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News for 27 January 2019

All the news for Sunday 27 January 2019

2019 FIH Pro League (Men) - 27 January

Weekend Results

25 Jan 2019    ESP v GBR (RR)     5 - 6
26 Jan 2019    ARG v BEL (RR)     2 - 4
27 Jan 2019     NZL v NED (RR)     3 - 4

Pool standings

Rank Team Played Wins Win Draws Loss Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points Percent
1 Belgium 2 1 0 1 0 6 4 2 4 66.7
2 Great Britain 1 1 0 0 0 6 5 1 3 100.0
3 Netherlands 1 1 0 0 0 4 3 1 3 100.0
4 Spain 2 0 1 0 1 7 8 -1 2 33.3
5 Germany 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
5 Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
7 New Zealand 1 0 0 0 1 3 4 -1 0 0.0
8 Argentina 1 0 0 0 1 2 4 -2 0 0.0

FIH Match Centre

2019 FIH Pro League (Women) - 27 January

Weekend results

26 Jan 2019     ARG v BEL (RR)     2 - 0
27 Jan 2019     NZL v NED (RR)     0 - 1

Pool standings

Rank Team Played Wins Win Draws Loss Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points Percent
1 Argentina 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 2 3 100.0
2 Netherlands 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 100.0
3 United States 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
3 Great Britain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
3 Germany 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
3 China 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
3 Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
8 New Zealand 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 -1 0 0.0
9 Belgium 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0 0.0

FIH Match Centre

Las Leonas and Red Lions claim FIH Pro League victories in Argentina

A sell-out crowd packed into the Estadio Municipal de Hockey in Cordoba as Argentina’s men and women hosted the international teams of Belgium on Match Day 3 of the inaugural edition of the FIH Pro League.

Carla Rebecchi’s return to international hockey after a two-year absence proved fruitful as she produced a Player of the Match performance to help Argentina’s women claim a 2-0 victory over the Red Panthers. However, the European nation gained a measure of revenge in the second match of the day as Belgium’s men earned a 4-2 triumph against Los Leones, the Olympic title holders, in hot and humid conditions in South America.

The action began with the first women’s match of the FIH Pro League, as Las Leonas (FIH World Ranking: 4) faced the Red Panthers (WR:13). Argentina – coached once again by Carlos Retegui, the man who guided Argentina’s women to World Cup glory in 2010 before taking the men team to an Olympic gold medal at Rio 2016 – were the superior side in the opening stages, with Agustina Albertarrio rattling the frame of the Belgian goal early on before having a goal ruled out by a video umpire referral.

It seemed only a matter of time before the home favourites, cheered on by the fans with every attack, made the breakthrough. The inevitable goal arrived in the 12th minute thanks to a cool close-range finish from Julieta Jankunas, although it was the brilliance of Carla Rebecchi who made it possible, surging into the circle from the right to mark her return to international hockey after a two-year absence with a wonderful assist.

European silver medallists Belgium – who were missing team captain Anouk Raes through injury - were vastly improved in the second quarter and caused their higher-ranked opponents some serious problems. Anne-Sophie Weyns and Jill Boon were influential figures as the Red Panthers applied great pressure to the Argentine defensive line, although Leonas shot-stopper Belen Succi did not allow herself to be beaten.

Argentina turned the screw in the third quarter, with Belgian goalkeeper Aisling D’Hooghe making some excellent saves before eventually conceding a second goal as Agustina Habif tapped in a penalty corner with three minutes of the period remaining.

The Europeans gave an excellent account of themselves in the final quarter. Louise Versavel had two great chances to reduce the deficit, failing to connect from close range before forcing another solid save from Succi with a penalty corner drag-flick ahead of the final hooter.

“I’m really happy with our start and I’m really happy being back here with the team, so it was really nice to win here today”, said Player of the Match Carla Rebecchi, the 34-year-old attacker who has been tempted back to the international scene after announcing her retirement at the start of 2017. Looking ahead to her team’s next FIH Pro League fixture against the USA, which takes place in Cordoba on 2 February, Rebecchi said: “We will keep training just the way we have trained for the past 12 days, and we hope we can win that game as well.”

