All the news for Saturday 26 May 2018
Black Sticks comeback queens in Cromwell
The Vantage Black Sticks have muscled into the Pioneer Energy Women’s Tri Nations final after a stunning come from behind win over Japan which went down to a deciding shoot-out.
Japan had the Kiwis on the ropes and heading toward elimination after opening a 3-1 buffer in the 40th minute, before the hosts turned the tide in the dying minutes.
Samantha Harrison turned the momentum for New Zealand in the 57th minute with a diving deflection to bring her side within one goal of equalising.
The Black Sticks earned three successive penalty corners with just 10 seconds left on the clock before being awarded a stroke right on fulltime, which Olivia Merry converted to force a shoot-out with the score level 3-3.
Goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon once again proved her status as one of the world’s best one-on-one shot stoppers saving all four of Japan’s attempts, while Merry and Ella Gunson netted to seal a 2-0 shoot-out result.
New Zealand now progress to the final against Australia at 2:30pm tomorrow, with live coverage available on the Vantage Black Sticks Facebook page and www.tab.co.nz.
Head coach for the series Sean Dancer said it was good to make it through to the final after a frenetic finish.
“It’s great the result went our way, I think we had a bit of luck tonight but thankfully that went in our favour and then we stepped up right at the end there,” he said.
“We didn’t play as consistently as we’d like but I’m proud of how we stuck to our guns. It wasn’t pretty but to get the win is a real credit to them.
“Grace is proving she’s world class at shoot-outs, so you could feel the excitement when we made it through to that situation which is great.”
The Pioneer Energy Women’s Tri Nations is proudly supported by presenting partner Pioneer Energy and the Central Otago District Council.
Odds for games at the Tri Nations are available at www.tab.co.nz along with a special promotion. Simply download the TAB app, set up a new account, deposit $20 using the promo code 'HOCKEY' and TAB will boost your account with a further $20 as well as give $20 to Hockey New Zealand.
VANTAGE BLACK STICKS 3: (Shiloh Gloyn 27’, Samantha Harrison 57’, Olivia Merry 60’)
JAPAN 3: (Mai Toriyama 17’, 40’, Yuri Nagai 35’)
New Zealand won shoot-out 2-0
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Penalty shootout promotes Black Sticks into Tri-Nations final against Australia
New Zealand's Anita McLaren fights for possession against Japan in Saturday's sudden-death playoff. PHOTOSPORT
A 2-0 penalty shootout victory has saved the Black Sticks from the embarrassment of missing the Tri-Nations final on home soil.
The New Zealand women's Black Sticks, the Commonwealth Games gold medallists, seemed destined to miss Sunday's decider against Australia as they trailed Japan 3-1 with just three minutes to play in a sudden-death playoff on Saturday.
But a late Sam Harrison goal followed by Olivia Merry's penalty stroke tied the scores up at 3-3 to force the penalty shootout at Cromwell.
Despite the great escape from the Black Sticks, drastic improvement will be needed if they are to seriously threaten the Hockeyroos in the final.
The Black Sticks were given ample chances to lock the scores up with four penalty corners in the last 30 seconds but could not convert until the stroke call came with time up on the clock.
Saturday's victory was just the Black Sticks' second win of the tournament. Both have come over Japan.
Mai Toriyama opened the scoring for Japan in the 17th minute.
Ten minutes later, Shiloh Gloyn tied the scores up at 1-1 after pouncing on a loose ball from a penalty corner deflection. The score remained 1-1 at halftime.
Yuri Nagai extended Japan's lead to 2-1 mid-way through the third quarter.
Toriyama scored her second to extend Japan's lead to 3-1 with 20 minutes to play.
After 17 scoreless minutes, Japan fell apart at the defensive end to let the Black Sticks back into the match.
Black Sticks keeper Grace O'Hanlon saved all of Japan's attempts in the penalty shootout.
Black Sticks win penalty shootout to make final
Just as she did at the Commonwealth Games, Grace O'Hanlon goal-keeping has taken New Zealand into the Tri-Nations final. Photo: Photosport.nz
New Zealand pulled off a stunning comeback to make the Tri-Nations women's hockey final against Australia in Cromwell.
