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News for 25 March 2019

All the news for Monday 25 March 2019

2019 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
Ipoh (MAS)

Results 24 March

IND v KOR (RR)     1 - 1
CAN v POL (RR)     4 - 0
JPN v MAS (RR)     3 - 4

Monday 25 March is a rest day

Fixtures 26 March (GMT +8)
16:05     JPN v CAN (RR)
18:05     POL v KOR (RR)
20:35     MAS v IND (RR)

Pool standings

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Malaysia 2 2 0 0 9 4 5 6
2 Korea 2 1 1 0 7 4 3 4
3 India 2 1 1 0 3 1 2 4
4 Canada 2 1 0 1 7 6 1 3
5 Japan 2 0 0 2 3 6 -3 0
6 Poland 2 0 0 2 1 9 -8 0

FIH Match Centre

Last minute goal gives Korea a point

Indian coach David John did not mince his words after India was held to a 1-1 draw by Korea at the Azlan Shah Cup match at Ipoh.

Despite dominating the match and having a 1-0 lead for a large part of the match. India conceded several penalty corners in the dying minutes.

And with the clock only showing only 23 seconds remaining, Jang Jong Hyun slammed home a penalty corner to share the points.

Indian coach David John said they drew the match due to indiscipline and playing the Indian way.

“We should have put away the game and scored a couple more as we had better chances in the first three quarters. But we did not take those chances that came our way.

“The last quarter saw the rain providing some assistance to the Koreans. The break allowed them to catch their breath and come away with a point. So, in a sense coming away with a point is still a whole lot better,” he added

It was a not a classic encounter as the early part had India in the driver’s seat and they were heading for a win when play was stopped in the 52nd minute.

India ranked fifth in the world are a five-time champion while the Koreans have won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup just twice.

Both teams had met 80 times before this encounter. India now claims 32wins to Korea’s 31. Eighteen of the matches now have ended in a draw.

Both teams needed to secure full points from the match so that they can enhance their position for a place in next Saturday’s final.

After a listless first quarter, the Indians managed to break the deadlock in the second quarter.

India scored their goal in the 28th minute through a field attempt by Mandeep Singh.

Both sides continued to work their way into the D to get a shot at goal but most of the attempts fell wide.

The Koreans were a subdued unit unlike their game against the Canadians which was fast and clinical.

India on their other hand used their experience to control the midfield play and were more structured defensively.

In the third quarter, rain fell and the game was stopped in the 52nd minute when the pitch became unplayable.

The game resumed after an hour delay and this saw the Koreans pushing hard for the equaliser.

The Koreans in full control had five penalty corners to get the goal. The fifth attempt with 23 seconds on the clock, bore fruit.

Unofficial Azlan Shah Cup site

Canada registers first win

Canada left it late but still had enough firepower to beat Poland 4-0 in their second match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to earn all points at the Azlan Shah Stadium.

Both teams had lost their opening match and needed to win and keep in touch of a podium finish. Canada lost 3-6 to South Korea while the Poland side was beaten 1-5 by Malaysia.

Canada coach Paul Bundy was happy that they were patient enough to get the goals in the last quarter.

“Against teams like Poland you need patience. The players did well to hold their own and then go in for the kill. There was a moment in the fourth quarter when the Polish side could have reduced the deficit. That could have turned the match around.

“But the decision went our way and we managed to win comfortably,” he said.

It was a quiet first half for both teams as they hardly had a decent shot at goal.

The 10th ranked Canadian team took the lead in the 36th minute Brendan Bisset scored from open play to give his team the lead.

Devohn Noronha Teixeira then put them in a more comfortable position with a second goal in the 47th minute from a field attempt.

The Poland side had two penalty corners to get a goal but was not able to execute them properly.

Gordon Johnston sealed the victory for the North American team with a penalty corner goal in the 55th minute.

For good measure, the Canadians scored a fourth goal when a quick counter-attack allowed Devohn to slam home from top D for his second goal of the game.

Poland coach Karol Zniezek felt they played a better game and was pleased with some of their play.

“It is always good when you re able to get some of the moves you had planned for. The players are learning, and we want to keep on improving. I am sure we will get better as we pay the better teams,” he added.

Poland remains at the bottom of the table with no points after two match

Unofficial Azlan Shah Cup site

Malaysia go tops

Malaysia tops the pool standings at the end of match day two of the 28th Edition Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

The hosts defeated Asian Games gold medalist Japan 4-3 in a thrilling match in front of a partisan crowd.

And two other Asian teams, Korea and India are second and third respectively, both with four points from two matches.

Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans said they had some good and bad moments in the game.

“We did well to get the goals early and we were also able to stop the Japanese from getting an upper hand in the math. They are a strong side and we had expected a tough game.

“There is no easy game in this tournament and Japan are showing to be an improving side. They also had some good chances that they made good use of. I am happy that our players kept to their structure even under pressure,” he said.

A quick counter-attack along the left flank saw midfielder Fitri Saari crossing the ball into the Japanese D. Faisal Saari running parallel collect the ball in the D and had the simple task of beating goalkeeper Yusuke Tanaka for the opening salvo.