Belgium’s Barbara Nelen - who now heads to New Zealand with her team ahead of their upcoming FIH Pro League match against the Black Sticks on 1 February – said: “I think we played really well, sometimes dominating the game so I am really happy. It is also fantastic to play in front of a crowd like this. If we had scored a PC [penalty corner] maybe it would have changed the game. We had a lot of chances, but it is progress for us and in the next game we will for sure score those.”

The meeting between men’s international teams of Argentina (WR:4) and Belgium (WR:1), the reigning Olympic and World champions respectively, had the potential to be an absolutely thrilling fixture between two sides famed for attack-focussed hockey. The rematch of the Rio 2016 Olympic final certainly did not disappoint in the opening stages, with the top-ranked Red Lions needing just two minutes to open the scoring as Tom Boon smashed home a brilliant first-time strike on the turn to reward some high-quality build-up play from Florent Van Aubel.

Belgium’s defence was regularly called into action in the first period, with Loick Luypaert making numerous crucial blocks as the Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallists searched for a leveller. Lucas Martinez came close to restoring parity late in the quarter, but his instinctive volley sailed over the top of Vincent Vanasch’s goal.

Argentina pulled themselves level midway through the second period thanks to an extraordinary goal from Lucas Vila, whose crucial touch on Juan Lopez’s blistering pass gave Vanasch absolutely no chance of saving. The ingenuity and craft of Vila’s goal left almost everyone needing to take a second look, with umpire Simon Taylor using his own video referral to confirm that the delicate touch had indeed been made in the scoring circle.

A yellow card five-minute suspension to Argentine captain Pedro Ibarra at the end of the second quarter left Los Leones a player short in the opening stages of the third period, although the home favourites managed to keep the world champions off the score-sheet before Ibarra returned to the action. However, the hosts were reduced in numbers once again when Santiago Tarazona’s foul on Tom Boon in the circle resulted in a yellow card and the first penalty corner of the game, with veteran goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi producing a brilliant, diving stick save to deny the drag-flick of Alexander Hendrickx.

Despite being a player down, Argentina had a terrific chance to take the lead when they won a penalty corner in the latter stages of the period. In the absence of prolific goal-scorer Gonzalo Peillat, Pedro Ibarra stepped up for flicking duties. However, an error at the top of the circle was brutally punished by the Belgians, who raced down the other end and took a 2-1 lead through Gauthier Boccard. The Red Lions hit a third less than a minute later thanks to Player of the Match Victor Wegnez, before Tom Boon made it 4-1 early in the fourth quarter with a cool deflection after a moment of brilliance from the exceptional Arthur Van Doren.

A tap-in from Argentina’s Martinez certainly kept things interesting, but despite further efforts on goal from Vila and Matias Paredes, the Belgian goal-line remained untroubled in the latter stages as Shane McLeod’s World Cup winners claimed a fine victory on Argentine soil.

“It was really difficult, it is always tough to play against Argentina because they defend really well”, said Belgium midfielder Victor Wegnez after the match. “They are very dangerous on the counter-attack but I think we dominated all the game and I think it is logical that we took the three points today.”

Argentina captain Pedro Ibarra said: “We knew from the beginning that this was going to be a really tough game. They are the world champion and are in really good shape, they are first in the world [rankings]. For us, it is really nice for us to play in Argentina. We are building the team again and have to go step by step in the Pro League.”

FIH Pro League - Match Day 3
26 January 2019

Result: Women’s Match 1
Argentina 2, Belgium 0
Player of the Match: Carla Rebecchi (ARG)

Result: Men’s Match 3
Argentina 2, Belgium 4
Player of the Match: Victor Wegnez (BEL)


Official FIH Pro League site

Double delight for Dutch against hosts New Zealand in FIH Pro League

The Netherlands men and women both made winning starts to their respective FIH Pro League campaigns on Sunday (27 January), earning victories over hosts New Zealand at the North Harbour Hockey Stadium in Auckland.

The Netherlands men survived an astonishing New Zealand fight-back before emerging 4-3 winners, while a solitary goal from Maartje Krekelaar proved to be just enough as the Dutch women claimed a narrow 1-0 triumph over a resilient Black Sticks side.