Trailing 3-1 to Japan in the must-win play-off, a late Sam Harrison goal and Olivia Merry's penalty stroke in the final seconds pushed the game to a shootout.
Goalkeeper Grace O'Hanlon saved every Japanese attempt and Commonwealth Games champions New Zealand won the duel 2-0.
The world No 4 Black Sticks' opening goals came from Shiloh Gloyn, while Mai Toriyama scored twice and Yuri Nagai once for Japan.
The New Zealand Herald
Hockeyroos To Play New Zealand In Tri Nations Final
The Hockeyroos will play New Zealand in Sunday’s Tri Nations final from 12.30pm AEST on Sunday after the Black Sticks won their play-off in Cromwell, New Zealand, on Saturday.
New Zealand staged a remarkable comeback to defeat Japan 2-0 in a shootout after a 3-3 draw, having trailed 3-1 in the last quarter in Saturday’s clash, to decide Australia’s opponent in the decider.
The Hockeyroos had topped the standings from the week’s round robin matches.
The final will be live streamed on the Black Sticks Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NZBlackSticks.
The match also marks Hockeyroos captain Emily Smith’s 200th cap for Australia.
The Hockeyroos defeated New Zealand 4-1 and 3-0 in both round robin matches earlier in the week.
The Tri Nations is being used as vital preparation for the 2018 World Cup in London in July and August.
Tri Nations Final - Australia v New Zealand
Cromwell, New Zealand
Sunday 27 May, 12.30pm AEST
Live streaming www.facebook.com/NZBlackSticks
Hockey Australia media release
HC Bloemendaal set to host Euro Hockey League FINAL4 this weekend
The 11th season world’s best club hockey competition, the Euro Hockey League, reaches the FINAL4 stage this weekend with HC Bloemendaal playing the perfect host to fellow contenders HC Rotterdam, SV Kampong and Belgian fairytale story Herakles.
Already, Sunday’s GRAND FINAL has sold out with all 4,800 tickets snapped up well in advance while Saturday’s semi-finals between Kampong and Herakles (1.15pm, CET) and the Dutch derby between Bloemendaal and Rotterdam (4pm) are close to selling out, too.
All the matches will be available to view around the globe either via the www.eurohockeytv.org streaming platform or via the EHL’s link-ups with NOS (Netherlands), Eleven Sports (Belgium), DAZN (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), BT Sport (GB and Ireland), beIN Sports (Australia) and Supersport (South Africa).
The games themselves bring together some of the best players in the world, playing in the club environment that helped them develop to be the best they can be.
SV Kampong come into their semi-final against Herakles following a glorious season, winning the Dutch Hoofdklasse title for the second successive season last Sunday with a dramatic final win over AH&BC Amsterdam.
The 2016 champs are now seeking a rare Hoofdklasse and EHL double, something that would surely provide an emotional send off for the retiring club legends Quirijn Caspers, Constantijn Jonker, Philip Meulenbroek and Sjoerd de Wert.
Jonker is indicative of the love of the club. He started training with the first team since he was 15, helping Kampong win promotion to the top level in 2006 before waiting a decade before finally tasting glory in the EHL.
“We cherish beautiful memories of the EHL FINAL4 in Barcelona two years ago and there are some similiarities in our preparation in that we went to Spain fully fit and with a lot of confidence like this season.
“The EHL in 2016 was the first big prize for the club in over 33 years and since we have won the national title two years in a row, I feel that we have gained experience and belief in ourselves, so we are really looking forward to this weekend.
“The road [from 2006] was difficult and, at times, I really had my doubts if we could win the big prizes with a young, Dutch team which is mainly based on our own youth. Of course, I am delighted that we were able to reward the club, its supporters and ourselves for the work we put in.”
They face a Herakles side with a very similar ethic of promotion from within their club in Lier in Belgium with a number of brothers and cousins lining out in the team.
