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News for 25 January 2019

All the news for Friday 25 January 2018

2019 FIH Pro League (Men)

Weekend fixtures

25 Jan 2019 11:00 (GMT +1)    ESP v GBR (RR)
26 Jan 2019 18:15 (GMT -3)    ARG v BEL (RR)    
27 Jan 2019 14:30 (GMT +13)     NZL v NED (RR)

Live Streaming on https://fih.live (Geo blocked if your country has TV coverage)

FIH Match Centre

2019 FIH Pro League (Women)

Weekend fixtures

26 Jan 2019 15:30 (GMT -3)    ARG v BEL (RR)   
27 Jan 2019 16:30 (GMT +13)    NZL v NED (RR)

Live Streaming on https://fih.live (Geo blocked if your country has TV coverage)

FIH Match Centre

Excitement builds as Las Leonas go back to the future with Carlos

After a classic encounter between Spain and Belgium in the opening men’s FIH Pro League match, eyes will turn to the opening match of the women’s competition as the Belgium Red Panthers travel to Argentina to take on the mighty Las Leonas – and their thousands of adoring fans.

The Belgium side is the lowest ranked team in the tournament standing at 13 in the FIH Hero World Rankings but Argentina, who are fourth in the world, will not be taking anything for granted. We caught up with Argentina’s precocious goal-scoring talent Delfina Merino to get her thoughts on the encounter.

“After we finished the Hockey Champions Trophy in November (where Argentina won the bronze medal), we all had some time off. It had been a very long year, so we were all able to spend time with our families and we regrouped on 14 January,” says Merino, adding, “Of course, we did our own personal training throughout that time as well.”

Argentina have a new but familiar face at their helm as Carlos Retegui has returned to take over as Head Coach, replacing Agustin Corradini. Retegui has a proud record of success with Las Leonas, his most recent triumph was bronze at the 2014 Women’s World Cup. That year he achieved the unique distinction of leading both the men’s and the women’s team to bronze, coaching both sides as the tournament ran simultaneously in the Hague in the Netherlands.

Although he is returning after an absence of four years, Merino says she will quickly get used to Retegui’s coaching methods because he was her coach from 2009 until 2014. Others in the squad will also have been coached by the mercurial coach so the change shouldn’t be too un-settling. And Retegui also brings that undefinable but seductive aura of success – he led Argentina men to Olympic gold in 2016 – so there is a palpable air of expectation following his return.

“I know what he [Retegui] wants and what he expects of us as players and as a team,” says Merino. “He is really passionate about what he does and I enjoy being coached in that way.”

Excitement is really building as the match gets closer. Argentina is a country that is passionate about its hockey and the stands at Estadio Hockey in Cordoba will be ringing to a cacophony of cheers as the teams make their way onto the pitch. “To have our first Pro League game in our country is really good,” says the Argentina captain. “We don’t have many internationals in our country so this is a great chance for people to come and watch us play. We are all really excited about it.”

Of course, the format of the FIH Pro League is very different to anything the participating nations have experienced before at international level. Merino concedes that the players will have to get used to the different pressures. International hockey normal consists of teams preparing for an intensive 10 day tournament; with the Pro League players need to be ready for matches at regular intervals over a six months period. And there will be a lot of travel to cope with.

“Yes, of course, the Pro League is totally new so we will see how we feel and how the team adapts to the demands," says Merino. "The teams that find the best ways to deal with the flights and trips are likely to be the most successful.

“When it comes to training we couldn’t have done much more in preparing. We will be a fast and solid team, and we are still working to improve all the time, but we are taking things step by step, we know where we want to get to.”

The first of those steps is an encounter with Belgium. They are a side for who Merino has a lot of respect. “Belgium play a really good European-style game and they are a side that is really growing, so they will be good to play against.

And is she expecting to get off to a winning start? “We have some really great players and we are all passionate about playing hockey and winning. You will see that when we take to the field.”


Official FIH Pro League site

Spain and GB face off in FIH Pro League in Valencia

©: World Sport Pics / Arnau Martinez Benavent

Spain face Great Britain on Friday morning in the second FIH Pro League clash at the Beteró Sports Centre in Valencia with the former looking to build on the two points won last weekend with GB are in their first outing in the new competition.

Speaking in the pre-game press conference, Spanish coach Fred Soyez said: "We face into the match in the same way as against Belgium.

“After starting with two points against the World Champion, we have confidence. We are looking forward to playing again in Beteró, with a full stand once again

Quique Gonzélez de Castejón added: "After a good game for the players as well as for the public, we face a very different opponent who will test us in a bigger way physically. We wont’ have the nerves of the first game and I think we can still perform better,” the Club de Campo striker said.

On the GB side, Wimbledon’s Phil Roper added: “After such a vibrant first match against Belgium, we really want to start the competition against a Spain side who impressed us a lot.

"It will be a difficult match like it was last November when we played them at this same venue. We could not beat them in either of the two matches played against them."

Euro Hockey League media release

Black Sticks men face challenging start as new era in international hockey begins

Andrew Voerman

Black Sticks men's coach Darren Smith says the team is excited for the start of the Pro League. DEAN MOUHTAROPOULOS/GETTY IIMAGES

A new era in international hockey starts this weekend and the Black Sticks men will be tested from the off.

They begin their inaugural Pro League campaign on Sunday at North Harbour Hockey Stadium in Auckland, hosting the Netherlands, who were runners-up at the World Cup in India in December.

