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News for 25 May 2018

All the news for Friday 25 May 2018

2018 Test Matches: ARG v MAS (M) - 1st test
Buenos Aires (ARG)

ARG - MAS         1 - 0

FIH Match Centre

Argentina to field eight Olympians in friendles against Malaysia

By Jugjet Singh

Argentina have named only eight Olympians for the six friendly matches against Malaysia in Buenos Aires. Pic by NSTP/MUHAIZAN YAHYA

KUALA LUMPUR: Argentina have named only eight Olympians for the six friendly matches against Malaysia in Buenos Aires.

Stephen Van Huizen’s side are using the stint to prepare for the Jakarta Asian Games in August, where his team hope to win the gold medal and qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Malaysia and Argentina will play the first friendly on Friday.

"I saw several Argentina players, who played at the 2016 Rio Olympics, during breakfast at our hotel, including goalkeeper (Juan) Vivaldi. However I am not sure how may Olympians will be fielded against us tomorrow," said Van Huizen.

Argentina, the reigning Olympic champions, have also included 10 players with not more than 65 caps for the matches as stated on the International Hockey Federation (FIH) website.

The Olympians in the squad are Vivaldi, Juan Gilardi (152 caps), Perdro Ibarra (152), Matias Paredes (319), Juan Lopez (250), Lucas Rossi (199), Joaquin Menini (87) and Isidoro Ibarra (28).

Penalty corner specialist Gonzalo Peillat, who played for Terengganu Hockey Team in the recent Malaysia Hockey League, is not in the Argentina squad.

In the recent Azlan Shah Cup, Malaysia upset Argentina 2-1 in the pool round but lost 3-2 to the South Americans in the third-four classification match.

The first official match between both teams ended in a 1-1 draw at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

"My players are slowly getting over the jet-lag and should be ready for their first match. We came here with a mission to improve our game.

"We need these matches to prepare for the Asian Games," said Van Huzien.

For the record, Malaysia last qualified for the Olympics in 2000.

New Straits Times

3-0 Win Over Chile Caps off Perfect Test Series for U.S. Women's National Development Squad

SANTIAGO, Chile - Going into their final match unbeaten in the test series against Chile, the U.S. Women’s National Development Squad were determined to finish the tour strong. Despite a bumpy opening, USA prevailed 3-0 Wednesday, May 23 at the Prince of Wales Country Club in Santiago, Chile. The shutout victory also marked zero goals allowed by USA throughout the entire series.

USA did not get off to the best start conceding a penalty corner in the second minute after an unforced turnover from defense. With eyes on a fourth consecutive shutout, USA goalkeeper Jess Jecko (Sauquoit, N.Y.) made back-to-back saves, but the ball was adjudged to have hit a foot before exiting the circle and a second penalty corner was awarded to Chile. This time the corner strike was run down and USA was able to clear their lines. The squad then got into their stride and opened the scoring in the fourth minute. Forward Danielle Grega (Kingston, Pa.) started the attack by offloading to Erin McCrudden (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.). She in turn found Emily McCoy (Lititz, Pa.) who crossed it into the circle. The ball spilled off Chile's goalkeeper, and while under pressure from Mary Beth Barham (Fairfax, Va.), Grega finished off the move she had started volleying the ball on the forehand into the bottom left corner of the goal for the opening 1-0 score.

In the 26th minute, Barham came close to doubling up USA's score as she picked another ball out of the air, sending Kelly Marks' (Elverson, Pa.) deflected cross just wide of the post. The score would remain the same through the third quarter until Casey Umstead (Green Lane, Pa.) found Grega in the circle in the 46th minute. Grega then found space, and with her back to the goal, dispatched a backhand strike into the bottom left corner to make it 2-0 for USA.

The third tally of the game came moments later in the 49th minute from a penalty corner as Marks delivered a precise strike from the top of the circle toward the right post for Barham to extend the lead, deflecting in from close range.

“At halftime we spoke about goalscoring mentality and being more ruthless in the circle, so we were pleased to add the finishing touches to our attacks which were missing yesterday,” commented Mark Atherton, U.S. Women’s National Development Squad Assistant Coach.