Two of their stars Amaury Keusters and Nico de Kerpel have been with the club since they were five years old and now play with the Belgian Red Lions. Keusters scored the key equalising goal against Real Club de Polo in the KO8 and de Kerpel slotted the winning shoot-out, giving their raucous “yellow submarine” of fans lots to shout about.
Keusters has had many offers to move club, trying to tempt him with the lure of playing in the EHL, but he is delighted to have stayed with his home club, one where his grandfather and father both played in the first team while his mother has volunteered with the youth teams for over 20 years.
“Playing EHL with Herakles is something I’ve always dreamed of; we have been investing in our youth for a long time now. It is a reward for the youth development of the club and the hard work that has been done past 10 years.
“The event itself is so cool, it is the best way hockey ever has been presented in Europe. Being able to compete with the best European club teams at this level is a great experience.”
“I’ve been part of this team for 10 seasons. We have been fighting to keep our spot in Honor Division for some years while we were investing in our youth. In the long term, it has paid off.”
The family connections also generate an incredibly loyal fan group.
“Our fans have been outstanding at K016 and at Belgium Play-offs last year. They are all connected to the first team. Whether they have been playing for the first team, their kids are playing or they are future first team players.
“They all want to part of this event. They are pushing us forward and help us to go that extra mile.”
The second semi-final features the hosts Bloemendaal against Rotterdam, the excellent hosts for the KO16 at Easter.
Bloemendaal produced some of the marquee performances in that KO16, beating KHC Dragons 8-0 and Saint Germain by the same scoreline. With multiple world player of the year winner Jamie Dwyer, poster boy Florian Fuchs, Xavi Lleonart, Glenn Schuurman and Thierry Brinkman, it is a glittering line-up that goes in search of their third EHL crown following wins in 2009 and 2013.
Schuurman hopes his side can do their home crew proud, particularly their passionate Bloemigan supporters.
“It is a unique experience hosting the FINAL4 at your home ground, especially in front of our amazing crowd. I've seen the stands for 5,000 spectators. It's going to be amazing.
“Bloemendaal is a family club with a lot of passionate volunteers. Those people put all their time and effort in it because they love the club. The way we host the FINAL4 reflects the great atmosphere within the club.
“Of course, playing for the Bloemigans is amazing. You have seen them in Rotterdam during the KO16. They give us the advantage and I think they are going to show us special things this weekend.”
Rotterdam, meanwhile, are hoping they can finally win the big prize following two bronze medals and a silver in 2010. Featured in their line-up is the EHL’s all time top scorer, Jeroen Hertzberger with 36, while they will look to the speed on the counter-attack from Nick Catlin, Seve van Ass and Thijs van Dam.
The tournament will be the final act for Sjoerd Gerretsen and Paul Melkert before they retire from the Rotterdam first team.
For Gerretsen, he says his club’s incredible comeback from 4-0 down in the last 10 minutes against Mannheimer HC in the KO16 to win in a shoot-out was one of the highlights of 14-years playing at the top level.
“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 scored the 4-4 a few seconds before time, that feeling, that atmosphere, and that noise in the stadium.... I will never forget it.”
He says moments like that and the upcoming clash with Bloemendaal are the “reason I started playing hockey when I was a little boy”.
“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 it, a beautiful opportunity in the last weekend off my hockey career!”
These semi-finals lead into Sunday’s medal matches with the battle for bronze taking place at 1.15pm (CET) before the GRAND FINAL hits the turf at 4pm (CET) with the famous Alain Danet Trophy on the line.
MATCH SCHEDULE: http://ehlhockey.tv/season/20172018/
Find out where you can watch the event at the following link:
Visiting the EHL along with thousands of others? Here are all the details:
Read about the changes here: http://ehlhockey.tv/news/ehl-trial-new-scoring-system-201718-season/
Facebook: Euro Hockey League
Hashtags: #ehl #FINAL4
Event website: http://ehlhockey.tv/
Euro Hockey League media release
Jonker hoping Kampong’s dream rise can end with yet another title
©: World Sport Pics
When Constantijn Jonker first broke into the first team at SV Kampong, he could scarcely have imagined the success his club has achieved in the past three years.