After that comes world champions Belgium, next Friday at the same venue, followed by Great Britain, who share many players with the England team that finished fourth, a week later in Christchurch.

For a Black Sticks team that finished ninth at the World Cup, they will all be tough opponents, but coach Darren Smith says they are looking forward to the challenge in front of them.

"What I can say is that the guys are really excited. For us, the Pro League means that we get the very best teams in our country. The Dutch have had to travel across the world to play us in North Harbour, the Germans will have to come and meet us in Christchurch.

"We sometimes get the top countries here, but sometimes we find it tough to get them down, so for the next four years with the Pro League we'll have the very best in New Zealand and then we get to go and play them in their countries."

The Black Sticks had a mixed year in 2018, finishing second to hosts Australia at the Commonwealth Games, but winning just one of their four games at the World Cup, losing to England in the first knockout stage.

"I thought on the Gold Coast last year we were able to play some good attacking hockey. Statistically we scored the most goals out of anyone at the tournament, and we flowed pretty well," Smith said.

"The World Cup was tougher, it was a different environment, we had three pretty hard-nosed teams in our pool, but we got out of the pool and into a knockout match where England got the better of us, and England are a dangerous side, so there was always that possibility.

"Now we go into the Pro League. We've got some top players and as a team we're still just trying to get our rhythm and grow together a bit, and the Pro League will help that, with qualification for the Olympic Games later in the year ain mind, then if we qualify, Tokyo.

"That's 18 months away, so we just want some guys who are able to give even more. We're steadily getting better. We would have wanted to do a bit better in the World Cup, but now we're getting ready to play the Netherlands this weekend."

The Pro League has replaced the World League as international hockey's premier competition outside of the Olympics and World Cup, and pits eight teams against each other in a home-and-away round-robin, culminating in semifinals and a final in the Netherlands at the end of June.

There were supposed to be nine teams, as there are in the women's competition, but Pakistan were suspended earlier this week after they informed the International Hockey Federation they would not be able to play their first three matches, which included a visit to New Zealand.

Sunday's game [2.30pm start] is the first of a double-header, with the Black Sticks women also playing the Netherlands.

The Black Sticks men finished ninth at last year's World Cup. WORLDSPORTPICS/PHOTOSPORT

Black Sticks men's Pro League fixtures: January 27 v Netherlands; February 1 v Belgium; February 8 v Great Britain; February 15 v Germany; March 8 v Spain; March 10 v Argentina; March 17 at Australia; April 14 at Argentina; April 25 v Australia; June 4 at Netherlands; June 9 at Germany; June 14 at Spain; June 16 at Belgium; June 23 at Great Britain; June 27-30 semifinals/finals.

Black Sticks men's squad to face the Netherlands: David Brydon, Dom Dixon (gk), George Enerson (gk), Hugo Inglis, Stephen Jenness, Dane Lett, Shea McAleese, George Muir, Arun Panchia, Jared Panchia, ​Nick Ross, Kane Russell, ​Aidan Sarikaya, ​Blair Tarrant (c), Dylan Thomas, Mac Wilcox, Nic Woods.


Black Stick Sam Charlton primed for hockey’s big leap

David Leggatt

Sam Charlton in action against India in 2016. KERRY MARSHALL/GETTY

Every sports team needs a Sam Charlton.

In this case, the women's Black Sticks are the beneficiary of her skill, enthusiasm and wisdom, as they embark this weekend on international hockey's big leap forward - the new worldwide Pro League.

The two national Black Sticks teams (the women, Commonwealth Games champions, are ranked sixth; the men eighth) are part of the 18-team league, which sees home-and-away rounds spread over six months.

It's the sort of event which should be the envy of other sports.

Rugby's bosses, for example, are simply unable to come up with a global season, largely down to self-interest. Football has its quadrennial World Cup and continental championships which last roughly a month, and the high-wattage Champions League is a club competition, albeit with bells and whistles galore.

Cricket has its World Cups in 50 and 20-over disciplines, but hockey has stolen a march; now it's up to the games governing body to make it work. There's a four-year programme locked in and, for New Zealand, that means annual visits downunder from the European hockey powers, who are traditionally hard to prise away from their own patch.

The Black Sticks begin their campaigns in Auckland on Sunday, with a double-header against the formidable Dutch – ranked No 1 for women, and No 3 for men.

That's followed by another against Belgium on February 1, before coming up against the British (led by the Black Sticks' recently departed coach Mark Hager) in Christchurch on February 8. The Germans are there seven days later.

From that point it rolls on across the globe, culminating in finals for the top four in Amsterdam in late June.

So where specifically does 27-year-old Charlton fit in? Think of her as the glue that holds the Black Sticks together.

This is a side who have lost a clutch of top-class internationals since the 2016 Rio Olympics, when they finished a galling fourth for the second straight Games.

Gone are the likes of captain Kayla Whitelock, defensive rock and New Zealand's most-capped international Emily Gaddum, and sparky strikers Gemma McCaw and Charlotte Harrison.

Sam Charlton attacks against India in Pukekohe. PHIL WALTER/GETTY IMAGES

But Charlton, and captain Stacey Michelsen, remain.

While Michelsen is among the game's outstanding players (a world player of the year finalist), Charlton, who operates in midfield or defence, is the sort of reliable, no-frills player on whom coaches, and team mates, rely.

They also form the leadership group, along with new coach Sean Dancer. With eight years of experience in the New Zealand side, Charlton is an ear for the clutch of young players when they need a guiding hand.

