against Kereri of Kisii County before they face Siaya’s Mbaga in their last group match.

Victory against the two teams will see them set a date with top teams in Group B comprising St Mary’s Mabera of Migori, Nyamira Girls of Siaya, Homa Bay’s Ambassador Pamela Mboya Girls and Kisumu Girls.

Sinyolo coach Alloise Owino said they expected stiff competition because their opponents were in good form.

“All teams have an equal chance of qualifying because they worked very hard and have improved so much," said Owino.

“We need to enhance our chances of reclaiming the national title and qualify for the East Africa games in Rwanda."

In girls' basketball, fast-rising Barchando will go full throttle as they seek a return to the nationals.

With salvaging the Nyanza title as their main objective at the games, they will battle Kisumu Girls, Itierio and St Francis Nyangajo Girls in Group B.

Group A has Ng’iya, Ulanda, Sironga and Asumbi Girls. Barchando coach Hermon Omondi said their goal was to return to the East Africa games and perform better than they did in 2016.

The Standard Online

Two Whanganui hockey players in NZ team for world masters in Spain

Evergreen Whanganui players Russell Burgess and Michelle Low are in the New Zealand teams to compete at the World Masters Hockey tournament in Spain later this year. PHOTO/Stuart Munro

Two Whanganui athletes will lend their considerable experience to New Zealand teams hunting medals at the World Masters and World Grand Masters Hockey tournaments in Spain later this year.

Evergreen players Michelle Low and Russell Burgess have been named in their specific New Zealand men and women age group teams to compete in Spain.

The 2018 Masters World Cup in Terrassa (July 27-August 5) and the Grand Masters World Cup in Barcelona (June 20-30).

At 48 Low has served national masters sides since she was 35 and still plays for Whanganui in te Manawatu division one women's grade, although that side is likely to drop to division two this winter.

Burgess still plays in the Friday night Whanganui men's division two league.

Both play their masters hockey in the Manawatu league.

He has played for New Zealand masters sides for the past 10 years and at 59 he will be the baby of his 60-65 age group in Spain.

"I can play in the 60-year age group because I turn 60 this year - I'll be the baby this year,' Burgess said.

Burgess said there were 18 teams in his age group at the world masters where New Zealand had drawn a tough pool.

"We have Belgium, Argentina and England in our pool and they are among the toughest in the world, especially England."

The women's 45-49 age group pool had yet to be posted.

Low said while she was feeling fit and ready, each year it became more difficult.

"It certainly gets tougher each year and as we get older niggling injuries creep in, but I'm feeling good this time round," Low said.

Both have competed at world masters level for New Zealand and were regulars in Kiwi teams competing in the biennial trans-Tasman clashes, although Burgess was missing for that line-up last year through other commitments.

At the last worlds in Canberra, Australia Burgess' men's team won their play-off for fifth and sixth against Ireland, while Low's women's side finished second, but won gold in last year's trans-Tasman fixture in Whangarei.

Wanganui Chronicle

Meet the team that makes things happen

They are the people who make it happen. The army of office workers, teachers, students, retirees, who leave their day job behind for a couple of weeks and instead immerse themselves in sporting action, making sure an event runs smoothly.

Volunteers are now the backbone of any major sporting event and the Vitality Women’s Hockey World Cup London 2018 will be no different. In fact, many would say that it was the London Olympics in 2012 that really pushed the role of the volunteer into a new sphere.

Alex Danson, England captain, is continuously praising the work of volunteers as is England Hockey CEO Sally Munday: “They are the life blood of our events,” she said in reference to the thousands who turn out to give their time for free.

The role of the volunteer ranges immensely, from the person who directs thousands of fans as they pour out of Stratford International station in search of the Olympic Park to the people who help run the media operations. There are volunteers who carry the players’ kit to the pitch and volunteers who help run the side show entertainment for kids.

“I’m always surprised at how much is delivered at sporting events through the generosity of volunteers. The sheers volume of man hours, effort and energy that’s delivered staggers me at every event.”
Bruce Danbury, Hockey Maker

Two people who are old hands at the volunteering game are Bruce Danbury and Annie Thomas.

Annie was formerly a Physical Education teacher but now works freelance at mass participation events. She first began volunteering after the 2004 Athens Olympics and her new career as a serial volunteer developed from there. She has been involved in a number of major hockey events in a range of capacities, from logistics to venue manager to assistant volunteer manager. During the London Olympic Games, her experiences led to her getting a paid role as Admin Group Leader.

Bruce Danbury is also a well-known face on the hockey circuit. He has worked at the past two Olympic games, a number of Hockey Champions Trophy events, the Hockey World League Semi-Finals in London and a number of other London-based competitions. He is currently in the Gold Coast for his second Commonwealth Games.

Bruce can generally be seen on the side of the pitch working as pitch manager although he also works for the national hockey association as an event assistant, part of a team of regular volunteers who help out with England Hockey events. As a volunteering sideline, he also works pitch side for wheelchair rugby.

For his day job, Bruce is a freelance business consultant, mainly working on corporate transformation programmes. The project management, communication and attention to detail that are essential to his job, transfer seamlessly to his volunteering role.

“I’ve learnt that if everyone knows what is meant to be happening, and everyone pays attention to all the little details they are responsible for, then the big things generally look after themselves,” says Bruce. “The same principles can work in business programmes and sports events.”

This is a sentiment with which Annie is in total agreement, although she adds that bringing a sense of humour and an ability to be instantly adaptable are also key elements to being a successful volunteer.

Considering this is a voluntary role, the pressure that the volunteering team is under is immense. The volunteers work long hours and often travel long distances to the venue. The weather at hockey events is also notoriously tricky – too hot, too cold and often very wet. And, Bruce adds: “Meeting the incredibly high expectations of some organising committees can be fun. Making sure the timings for live sport and TV always come together, with teams spread out over large venues can be a challenge.

“I’m always surprised at how much is delivered at sporting events through the generosity of volunteers. The sheers volume of man hours, effort and energy that’s delivered staggers me at every event,” he adds.

So what keeps the volunteers coming back?

“Easy,” says Annie, “Working with such a great range of fabulous people, seeing what really goes on ‘behind the scenes’ and feeling valued.”

While Annie has seen some amazing sporting action during her many years of volunteering – and her Facebook page is full of images of Annie at various world class events – her most satisfying moment was when she stepped out of the undercroft at the Hockey Centre at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and saw that she had transformed it from a “complete shambles to a properly organised, shelved and labeled storage area.”

For anyone who wants to become a volunteer, Bruce has this advice: “Just do it! Register and get involved. Find out about all the different roles, work out what you like, and what you’ll get the most satisfaction from. There is so much variety. There are different roles, different levels of event, and you will get so much back from the experience.”


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