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News for 21 March 2019

All the news for Thursday 21 March 2019

21 Mar 2019     CHN v ARG (RR) 0 - 1     -     Upcoming     Wujin Hockey Stadium, Changzhou    
22 Mar 2019 16:00 (GMT +8)     CHN v NZL (RR)     -     Upcoming     Wujin Hockey Stadium, Changzhou

Live streaming and full game replay on https://fih.live (Geo blocked if there is TV coverage)

Unofficial Pool standings

Rank Team Played Wins Win Draws Loss Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points Percent
1 Argentina 8 4 2 0 1 12 6 6 16 72.2
2 Australia 8 4 1 0 3 14 12 2 14 58.3
3 Netherlands 5 4 0 0 1 10 3 7 12 80.0
4 New Zealand 8 4 0 0 4 14 11 3 12 50.0
5 Belgium 3 2 0 0 1 3 3 0 6 66.7
6 Germany 4 1 0 2 1 8 7 1 5 41.7
7 China 6 1 0 1 4 8 12 -4 4 22.2
8 Great Britain 3 0 1 0 2 3 10 -7 2 22.2
9 United States 4 0 0 1 3 4 12 -8 1 8.3

The FIH inexplicably and confusingly use a system not used in any other sports League in the World, of making the Percentage more important than Points until the end of the League when they will revert to Points only. Fieldhockey.com prefers to use the conventional Points and so the Unofficial Pool Standings on this site are reflected in this manner.

FIH Match Centre


New Zealand embark on their Pro League travels

New Zealand women’s hockey squad (FIH World Ranking: 6) have had a mixed FIH Pro League season so far. Really great results against Australia (won 3-1) China (won 2-0) and Great Britain (won 5-1) have been interspersed with disappointing results against the Netherlands (lost 1-0), Argentina (lost 3-0) and Belgium (lost 1-0). The Black Sticks currently sit in fifth position in the league standings, just behind Oceania rivals Australia. Both teams have played more Pro League matches (8) than any other team.

New Zealand's FIH Pro League campaign, like many other teams, coincided with fielding several new or inexperienced players. That combined with Sean Dancer stepping into Mark Hager's shoes as the Head Coach, after Hager departed to lead Great Britain, meant that the players had a lot of quick adjusting to do. By the time they met higher-ranked Great Britain (WR:2) and Oceania rivals Australia (WR:3), the adjustments seem to be working well.

Now, with seven home matches and an away game against Australia behind them, New Zealand are embarking on their travels. The first stop is China (WR:10), where they will hope to repeat the win from earlier in the league.

Frances Davies has more than 60 international caps to her name and made her senior debut in 2016. She was part of the squad that took gold at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games but has also experienced disappointment as part of the team that crashed out of the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup in London last year.

Davies says the FIH Pro League has proven: “a mixed bag in terms of results for us, however we have enjoyed the new competition and we are excited to start playing our away games.”

For New Zealand, the chance to play eight matches in front of a home crowd has been both a rarity and a pleasure. Major international fixtures haven’t traditionally taken place in New Zealand, with the exception of the 2017 Hockey World League Finals, so to play in front of enthusiastic fans has been a real bonus. “It’s great to have such high level of hockey being played in front of a home crowd,” says the defender. “And the exposure that hockey has been given in New Zealand is great.”

But now New Zealand embark on their travels, first undertaking the 14 hour journey to China then tracking across to Argentina.

Although travelling for competitions is something the New Zealand team are used to, Davies says the squad will still need to ensure they prepare well so they adjust easily to the climate, the time difference and the different food they will encounter in China. “We always work hard to adjust as quickly as we can so we are ready to train and play at peak performance,” says Davies.

Although China are lower-ranked than New Zealand, Davies and her teammates know that they are not in for an easy ride. “China have been performing very well over the Pro League and we know it will be a tough match in front of their home crowd.”


Official FIH Pro League Site

Arif eyes breakthrough after getting his biggest break in hockey

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: It has been an eventful five months for youngster Muhd Arif Syafie Ishak.

Last October, the Pekan-born defender helped Malaysia win their first-ever gold medal in hockey at the Youth Olympics Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In January, the 19-year-old featured in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) and helped Tenaga Nasional lift the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup.

And two weeks ago, Arif, who scored six goals in the MHL, received his first national call-up.

Arif is among the 18 players named for the six-nation Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, which begins on Saturday.

He said the last five months have been the best moments of his hockey career.

“First, we (Malaysia) won the Youth Olympics gold and then I got the chance to play for Tenaga.

“And now I’ll be playing for the national team. This is the biggest break of my career,” said Arif.

“I would like to thank national coach Roelant (Oltmans) for having faith in me and I promise not to let him down.