"I've been around for quite a long time and the majority of our group is quite young," she says. "So I do see my role as making sure we're heading in the right direction when we take the field and ensure the new girls come up to speed really quickly.

"They might say 'Hey can you watch the video with me and help me work out structures?' or 'What should I do with the ball here?'. They're all pretty keen to learn and it's nice they don't always have to ask the coaches."

Which brings us neatly to the elephant in this story.

The Black Sticks will work under stand-in coach Dancer, who is stepping up in the wake of long-time coach and fellow Aussie Mark Hager's resignation. Hockey has been embroiled in a lengthy review over culture, after complaints from a small handful of players which suggested Hager's no-nonsense style of coaching didn't suit everyone.

The rights and wrongs of that are for another time – and the review findings still haven't been made public - but former under-21 Australian representative Dancer has been integral to the inner workings and tactical approach for the Black Sticks. The transition should be reasonably seamless although the new man will have his own ideas to implement.

Long-time Black Sticks coach Mark Hager will come up against his old team when the English women come to Christchurch next month. Photo: Getty Images.

Charlton did clarify one aspect of the controversy surrounding Hager's leaked email during the World Cup in England in July which, in short, led to his resignation.

The email was intended for another management official but reached the players. It was critical of several players' skills, talent, fitness or attitude.

The common assumption, never really denied, was the players discovered the contents of the email before their worst performance of the tournament, a 2-1 loss to Japan. Ergo, the email had thrown them off their game.

Sam Charlton prepares backstage during the launch of the New Zealand Olympic Team uniform. GETTY IMAGES

But Charlton says they got Hager's email after the Japan game and just before a 1-1 draw with Australia. Players shattered before facing Japan? That's just gone out the window.

"We played probably our best game against Australia [a 1-1 draw], which was the next one," Charlton says. "I'm not saying we played well because it happened after that, but I definitely don't think we can say we didn't perform because of that [email]. A lot of people forget that."

The Black Sticks finished a lowly 12th, a rapid comedown from their Commonwealth Games triumph on the Gold Coast earlier in the year.

The Pro League will be tough for players holding down a job. Charlton, a nutritionist who now works for herself, accepts that.

"I don't think there's any point pretending it's going to be fine. If you work for someone else you have to have a flexible employer who is willing to help you," she says.

"I'm lucky because I work as a contractor and do some work for the New Zealand Olympic Committee, and they're pretty understanding.

"I've found working for myself a lot easier, but I do imagine for some other girls who are trying to hold down jobs it will be difficult."

Charlton believes sportspeople at the top of the tree often tailor their intended career path slightly when confronted with the sport/career dilemma.

"I wouldn't say anyone is doing exactly what they would be if they weren't playing hockey. It's just the nature of what we're doing -- and we've chosen to do this."

Charlton was born in Wellington, did her primary education in Auckland, went to Otumoetai College in Tauranga, and was at Canterbury University when she won her first international cap against Australia in 2010. (She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology and human nutrition).

Home is Tauranga, but you could call her an all-round New Zealander.

Former Black Sticks coach Mark Hager and Stacey Michelsen at training. JOSEPH JOHNSON

She is engaged to men's Black Stick Marcus Child, so it's fair to assume hockey occupies a fair chunk of their conversation and life together.

Charlton is up to 226 caps, which she didn't know. That's seventh overall, and just 48 behind record holder Gaddum.

And just to be clear, that's not a shining beacon of ambition for Charlton.

"It's not something I think about. I'm more focused on winning. I don't care how many games I play - if I walk away with an Olympic medal I'd be happy."

Ah yes, fourth in London in 2012, repeated in Rio. Tough breaks - from a position to play for a gold medal to ending up with nothing, twice.

"I'm definitely more driven than ever to win a medal at Tokyo. But at the end you have to be open to the fact it might not happen. That's quite scary because a lot of my focus is on that," she says.

Former New Zealand coach Mark Hager. GETTY IMAGES

And, finally, what of the Pro League? Exciting, can't wait, would sum it up.

"And it's really cool for supporters and fans, and up-and-coming little kids to see those teams in action against us," she says.

"It's one thing to watch us play on TV against them. But to see it live, I think, will be hugely inspiring for those younger players."


Hockey in shambles: Pakistan suspended from 2019 FIH Pro League

By Mohammad Yousuf Anjum


LAHORE: Pakistan hockey team will not take part in the 2019 FIH Pro League, after the federation informed the International Hockey Federation (FIH) that they won’t be able to play their scheduled first three games of the event.

Pakistan had to play Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, but the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) citied “inevitable circumstances” to the FIH for non-participation.

Hockey no longer prevalent in Pakistan, says Shahbaz senior

As a result, FIH suspended the Asian team from the event to avoid jeopardising the regularity and the smooth running of the event, which kicked-off successfully last Saturday in Valencia.

FIH CEO Thierry Weil said: “It is regretful that Pakistan has decided only now to withdraw from the first games of the FIH Pro League.

No cricket talk here

“Consequently, FIH were left with no other option than suspending Pakistan from the rest of the competition’s season.

“At this stage, I would like to thank all participating National Associations who had adapted their schedules to support a solution for Pakistan to join the competition this year.”

The PHF, which is already facing a financial crisis, will now have to pay nearly Rs45 million (US$321 789) as a penalty for pulling out of the matches.

The Express Tribune

Irresponsible IPC costs Pakistan FIH Pro League suspension

Mohsin Ali

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has written a number of letters to Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Ministry and informed them about the significance of the Pro Hockey League, which was to be held in Australia, New Zealand and Argentina in the first phase.