USA amped up the tempo in the fourth quarter, but Chile held strong on defense keeping the deficit to three goals. At the other end, USA goalkeeper, Carrera Lucas (Brooklandville, Md.), was largely untested and at the final whistle the team recorded their third win of the tour and zero goals allowed between all USA goalkeepers.

“I am pleased we created turnovers and took our opportunities today,” said Jun Kentwell, U.S. Women’s National Development Squad Head Coach. “Our players adapted well to a different challenge this morning against a young, physical and fast Chile team. We pressed well and regained the poise we had shown in game two. This has been a good learning experience for our team and I hope help prepare one or two players to take the next step to the Women’s National Team.”

Next, the U.S. Women's National Development Squad athletes will compete at the Young Women's National Championship taking place at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa. from June 25-29.

USFHA media release

Gerretsen looking for a dream end to superb career with Rotterdam

©: Frank Uijlenbroek/world Sport Pics

Sjoerd Gerretsen says games like HC Rotterdam’s FINAL4 battle with HC Bloemendaal on Saturday afternoon (4pm CET) is “the reason I started playing hockey for when I was a little boy”.

Gerretsen has been an ever-present with Rotterdam for the last 14 seasons and has announced – along with Paul Melkert – he will retire from the first team after this weekend. And he would dearly love to end that career in perfect fashion.

“There's one prize I don't have in club hockey and I get one more chance to get this prixe, a beautiful opportunity in the last weekend off my hockey career,” he said to the EHL website.

It comes at the end of a dramatic season for Rotterdam. They missed out on the Hoofdklasse playoffs but produced an epic comeback in the KO16 to beat Mannheimer HC in shoot-out despite trailing 4-0 in the closing 10 minutes.

For Gerretsen, who has two bronze and one silver medal from the EHL and a Hoofdklasse winners medal, that win is right up there with any emotion he has felt in the game.

“The EHL KO16 against Mannheim is definitely in my top 10 games I have ever played for Rotterdam. That's not because of the hockey we played, because that was poor.

“A lot of guys had to experience how it is to play in front of so many people as in Rotterdam. So we were a little bit scared, gave two stupid goals away, and with the new EHL rule, you are immediately 4-0 down.

“The second half was just crazy; we switched on, started to play our own game and, with a little bit of luck, managed to get back in to the game. When Cat [Nick Catlin] scored the 4-4 a few seconds before time, that feeling, that atmosphere, and that noise in the stadium.... I think I will never forget it.”

He said the follow-up win over Uhlenhorst Mulheim was much more their level and said they “had fun on the field” to produce the “monster score” of 13-1.

“After Mannheim, we all knew we would never not win the second game!”

It means he will play in his fifth FINAL4 weekend, looking to finally add a winners medal after a silver in 2010 and bronze in 2008 and 2009.

Looking back on his career, Gerretsen says he is really proud to have played for Rotterdam for so long, a club he sees as one which “leads by example”.

“It’s really professional and always trying to get the best. An easy example is our clubhouse. I think its the best clubhouse there is in the hockey world. The stadium is really unbelievable and, with some 'easy' changes, you can put off an EHL like the KO16.

“Now you see other big clubs in Holland are copying the style of our clubhouse! If you look at Kampong or Oranje-Rood, it's a copy-paste of Rotterdam. And Kampong showed in the play-off final that they can almost build the same stadium as Rotterdam. Funny fact is, while Rotterdam was first, it's still the best!”

The EHL is a competition that holds a special place in his heart, providing a very different challenge to the Hoofdklasse.

“The thing I like the most about the EHL is you play competitors you don't know well. In the Netherlands, you know every team, every detail.

“But you do see in the EHL that the sport is getting more and more professional. Against Mannheim, we had a free hit in front of the dugout. I wanted to swing a backhand along the line to our deepest striker but, before I played it, I heard the coach saying to his striker; close the line, he likes to swing his backhand down the line!