“I also gained valuable pointers in penalty corner drag flicks from Dutch legend Taeke Taekema during the six-day training stint in Kuantan last week.

“I will be more than happy if I get the chance to take penalty corners in the tournament. But it is going to be tough as Malaysia have three good drag flickers,” added Arif.

The drag flickers are Muhd Razie Abdul Rahim, Faizal Saari and Muhd Shahril Saabah.

Malaysia, who have yet to lift the Cup since its inception in 1983, will open their campaign against Poland on Saturday.

Their other matches are against Japan on Sunday followed by India on March 26, South Korea (March 27) and Canada (March 29).

The final will be held on March 30.

The Star of Malaysia

Title-chasing Havant suffer keeper woe after Poland international selection

Havant keeper Maciej Pacanowski. Picture: Neil Marshall

Havant will have to cope without their first team keeper Maciej Pacanowski for the crunch match finish to the English league season.

The team have two matches left and know a win against Chichester at home on Sunday will seal them the National League men’s conference west title.

But losing one of their key players is a big blow for them.

Poland have accepted a late replacement invitation to the Azlan Shah Tournament in Malaysia and Pacanowski has been selected as one of the two keepers.

Although Havant has never discouraged an individual from pursuing their international ambitions, this is far from ideal for the club with the keeper now missing the two games remaining to close out the league season.

This will however present an opportunity to Havant’s second team keeper Tim Hoare to help secure the title.

Havant are hoping that Sunday will see a large crowd of home supporters to cheer on the team.

There are two other teams that can still catch Havant who also play on Sunday.

Olton & West Warwick have a very difficult trip to South Wales to play Cardiff with a 12.30pm push back and Oxford Hawks are at home and play University of Birmingham. If both Olton & West Warwick and Oxford Hawks lose the title is Havant’s, regardless of the result against Chichester.

On Saturday Havant Ladies play their penultimate league game of the season against Trojans seconds at Havant College pushing back at 1.30pm.

Havant’s final two league games are against teams currently positioned in eighth and ninth in the league table, so this will present opportunities to put some points on the board to maintain the position above Woking, who sit at the bottom of the table.

Our goal difference was not helped last weekend when we went down 4-0 against Marlow. Trojans our opponents next Saturday also lost 4-0 last weekend against league leaders Guildford. We have all to play for as the league draws to a close.

The News, Portsmouth

Tokyo unveils 'cherry blossom' Olympic torch

An attendant shows the top of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch during an unveiling ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, 20 March 2019, one year before the arrival of the Olympic Flame in Japan. The Olympic Torch Relay will start on 26 March 2020 and will travese a large portion of Japan for 121 days until 24 July 2020. EPA

TOKYO: Organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Wednesday unveiled a cherry-blossom shaped torch for the Games as the city prepares for the famed flower season to begin in coming days.

The top part of the torch is shaped in the traditional emblem of the sakura, or cherry blossom using the same cutting-edge technology as in production of Japan’s bullet trains, the organisers said.

The shiny rose-gold torch, which is 71 centimetres (28 inches) long and weighs 1.2 kilograms (2 pounds 10 ounces), uses aluminium construction waste from temporary housing built for victims of the 2011 quake and tsunami

Tadahiro Nomura, three-time Olympic judo champion, shows the top of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch during an unveiling ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, 20 March 2019, one year before the arrival of the Olympic Flame in Japan. The Olympic Torch Relay will start on 26 March 2020 and will travese a large portion of Japan for 121 days until 24 July 2020. EPA

“Cherry blossoms drawn by kids in the disaster-hit area (in Fukushima)... inspired me,” designer Tokujin Yoshioka, whose works are known internationally, told reporters.

Fukushima was chosen as the starting point for the Olympic torch relay.

The passing of the flame is scheduled to start on March 26, 2020, and the torch will head south to the sub-tropical island of Okinawa – the starting point for the 1964 Tokyo Games relay – before returning north and arriving in the Japanese capital on July 10.

The designer added the torch is designed to ensure the flame will not go out even during the typhoon season.

Tadahiro Nomura (R), three-time Olympic judo champion, and Tokujin Yoshioka (L), chief Tokyo 2020 Torch designer, unveil the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch during an unveiling ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, 20 March 2019, one year before the arrival of the Olympic Flame in Japan. The Olympic Torch Relay will start on 26 March 2020 and will travese a large portion of Japan for 121 days until 24 July 2020. EPA

The March 2011 tsunami, triggered by a massive undersea quake, killed around 18,000 people and swamped the Fukushima nuclear plant, sending its reactors into meltdown and leading to the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

More than 50,000 people have not returned to their home towns.