The Nation has all the documents, which the PHF had sent to IPC Ministry, which remained unmoved and never bothered to even reply to the PHF requests. Talking to The Nation, PHF Director Media Raja Mohsin Ijaz said: “The PHF has informed the IPC Ministry about each and every detail of the expenditures, but the ministry never bothered to respond. We have time and again contacted the IPC Ministry to convey them about the importance of the Pro League.

“It is due to sheer negligence on part of the IPC Ministry and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) that Pakistan is not only out of the league, but also facing lengthy FIH ban. Why such a step-motherly treatment is being rendered to the national game, hockey. Former secretary Jameel Ahmed is responsible for the entire saga, as he kept on sitting on the files and kept lingering on sensitive issue.”

The IPC minister must take notice of Jameel’s irresponsible behaviour and take stern action against such persons. “It was about the prestige of the country. Everybody is fully aware of the fact that how much PHF president Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar has used from his personal efforts as he arranged funds to send team for Champions Trophy, Asian Champions Trophy, World Cup and also cleared dues of players and team management, but how much one can single-handedly do.”

He said they have complete details of not only expenditures but also how much they have arranged through private sponsorships. For last year or so, the government has not released a single penny to the federation. “We have to cancel junior championship while international coach left Pakistan hockey team just because of financial issues.”

The time is high when Prime Minister, Imran Khan, should provide justice to hockey and players. “The federation is doing everything, it can do to streamline things and results are coming thick and fast. It will take time and investment to get desired results in due course of time. The PHF is aware of the situation and it is time for PM to look into the affairs of IPC and PSB and invite the PHF president for a much-awaited meeting to clear the air and ensure Pakistan hockey shouldn’t suffer more,” Mohsin concluded.

The Nation

Updated FIH World Rankings released

Lausanne, Switzerland: Following the conclusion of the FIH Series Open events that took place at various locations between June and December 2018, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has revealed the updated FIH World Rankings.

The update affects the teams that participated in the FIH Series Open events and impacts the men’s and women’s FIH World Rankings, both of which contain more nations with an official FIH ranking than at any point since the introduction of the rankings system in 2003.

The men’s FIH World Rankings now features a record 97 ranked nations, with Nepal (WR:88), Zambia (WR:89), Afghanistan, Bolivia, Indonesia and Costa Rica (all jointly ranked at 91) each earning their first ranking points for their participation in the FIH Series Open. The number of women’s national teams with an official world ranking is up from 75 to 77, as Zambia (WR:72) and Bolivia (WR:75) claimed their first ranking points. With the inaugural FIH world rankings calculated in 2003 featuring 69 men’s and 55 women’s nations, the latest figures show that the number of international teams competing in FIH ranking events has experienced significant growth.  A total of 99 National Associations now have an official outdoor world ranking, with the indoor world rankings of Tajikistan, Greece and DPR Korea taking the overall total to 102.

On the men’s side, Chile – winners of the FIH Series Open event in Santiago (CHI) – have climbed six places to 28th in the rankings table, while Uzbekistan’s first place finish in Lahore (PAK) has seen them move up 12 places to 43rd. Vanuatu (WR:52), Namibia (WR:66), Tonga (WR:68), Kazakhstan (WR:77), Myanmar (WR:78) and Solomon Islands (WR:82) have all risen up the rankings thanks to their FIH Series Open performances, while Papua New Guinea (WR:54), Malta (WR:55), Hungary (WR:66), Cuba (WR:69), Finland (WR:70), Paraguay (WR:90), Brunei (WR:95), Vietnam (WR:96) and Bulgaria (WR:97) have all seen their rankings drop.

Namibia’s victory at the FIH Series Open in Bulawayo (ZIM) has resulted in a rise of 18 places to 42nd in the women’s FIH World Rankings, while Fiji are also big movers, climbing from 69th to 44th after their first-place finish in Port Vila (VAN). Paraguay (WR:50), Solomon Islands (WR:58), Guatemala (WR:67) and Vanuatu (WR:68) have also made progress up the women’s rankings.

To see the updated FIH World Rankings can be downloaded in PDF format using the links below.

Men | Women

For complete information about the FIH World Rankings, please click here.

FIH site

USWNT to Take on Chile Before Starting FIH Pro League Play

SANTIAGO, Chile – After opening the year preparing at the Home of Hockey at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa., the U.S. Women’s National Team will compete in a final test series before their first FIH Pro League match. The squad departed Tuesday for Santiago, Chile where they will take on FIH Hero World Ranked No. 16 Chile at Club Manquehue in three test games, with two registering as official sanctioned matches.

“We are looking forward to starting our journey to the FIH Pro League in Chile,” said Janneke Schopman, USWNT Head Coach. “Playing an experienced team like Chile in front of their own crowd will be a great preparation for our first Pro League game against Argentina.”

USWNT vs. Chile Test Series:

Saturday, January 26        USA vs. Chile        5:30 p.m. ET*
Sunday, January 27          USA vs. Chile        5:30 p.m. ET
Tuesday, January 29        USA vs. Chile        9:00 a.m. ET

*Denotes Unofficial Sanctioned Match

These games will not be live streamed.