“They know that in the Netherlands, but not in Europe, right?! That’s something which would never happened five to 10 years ago.

“It's also good to see that the top is getting bigger and bigger in Europe. I realise this is not the best year to say it with three Dutch teams in the FINAL4 but I think it's really true. Look at Kampong and Rot Weiss Koln or our game against Mannheim. Both were really close. It could easily have been two Germans, one Dutch and one Belgian team.”

“I played in some unbelievable games in the EHL, games where we smashed our opponent. Games where we won with shoot-outs. Some painful losses – I am thinking of the final against UHC in 2010.

“Allmost all those games were in front of a huge crowd and everything around the hockey was perfectly organised. This event makes the sport bigger in Europe.”

As for the reasons for his retirement, he simply feels it is the right time. His body is still in good enough shape for at least another season but the balance between hockey and his career has tilted finally to the latter.

“The last five years I combined work with hockey and that's tough. Your social life is, during season, at a minimum because I always have to do both. After this season I get loads of time for other things.”

He will focus on his job as manager of Optisport, a “beautiful indoor sports complex”, and will get more time for his friends and hobbies while playing with the second team.

For now, there is the small matter of the FINAL4, starting with their game with Bloemendaal.

“The club, our team, myself… we are all really looking forward to next weekend. Playing against the host is always a wonderful experience and the atmosphere will be amazing again.

“Bloemendaal is a great team and it's gonna be though to beat them but we know we can. We had a great campaign in the EHL and we are now at the level which we need to beat them.

“I think it's gonna be a real clash and it's gonna be really close but, whatever the result is, I will enjoy every second because these weekends, these games, are the reason where I started playing hockey for when I was a little boy.

“There's one prize I don't have in club hockey and I have one more chance to get this prize, a beautiful opportunity in the last weekend off my hockey career.”

Euro Hockey League media release

For Harendra Singh, key to successful reign as India's men's hockey team coach lies in accepting inputs from players

Sundeep Misra

Optimism comes cheap. Or is it pessimism? For a sport that hangs by its own coattails, like a frayed, old shirt hanging on a nail on the wall, not knowing what will drop first, the nail or the shirt, Indian hockey lives on the border, each year a lesson in inconsistency and those fine, temporary eclectic moments like thundershowers on arid land. It’s no more a sport for the meek, player or coach, the unpredictability of winning and losing somehow seeping into the very character of both; especially the coach. Thirty-three have perished (since 1980) in trying to conjure the imagination, inventiveness and enterprise that could stitch together an Olympic or World Cup medal. Don’t count the years since 1980 our last Olympic Gold, or 1975, our last and only World Cup crown. Decades have been spent weaving dreams; the pessimistic calls it flights of fancy or delusion.

Harendra Singh sits easy, his face lit up with a smile as he looks forward to a few days break after spending a couple of weeks with the Indian national hockey team. The ashes are still to settle after a tumultuous Commonwealth Games where the men’s team after two consecutive silver medals settled for the fourth spot. As is the decree in Indian hockey, heads rolled and Harendra found himself in the spot which he always wanted– men’s national coach; chief coach no interim or anything else.

Still it’s a change of stance from the women's to the men’s, a complete change in attitude and probably mind-set. “I have coached under- 14, under -16, under-18, under-21 and the women’s team,” says Harendra. “Yes, you cannot be aggressive with the women’s team. While in the men’s team, you cannot be soft. Senior players know their responsibility. Eventually, coaching is trying to find a path where expectations of the coach and players can fructify. It’s not just about skills or honing talent. It’s also about understanding the thin line between winning and losing.”

Harendra is not a poker player. In fact, he has neither played it and nor does he have a clue how it can help. Surprising then, that such a man is now the senior hockey coach. It’s a wager that intelligent men would be wary of; risking their reputation to be national hockey coach. The ambition has been there since the 2000 Sydney Olympics and for a man to hold it and keep it burning for almost 18 long years speaks of his passion and zeal. “One thing is good and that is I have worked with these players in the past,” he says. “So I know their family background, strength, areas to improve, their mind. I know each every player except the ones who recently joined the camp. And that is a big advantage.”