Nik Aiman Nik Rozemi then added the second goal in the seventh minute and put the Malaysians on a firm footing.

But the second quarter saw the deficit reduced within two minutes. Kazuma Morata was the goal scorer from a field attempt.

But Faizal was on hand in the 25th minute to calm the Malaysian nerves as he scored another field goal to take his tournament tally to five goals.

The Japanese did not give up and in the third quarter showed why they are becoming a powerhouse in Asian hockey.

Kota Watanabe ran 30 meters from the middle and with five Malaysian defenders back pedaling, slammed the ball on the run past Hairi Abdul Rahman for their second goal.

The Malaysians finally got a big breakthrough when they earned their first penalty corner of the match in the 53rd minute. This time Mohamed Razie Rahim took the flick and duly scored.

The joy was short-lived. Japan struck back and in the 54th minute, Koji Yamasaki scored a field goa.

Unofficial Azlan Shah Cup site

Bollywood script in India draw

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: India and South Korean battled to a 1-1 draw in a match full of Bollywood style drama in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh Sunday.

India had the match in hand until the last eight minutes, but South Korea survived a barrage of green cards as well as a 40 minute break courtesy of torrential rain.

South Korea had the better of India until the 28th minute, but three of their players were green carded and they were left only eight to defend.

Yang Jihun (25th), Lee Namyong (25th) and Lee Seungil (28th) were green carded and sat looking from the sin-bin, as India took the opportunity to attack in numbers and Mandeep nailed the lead in the 28th minute.

And just when India felt they had the match wrapped up, pouring rain blanketed the Azlan Shah Stadium and the match was stopped with eight minutes to end.

South Korea came back looking fresher after the long break, and forced four penalty corners before Jung Jung Hyun scored with 20 seconds on the clock to share the spoils.

India coach David John blamed indiscipline among his players for the draw.

"Indiscipline is what caused us to lose three points as we gave away too many penalty corners in the last eight minutes after rain. But still, a point is still good enough," said John.

India defenders gave away four penalty corners after the rain break, and were punished by Jang, who played for Terengganu Hockey Team in the Malaysia Hockey League recently.

Skipper Manpreet Singh believes rain helped old legs in the Korean team to recover.

"The plan was to run them down as we have a younger team compared to them, and we did just that. But the 40 minute rain delay helped Korea to recover their 'old legs', and so, it (rain) was a great help for them," said Manpreet.

After a day's break Malaysia play India on Tuesday.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Canada break Poland resistance

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Canada had to bring out their best to beat Poland 4-0 in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh Sunday.

Even though the scoreline look like it was an easy match but it took the World No 10 35 minutes to score against No 21 ranked Poland.

Brendon Bissett scored the opener in the 35th minute, and it finally opened up the game and Canada went on to score three more off Devhon Teixera (47th, 59th) and Gordon Johnson (55th).

"We always have difficulties when we play European teams and it was evident today (yesterday) as we needed time to start scoring.

"But we came here with a mission to learn and grow, and that's what we did in this match.

"The rain before our match brought some relief, and so it was much better than our first match (lost 6-3 to South Korea)," said Canada coach Gregg Clark.

After a day's rest Canada meet Asian Games champions Japan.

"We always look at ourselves when preparing for a match, and so, it does not matter who we play, we stick to our game plan," said Clark about the Japan encounter.

Poland coach Karol Sniezek was not happy with the score, but praised his men for their attitude.

"Even though we were playing a team which is way above us, my players still managed to hold them for a long period, and I believe we are slowly improving in this tournament," said Sniezek.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Malaysia survive to fight another day..

By Jugjet Singh

Pic: Oltmans with Fitri Saari after beating Japan 4-3.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian hockey team finally showed up in full force at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh to beat Asian Games champions Japan 4-3 Sunday.

The match almost followed the same script as the Asian Games, where Japan came back from 5-1 to draw level at 6-6 and then win the shoot-out 3-1.

But the players were more prepared this time, and denied Japan another famous victory.

Faizal Saari was again the toast as he opened scoring in the third minute, and added another in the 25th.

Kazuma Murata narrowed to 2-1 in the 17th, but Nik Aiman Rozemi scored the third in the seventh minute.

The match was far from over as Japan kept pushing for the equaliser, but Razie Rahim gave Malaysia some breathing space when he scored off the only penalty corner in the 53rd minute.

However, even before the crowd at the stadium could celebrate the 4-2 lead, Koji Yamasaki scored in the 54th minute.

Faizal took his personal tally to five as he scored a hat-trick in the 5-1 win against Poland.

In the Asian Champions Trophy last year, Malaysia won 3-0 in the pool, and then drew 2-2 but won 3-2 in shoot-out for bronze.

Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans said: "The good thing about this match is that the players are no longer nervous when they concede a goal, and they play their normal game.

"We knew Japan wold come hard at us and we managed to soak the pressure and that was another good point," said Oltmans.

Malaysia only won one penalty corner in 60 minutes: "Yes, but we also scored three field goals and that was complimented by the 100 percent penalty corner record."

Man of the match Fitri Saari said: "Now that we have gotten over two matches with full points, we are looking forward to a good tournament by taking one match at a time."