The last time the USWNT faced Chile was in April 2018 at Spooky Nook Sports. A mix of snow flurries and rain fell throughout the first game as Las Diablas got on the scoreboard early and again in the third quarter. USA was persistent and converted from two penalty corners for the 2-2 draw. The second game saw USA come out strong by tallying three goals in the first quarter and another each in the second and third on their way to a 6-0 victory. Match three saw USA get on the board first late in the opening quarter. Chile found the equalizer five minutes into the second, but not before USA regained the lead by tallying two goals in two minutes. The red, white and blue added two more in the fourth to secure the 5-1 win. In the final match, USA fought hard down to the final minutes of play but could not capitalize in the attacking circle as they tied Chile 1-1.

The USWNT will depart for Argentina on January 30 for their first FIH Pro League game.

USWNT vs. Chile Test Series Roster:
Mackenzie Allessie (Mount Joy, Pa.), Mary Beth Barham (Fairfax, Va.), Anna Dessoye (Mountaintop, Pa.), Ali Froede (Burke, Va.), Jill Funk (Lancaster, Pa.), Linnea Gonzales (Bel Air, Md.), Danielle Grega (Kingston, Pa.), Ashley Hoffman (Mohnton, Pa.), Laura Hurff (Newark, Del.), Jess Jecko (Sauquoit, N.Y.), Amanda Magadan (Randolph, N.J.), Alyssa Manley (Lititz, Pa.), Lauren Moyer (York, Pa.), Alyssa Parker (Woodbine, Md.), Kealsie Robles (Yorktown, Va.), Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.), Casey Umstead (Green Lake, Pa.), Caitlin Van Sickle (Wilmington, Del.), Taylor West (Princess Anne, Md.), Nicole Woods (Beverly, Mass.), Julia Young (Yorktown, Va.)

For more information regarding the USWNT vs. Chile Series, visit the official event page by clicking here.

USFHA media release

Singapore women get their shot at Series Finals

Nicole Chia

Singapore Hockey Federation president Mathavan Devadas said that there are no targets yet, but hopes that the team can improve their world ranking by at least five places.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/SINGAPORE HOCKEY

The Singapore women's team will compete at the June 8-16 International Hockey Federation (FIH) Hockey Series Finals in Dublin after Austria's withdrawal.

The series gives developing hockey nations who are not in the Pro League the chance to qualify for events such as the Olympics.

A string of Open tournaments were held from June to December last year, where the two top from each leg made it to one of three Finals. The other two women's Finals are in Japan (June 15-23) and Spain (June 19-27). The men's Finals are hosted by Malaysia (April 23-May 1), India (June 6-16) and France (June 15-23).

The top two from each Finals will qualify for the FIH Olympic qualification event later this year.

In the Singapore leg last July, the Republic's women finished third and missed out on the Finals, but were first reserves. The men won and qualified to play in France.

Singapore Hockey Federation president Mathavan Devadas told The Straits Times yesterday that there are no targets yet, but hopes that both teams can improve their world ranking by at least five places. The women are 35th and the men are 40th.

"(The players are) doing some initial preparation and playing some friendly matches because they know the quality (of the opposition)... we don't have that level of competition in Singapore so, within the next couple of months, we'll know where we stand and set realistic targets," said Mathavan.

National women's coach David Viner noted that of the seven other teams in the Dublin pool, four are in the world's top 20 - No. 8 Ireland, South Korea (11), Scotland (18) and Czech Republic (19). The others are Malaysia (22), Ukraine (27) and France (32).

He added: "Many of the teams around the top 20 in the world and below... are operating full time or very close to full-time squads.

"Singapore are very much a team of hardworking students or employed professionals. But each player puts in a remarkable amount of time and commitment in order to represent their country in hockey."

The Straits Times

Stats Speak: Indian eves lock horns with World Cup medalists

By B.G.Joshi (Sehore- Bhopal, India)

Ranked number 9 in World Indian women will play test series with Spain (WR-7) and Ireland (WR-8).

In London World Cup (Aug 2018) The Green Army won the Silver medal and Red Sticks won the bronze medal. It will be a good preparation ahead of Hockey Series Finals for all the 3 teams. India will play HSF in Hiroshima, Ireland in Dublin and Spain in Valencia in June 2019. To get berth in Olympic Qualifier these 3 teams have to be in final of above HSF. Here are statistical highlights:

India versus Spain (women)















In elite tourneys







In test series







Last  played-Madrid test match in June 2018, India wins 4-1

India versus Ireland (women)















In elite tourneys







In test series







Last played-quarter finals in London World Cup 2018, lost in shoot out, full time 0-0, shoot out 1-3.


Green Army Schedule and Squad For Series Announced

With 2018 and an historic World Cup behind us, it is time to look to 2019 and what the Green Army have ahead of them. A home-hosted FIH Series Finals in June and Olympic Qualification the pinnacle of a busy year, there is also the Eurohockey Championships to look forward to in Belgium this August.

The Green Army have already completed their first camp of the year with a drawn series in Santiago against Chile that saw 4 new caps enter the fray. Next up for the squad is a 3 Nations in Alicante against Spain and India, both familiar foes, and World Cup quarter final and semi-final opponents respectively. England/GB will offer a tough test in Bisham Abbey in March under their new head coach Mark Hager, recently appointed from his tenure with New Zealand. The senior women will focus their preparation for the FIH Series Finals in June via a number of 3-day national training camps before Canada arrive to Dublin for a pre-tournament match series.

But on the immediate agenda, the squad travel to Spain for 2 matches against India in Murcia and 3 matches against Spain in Granada over the first week in February. The 26-strong team selected to travel see’s the welcome return of Shirley McCay and Lizzie Colvin after a break post-World Cup.