The Netherlands (World Ranking: 3) men produced a scintillating display of attacking hockey in the opening quarter of their meeting against the Black Sticks men (WR:8), with the European champions and World Cup silver medallists surging into a 3-0 lead to leave the home crowd stunned. Thierry Brinkman pounced from close range to squeeze the ball between the legs of New Zealand shot-stopper George Enersen before Jonas de Geus crashed a powerful backhand effort against backboard to double the advantage. Jip Janssen’s penalty corner drag-flick left the Black Sticks with a mountain to climb, but it was a challenge that they would prove capable of rising to.

Hugo Inglis reduced the deficit with a fine solo goal one minute into the second period, weaving his way through the Dutch defence before lifting the ball over the onrushing Sam van der Ven to give his team a foothold in the match. It was a goal that raised the spirits of the fans in the North Harbour Hockey Stadium, but there was more to come. The Black Sticks found the net twice in the final three minutes of the period, with Inglis claiming his second before Kane Russell’s ferocious, low penalty corner drag-flick levelled the contest at 3-3 and brought a fascinating first half to an end.

While the third quarter was evenly contested, it was the Netherlands who produced what proved to be the decisive moment in the match. Seconds after defending a Dutch penalty corner, the Black Sticks let their concentration levels slip and were duly punished. A quick free-hit released Player of the Match Thierry Brinkman, who unleashed a stunning backhand strike high into the New Zealand net from a tight angle to put the Netherlands back in front at 4-3.

While Brinkman’s goal proved to be the winner, the final quarter was both dramatic and entertaining. A clash between Mackenzie Wilcox and de Geus saw both players given ten-minute yellow card suspensions, while goalkeepers Enersen and Van der Ven both produced fine saves to deny efforts from Jeroen Hertzberger and Marcus Child before the end.

“It was a really tough game for us”, said Netherlands captain Billy Bakker after the match. “With the crowd and New Zealand playing on their home ground, it is always difficult. We wanted to win today and we achieved that so we are very happy for the first game.”

New Zealand captain Blair Tarrant said: “It was really good from our boys to come back into the game after being down 3-0, but obviously not the result we wanted. I just want to say a big thanks to the crowd for coming out today. It was nice to play the Dutch, who are one of the best teams in the world, on our home pitch.”

The match between the New Zealand and Netherlands women’s teams was also a close one, with the sixth ranked Black Sticks holding their own against the World and European champions for long periods of the contest.

With the defences of both nations excelling, clear goal-scoring opportunities were kept to a minimum. The top-ranked Netherlands had a high penalty corner strike correctly ruled out early in the game, while Olivia Merry’s speculative backhand effort rattled the side of the Netherlands goal in the second quarter before Dutch striker Frederique Matla fired over the crossbar just before half time.

Dutch goalkeeper Josine Koning made an important save midway through the third quarter before her team finally broke the deadlock thanks to Maartje Krekelaar, who slipped the ball past New Zealand goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon from close range in the 38th minute.

New Zealand thought they had found an equaliser early in the fourth quarter, but Brooke Neal’s penalty corner was ruled out by the video umpire who spotted an obstruction just as Neal fired towards goal. Black Sticks captain Stacey Michelsen became an influential figure in the latter stages, but despite her brilliance the leveller could not be found as the Dutch battled to a hard-earned away victory.

“We really enjoyed it, although it was a tough one”, said Netherlands captain Eva de Goede after the match. “That is a good start for us, a 1-0 win, so I think if you win then it is a good one. The atmosphere was amazing and we really enjoyed playing here.”

Black Sticks captain Stacey Michelsen said: “I think it was a really good fight. We obviously knew playing the Dutch in game one was a huge challenge, but it was one we were excited to have and it was amazing to play in front of a really good crowd here today. We are really looking forward to improving as the Pro League goes on.”