Japan has dubbed the 2020 Games the “Reconstruction Olympics” and wants to showcase recovery in regions devastated by the disaster.

New Straits Times

Last night’s rearranged Scottish fixtures could have substantial effect on Nat 1 titles

The results of last night`s rearranged games could well have a substantial effect on the ultimate destiny of the men`s and women`s National League 1 titles.

Second placed Western Wildcats were held to a high scoring 4-4 draw by relegation play-off candidates Kelburne at Glasgow Green. The result leaves the Western Wildcats five points adrift of Grange who now have a game in hand, and there are only two scheduled matches to come. In fact, Western Wildcats` tenure of second place is now under scrutiny, they lead Grove Menzieshill by two points and the Taysiders also have a game in hand.

The Auchenhowie-based side seemed to get going along nicely with a two goal interval lead, Rob Harwood and Fraser Calder were the providers.

A penalty corner conversion by Chris Nelson followed up by second half hat-trick by Jack McKenzie almost knocked the stuffing out of Western Wildcats. But replies from Hamish Galt with a deflection at a set piece and Fraser Moran ensured a share of the points in the end.

The women`s catch-up fixture on Tayside saw visitors Clydesdale Western take the points with a 4-1 victory over Grove Menzieshill.

Western moved up into second spot, on goal difference above Western Wildcats, and within two points of leaders Edinburgh University with two games left for all sides.

The first half finished even; Fran Lonergan opened for the Titwood side with Katie Robertson replying for the home side.

But Western were the stronger outfit in the second half and marched ahead through strikes by Millie Steiger, Lexi Sabatelli and finally Heather Howie.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

DSG beats Union High at Graaff-Reinet

The DSG team which won the PE North tournament in the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge in Graaff-Reinet on Friday is (back, from left) Diana Dixie, Nina Owen-Jones, Indipile Ndamase, Juliet Rogan, Olivia Davidson, Lauren Viljoen, Enya Kemp, Nikki du Toit, SPAR EC sponsorships and events manager Alan Stapleton, (middle, from left) Nicky Voges, Kelly Hobson, Annie Jones, Jane Dixie, Duki Sonouga Sabine Renaud, (front, from left) Torva Sharwood and Chiara Williams-Wynn.

Graaff-Reinet - DSG demonstrated the benefits of being quick out of the blocks when they emerged as the winners of the Port Elizabeth North tournament in the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge in Graaff-Reinet, South Africa on Friday last week.

The Grahamstown school scored an early goal in their key pool match against Kingswood to win 3-1 and repeated that effort in the final against Union High, winning 3-0.

Winners of the 2016 version of this event, DSGbecame the first team to qualify for this year’s provincial finals, which will be played in Port Elizabeth on July 27 and 28.

Coach Chris Hibbert said they had thoroughly enjoyed the day, which had been well hosted by Union High and the local SPAR retailer.

“There was a very good turnout and it was a great learning experience for several of the schools,” he said.

“I think our girls outdid themselves on the day and it was all set up by the match against Kingswood, where we started strongly.”

As the leading schools in pool B, that encounter was tipped as the possible decider for the section winners and Hibbert said DSG’s early goal made all the difference.

“Kingswood are a really good side, but I think they will admit themselves they weren’t quite at their best in our clash.

“We managed to win 3-1 in a 20-minute smash and grab job, jumping on them from the start and snuffing out their big threats.

“Scoring early in these games puts the pressure on the opposition, who then go chasing the game.

“We were able to score once more and Kingswood pulled off their goalkeeper to go on an all-out attack. They got one back, but then we added a third from a penalty corner.”

DSG beat Union High in the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge

Facing Union High in the final, a repeat of the 2016 decider in Grahamstown, Hibbert said they knew it would be very different from a recent match in an East London tournament when DSG beat the Graaff-Reinet outfit 4-1.

“Union had scored quite a few goals during the day and we were aware we would be up against it and needed to start strongly.

“Again, we managed to get the upper hand with an early goal and the final went according to plan as they had to chase the game from then on. That allowed us to score twice more.”

Union finished top of pool A on goal difference after drawing their match against the fast-improving Volkskool side 0-0.

SPAR EC sponsorships and events manager Alan Stapleton said it was wonderful for them to be involved in a day which was “so superbly hosted by Union in their 100th year”.

“There were some amazing displays of camaraderie and sportsmanship among the teams,” he said.

“It was also great to be able to welcome the team from Fain as part of the SPAR Hockey Challenge.

“Celebrating local suppliers, the beauty of women and real values of sport are very much part of where SPAR is in terms of our community support.”

The next tournament in the Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge will be the East London Coastal tournament to take place at Clarendon on May 12.

Fullstop Communications media release for SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge

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