Speaking about the schedule for the year ahead, head coach Graham Shaw said “Chile proved a very valuable trip for the whole team, both experienced players and those new to the squad. It is important to spend time training together as a group and get international matches under our belt early in the year, so we are pleased to be going to Spain in the coming weeks to face tough opposition in both the hosts Spain and India. All three teams know each other well so we’re expecting 5 extremely competitive matches.

Bisham Abbey is always a worthwhile trip against one of the best teams in the world and this time will be no different. Great Britain will have played their first few Pro League fixtures at that stage so we know they will be a threat as ever, particularly with games against New Zealand, Australia and China under their belt in the previous few weeks.

We’re delighted to welcome Canada to Ireland for a home series and it will act as ideal preparation for our squad with the FIH Series Finals taking place just a few weeks later. Canada are again a familiar opponent and a side very much on the ascendancy, we look forward to playing them in 4 competitive matches in front of a home crowd”. 

Squad for Indian and Spanish Series:
Name, Club, Position
Liz Murphy, Loreto, GK
Emma Buckley, Racing, GK
Bethany Barr, UCD, Midfield/Defender
Hannah Matthews, Loreto, Defender
Lena Tice, UCD, Defender
Serena Barr, Beeston, Defender
Hannah McLoughlin, UCD, Defender/Midfield
Chloe Brown, East Grinstead, Midfield/Defender
Katie Mullan, Club an der Alster, Midfield/Forward
Ali Meeke, Loreto, Midfield/Defender
Roisin Upton, Catholic Institute, Midfield/Defender
Ellen Curran, UCD, Midfield/Forward
Nikki Evans, UHC, Forward
Anna O’Flanagan, Pinoke, Forward
Sarah Torrans, Loreto, Forward
Deirdre Duke, UCD, Forward
Sarah Hawkshaw, Railway Union, Forward
Aisling Naughton, Pembroke, Forward
Lizzie Colvin, Belfast Harlequins, Midfield
Emily Beatty, Pembroke, Forward/Midfield
Yvonne O’Byrne, Cork Harlequins, Defender
Sinead Loughran, Pembroke, Forward
Leah McGuire, UCD, Defender
Shirley McCay, Pegasus, Defender
Nicci Daly, Loreto, Forward/Midfield
Zoe Wilson, Belfast Harlequins, Defender

Schedule (all times listed are local):

1/2/19 4:30pm Ireland vs India in Hockey Santomera pitch, Murcia
3/2/19 11am Ireland vs India in Hockey Santomera pitch, Murcia
4/2/19 6:30pm Ireland vs Spain in Armilla Hockey, Granada
6/2/19 12:30pm Ireland vs Spain in Armilla Hockey, Granada
7/2/19 11am Ireland vs Spain in Armilla Hockey, Granada

Upcoming 2019 Fixtures:

10-14/3/19 Ireland vs GB (uncapped) in Bisham Abbey

 24th,25th,27th & 28th May Ireland vs Canada in Dublin

8-16 June FIH Series Finals in Dublin

July Test Series TBC

1-9/8/19 vs Belgium in Belgium

18/8/19 Ireland vs England Eurohockey Championships in Antwerp
19/8/19 Ireland vs Belarus Eurohockey Championships in Antwerp
21/8/19 Ireland vs Germany Eurohockey Championships in Antwerp
22-25/8/19 Classification Matches Eurohockey Championships in Antwerp

Irish Hockey Association media release

McCay and Colvin return to Green Army fold

Shirley McCay during the World Cup semi-final. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek/World Sport Pics

Shirley McCay and Lizzie Colvin will both return to the Irish women’s squad for the first time since the World Cup for their upcoming trip to take on Spain and India.

For McCay, Ireland’s most capped player, she had previously said she would step away following the World Cup but has since thought a lot about the situation and decided to return.

“I think having the time to take away from hockey and really reflect on where I am at the moment,” she told BBC Northern Ireland.

“Where I want to go with my hockey career and balance work and life, it’s been a special time to reflect and realise that I do have a dream. It’s something that I’d probably regret if I didn’t pursue it further.

“[Retiring on the high of the World Cup final] was one of the things that I had to factor in. If I left it now that would be the high that I go out on but that’s not me as a player and a person. It’s not what drives me.

“I’ve had the disappointments of three Olympic qualifications that we’ve missed out on and that is what drives me – that will to succeed.”

She added in the interview that Ireland are now in a “new scenario” since the silver medal and can no longer go in under the radar.

“There is that pressure and people aren’t looking at us as underdogs. That’s a good pressure to have and it’s something we would have relished a couple of months ago. It’s the status we want to have in world hockey so we need to grasp it with both hands.”

Her inclusion came as part of Hockey Ireland’s confirmation of their schedule for the year ahead. From February 1 to 7, they will play India twice in Murcia and then Spain three times in Granada.

There are plenty of changes from the recent Chile trip with Ayeisha McFerran, Bethany Barr, Gemma Frazer, Ruth Maguire, Gillian Pinder, Megan Frazer and Amy Elliott stepping out this time.

In addition to McCay and Colvin, Hannah McLoughlin, Chloe Brown, Ellen Curran, Sinead Loughran and Leah McGuire all come back in.

Later in the year, Ireland will go to Bisham Abbey for uncapped matches against Great Britain before finally getting a homecoming series in May with four games against Canada.

Speaking about the schedule for the year ahead, head coach Graham Shaw said: “Chile proved a very valuable trip for the whole team, both experienced players and those new to the squad.

“It is important to spend time training together as a group and get international matches under our belt early in the year, so we are pleased to be going to Spain in the coming weeks to face tough opposition.