RESULTS: India 1 South Korea 1, Poland 0 Canada 4, Malaysia 4 Japan 3.


                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
MALAYSIA        2  2  0  0  9  4  6
S KOREA         2  1  1  0  7  4  4
INDIA           2  1  1  0  3  1  4
CANADA          2  1  0  1  7  6  3
JAPAN           2  0  0  2  3  6  0
POLAND          2  0  0  2  1  9  0

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Stats Speak: 60 seconds miracle in India-Korea Hockey

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

Seasoned Korean striker Jang Jong Hyun scored the equalizer 22 seconds before the hooter. It happened on 6 occasions, Koreans won thrice, where as Indian won once, two matches were drawn. Details are given in table below.
It was 81st match between these two countries, India won 32, Korea won 31, drawn 18.In last 10 encounters Indian have upper hand, India won 4 and drawn 6.







Ipoh Azlan Shah  League Match

Jang Jong Hyun




Dhaka Asia Cup Medal Pool

Gurjant Singh




Ipoh Azlan Shah  League Match

SK Uthappa


India Won


Busan Asian Games Final

Yoo Woon Keon


Korea Won


KL Asia Cup  Final

Seong Song Tae


Korea Won


Utrecht World Cup Pool

Kang Keong Wook


Korea Won


India choke in fourth quarter to gift South Korea a point in rain-marred clash

Sundeep Misra

A match that was in India's pocket with three points for the taking inexplicably got handed over to the Koreans with 30 seconds to go. Image courtesy: Twitter @TheHockeyIndia

Ability, finesse and baggage go hand in hand with the Indian hockey team. Otherwise, how do you explain the domination of three quarters and then the sudden capitulation where the team gives away six penalty corners in four minutes! A match that was in India's pocket with three points for the taking inexplicably got handed over to the Koreans with 30 seconds to go. Jang Jong-hyun found the extreme corner, hockey-wise a gap not covered, with a powerful and clever flick to equalise and give the Koreans something to crow over. In the end, a fair decision as both teams split points. India and Korea now have four points from two matches. For India, the opening goal was scored in the 28th minute by Mandeep Singh.

With eight minutes and 25 seconds remaining in the match, the umpires suspended play as the pitch was water-logged by incessant rain. It was dark. The floodlights had been switched on. The break was good for Korea as they had lesser time than India to recover from the opening day fixtures where they beat Canada 6-3. India did their job well in the first two quarters where they made Korea run all over the place. It was a good tactic as Korea wouldn't have lasted the fourth quarter. But then the rains came in; a drizzle first and then the downpour. The 45-minute delay helped Korea.

Out they came and used the left flank. India helped as they usually do. Before the rain break, Sumit had been shown a yellow card. India played with ten. Korea pressed hard. It became a battle between Amit Rohidas and the Korean flickers. The third, fourth and fifth penalty corner was run down by Rohidas. The sixth hit Surender on the thigh. Korea asked for a stroke. The referral pointed for a seventh penalty corner. That was saved but dangerously. It led to the eighth. Thirty seconds remained. Jong-hyun realised there was no space in the middle. He went to the left of Sreejesh; extreme corner. Nobody was defending that angle. Korea had the equaliser. India's baggage; the last-minute choke, the cobwebs in the mind, all played their part.

Indian captain Manpreet Singh took the blame on himself. "I should have defended that angle. It was my mistake." He looked devastated. This was one of his better matches and it wouldn't have come to this had Nilakanta Sharma had converted a good chance at the restart of the match in the fourth quarter. Manpreet set up Nilakanta with a lovely through ball but the Indian midfielder couldn't get the ball past the Korean goalkeeper Kim Jae-hyeon.

India had a better day on the pitch than what they showed against Japan. They held the ball well, defended in numbers and used the midfield to create some good moves. Vivek and Manpreet were the vital cogs in the middle, rotating the ball well. In defence, Amit Rohidas and Surender Kumar had a good match. In fact, Surender saved a ball looping into the goal by flicking it away on the line. In the first quarter, Vivek, with a deft move, set up Simranjeet but the forward couldn't trap. India's first penalty corner in the first quarter wasn't stopped cleanly.

In the second quarter, India had a second penalty corner but Rohidas' flick was saved by the Korean goalkeeper. It was largely a midfield battle in the second quarter. Korea held for periods but couldn't penetrate much. Surender and Rohidas were clean in their tackles. In the last five minutes of the second quarter, Korea bizarrely picked up three green cards. Suddenly they were down to eight on the pitch. India sensed the opportunity and pressed hard. The move was set up by Amit Rohidas and then Manpreet sent the ball through to Nilakanta whose hard hit into the Korean striking circle was deflected in by Mandeep Singh. India led 1-0 in the 28th minute.

The lead could have been extended when Birendra Lakra, moving up deftly, went past three Korean defenders before serving the ball to Mandeep who couldn't trap. India's finishing in the circle was creating problems. Korea had their second penalty corner with fifty seconds remaining on the clock in the third quarter. This time Krishan Pathak took the flick on the pads.

The fourth quarter started at a frenetic pace. Manpreet's long pass from mid-pitch wasn't trapped by Gursahibjit. Korea's Cheon missed off a counter-attack. By then the clouds had come in with floodlights being switched on.