FIH Pro League - Match Day 4
27 January 2019

Result: Men’s Match 4
New Zealand 3, Netherlands 4
Player of the Match: Thierry Brinkman (NED)

Result: Women’s Match 2
New Zealand 0, Netherlands 1
Player of the Match: Malou Pheninckx (NED)


Official FIH Pro League site

Black Sticks Men go down in tight loss to the Netherlands

The Vantage Black Sticks have gone down 4-3 to a Netherlands side in a highly entertaining contest. After finding themselves behind by 3-0 after one quarter the Black Sticks fought their way back into the contest and were 3-3 at half time. Unfortunately the Netherlands broke the deadlock and held on to secure the victory.

The Vantage Black Sticks started the match strongly constructing a number of opportunities in the opening few minutes. The Netherlands looked to counter this pressure being applied by holding onto possession and looking to frustrate the New Zealander’s. The Netherlands earned the first penalty corner of the match off a quickly taken free hit in the attacking 25. Shea McAleese pulled off an amazing goal line save when the Netherlands looked to tap home the penalty corner.

The Netherlands got the opening goal of the game when a lapse in defence gave the Netherlands side a free deflection in the Vantage Black Sticks circle. The Netherlands then increased their lead when a powerful reverse shot by Jonas De Geus went past Vantage Black Sticks goalkeeper George Enersen. The Netherlands further extended their lead late in the first quarter when a powerful drag flick from Jip Janssen went into the back of the net. At the end of the first quarter the Vantage Black Sticks were down 3-0 against a polished looking Netherlands side.

Hugo Inglis got the Vantage Black Sticks onto the score board at the start of the second quarter then he eliminated a number of Netherlands defenders and then flicked it past the goalkeeper to get the Black Sticks back into the contest. The New Zealand side then continued to push hard looking for their second goal however the Netherlands goalkeeper was up to the challenge. The Netherlands midway through the second quarter had another penalty corner however George Enersen was up to the challenge and made a great glove save. Hugo Inglis then received a fantastic cross from Kane Russell and flicked his second goal of the game past the Netherlands goalkeeper to close the gap to 3-2. With 30 seconds to go in the quarter Nick Ross drove confidently into the circle and earned the Vantage Black Sticks their first penalty corner of the match. Kane Russell drag flicked home the goal to tie the game at 3-3 and set up what would be an exciting second half.

After a tight opening to the second half the Netherlands earned the first penalty corner of the second half when a long ball into the circle caught Captain Blair Tarrant’s foot. The Vantage Black Sticks defended resolutely and kept the ball out and the score remained tied 3-3. After some more back and forth play where both sides had some more goal scoring chances the Netherlands earned another penalty corner. George Enersen came up with another great save however the Netherlands took the proceeding long corner quickly and caught the Black Sticks napping when Thierry Brinkman powered home a reverse shot to put the Netherlands up 4-3.

The Vantage Black Sticks started the fourth quarter strongly and were pushing hard looking for the equaliser. With 8 minutes to go both teams were reduced to 10 players for the remainder of the contest when Mac Wilcox and Jonas De Geus got caught up in some pushing on the field. Dylan Thomas drove strongly into the circle and earned a penalty. The resulting penalty corner was broken down when the Vantage Black Sticks couldn’t stop the ball cleanly outside the circle. With two minutes to go the Black Sticks pulled their goalkeeper in search of an equaliser.

Netherlands 4 (Thierry Brinkman 9’ 44’, Jonas De Geus 12’, Jip Janssen 14’)
Vantage Black Sticks 3 (Hugo Inglis 16’ 28’, Kane Russell 30’)

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Black Sticks Women go down fighting

The Vantage Black Sticks Women have gone down 1-0 in a tight contest that was ultimately sealed with a great goal to Maartje Krekelaar in the 38th minute of the game. Both sides had opportunities with the Netherlands having 6 clear shots to the Black Sticks 5 showing just how close this match was.

The second match of the day in Auckland saw the Vantage Black Sticks Women take on the Netherlands Women. The Netherlands have been the in form side in international womens hockey for a number of years so it was always going to be a big task that would be ahead of the Vantage Black Sticks Women.