“Bisham Abbey is always a worthwhile trip against one of the best teams in the world and this time will be no different. Great Britain will have played their first few Pro League fixtures at that stage so we know they will be a threat as ever, particularly with games against New Zealand, Australia and China under their belt in the previous few weeks.

“We’re delighted to welcome Canada to Ireland for a home series and it will act as ideal preparation for our squad with the FIH Series Finals taking place just a few weeks later.

“Canada are again a familiar opponent and a side very much on the ascendency, we look forward to playing them in 4 competitive matches in front of a home crowd.”

Ireland senior women for Spanish series (February 1-7, 2019 in Murcia and Granada): Liz Murphy (Loreto), Emma Buckley (Racing Club de Bruxelles), Bethany Barr (UCD), Hannah Matthews (Loreto), Lena Tice (UCD), Serena Barr (Beeston), Hannah McLoughlin (UCD), Chloe Brown (East Grinstead), Katie Mullan (Club an der Alster), Ali Meeke (Loreto), Roisin Upton (Catholic Institute), Ellen Curran (UCD), Nikki Evans (UHC Hamburg), Anna O’Flanagan (Pinoke), Sarah Torrans (Loreto), Deirdre Duke (Dusseldorfer HC), Sarah Hawkshaw (Railway Union), Aisling Naughton (Pembroke), Lizzie Colvin (Belfast Harlequins), Emily Beatty (Pembroke), Yvonne O’Byrne (Cork Harlequins), Sinead Loughran (Pembroke), Leah McGuire (UCD), Shirley McCay (Pegasus), Nicci Daly (Loreto), Zoe Wilson (Belfast Harlequins)

Fixture schedule
February 1: Ireland v India, 4.30pm, Hockey Santomera pitch, Murcia
February 3: Ireland v India, 11am, Hockey Santomera pitch, Murcia
February 4: Ireland v Spain, 6.30pm Armilla Hockey, Granada
February 6: Ireland v Spain, 12.30pm Armilla Hockey, Granada
February 7: Ireland v Spain, 11am Armilla Hockey, Granada

March 10-14: Ireland vs Great Britain (uncapped), Bisham Abbey
May 24-28: Ireland vs Canada, Dublin
June 8-16: FIH Series Finals, Dublin
July 1-9: Ireland v Belgium, Belgium
August 18-25: EuroHockey Championships in Antwerp

The Hook

Ulster players Shirley McCay and Lizzie Colvin to play on with Ireland

Colvin was part of the Ireland squad which narrowly missed out on Rio 2016

Ulster's Shirley McCay and Lizzie Colvin have decided to be part of the Ireland women's hockey squad which will prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Ireland will host the first phase of the Olympic qualifiers in June.

Both players had taken time away from the international scene after the World Cup to consider their futures.

The pair have been named in a 26-strong squad for a training camp in Spain next month, with games against the hosts and India scheduled as part of the tour.

Ireland defeated both Spain and India in shoot-outs on their way to the World Cup Final last August.

The Irish team will face India on Friday 1 February and Sunday 3 February, before matches against Spain on 4, 6 and 7 February.

"It is important to spend time training together as a group and get international matches under our belt early in the year, so we are pleased to be going to Spain in the coming weeks to face tough opposition in both the hosts Spain and India," said Ireland coach Graham Shaw.

"All three teams know each other well so we're expecting five extremely competitive matches."

Pegasus player McCay, 30, from Drumquin, is Ireland's most capped sportswomen with the World Cup Final her 273rd appearance for her country.

McCay had indicated she would consider retirement prior to Ireland winning silver medals at the World Cup in London.

This will be her fourth Olympic campaign, having suffered disappointment in the previous three, including in 2015 when a shoot-out loss to China in the World League semi-finals cost Ireland a place in the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Armagh woman Colvin, 29, who plays for Belfast Harlequins, has 161 caps to her name and was also part of that squad that narrowly missed out on Rio 2016.

McCay and Colvin join 12 of their World Cup team-mates in the squad for Spain, but goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran and Megan Frazer are not included.

McFerran has returned to the University of Louisville while Frazer is recovering from a broken hand suffered on the recent trip to Chile.

Other Ulster players in the squad are sisters Bethany and Serena Barr, Leah Maguire and former Ards player Chloe Brown - who now plays for East Grinstead in England.

As well as the FIH Series finals and Olympic qualifiers in June, Ireland will also face Great Britain, Canada and Belgium in series during 2019, as well as the Eurohockey Championships in Antwerp in August.

Ireland squad to face India and Spain

Liz Murphy (Loreto), Emma Buckley (Racing), Bethany Barr (UCD), Hannah Matthews (Loreto), Lena Tice (UCD), Serena Barr (UCD), Hannah McLoughlin (UCD), Chloe Brown (East Grinsted), Katie Mullan (Club an der Alster), Ali Meeke (Loreto), Roisin Upton (Catholic Institute), Ellen Curran (UCD), Nikki Evans (UHC), Anna O'Flanagan (Pinoke), Sarah Torrans (Loreto), Deirdre Duke (UCD), Sarah Hawkshaw (Railway Union), Aisling Naughton (Pembroke), Lizzie Colvin (Belfast Harlequins), Emily Beatty (Pembroke), Yvonne O'Byrne (Cork Harlequins), Sinead Loughran (Pembroke), Leah McGuire (UCD), Shirley McCay (Pegasus), Nicci Daly (Loreto), Zoe Wilson (Belfast Harlequins).