Yet the question that hangs in the air was it's easy to walk out on a women’s team that not only showed signs of progression but had a World Cup just around the corner in July? Even though he is perturbed by the question, Harendra doesn’t show it.

“For them it was shocking,” he admits. “They knew that something was on but didn’t expect I will leave. Good thing is that we had a good meeting of 45 minutes and I explained that this happens in the world of sport and changes can happen any time. But you are the professionals and you have to perform; irrespective of who the coach is.”

Harendra also speaks of the sadness when he left the team. “It was like a family bonding and we had established that through our win in the Asia Cup and even though we came close but still couldn’t get that result at the Commonwealth Games.”

But yet, it must have bothered him to leave a team midstream. “It would have bothered me if some outsider has taken the team but Sjoerd Marijne has worked with these girls in the past and now he is continuing,” explains Harendra. “I carried it forward when he was first coach of the women’s team. I think they are in the right direction and the silver medal at the Asian Champions Trophy only goes to show that they would be a force at the World Cup.”

Harendra doesn’t appear cool, neither is he inclined to posture. He doesn’t have the icy temperament most coaches cultivate or the abrasiveness some develop after years of managing players and weighing success and failure by the numbers on a scoreboard. He still gets excited and that infectious smile spreads like warmth on a dreary day. After spending more than two decades as coach at different levels, the philosophy is still about the challenge. ““I always look for the challenge,” he says, his eyes shining like beacons. “Without a challenge nobody can grow. Without risks, you cannot get results. And without results, there is no recognition. In the next six months, we have three big tournaments – Champions Trophy, Asian Games and the World Cup – and I will get good results; that is the challenge.”

Speaking about advantages, Harendra believes it’s the language. “The coaching philosophy never changes,” he explains. “My advantage is that I can speak the same language. I understand the mindset of the Indian players. And I know how to get the best out of them.”

Modern sport gets caught between too much coaching and excessive player independence; even over-analysing situations. Harendra wants to negotiate the tricky boundary between player and coach “by taking the players opinion and merging it with his own and finding the best solution.” Harendra asks questions of his players, discussing moves, tactics and how best to merge ideas and get the results. “Are we on the same page or are we on a different page?” he asks the players. “If it’s different, we will sit again and discuss till a solution is found.”

Even though, he may not look that way but Harendra is a multi-layered personality. His playing the team jester, carrying emotion as a calling-card all appear at times too simplistic. But deep down, he prepares and believes in what he does. He is rough around the edges and twenty years down the line, suaveness is the last thing that will afflict him. But he affects players and leaves an impression. At the Dhaka Asia Cup, Varun Kumar during an interview was asked which coach made an impression on him. The answer was prompt: “Harendra Sir!”

Harendra fires up his players and is not averse to playing the nationalistic card and waving the tricolour. “Going to a tournament means standing on the podium,” says Harendra. “These players have to be a part of history. Only participating can be done by any player. Why then need 300 days in the camp? It is the responsibility of the players and the coaches to give back to the country. Since 1975 we have not played even the semi-final in a World Cup. So it’s time to give back to the nation. Every Indian needs to feel proud.”

Harendra understands that goals have been hard to come by and at times, defences have let in a few. “Without putting the score on the board you cannot win matches,” he explains.

And just when you raise an eyebrow at the theory, he adds: “For that you have to win the right position, use the right skill to receive the ball, score the goal or pass the ball so others can score. Hockey is how you attack in the opponents circle and defend in your circle. We are working on the problem. I know it is a basic skill. Maybe, they are hasty and move onto the second plan while the first one is in execution. First receive, and then think about the next move.”

Comparisons with a Roelant Oltmans or a Terry Walsh are unfair. In fact, both couldn’t crack the Olympic or the World Cup podium for India, despite their aura and world class experience. But that won’t worry Harendra. He would, however, be wary of being an Indian coach in India. These are turbulent times and winning is the only path to recognition in Harendra’s own words. He does know that his failure would be a death knell for Indian coaches. But in that crippling thought, he again finds a challenge. “If everybody is saying that I cannot afford to fail it means they are putting Harendra high up among international coaches. For me it is a compliment and a responsibility. I have to take this dream forward.”