The first quarter was played evenly with both teams constructing some excellent opportunities. Both times the goalkeepers were up to the task. The Netherlands had the first penalty corner of the match but struggled to get a clear shot off and the initial challenge was shut down. The rest of the second half was played out in a similar way with both sides showing some great attacking flair but often the needed final touch was something that was letting both teams down. At the half time break the sides were tied at 0-0 and the Vantage Black Sticks were sensing a chance to get their first win against the heavily favoured Dutch side.

The third quarter continued this arm wrestle with both sides passing the ball around the back and were looking for opportunities to break the opposition down. The Netherlands struck first deep into the third quarter when lightning striker Maartje Krekelaar shot home a well worked goal to put the Netherlands up 1-0. This seemed to trigger the Vantage Black Sticks Women to life and they pushed hard as the quarter wound down trying to find the equaliser. Despite creating a few opportunities the Black Sticks were unable to break through and we went to the final quarter with the Netherlands holding a 1-0 lead.

Early in the final quarter the Vantage Black Sticks Women earned themselves a penalty corner when a long ball into the circle was deflected onto the foot of the Netherlands defender. Brooke Neal stepped in and swept the ball which was initially saved but then found a Black Stick on the rebound and was swept into the goal. Unfortunately the goal was ruled out as New Zealand was deemed to have obstructed the play. The Vantage Black Sticks continued to try get the equaliser but ultimately were unable to break through the Netherlands defence and the result stayed 1-0

Netherlands 1 (Maartje Krekelaar 38’)
Vantage Black Sticks 0

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Black Sticks men and women pipped by Netherlands in Pro League openers

Andrew Voerman

Black Sticks forward Hugo Inglis scored two goals to get them back in the game against the Netherlands. FIONA GOODALL/GETTY IMAGES

The Black Sticks men and women have begun their Pro League campaigns with two narrow losses in two very different games against strong Netherlands outfits.

It was the men who were in action first in the double-header against the Dutch on Sunday at North Harbour Hockey Stadium, and they were quickly in trouble, trailing 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, with Thierry Brinkman, Jonas de Geus, and Jip Janssen all scoring.

They fought back in the second, with Hugo Inglis nabbing a brace and Kane Russell firing home at a penalty corner to tie the game 3-3 heading into the halftime break, but were caught napping at a free hit late in the third quarter, with Brinkman scoring the decisive goal in the 4-3 loss.

There was only one goal in the women's game, with Maartje Krekelaar's strike midway through the third quarter enough to give the Dutch a 1-0 win in front of a crowd of 2,500.

"I think from the first quarter, there will be a couple of goals that will be a bit tough to watch," Black Sticks men's coach Darren Smith said afterwards.

The Netherlands men celebrate Jip Janssen's goal. JOHN COWPLAND/PHOTOSPORT

"The Dutch were easy on the eye and held possession of the ball, and that was even though we started the game well and had a couple of good attacks.

"It was looking a bit ominous at 3-0 at the end of the first quarter and I really admire that we were able to get stuck into them and come back into the game."

The Black Sticks will be frustrated with how Brinkman's winning goal came to be, as they switched off at a crucial moment.

They thought they had won the ball in their own D, but instead it was a Netherlands free hit, and the Dutch took it quickly, finding Brinkman on the baseline who finished with a powerful reverse shot.

"We always talk about setting up quick and the Dutch are notorious for taking their free hits quick, so that one was a whoopsie and they made us pay," Smith said.

"We had two or  three really good opportunities towards the end of the game and perhaps could have taken one and sent it to a shootout, but in the end we have to take the loss."

The Black Sticks women thought they had found an equaliser in the fourth quarter of their game, when it looked like they'd scored at a penalty corner, but a video replay deemed there to have been obstruction.

Black Sticks midfielder Sam Charlton looks for someone to pass to. FIONA GOODALL/GETTY IMAGES

Despite the result, captain Stacey Michelsen said she was pleased with how the team had grown stronger in the second half of the game

"In the first half it was a bit of a fight, I don't think we played our best hockey. I think we played better in the second half, and I was just really impressed with the attitude the girls brought to the game.

"Obviously playing the Dutch we always know it's going to be a huge challenge, but the girls just went out there and tried their hardest."