BBC Sport

Terengganu edge PKS-Uniten 3-2 to keep unbeaten run in women’s hockey

KUALA LUMPUR: Terengganu ended the first round with an unbeaten record in the Malaysian Women's Hockey League.

The East Coast team edged last year's league champions PKS-Univesiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten) 3-2 to register six wins in a row at the Batu Buruk Hockey Stadium in Kuala Terengganu on Thursday.
Terengganu have scored a whopping 34 goals in total and conceded six.

They are the frontrunners to win the title as they have a six-point lead against second-placed Police Blue Warriors.

Indian defender Jaspreet Kaur netted two penalty corners in 12th and 52nd for Terengganu while Nur Syafiqah Mohd Zain scored the other goal in the 49th minute.

Hanis Nadia Onn (14th) and Syasya Rifqah Sanip (26th) replied for PKS-Uniten.

Terengganu skipper Siti Noor Amarina Ruhani hoped to keep the momentum going.

“There are hardly any rest as second round matches begins on Saturday (tomorrow). We hope to stay focused and maintain our good run in the league,” said Siti.


The Star of Malaysia

Depleted Tigers out to give Tenaga a good fight

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank are in troubled waters after losing two key players ahead of their tough encounter against Tenaga Nasional today in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

National midfielder Muhd Haziq Samsul has been served a one-match suspension for picking up two yellow cards while forward Amirrullah Zainol aggravated a hamstring injury against Teren­gganu at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil last Sunday.

Maybank coach Azrul Effendy Bistamam admitted the absence of the two first choice players would affect their chances against Tenaga.

“Haziq was flashed the yellow cards twice for some robust tackling in the tough match against Terengganu, which we lost 4-3,” said Azrul, who is in charge as the head coach of the Maybank for the first time.

“He is an experienced player but he must learn how to stay cool in matches.”

Haziq will be replaced by Muhd Firdaus Fauzi while Muhd Luqman Hakim will start in place of Amirrullah.

Maybank, led by all local players, are in fourth place in the seven-team Premier Division with six points from two wins and a defeat.

Tenaga, the winners of the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup, are in second spot with nine points from three wins and a defeat.

But Azrul has urged his young team – with an average age of 20 – to rise to the challenge against Tenaga.

“Tenaga have experienced players who have played in the league for few years and they are looking to win their second title in the league,” said the former international.

“As for us, we are building a team for the future and I’ll be more than happy to see our team give their opponents a good fight and finish fourth in the MHL to qualify for the overall cup.”

Tenaga coach Nor Saiful Zaini said they would not take the Tigers lightly.

“They have calibre players as they gave Terengganu a good fight from the start to end of the match,” said Nor Saiful.

“We have lost to Universiti Kuala Lumpur (3-1) and we cannot afford to drop points if we hope to win the league title. I want my players to be consistent.”

The Star of Malaysia

Scottish Men’s Indoor National League 1 reaches penultimate stage

The penultimate stages of the men`s Indoor National League 1 championship are scheduled for this Saturday, it starts with the final pool stage matches and concludes with the two semi-finals and other play-off fixtures.

The destiny of Pool B rests on a knife edge, it is all to play for with Western Wildcats in pole position, a point ahead of Dundee Wanderers while champions Inverleith are two further adrift in third. The intriguing feature of this contest for the top two spots is that there are several permutations with all three sides in the mix.

First up is the meeting of Western Wildcats and Wanderers, the winner will certainly progress to the semi-finals… a draw would be enough for Western Wildcats but could leave the door open for Inverleith to overtake Wanderers depending on goal difference.

After a sluggish start to the campaign Wanderers have suddenly come into their own with pool victories over Inverleith and Dunfermline Carnegie last weekend and Bobby Ralph, Elliot Sandison, Cammie Bell and Sean Dowie among the goals.

Wanderers will also take heart from their 4-3 win over Western Wildcats in the league encounter with Dowie again on target with a double while Euan Borland and Callum Ross got the others.

However, Western Wildcats have the scent of success in their nostrils, they finished second in the league and top the pool at the moment – their destiny is very much in their own hands.

Last weekend a late spot conversion by Adam McKenzie rescued a point against Inverleith, and that was followed by a belated 4-3 win over Dunfermline, courtesy of a winner from Joe McConnell with only five seconds remaining.

It is clear that Inverleith must beat bottom side Dunfermline in the next match, and probably by a substantial margin as goal difference is likely to be the deciding factor.

In the league the champions triumphed 6-3, but a repeat of that size of victory may not be enough to salvage Inverleith`s semi-final aspirations.

The resolution to the other pool looks much less complex, Grove Menzieshill are on top six points clear and have already booked their semi-final place irrespective of the result against Clydesdale in their final pool match.

Grange will hope to take the other spot, which would happen if Clydesdale failed to win or the Edinburgh side took at least a point from their encounter with bottom side Kelburne.

The afternoon play-off matches remain as yet uncertain, except that the relegation tussle will be between Kelburne and Dunfermline – with the loser destined for Indoor National League 2 next season.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

EB Member HRH Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah named King of Malaysia

FIH Executive Board Member and President of the Asian Hockey Federation HRH Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah has been chosen as the new King of Malaysia.

The 59-year old Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah has been elected to serve a five-year term by eight other Malay sultans in the country’s Conference of Rulers.

The new King will be appointed on the 31 January in a traditional ceremony.

The International Hockey Federation would like to express its pride and congratulate Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah on this significant milestone and wish him well in his new role.

FIH site

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