He was not born when they last won a major medal, the 1985 Hoofdklasse title and the subsequent European Cup in 1986. They have recently embarked on an incredible rise, breaking through with the 2016 EHL title and the 2017 Hoofdklasse.
And the wily striker is now looking to close out his first team career with the Utrecht in the best possible fashion with a Hoofdklasse/EHL double.
“I was 15 when I first trained with the first men’s squad,” he told the EHL website. “if I look back at those years, we improved step-by-step, getting promoted to the Hoofdklasse in 2006, reaching the playoffs in 2012 and winning the EHL in 2016 and becoming the Dutch champion in 2017 and 2018.
“It's easy to put it in one sentence like that but obviously that road was difficult and, at times, I really had my doubts if we could win the big prizes with a young, Dutch team which is mainly based on our own youth.
“It was an unbelievable last weekend [to win the Hoofdklasse again] and an incredible achievement to regain the title in front of our home crowd. Last year, we won the title at HC Rotterdam which was a huge relief to win the title after 33 years, but to win it our own stadium De Klapperboom was even more special and the perfect way to celebrate a last home match.
“Of course, I am delighted that we were able to reward the club, its supporters and ourselves for the work we put in.”
Indeed, it’s part of a lifetime with the club. He joined at age six and has never played anywhere else, something that played a part in him and Quirijn Caspers – who also retires at the end of this season – receive a special honour from Kampong.
“Obviously, it is an important part of my life and for me. It is a place where I met a lot of friends and have experienced the most wonderful moments with friends and family.
“To have been awarded the club's order of merit along with Quirijn is absolutely incredible and, to be honest, I feel almost embarrassed to be one of the 30 honorary members of such a big club with a history of 116 years.”
Standing in Kampong’s way of a fairtale finish are Herakles in the FINAL4 (1.15pm CET), a new opponent who Jonker is very wary of.
“I've watched both matches of Herakles at the EHL KO16 in Rotterdam and they have a really tough squad with some international top players as Keusters and de Kerpel.
“We will prepare like we do for all of our games while our coaching staff have been busy in the background with video and forming our tactical plan for this Saturday.
“Tuesday's training session was the first after last weekend and it was nice to see that the team is looking fit and eager to play this weekend for another big prize.
“We cherish the beautiful memories of the FINAL4 in Barcelona two years ago and there are some similiarities in our preparation in that we went to Spain fully fit and with a lot of confidence.
“The EHL in 2016 was the first big prize for the club in over 30 years and since we won the national title two years in a row I feel that we have gained experience and belief in ourselves, so we are really looking forward to this weekend.”
Euro Hockey League media release
Kampong aiming for emotional Euro Hockey League finale in Bloemendaal
By The Hockey Paper
SV Kampong will be hoping to end an incredible season by lifting the Euro Hockey League title – and give their retiring quartet of players the perfect career ending.
Quirijn Caspers, Constantijn Jonker, Philip Meulenbroek and Sjoerd de Wert will compete for Kampong for the final time this weekend when the EHL final four takes place at HC Bloemendaal.
The hosts play club rivals Rotterdam on Saturday in their semi-final while SV Kampong and Belgium’s fairytale story Herakles also compete for a place in Sunday’s final, which is a near 5,000 sell out.
“We cherish beautiful memories of the EHL in Barcelona two years ago and there are some similarities in our preparation in that we went to Spain fully fit and with a lot of confidence like this season,” said Jonker, who started training with the club age 15.
He saw in promotion with the club in 2006 to the Hoofdklasse and then was part of Kampong’s title win a decade later. Last weekend, they beat Amsterdam for back-to-back titles and will be a heavy favourite to reach Sunday’s final.
He told the EHL website: “The EHL in 2016 was the first big price for the club in over 33 years and since we have won the national title two years in a row, I feel that we have gained experience and belief in ourselves, so we are really looking forward to this weekend.
“The road [from 2006] was difficult and, at times, I really had my doubts if we could win the big prizes with a young, Dutch team which is mainly based on our own youth. Of course, I am delighted that we were able to reward the club, its supporters and ourselves for the work we put in.”