Goals have been in good supply so far in the men's Pro League, with Great Britain coming from 4-1 down at the end of the first quarter to beat Spain 6-5 and Belgium winning a shootout after drawing 2-2 away to Spain and beating Argentina 4-2 at home.

In the only other women's game played so far, Argentina had a 2-0 win over Belgium.

Belgium are the Black Sticks men and women's next opponents in the home-and-away round-robin, on Friday night in Auckland.

Jip Janssen of the Netherlands scores a goal past George Enersen of New Zealand (diving). FIONA GOODALL/GETTY IMAGES

Pro League, round one

Netherlands men 4 (Brinkman 9' 44', de Geus 12', Janssen 14') Black Sticks men 3 (Inglis 16' 28', Russell 30').
Q1: 3-0; HT: 3-3; Q3: 4-3

Points (games played): Belgium 4 (2), Great Britain 3 (1), Netherlands 3 (1), Spain 2 (2), Black Sticks 0 (1), Argentina 0 (1), Germany 0 (0), Australia 0 (0).

Netherlands women 1 (Krekelaar 38') Black Sticks women 0.
Q1: 0-0; HT: 0-0; Q3: 1-0

Points (games played): Netherlands 3 (1), Argentina 3 (1), Black Sticks 1 (1), Belgium 1 (1), United States 0 (0), Great Britain 0 (0), Germany 0 (0), China 0 (0), Australia 0 (0).


India women's hockey team suffers narrow defeat in opening match against hosts Spain in Murcia

Udita in action against Spain. Twitter: @HockeyIndia

Murcia: Indian women's hockey team put up a spirited fight before losing 2-3 to Spain in their opening match against hosts Spain.

Udita (12th minute) and Gurjit Kaur (48th) scored for India, while Maria Tost (23rd), Lola Reira (39th) and Begona Garcia (40th) sounded the board for Spain on Saturday.

India used strong attacking strategy to begin the first quarter on a positive note.

The team made the first breakthrough when it managed to earn a penalty corner in the 8th minute but could not convert the shot.

However, in the following minutes the forwardline worked together to support experienced Vandana who created a splendid opportunity for compatriot Udita to score in the 12th minute.

A reverse pass by Vandana was picked up well by Udita who made no mistake in sending it past the Spanish goalkeeper Maria Ruiz to take a 1-0 lead.

In the second quarter, hosts Spain stepped up their game after the initial setback to score an equaliser in the 23rd minute through Maria Tost.

While the second half saw both teams defend well to contain each other from taking a lead, the third quarter completely belonged to Spain as they struck two goals in the 39th and 40th minute through Lola Reira and Begona Garcia respectively.

The fourth quarter remained tense for India as they fought back to make amends to their defensive lapses in the previous quarter.

A tactical approach to their attack saw them win a crucial PC which was brilliantly converted by dragflicker Gurjit Kaur in the 48th minute.

The following minutes were evenly fought by both teams but Spain ensured they upped their defence to deny India an equaliser.


Govt support must to save Pakistan hockey: Shahbaz

Mohsin Ali

ISLAMABAD - Former Olympian Shahbaz Ahmad Senior has said that the proper patronage and support of government is must to save Pakistan hockey.

Talking to The Nation, Shahbaz said: “Why should I hang on to Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary post, when I can’t help Pakistan hockey. I will not take back my resignation unless the Prime Minister and IPC Minister give me assurance of their full support to Pakistan hockey, which baldy needs funds and best facilities to regain it lost glory.”

He said Brig Khokhar is the best person to take Pakistan hockey forward. “If the government provides the PHF all the basic and essential faculties, Brig Khokhar is capable enough to steady Pakistan hockey ship and take it to new heights.”

Shahbaz also confirmed that IPC Secretary Akbar Durrani has asked him the reason of his resignation and he replied: “I informed him that the government’s attitude and lack of support resulted in my resignation. I have taken over the secretaryship to contribute towards Pakistan hockey, not to get just post. I have not taken back the resignation yet, but I have come to meet IPC secretary.