This was the 18th drawn match between both the sides in 81 matches. Matches between both these sides have been extremely close. In the last 8 matches, five have been drawn with India twice winning in shoot-outs. In the last two matches played at the Asian Champions Trophy and the Asian Games, however, India has won by margins of 4-1 and 5-3 respectively.

Indian High-Performance Director and coach at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, David John, was highly critical saying, "Ill-discipline cost us as it sometimes does in India." He also did say that the team fought hard in the penalty corners. "But it should have been a three-point game as we had enough opportunities in the first three quarters."

Manpreet agreed with John's assessment. "Yes, we had the chances and should have closed the match. And we gave them too many penalty corners." But the captain was happy that the performance was better than the one against Japan, though that was a 2-0 victory for India. "The players put in enough energy and we didn't give them too many chances. Yes, the rain helped them as they recovered better."

With a rest day on Monday, Manpreet said the team will utilise the time to understand the deficiencies and work towards a better structure in the match against hosts Malaysia.

In the last six matches against Malaysia, India have lost only one but that was a highly crucial semi-final encounter in the Asian Games which after a 2-2 draw went to a shoot-out and Malaysia won. After that, the two teams played a goalless draw in the Asian Champions Trophy. In the 2018 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, India had beaten Malaysia 5-1.

Manpreet denied any psychological barriers the team might have after their Asian Games semi-final loss to Malaysia. "That is over, and we have moved forward," he said. David chirped in saying, "We beat them 5-1 here last year." A repeat will do well.


India concede last-minute goal, draw against Korea

The match was stopped in the fourth quarter due to heavy rains with around eight minutes left in the match.

On target: Mandeep Singh’s goal was the only celebratory moment for India against Korea. Photo Credit: PTI

India’s perennial problem of conceding goals at the fag end of a match hurt them again as Korea equalised in the final minute for a 1-1 draw in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh on Sunday.

India took the lead in the 28th minute through Mandeep Singh and looked set to earn their second consecutive win of the six-team tournament, but a defensive error led to Jonghyun Jang scoring from a penalty corner just 22 seconds from the final hooter.

The match was stopped in the fourth quarter due to heavy rains with around eight minutes left in the match.

India had defeated Japan 2-0 in their opening match on Saturday.

India made an attacking start with midfielder Vivek Sagar Prasad creating space inside the striking circle within the first minute but the Korean defenders held strong to avert an early goal.

The Koreans immediately launched a counter attack, entering India’s circle, but defender Surender Kumar tackled well to clear the ball.

India got two more scoring opportunities but failed to convert them. A quick-thinking Mandeep Singh gave India their first penalty corner in the 10th minute with a good tackle in the baseline. The opportunity was, however, wasted due to poor execution as both sides could not score in the first quarter.

India won their second penalty corner in the initial minutes of the second quarter but the drag-flick was saved by the Korean goalkeeper. The following minutes saw Korea execute the full-press to limit India’s circle entries.

Though the tactic was good, they lost three players (Kim Hyeongjin, Jihun Yang and Lee Namyong) to green cards that reduced their strength to eight players. The situation was capitalised by India as they found easy gaps to make circle entry and the experienced Mandeep Singh struck the first goal for India in the 28th minute.

India kept a good structure, relied on strong defence with precise marking and constantly pushed the Korean defence to make forays into the striking circle.

Playing in rain after the third quarter began, a defensive error on India’s part saw Korea being awarded their first penalty corner of the match. But India’s rusher Amit Rohidas did well to ward off the danger and keep India’s lead intact.

With a little over eight minutes remaining for the final hooter, the game was stopped due to rain. When play resumed, Korea put up an attacking front to win back-to-back penalty corners, but did not get any success.

With 53 seconds remaining, Korea won another penalty corner, but Jonghyun Jang’s powerful drag-flick was brilliantly saved by India goalkeeper P R Sreejesh. A referral by Korea saw them being awarded another penalty corner and this time, Jang was on target to level the scores and snatch a draw for his side.

India will take on Malaysia on March 26, after a rest day on Monday.

The Hindu

Malaysia exacts sweet revenge by defeating Asian Games champs Japan 4-3 in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia exacted sweet revenge by beating Asian Games champions Japan 4-3 to register their second win in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at the Azlan Shah Hockey Stadium in Ipoh on Sunday (March 24).

Malaysia, who lost to Japan 3-1 in the penalty shootout after both teams played to a 6-6 draw in regulation time in the final of the Asian Games in Jakarta last year August, played well to make full use of their chances.

Forward Faizal Saari continued his fine run in the tournament.

The Kuala Terengganu lad, who scored a hattrick to outplay Poland 5-1 in the opening match on Saturday, scored a brace in the third and 25th minutes.

Malaysia’s other goals were netted by Nik Muhd Aiman Nik Rozemi (7th) and Muhd Razie Abdul Rahim (53rd) minute.

Japan, who lost the opening match to India 2-0 on Saturday (March 23), delivered the goals through Kazuma Murata (17th), Kota Watanabe (37th) and Koji Yamasaki (54th).