MATCH SCHEDULE: www.ehlhockey.tv
Saturday, May 26
13:30 SV KAMPONG v HERAKLES (SF1)
16:00 HC BLOEMENDAAL v HC ROTTERDAM (SF2)
Sunday, May 27
13:30 Loser SF1 v Loser SF2 (3rd/4th Place)
16:00 Winner SF1 v Winner SF2 (Final)
The Hockey Paper
Singapore to host Hockey Series Open next month
Singapore will host the International Hockey Federation's (FIH) Hockey Series Open for both men and women at the Sengkang Stadium from June 23 to July 1.
The tourney replaces the FIH's World League, and acts as the first stage of qualification for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The Hockey Series Open will be played in a round-robin format.
Both the men and women's categories will feature six teams each, with the top two women's teams and the men's champions qualifying for the Hockey Series Finals next year - the second stage of Olympic qualification.
There is one further tournament to play - the FIH Olympic Qualification Event - before teams can book their spots for Tokyo.
Teams can also qualify by winning their continental championships - for Asia, it is the Asian Hockey Champions Trophy.
Entry to the Hockey Series Open is free, and Singapore Hockey Federation (SHF) president Mathavan Devadas is hopeful fans will show up and cheer on the Republic's teams to cross the first hurdle on the road to Tokyo.
"Our men are the top-ranked team among the six that are coming here," he told The Straits Times.
"We are confident that on our home ground, they will be able to play to the best of their capabilities."
The men's team, who are ranked 40th in the world, will face Hong Kong (45th), Thailand (47th), Chinese Taipei (52nd), Myanmar (89th) and the unranked Indonesia.
But coach Rajan Krishnan's men will have to raise their game, after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Myanmar at last year's SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.
They narrowly beat Thailand 3-2 in the group stage and 2-1 in the bronze medal play-off.
The women's team, ranked 35th in the world, will take on regional giants Malaysia (22nd), Thailand (28th), Kazakhstan (34th), Hong Kong (43rd) and Indonesia (65th).
Mathavan is also upbeat about the women's chances, despite the fact that they are the fourth seeds.
"Only the top two women's teams will qualify, but we have seen our women take on these teams in the past, and they were competitive," he said.
"We hope the women can produce the goods at the tournament."
The Hockey Series Open is part of the FIH's efforts to change the landscape of international hockey.
It has launched the Hockey Pro League which starts next year and will feature nine of the world's top men and women's countries, playing each other in a home-and-away league format between January and June.
The top Pro League teams will face off with the winners of the Hockey Series Finals for spots at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Straits Times
Women’s hockey team seek victory at World Series
By Aftar Singh
KUALA LUMPUR: Following a good outing in the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) in South Korea, the Malaysian women’s hockey team are all geared up to win the World Hockey Series in Singapore next month.
Malaysia, ranked 22 in the world, stunned world No. 12 Japan 3-2 to finish fourth in the five-nation tournament in Donghae City, South Korea, early this month.
Six teams will feature in the World Series at the Sengkang Stadium from June 23-July 1.
Besides Malaysia and hosts Singapore, the other teams in the fray are Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and Thailand.
The World Series is the qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The top two teams in the World Series will advance to the second round of the tournament.
National coach K. Dharmaraj said that he was quite satisfied with his players’ performance in the ACT.
“But there are a few things we need to improve like our tackling, penalty corner attack and also penalty corner defence for the tournament in Singapore,” said Dharmaraj, who has been coaching the women’s team since 2016.
Dharmaraj guided the national team to second in the World League Round Two in Kuala Lumpur last year to qualify for the World League Semi-finals in Belgium last year June.
It was the first time the national women’s team featured in the World League Semi-finals to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in London next month.
Dharmaraj said that Thailand would pose a strong challenge for his team to win the tournament in Singapore.
“But I have faith and confidence in my players. I am optimistic that they will rise to the occasion to give their best in the World Series.
“We will not play any friendly matches in preparation for the World Series but will train and work on our tackling and penalty corners set-pieces,” said Dharmaraj.