“I have a lot of respect for Brig Khokhar, who has put in tremendous efforts for Pakistan hockey. He has flatly refused to accept my resignation but it doesn’t make any sense of keeping hold to the post, when I can’t deliver. The previous IPC secretary has inflicted huge damages to national cause and particularly to hockey. We have requested Jameel Ahmed to arrange meeting with IPC Minister to get the funds issue resolved, but he remained unmoved. I hope the PM will take stern action against Jameel and all those, who are responsible for inviting FIH wrath,” he added.

“If govt doesn’t want us to carry on the good work, they should inform us, we will step aside. But they should give us respect, we have earned. I am always ready to help Pakistan hockey and will take back my resignation, if the government promises to address root-causes,” Shahbaz concluded.

The Nation

Police sing in the rain

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: A thundering shower over at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil resulted in the Police Blue Warriors taking full points at the expense of PKS-UniTen in the return leg of the Women's Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) earlier today (Saturday).

Police were leading 1-0 going into the break at half-time, courtesy of Fazilla Sylvester Silin's goal in the 27th minute, and then the heavens opened up in the 35th minute after the half-time break.

A heavy shower flooded the pitch, and after waiting for the regulated 30 minutes for the rain to stop, the technical desk blew the horn and abandoned the match.

The 1-0 score line stood and PKS UniTen lose three precious points.

"The rain handed us three crucial points in our first second round match, and even though we are grateful, it is a pity that UniTen did not get to play the full match and challenge my players," said Blue Warriors team manager Kevinder Singh, a former national player.

In the first round, UniTen had won 1-0.

Police will next play SSTMI (Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School) on Monday, and they should be able to prevail without much difficulty as they had hammered them 7-0 before this.

"Even though we won by a big margin, it does not mean that we can take them lightly. We will still give them due respect as being overconfident could end up killing our game," said Kevinder.

In another match, Liaoning Hockey Club of China hammered KL Wipers 7-1 with goals from Sun Yuyuan (19th, 24th), Sui Qiaomeng (23rd), Li Feng (26th), Wei Yuanmeng (31st), Sui Qiaomeng (43rd).

KL Wipers consolation goal was scored by Nur Aisyah Mashuri in the 54th minute.

RESULTS -- Women: KL Wipers 1 Liaoning HC 6, PSHA-MSSP 1 SSTMI 2, PKS UniTen 0 Blue Warriors 1.

TOMORROW (SUNDAY) -- Men: Terengganu HT v Tenaga Nasional (Batu Buruk, 5pm), TNB Thunderbolts v UniKL (National Stadium Pitch 1, 6pm), Maybank v UiTM (National Stadium Pitch 1, 8pm).


P W D L F A Pts

TERENGGANU 6 6 0 0 34 6 18
BLUE WARRIORS 7 5 0 2 24 6 15
LIAONING HC 7 5 0 2 22 9 15
PKS UNITEN 7 4 0 3 17 6 12
SSTMI 7 3 0 4 7 21 9
KL WIPERS 7 1 0 6 4 22 3
PSHA-MSSPP 7 0 0 7 1 39 0

New Straits Times

Terengganu unfazed by Tenaga as they seek revenge

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional have 10 national players in the fray, but that is not a huge concern for Terengganu.

The East Coast team, powered by six national players, are out for revenge against Tenaga when they face off in the Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) at the Batu Buruk Hockey Stadium in Kuala Terengganu today.

The last time the two teams met was in the final of the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup on Jan 6, where Terengganu lost 1-2.

Terengganu coach I. Vickneswaran said Tenaga have capable players to score from penalty corners as well from field goals.

“Tenaga are a deadly team once they are in the semi-circle. And they demonstrated this in the match against former champions Maybank which they won 7-1 (at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Friday),” said Vickneswaran, adding that Terengganu have never lost at home this season.

Tenaga have 12 points from four wins and a defeat while Terengganu have 10 points from three wins and a draw.

Terengganu will be relying on South Korean penalty corner specialist Jang Jong-hyun, who has netted seven goals so far, to deliver.

Terengganu will not have the services of defender Muhd Firdaus Omar who broke his ring finger while training two weeks ago.

Their Argentine forward Gonzalo Merino is still nursing a hamstring injury and he will undergo a fitness test to see if he is ready to play against Tenaga today.