Maybe, in the anarchy of Indian hockey, Harendra will create an island of calm with consistency, structure and progression combining intuitively. For a man who believes in attacking, the twin-mantra of possession and pressing would pay him dividends.


HI names 48 players for camp ahead of FIH Champions Trophy

NEW DELHI: Hockey India on Friday named 48 players for a 21-day national camp ahead of the FIH men's Champions Trophy in Breda, the Netherlands.

The camp will commence on May 28 at the Sports Authority of India in Bengaluru.

After a gruelling three-week national camp that focused on individual player-assessment and improvement, the 48 players who have been selected from a larger pool of 55 men in the previous camp will work under chief coach Harendra Singh.

"In the previous camp, we focused a lot on individual players' skill set to ensure fewer errors. A lot of attention was also on goal scoring and PC defending," stated Harendra.

The present national campers list includes six goalkeepers in PR Sreejesh, Suraj Karkera, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Vikas Dahiya, Jagdeep Dayal and Prashant Kumar Chauhan.

Hockey India has named 14 defenders in the group of 48 which includes dragflickers Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Gurjinder Singh apart from Gurinder Singh, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Surender Kumar, Birendra Lakra, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Jarmanpreet Singh, Amit Gowda and Anand Lakra.

Midfielders Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Sumit, Simranjit Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Sardar Singh, Hardik Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Raj Kumar Pal, Amon Mirash Tirkey, Dharminder Singh, Manpreet Jr and Vivek Sagar Prasad have been called up for the camp.

Forwards S V Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Sumit Kumar, Mohd. Umar, Abharan Sudev Belimagga, Mohammed Raheel Mouseen, Armaan Qureshi, Sukhjeet Singh, Gagandeep Singh Sr, Pardeep Singh and Maninderjit Singh have been included in the camp.

"I believe we have a very strong pool of players to choose from for the Champions Trophy to be held in Breda. Since this is the last edition of the prestigious event, there is no doubt we want to be part of history by standing on the podium. That is what our focus will be on as we begin the National Camp," expressed Harendra.

The Times of India

Green Army Squad For Scotland Series Announced

Graham Shaw, head coach of Ireland women’s hockey team, has announced his squad of 24 to travel to Glasgow for a 3-match series with Scotland. The series was originally scheduled for earlier in the year but heavy snow prevented the squad from travelling, and the rescheduled series now marks the beginning of an exceptionally busy few months for the Green Army in the build-up to the World Cup in London this July. Shaw is without the services of Nikki Evans and Megan Frazer who are wrapping up their domestic seasons with their clubs in Germany, but they are due to come into the squad over the coming weeks.

Speaking about the series, Shaw said “This series marks the start of an intense match period for us as a squad, we have 16 matches prior to the World Cup.  We’re excited to begin this phase and spend as much time as possible together as group. Scotland are a strong side so this will be a good test for the team and requires a quick turnaround before we fly to London on the 6th to play England”.

Fixtures at Glasgow National Hockey Centre:

Ireland vs Scotland 31/5/18 7pm
Ireland vs Scotland 2/6/18 3pm
Ireland vs Scotland 3/6/18 11am

Ayeisha McFerran, Louisville
Emma Buckley, Cork Harlequins
Shirley McCay, Pegasus
Yvonne O Byrne, Cork Harlequins
Hannah Mathews, Loreto
Lena Tice, UCD
Cliodhna Sargent, Cork Harlequins
Zoe Wilson, Belfast Harlequins
Gill Pinder, Pembroke
Lizzie Colvin, Belfast Harlequins
Katie Mullan, UCD
Nicci Daly, Loreto
Ali Meeke, Loreto
Roisin Upton, Cork Harlequins
Leah McGuire, UCD
Chloe Watkins, Bloemendaal
Anna O Flanagan, Bloemendaal
Rebecca Barry, Cork Harlequins
Ellen Curran, UCD
Deirdre Duke, UCD
Naomi Carroll, Cork Harlequins
Sarah Torrans, Loreto
Aisling Naughton, Pembroke
Emily Beatty, Pembroke

Irish Hockey Association media release

Govers & Simmonds Elevated To National Senior Men’s Squad

Ben Somerford

Blake Govers (above) is rejoined by his brother as Kieran returns to the side.