There are 26 players in the training squad and Dharmaraj will name the final squad of 18 players by June 20.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian men’s team lost 1-0 to Olympic champions Argentina in the first friendly match in Buenos Aires yesterday.
Malaysia will play another four more matches against world No. 2 Argentina in preparation for the Asian Games in Jakarta from Aug 18-Sept 2.
The Star of Malaysia
Australia’s Kieran Govers looks to hockey World Cup after exile ends
By Rod Gilmour
Kieran Govers has admitted that an “open and honest” dialogue between the exiled Kookabuurra and coaching staff propelled him back to the Australia squad for the first time since 2016.
Govers, 30, thought his career was over after he was omitted from the Rio Olympics squad and then through 2017.
But on Friday he was added to the national squad alongside Joshua Simmonds as Australia look to life after the retirement of inspirational captain Mark Knowles and Matthew Bird.
Govers, who has 121 caps and 58 goals to his name, told Australian media: “There were times I didn’t think I’d return to the national squad.
“You’re always thinking about retirement and life after hockey. Obviously stuff happens in sport and you don’t want to believe it, but it does happen and you have to be prepared.
“The best thing for me was the coaches and myself were open and honest with each other, they never said I was gone, it never was ‘Never again’. They just said play along, don’t get injured, ‘If you’re still good enough, we’ll assess you’.”
In 2016, Govers let rip in a blog published in 2016 which questioned Australia’s pre-Olympic commitment before the Kookaburras bombed out in Rio in the quarter-finals following a 4-0 loss to the Netherlands.
“We need to be better about being accountable,” Govers wrote. “Too many answers with buts or excuses. This has not changed in four years.”
On his part, Govers admitted that he had been “arrogant” as well as a “smart ass” in 2016.
Now, the rifts seem to have healed for both player and coaching staff in Perth as he looks towards selection for the World Cup in India later this year.
Kookaburras coach Colin Batch said: “We’re thrilled to be able to elevate both players into the National Squad.
“Kieran is an experienced athlete, having competed at past Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Cups, and he has never given up on his dream to be selected back in the squad.
“We feel Kieran will be a valuable addition to bolster and complement our options in attack.”
The Kookaburras team for next month’s Champions Trophy will be named on Monday.
The Hockey Paper
Hockey 5s set to shine at YOG Buenos Aires 2018
With the shortened version of the sport on the programme at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) for the second time, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is hoping the format will boost its plan to grow the sport globally.
Innovation is the key to success. This is a mantra particularly relevant to sport, and one that will be put into practice in October when hockey 5s features on the programme for the YOG Buenos Aires 2018, four years after debuting at the YOG Nanjing 2014.
The 5-a-side rather than traditional 11-a-side version of the game, which is played on a smaller pitch, was a big hit in China, and the game’s governing body hopes that the second appearance of hockey 5s at the YOG will bring the sport to a wider audience and increase player numbers.
“The YOG will be a great showcase for hockey 5s and our sport in general,” says Jon Wyatt, the Olympian and former Great Britain international who is the FIH’s new Sport and Development Director. “It’s an exciting format and a shop window for our sport on a global stage.
“The FIH is halfway through a 10-year strategy to increase the profile of hockey, and a core pillar of the plan is to inspire more people to play our game. Hockey 5s is a great way to achieve this, because it’s easier for people at grassroots level to get involved. It’s more flexible in terms of how many players you need and where you can get a game going.
“The message is that you don’t need to find 22 people and a full-size pitch to play. One of the great strengths of football is you only really need a ball and some friends and you’re away, and the FIH wants to replicate that accessibility.”
Wyatt will travel to Argentina later this year for the hockey 5s at the YOG, as Australia and China attempt to defend their respective boys’ and girls’ titles. Twenty teams competed in Nanjing, but Buenos Aires 2018 will see 24 teams in action.
“We’re delighted to see the expansion in numbers,” says Wyatt. “Hockey 5s has already proved very popular, and the FIH envisages that this exciting format will complement the 11-a-side game.