Meanwhile, Tenaga coach Nor Saiful Zaini said they have to be careful of Terengganu’s penalty corner set pieces as they have two good drag flickers in Jong-hyun and Faizal Saari.

“We cannot concede any penalty corners and they are also fast at counter attacks,” said Nor Saiful.

“They have home ground advantage and they have yet to lose a match in their own backyard. The challenge will be on us to get the better of them at their den to stay on track for the league title.”

The Star of Malaysia

Alex Speers nets four as Pegasus reach semi-finals

Alex Speers was Pegasus' goalscoring hero against Pembroke Wanderers

Alex Speers made 164 appearances for Ireland before retiring from international duty in 2014

Pegasus are the only Ulster side left in the Irish Senior Cup after Saturday's quarter-finals.

Former Ireland player Alex Speers scored all the goals for last year's beaten finalists in their 4-2 win over Pembroke Wanderers in Dublin.

Ards crashed out after losing 3-1 to Railway Union at Park Avenue while the holders UCD also exited.

The Dublin students lost 3-2 in a penalty shootout to Loreto after the game had finished in a 1-1 draw.

Cork Harlequins were 2-1 winners over Muckross in Dublin to keep Munster interest alive in the semi-finals.

In the game at Serpentine Avenue, Pegasus went ahead in the 15th minute when Speers slotted home a rebound after Taite Doherty's initial shot had been saved.

Ireland World Cup silver medallist Emily Beatty went close to scoring for Pembroke when her shot struck the post.

The Leinster side equalised when Ashling Naughton scored from a corner in the 25th minute.

Speers made it 2-1 on the stroke of half-time after being set up by Lucy McKee and Caitlin Harvey.

Shirley McCay then provided the assist for the former Ireland captain to complete her hat-trick from a 50th minute set-piece.

Speers made it 4-1 five minutes later before Alice Ward pulled one back for Pembroke near the end.

In the game between Railway and Ards, Cecilia Joyce put the Dublin side ahead in the 20th minute.

Orla Fox doubled the lead in the 45th minute when she scored from the penalty spot.

Kate Lloyd made it 3-0 with a terrific shot into the roof of the net before Francesca Browne's late reply.

BBC Sport

WA & NSW Defend Open Australian Indoor Hockey Festival Titles

Ben Somerford

Western Australia and New South Wales have both successfully defended their titles in the women’s and men’s divisions respectively at the Open Australian Indoor Hockey Festival which concluded at Goulburn’s Veolia Arena on Saturday.

In the men’s, NSW knocked off ACT 4-3 in a thrilling decider where Simon Beaton and Kurt Ogilvie scored first-half goals to give the hosts a 2-0 half-time lead.

Garry Backhus pulled a goal back for ACT before NSW went 4-1 ahead with further goals from Heath Ogilvie and Brandan Horner.

ACT responded with two late goals from Troy Sutherland to set a grandstand finish but NSW hung on.

Victoria defeated Queensland 3-1 in the men’s bronze medal match.

WA defeated NSW 4-1 in the women’s gold medal match with Emma Reid’s early goal giving them a 1-0 half-time lead.

The Sandgropers added further goals from Tayla Britton, Madeline Desilva and Claudia Nielsen to seal the win, while NSW’s goal came from Emma McLeish.

In the women’s bronze medal match, SA came from behind to win 2-1 over Tasmania.

Numerous awards were also handed out on Saturday following the finals which were live streamed, with the winners listed below.

Play the Whistle: Queensland/NSW/ACT/NZ – Midlands/ Tasmania
Top goal scorer: Kim Tanner (NZ - Midlands) – 10 goals

Play the Whistle: Victoria
Top goal scorer: Simon Beaton (NSW) – 12 goals

The Festival ran from Friday 4 January to Saturday 26 January 2019, across Under-13, Under-15, Under-18, Under-21 and Open divisions, with the Masters divisions having already competed in December.

Hockey Australia partnered with Destination NSW and the Goulburn Mulwaree Council to make the Festival possible and we thank them for their support.

Head to https://hockeyaustralia.altiusrt.com/competitions/ for statistics and match information.

Hockey Australia media release

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