Hockey Australia today confirms Kieran Govers and Joshua Simmonds have been added to the National Senior Men’s Squad.

New South Wales forward Govers, 30, and Victoria defender Simmonds, 22, join the 27-member squad to replace the retired Mark Knowles and Matthew Bird.

Govers, who hails from Wollongong, returns to the National Senior Men’s Squad having previously represented Australia 121 times, scoring 58 goals. His last cap for the Kookaburras was in November 2016.

Simmonds, who is from Doncaster Hockey Club in Melbourne, is uncapped at international level but was part of Australia’s 2016 Junior World Cup team and Victoria sides which have won back-to-back Australian Hockey League titles.

Both have spent time with the Kookaburras squad this year on Visiting Athlete Agreements (VAA) and have now been elevated to the senior squad from the National Development Squad.

Kookaburras coach Colin Batch said: “We’re thrilled to be able to elevate both players who deserve this opportunity.

“Kieran is an experienced athlete, having competed at past Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Cups, and he has worked hard to earn his spot back in the squad.

“We feel Kieran will be a valuable addition to bolster and complement our options in attack.

“Josh comes into the squad to add depth to our defensive options, in light of Mark’s retirement.

“He’s a promising defender who is highly driven to succeed at international level and has earned this opportunity.”

The Kookaburras team for next month’s Champions Trophy will be named on Monday.

Hockey Australia media release

The Godfather of Field Hockey

Tom Harris has played field hockey on every continent except Antarctica.

Don’t think the 82-year-old Thousand Oaks resident wouldn’t hop on a plane if he was offered the chance for a pickup game on “The Ice.” He definitely would.

Harris founded the California Cup International Field Hockey Tournament in 1972. He’s played in the Moorpark tournament every spring for 46 years, and he’ll pick up his stick again this weekend. That’s the plan, at least.

“I think I’m playing. That’s what people tell me,” he said with a smile. “My wife tells me I’m not.”

Harris has collected so many field hockey goodies over the years that older awards are hidden behind newer plaques, including one he got in 2014 when he was inducted into the USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame. On top of a stack of papers, there’s a caricature of the Texas-born man wearing a cowboy hat, holding a field hockey stick and riding a tiny plane instead of a bucking bronco toward— where else?—Antarctica.

The walls of the home he shares with his wife, Karen Hayashi Harris, are smothered with field hockey posters, including ones from the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul and the 1991 Pan American Games in “Habana,” Cuba.

“People give me these things all the time,” he said. “I’ve run out of wall space.”

He’s also just about run out of space for pins on the bucket hat he got during the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City.

“It’s like a museum in here,” said Marc Bakerman, Cal Cup tournament director.

Harris’ home is an unofficial American field hockey museum. The crown jewel is what he calls “The Blessed Saint Hockey,” a pastel-colored stained-glass window. Originally a window in his old Moorpark house, he had it installed into the shelves of his Thousand Oaks home, which he moved into 35 years ago.

Harris, a former Moorpark College engineering professor, taught at the school from 1967 to 1995.

He’s played all over the globe since picking up the sport in 1970, but he always looks forward to the Cal Cup.

“I think I scored a goal one time, but I’m not sure when,” Harris said. “That was a long time ago.”

The tournament, which features more than 2,000 athletes, takes place every Memorial Day weekend. It started as a six-team soiree back in 1972.

At the time, Harris had no experience planning tournaments, but he couldn’t turn away a team from Kiel, Germany, when the Germans were looking for opponents in the states.

Harris scrounged together three American teams and invited two Canadian teams, one each from Vancouver and Victoria, and the Cal Cup was born. Women’s teams were added a few years later at the request of a Canadian club, and youth teams joined the action as local interest grew.