“Lots of sports now have shortened versions – rugby sevens, futsal, T20 cricket and recently GolfSixes – and we are lucky that we have the YOG to further experiment with the format and see what works and what might need further fine-tuning.
“We’ve already made some minor changes compared to Nanjing four years ago, slightly reducing the size of the pitch and the length of each period. This will provide more intensity and make the game even more spectacular. We want to make it as entertaining and accessible as possible.”
The Olympic Games
Butali, Greensharks face-off as race for title hots up
By AYUMBA AYODI
The Kenya Hockey Union’s men and women’s top flight leagues leads could change hands again this weekend with top guns Greensharks, Kenya Police, Butali Sugar Warriors and women’s champions Telkom in action at City Park Stadium.
The 2016 champions Butali are better-placed to scale to the men’s league summit when they take on Kenya Colleague of Accountancy University (KCA-U) Saturday at 6pm before facing Greensharks on Sunday at 7.30am.
Of great interest will be the Butali-Greensharks duel which bullies off at 7.30am on Sunday, with the teams only set to battle for only 30 minutes.
The two teams had faced off on April 14 but the match was rained off at half time where Butali was leading 2-0 courtesy of a brace from new signing George Mutira.
Victories for Butali against the KCA-U and Greensharks should take them to the top with 21 points but it will be interesting if Greensharks would turn the tables on them the way they did against Police three weeks ago.
Greensharks rallied from 3-0 down to stun Police 4-3, a victory that contributed to their rise in the league where they lead with 16 points from five wins and a draw.
Last weekend, Butali moved to second place with 15 points following their fifth consecutive victory, crushing Parklands Sports Club 4-0 at City Park.
Last season, Greensharks threw spanners into Butali’s title defence, forcing a 1-1 draw before stunning them 3-1. Butali won all their matches against KCA-U 2-1 and 3-0 respectively last season.
“We know they will come forcefully on us, eying to offset the two goals deficit but we shall meet them with brutal force,” said Butali coach Dennis Owoka. “They have had good comeback wins but this is Butali.”
Owoka will be without his defenders Saidi Rashid and Maxwell Fuchuka, who have other commitments but has Constant Wakura, Tony Nyikuri and Robert Amandi to cover up.
“The boys are psyched up and have belief that they can overturn the deficit for another victory against Butali,” said Greensharks coach Nixon Nyaganga.
Police have a tough battle against Nairobi Simba on Sunday where Meshack Senge’s Strathmore are up against Wazalendo with United States International University-Africa (USIU-A) tackling Parklands.
Women’s champions Telkom open the busy weekend on Saturday at 12pm against Vikings. A win for Telkom should see them dislodge Strathmore Scorpions from the top of the log.
Scorpions dislodged Telkom from the top of the women’s Premier League when they humbled Sliders 3-1 last weekend. Scorpions have 12 points from four wins while Telkom have nine from three wins.
Premier League-women: Vikings v Telkom (12pm)-City Park
Premier League men: Nakuru v USIU (1pm) Nakuru; Western Jaguars v Parkroad Badgers (3pm) Kakamega; KCA-U v Butali (6pm) City Park
National League-men: UON v Mombasa West (9am) City Park; Karate Axiom v UoE (2pm) City Park; Tigers v Mombasa West (4pm) City Park
Super League-men: Kabarak University v Wazalendo Masters (3pm) Nakuru
Premier League-men: Greensharks v Butali Sugar Warriors (7.30am) City Park; USIU v v Parklands SC (1pm) City Park; Strathmore v Wazalendo (3pm) City Park; Kenya Police v Sikh Union (5pm) City Park
Super League-men: Sunday, Kabarak University v Chase Sailors (11am) Nakuru; TUK v Kimathi University (11am) City Park
Big shots in chase for league title
By Elizabeth Mburugu
Kenya Hockey Union men’s Premier League defending champions Kenya Police and former holders Butali Sugar Warriors will be eying the top spot when they get into action this weekend at City Park.