Malaysia has one day to rest before they take five-time champions India on Tuesday (March 26).

Jang Jong-hyun saved the blushes for South Korea by converting a penalty corner with 23 seconds remaining on the clock to hold India to a 1-1 draw.

Mandeep Singh gave India the lead in the 28th minute, but Jong-hyun, who played for Terengganu in the just concluded Malaysia Hockey League (MHL), equalised in the 60th minute.

With the draw, both teams have four points from two matches.

The Star of Malaysia

Faizal’s a hotter hotshot now – thanks to legend Taekema

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: A six-day training stint under former drag flicker Taeke Taekema of Holland in Kuantan is paying off handsomely for national forward Faizal Saari (pic).

The Kuala Terengganu-born player converted three penalty corners in Malaysia’s 5-1 win over Poland in the opening match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Faizal was on target in the 20th, 30th and 45th minutes.

Faizal’s younger brother Fitri also netted a goal in the 28th minute. Malaysia’s other goal was scored by Mohd Ashran Hamsani in the 36th minute.

Poland’s solitary goal came through Michal Kasprzyk in the 30th minute.

Faizal was grateful for the chance to train under legend Taekema.

“I would not have done it without the guidance of Taeke. My drag flicks are much more powerful and accurate after the training sessions with him,” said Faizal.

“My younger brother, who marshalled the midfield, also did well to score a goal.

“It’s a great start and hopefully, we’ll keep the momentum going,” said Faizal, who scored a total of two goals in the tournament in Ipoh last year.

The Star of Malaysia

Azlan Cup: Somaya recollects Ipoh success in 1985

s2h Team

Those were the times when tournaments were few and far between. Indian team of 1985 grabbed one such rare opportunity that came in its way in the mid 80s, to boost its own morale and give the nation its moments of joy. This is the story of Md. Shahid's team winning the second Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh. Midifielder MM Somaya recollects the circumstances in which the victory was achieved and what it meant to the team that was then passing through a rough patch.

If ever there was emergency oxygen to resuscitate Indian hockey, it came at Ipoh 1985 in the form of the country’s maiden Azlan Shah Cup title.

As the 28th edition of the Cup takes place in the very same Malaysian city, M.M. Somaya, the enterprising, efficient and ebullient right-half of that Indian team gazes through the haze of time to recollect a triumph almost 34 years ago.

“The Ipoh success resurrected the team,” the Mumbai-based former India captain fondly recalls. “Winning at the time was rare and this win came after a very long time.”

Somaya, 59, also recounted the troubled times endured by the Indian team.

“We were without three star players – Mervyn Fernandis (inside-right), Romeo James (goalkeeper) and Rajinder Singh Jr (half-back) who were suspended for a lengthy period following an incident in the 1985 Dhaka Asia Cup final against Pakistan (which India lost 2-3),” Somaya said. Pic: MM Somaya is sitting far left with Indian hockey legends)

“Our team at Dhaka was a very good unit but the suspensions hit us hard,” said the India captain at the 1988 Seoul Olympics remorsefully.

The Azlan Shah triumph came when Indian hockey had struck rock bottom. The team boarded the plane to Ipoh after finishing sixth and last in the Champions Trophy in Perth -- a dubious first for India at an FIH event.

Then, in Ipoh, they lost their opener against Spain 2-3. There didn’t seem light at the end of the tunnel.

India, however, pulled it out of the fire.

A victory over Australia (an experimental team notwithstanding) and a sparkling 1-0 win over Pakistan in the semifinals set India against hosts Malaysia in the final.

“We considered winning the final against Malaysia a formality and we scored a clear-cut 4-2 win,” Somaya, who hails from Coorg, Karnataka, recalled. “The Malaysians had talent but were referred to as a team who had stamina for just one half,” he said in lighter vein.

Somaya, who put hockey before football which he played with aplomb, was a member of the national selection committee from 1988-1998. He still exudes passion for sport and took time off a veterans exhibition hockey match he played in Coorg to go down memory lane.

“I remember my opposite number Stephen van Huizen, the coach of the Malaysian national team in recent times and Sarjit Singh, another key player,” the erudite Somaya, who worked for Bharat Petroleum in a senior managerial position before he retired last year, recollected.(PIC: Azlan Shah Cup winning Indian team of 1985)

“The victory was a shot-in-the-arm after the travails of the recent past,” Somaya, who won a gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, said.

More than the final, what is etched deeply in Somaya’s memory is the goal that felled Pakistan in the semifinals.

“I crossed to Hardeep Singh, one of two centre halves in the 4-4-2 formation and he relayed the ball to captain Mohammad Shahid who side-stepped the goalkeeper to score a neat goal,” said the Arjuna awardee, bubbling with excitement.

It’s that moment that stands out like a beacon for the elan former player who, with India teammates, endured a turbulent ride through the 1980s.

India is currently in Ipoh chasing its glorious moments. Will the team that won against Japan and conceded a point to emerging South Korea in the two matches played so far, bring a 1985 moment is asking too much. Isn't?