This year, 140 teams from 14 countries, with players ranging from 4 years old to 104 (well, almost) will take to the fields at Moorpark College, Moorpark High and Royal High.

“I’m looking forward to seeing people and old friends from Canada, Mexico and South America,” Harris said.

He’s not done playing.

The Thousand Oaks man will travel to Barcelona in June for a Grand Masters Tournament.

Harris has played in Barcelona before, but he’s certain to return with new memorabilia for Saint Hockey to watch over.

Content courtesy of Jonathan Andrade, Acorn Newspapers

USFHA media release

Maties’ coach reveals the reason Tuks won the Varsity Hockey final

Maties during Varsity Hockey match between Maties and UP Tuks at Maties Astro, Stellenbosch

Maties Hockey coach Ashlin Freddy believes that Tuks were the better side during their 5-0 Varsity Hockey loss to the Pretoria outfit in Stellenbosch on Monday.

Maties lost their first game in an otherwise unbeaten season when they were kept scoreless against an speedy and efficient Tuks side. Goals from Sam Mvimbi, Bradley Sherwood and Steven Paulo sunk Maties, while the Tuks’s defence led by captain Nduduzo Lembethe, centre-back Matt Davies and goal-keeper Estiaan Kriek kept their opposition from gaining momentum.

Freddy believes that Maties were bested by a better team on the night.

“We got outplayed really, I don’t think we showed up and I don’t think we gave our best effort. Having said that I think Tuks were really good and they dominated all aspects of the game.

“I don’t think there’s anything we could have done differently. I think we got outplayed on the night by a better team. Our prep went well, the guys were recovered, everything went well. We got outplayed on the night and didn’t put our best foot forward.”

When asked about his tactics to keep his side unbeaten right till the final, Freddy explained there was a lot of emphasis placed in keeping his players mentally strong.

“There wasn’t really a strategy. We’ve done a lot of work with a mental skills coach, so there’s a lot of trust in the team. It’s a positive that we have got the trust, belief and calmness in the group to play through the situation.”

Despite the loss, Freddy is delighted with resilience his charges showed to go seven games unbeaten this season and that they wouldn’t have changed their strategy going into the game.

“I’m extremely proud of the boys, final aside, we played some good stuff, not our best stuff considering what the group is capable of. Having seen the effort these guys have put in since last year October, I told them last night as well, nobody can really understand what they’ve done and what they have put in.

“Everything went well in the build-up, technically these guys are in supreme physical condition. Tactically they understood everything, technically we were very good. On the whole we wouldn’t change anything.”

Varsity Sports media release

Outdoor Hockey season flicks off tomorrow

The T&T Hockey Board (T&THB) is pleased to announce that the National Outdoor League is scheduled to commence tomorrow at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua for a ten-week period.

This late start is due to the unavailability of the playing surface at the National Hockey Centre as a result of electrical issues experienced by the facility, followed by the cleaning of the artificial surface, which has not been in productive use for 11 months.

The first game of the 2018 League will be a Trinity Women encounter between Harvard Checkers and Paragon from 12 noon.

The highlights of tomorrow’s opening day will be the Women’s Championship fixture between powerhouse Malvern and Notre Dame from 4 pm, and the Men’s Championship fixture featuring 2016 champions Petrotrin and T&T Defence Force from 7.30pm.

According to the T&THB press release, the playing of a One Round of competition for the Championship Men and Two Rounds for the Championship Women’s Division have been structured to cater for preparation and participation of the national senior teams for the upcoming Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games from July 20 to August 3, 2018 in Barranquilla, Colombia.

The executive of the T&THB wishes to make special mention of support by the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs in addressing electrical and cleaning issues to make the playing of the 2018 season a reality.

Special mention must also be made of the efforts of the senior men’s national training squad and several members of the hockey family, working under the direction of the coach of the senior men’s national training squad, Glenn ‘Fido’ Francis, who has been spearheading the cleaning effort.

The Trinidad Guardian

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