Police, who are currently third on the log, take on 2012 winners Nairobi Sikh Union tomorrow while Butali Warriors will be seeking maximum points against Kenya College of Accountancy University (KCAU) today.
In women’s battle, Queens tackle Vikings in the only women’s encounter of the weekend. Telkom, who lie second on the log with nine points, are seeking to dislodge Strathmore University Scorpions who bask in 12 points.
With league leaders Greensharks missing out, the two who stand in second and third places, have a chance to ascend to the summit. Unbeaten Sharks top the table with 16 points one more than Butali Warriors and Police who are tied on 15 points but separated by goal difference.
Police will battle Sikh Union.
The Standard Online
Great Britain and England women's hockey partnership with Investec recognised
Investec Game Changer
Great Britain and England women’s Hockey and Principle Partner Investec have been named as Brand/Sponsor Partnership of the Year at the Women’s Sport Trust #BeAGameChanger awards.
Investec’s role in the continued growth of women’s hockey in this country simply cannot be understated. As sponsors of the Great Britain and England women’s international hockey team since 2011, they have helped contribute to two Olympic medals including an historic first ever gold.
In 2017, Investec invested in the Investec Internationals, the two biggest hockey fixtures hosted in this country since the London Olympics. With 9,000 supporters on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the space of two days, and the games live on BT Sport, these inspirational events would not have been possible without Investec’s support.
At grass roots level, Investec employed a digital strategy to maximise their sponsorship of the Investec Women’s Hockey League, investing in a creative agency to film a number of games every weekend and stream a highlights package live on their social media channels for the first time, reaching more than 540,000 on Facebook and 105,000 on Twitter.
At youth level, they also invested to sponsor the Girls Schools Finals, England Hockey’s elite competition for girls of school age, which took place at the Olympic legacy venue, the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, with 400 of the country’s best young girls participating over two days.
England Hockey Board Media release
Telenet secure FIH media rights for Belgium through to 2022
Telenet will broadcast all of Belgium men’s and women’s home matches live. Copyright: FIH / Getty Images
Lausanne, Switzerland: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is delighted to announce that it has agreed a five-year media rights partnership with Belgian broadcaster Telenet, which will see them broadcast all of Belgium’s matches in the Hockey Pro League through to 2022.
Not only will Telenet act as the host broadcaster for all 16 matches played each year by the Red Lions (Belgium men) and the Red Panthers (Belgium women) in the revolutionary home and away competition, they will also deliver full visibility across multiple platforms for all 144 Pro League matches as well as the showpiece Grand Final events.
Speaking about this partnership, FIH TV and Broadcast Director Andy Oram said: “Belgium is one of the strongest nations in the Hockey Pro League and this partnership with Telenet further enhances our global strategy to deliver World Class production and content. This partnership is an important step for FIH in order to bring this game-changing new competition to sports fans across the world.”
He continued: “We are delighted to be continuing our productive working relationship with Telenet. They have made a significant contribution to hockey in recent years and will remain key players in helping to aid hockey’s continued growth at what is a very exciting time for the sport.”
Manu Leroy, Director Sports at Telenet, said: “We are delighted to extend and strengthen our cooperation with the FIH over the next five years. In particular we are excited about the upcoming Hockey Pro League where both our Red Lions and Red Panthers will be able to compete at the highest international level in stadiums across the globe for six months each year. We are convinced that the Hockey Pro League will provide a major boost to hockey, taking it to the next level not only in Belgium but across the world.”
The inaugural season of the Hockey Pro League begins on 19 January 2019, where Spain's men will play host to Belgium. 144 matches are scheduled to take place between January and June, with national stadiums hosting matches week in, week out.
Nine women’s and nine men’s teams will be competing for the Hockey Pro League title, playing eight home and eight away matches throughout the first six months of every year. The top four teams will then compete to determine the winner in a Grand Final later in June.
The Hockey Pro League features an equally amazing line up of nations, with both the Women's and Men's Leagues featuring a glittering array of the finest international hockey teams on earth. The Women’s League will see Argentina, Australia, Belgium, China, Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand and USA all going head to head, while Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan and Spain will be fighting it out for the men's title.