2019 Hong Kong Triangular Hockey Tournament
Hong Kong

22 Mar 2019     TPE v HKG     2 - 3       
23 Mar 2019     HKG v THA     2 - 1       
24 Mar 2019     TPE v THA     4 - 4 (1 - 2 SO)

FIH Match Centre

2019 Women's Hockey Invitational Tournament
Hong Kong

22 Mar 2019     TPE v THA     0 - 5
23 Mar 2019     THA v HKG     5 - 0
24 Mar 2019    HKG v TPE     4 - 0

FIH Match Centre

Polo win their 30th Copa del Rey with brilliant 3-1 final win over Atletic

Real Club de Polo won their 30th Copa del Rey as they beat Atlétic Terrassa 3-1 in the final played at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.

After an even first quarter, Carlos Garcia Cuenca’s side went into full flow as Guillermo Fortuño touched in from a reverse-stick cross from the left from Marc Reyné after Borja Llorens’ long ball got them in behind the last defender.

Reyné made it 2-0 from a penalty corner scramble. Joan Tarres got one back for Atlétic after a close-range tussle in the second half but the game was won in brilliant style.

Roc Oliva did a full 360 degree spin at the top of the circle into the path of Xavi Lleonart who flicked home with 16 minutes to go, making it 3-1.

Polo went on to sweep the personal awards,t oo, with Matías Alejandro Rey winning the best player of the tournament while Lleonart was the man of the match in the final. Mario Fernandez won the goalkeeper of the tournament.

Earlier in the competition, Polo beat CD Terrassa in the last eight 5-1 before beating Club Egara in a shoot-out on Saturday. Egara went on to take bronze with a 7-0 win over Jolaseta.

Euro Hockey League media release

Grange crowned the Scottish league champions for 2018/19

Grange were officially crowned Scotland’s men`s National League 1 champions after a 4-1 victory over Hillhead at Fettes on Saturday as they now cannot be caught by either Western Wildcats or Grove Menzieshill.

The foundation for Grange`s victory was a three-goal cushion scored late in the first half. The contest was goalless for the opening 25 minutes, but then Alan Johnston put the champions ahead at the far post after the penalty corner routine had broken down.

The second came five minutes later with a direct penalty corner strike from Frank Ryan. Minutes from the interval a move involving Ryan and Todd Mills created the danger, the result was a penalty, and Robbie Shepherdson converted from the spot.

In the second half Hillhead pulled one back, great work down the left by Graeme Campbell created the opening and Andrew Black provided the final touch. But any comeback was stifled by a Todd Mills fourth from a rebound to seal the three points and the title.

Grange coach David Knipe said: “It has been a tough season with good teams and competitive matches. Of course, I`m happy but particularly for the players who have performed consistently throughout the season to achieve this success.”

They followed up with a 3-0 win on Sunday against Clydesdale as they moved 11 points clear of the rest in the table.

Edinburgh University moved up to fifth spot after a 5-0 home win against EHL-bound Grove Menzieshill. Ian Moodie was the hero with four while Kevin Wong got the other.

Euro Hockey League media release

ROUND-UP: English Men's Hockey League

The battle for the fourth and final play-off spot will go down to the last matches of the regular season after a thrilling set of results in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division on Sunday.

Wimbledon gave themselves a lifeline by beating hosts Beeston 3-0, and with other top flight matches throwing up some unexpected results there are now five teams gunning for the last play-off place.

Jack Waller put Wimbledon a goal to the good in the first half before Chad Conlon and Ed Horler added to the score to leave his side with hope of post-season hockey.

Reading could also still scrape into the play-offs after a 5-2 win at the University of Exeter.

Craig Falconer and Peter Scott put Reading 2-1 up at the half, while James Thomas scored for the University of Exeter. Reading extended their lead after the break with Jack Clee and Fred Newbold both finding the net before Sam Hooper replied with a consolation for the hosts.

Surbiton assured themselves of playing in the Eurohockey League next season with an 8-1 win over bottom of the table Sevenoaks.

Arjan Drayton Chana and Alan Forsyth put them 2-0 up at the half, but Forsyth fired past the Sevenoaks keeper twice more after the break whilst Will Marshall bagged himself a brace and Tom Sorsby and Sam Spencer added the rest for Surbiton.

Andrew Ross scored a consolation goal for Sevenoaks.

A win for East Grinstead would have seen them secure the last play-off spot but they lost to Hampstead & Westminster.

Richard Smith put Hampstead up after three minutes, and it stayed that way until Liam Ansell replied for East Grinstead. However, Rupert Shipperley’s last minute strike saw Hampstead & Westminster take the game 2-1.

Holcombe failed to capitalise on that news, drawing 1-1 with Brooklands MU.

Harry Trusler scored for Holcombe before being pegged back in the second half by a Peter Flanagan penalty corner. Both sides remain in contention for the playoffs.

Men’s Conference East

Canterbury survived a fightback from Brighton & Hove in the Men’s Conference East, winning 5-4 after a thriller.

Two goals from Teague Marcano and others from Craig Boyne and Will Mead had helped the Kent side to a 4-1 half time lead.

Matt Burton-Bowen added another shortly after play resumed, but Brighton hit back with three second half goals to make a fight of it. However, Canterbury held their nerve and remain second in the table.

While the top four are assured of Division One hockey following next season’s restructure, others are still fighting for survival.

The City of Peterborough boosted their hopes with a 4-3 win over Old Loughtonians, while in other results Richmond lost 5-1 to high-flying Oxted, Teddington beat Cambridge City 6-1 and champions Old Georgians were 5-2 winners at Southgate.

Men’s Conference North

Bowdon wrapped up the Men’s Conference North title, crowning themselves champions after prevailing in a clash of the top two against the University of Durham.

The Cheshire side went 3-1 ahead thanks to goals from Archie Phillips, Will Tobin and Ben White before Benedict Park’s strike threatened to bring the University of Durham back into the game.

It wasn’t to be for the North East side who could have pushed for the top spot in the final week had they won.

Bottom side Alderley Edge restored some pride to their season by beating Leeds 6-3 along with second-bottom Belper whitewashing Doncaster 6-0.

Elsewhere the University of Nottingham held on for a 4-3 win at Loughborough Students whilst Sheffield Hallam were held to a 2-2 draw by Preston.

Men’s Conference West

Havant secured the Men’s Conference West title by beating Chichester 3-1 with goals coming from Ethan Hoddle, Atiq Arshad and Christopher Smith.

Jack Biggs scored four goals in Oxford Hawks 8-4 win over the University of Birmingham, but with Havant winning their hopes of the title were scuppered.

Team Bath Buccaneers racked up the best scoreline of the day by beating bottom side Isca 9-1 with Stuart Rushmere finding the back of the net three times.

Elsewhere Fareham were 2-1 winners at the University of Bristol, while Cardiff & Met drew 2-2 with Olton & West Warwicks.


Men’s Premier Division: Beeston 0, Wimbledon 3; Hampstead & Westminster 2, East Grinstead 1; Holcombe 1, Brooklands Manchester University 1; Surbiton 8, Sevenoaks 1; University of Exeter 2, Reading 5.

Men’s Conference East: Canterbury 5, Brighton & Hove; City of Peterborough 4, Old Loughtonians 3; Richmond 1, Oxted 5; Southgate 2, Old Georgians 5; Teddington 6, Cambridge City 1.

Men’s Conference North: Alderley Edge 6, Leeds 3; Belper 6, Doncaster 0; Bowdon 3, University of Durham 2; Loughborough Students 3, University of Nottingham 4; Sheffield Hallam 2, Preston 2.

Men’s Conference West: Cardiff & Met 2, Olton & West Warwicks 2; Havant 3, Chichester 1; Oxford Hawks 8, University of Birmingham 4; Team Bath Buccaneers 9, Isca 1; University of Bristol 1, Fareham 2.

England Hockey Board Media release

Irish Mens EY Hockey League Weekend Round Up

The latest twist in the men’s EY Hockey League title chase saw Lisnagarvey move three points clear at the top with Banbridge in pursuit and Glenanne and Three Rock Rovers waiting in the wings.

For Garvey, they saw off Cork C of I for the second week running, James Lorimer scoring a pair of first half drag-flicks to get their 4-1 win on the road.

Simon Wolfe got one back for the bottom side but Daniel Nelson and Troy Chambers soon put the result out of reach. It leaves C of I six points adrift while Garvey moved three points ahead of Glenanne and Banbridge.

Bann won their battle with the Glens 2-1 with Eugene Magee netting twice in the third quarter to make the difference. Stephen Brownlow got one back for the Glens in a rousing finale but the Co Down side held on.

At the bottom, Cookstown got the big win as Mark Crooks struck late on for a 4-3 win over Pembroke in Dublin, lifting them to 10 points. They had led twice before at 1-0 and 3-1 but were in danger of letting the chance of victory slip until Crooks’ late intervention got them the win.

Their third win of the campaign meant they moved level with YMCA who picked up a point but were denied all three by Monkstown’s late comeback.

It was a far cry from last weekend’s comfortable 7-1 win over the Y as Town could not build on Karl Lynch’s early goal. They fell 3-1 down at half-time with Fionn Marriott, Ben Campbell and Sam Hyland on the score sheet.

Monkstown, however, got two goals in the closing minutes – either side of a missed penalty stroke – through Lynch and Guy Sarratt to draw 3-3.

Three Rock Rovers made it five wins in a row when they beat Annadale to strengthen their hold on fourth spot.

Men’s EY Hockey League: Annadale 2 (R Burgess, P Corrie) Three Rock Rovers 4 (J Hosking, B Walker, L Madeley, H Morris); Banbridge 2 (E Magee 2) Glenanne 1 (S Brownlow); Cork C of I 1 (S Wolfe) Lisnagarvey 4 (J Lorimer 2, D Nelson, T Chambers); Pembroke Wanderers 3 (C Murphy, S Sweetnam, C Thomas) Cookstown 4 (R Millar 2, C Anderson, M Crooks); YMCA 3 (F Marriott, B Campbell, S Hyland) Monkstown 3 (K Lynch 2, G Sarratt)

Extended reports

Banbridge 2 (E Magee 2) Glenanne 1 (S Brownlow)

Banbridge picked up a vital win over Glenanne to remain very much in the title hunt as they saw off Glenanne at Havelock Park, ending their recent run of one point from the last nine.

For the Glens, they are now on a similar run as they lost further ground in the title chase. After a scoreless first half, Eugene Magee scored twice in third quarter to give Bann a lead their control of the tie up to that point merited.

Glenanne fought back in the closing quarter and dominated much of the proceedings, getting a goal back via a penalty stroke from Stephen Brownlow and they had a corner in the final minute but it was blocked to keep the points in Havelock Park.

Pembroke Wanderers 3 (C Murphy, S Sweetnam, C Thomas) Cookstown 4 (R Millar 2, C Anderson, M Crooks)

Cookstown had a brilliant win on the road on Saturday, boosting their chance of avoiding the relegation playoffs and putting a big dent in Pembroke’s chances.

Cookstown took the lead after five minutes when Mark Crooks combined with Scott McCabe down the right with the latter crossing for Callum Anderson to finish with a powerful half-volley. The second quarter saw Pembroke come out of the blocks and Cian Murphy scored from a baseline cut back for 1-1.

The Co Tyrone side returned to the lead off the back of a battling defensive combination of Matty Rollins, Godfrey Irwin and Josh McCabe. In the breakdown, Cookstown broke upfield with Anderson and Crooks combining to win a short. Ryan Millar's flick was stopped illegally on the line and he put the consequent penalty stroke away.

He added his second for 3-1 from a penalty corner. Pembroke lifted their play and won a penalty stoke of their own after the ball hit a foot in the circle. Stephen Sweetnam scored.

The Reds were able to force a number of opportunities on the counter over the last few minutes of the third quarter but it was Pembroke who levelled it up, Cody Thomas firing in a reverse after a pinpoint Harry Spain pass.

In a helter-skelter final quarter, Paul Thompson went close with a volley for Cookstown while Pembroke's Greg Chambers missed an open goal and it was left to Mark Crooks to get the winner from another penalty corner, netting after an excellent save from the Pembroke goalkeeper Simon Thornton.

YMCA 3 (F Marriott, B Campbell, S Hyland) Monkstown 3 (K Lynch 2, G Sarratt)

Monkstown fought back from 3-1 down at half-time to earn a point, denying YMCA what would have been a crucial win in their bid to avoid a relegation playoff.

Karl Lynch got Town in front when he made a strong run down the left to get into the D and squeeze in for 1-0. YM equalised when Ben Campbell forced his way upfield and got a shot away which Fionn Marriott deflected in.

Campbell put his side in front with another powerful run and he worked the ball onto his reverse and smashed home. Sam Hyland roofed a penalty stroke to make it 3-1 at half-time.

It remained that way through the third quarter with Monkstown stepping up their tempo. Karl Lynch halved the deficit when he worked the ball along the baseline and flicked it in and they had the chance to equalise from the penalty spot but Gareth Watkins saw Jakim Bernsden make a brilliant low save.

Guy Sarratt did level it up with seven minutes to go from a penalty corner, however, to see the honours even.

Cork C of I 1 (S Wolfe) Lisnagarvey 4 (J Lorimer 2, D Nelson, T Chambers)

Lisnagarvey beat Cork C of I for the second time in a week to move three points clear at the top of the table, leaving the Munster side six points adrift at the bottom with four games to go this season.

The game saw a welcome return for Phil Smith to the C of I backline but they fell behind from the game’s first corner when James Lorimer dragged home. Phil Brownlow was denied a one-on-one chance by the first quarter whistle and the hosts were pegged back again when Lorimer added his second corner goal in similar fashion to his first.

It remained that way into half-time but C of I were right back in the game when Simon Wolfe made a great run through the centre and his shot from the top went straight in the bottom right. Within two minutes, though, Daniel Nelson put Garvey 3-1 up from a quick counter attack and they made it 4-1 via Troy Chambers from a corner move just before the end of the third quarter and that was how it remained through to the final whistle.

Annadale 2 (R Burgess, P Corrie) Three Rock Rovers 4 (J Hosking, B Walker, L Madeley, H Morris)

Three Rock Rovers left it late to eventually shake off Annadale, making it five wins in a row in the league to build their case for an EY Champions Trophy place.

They fell behind to a Ryan Burgess penalty corner in the 21st minute but went on to score the next four to take the game. Jody Hosking levelled just before half-time and they hit the front for the first time in the 49th minute via Ben Walker.

Luke Madeley’s drag-flick with nine minutes to go gave Rovers some breathing room and Harry Morris got his third in a week with two minutes to go. Peter Corrie got one back for Dale in the dying moments.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Irish Womens EY Hockey League Weekend Round Up

Pegasus moved within a point of the women’s EY Hockey League regular season title as their incredible run of form in March saw them win their seventh successive victory on Saturday.

They beat the in-form Cork Harlequins 3-0 at Malone with early goals from Lucy McKee and Ruth Maguire putting them in great shape before Alex Speers completed the victory.

The result was their sixth win this month already, backing up a 5-0 midweek victory over Belfast Harlequins as they went from second place in the table three weeks ago to now lead with six points with two games to go.

Loreto kept up their slim chances of fighting back with a 3-1 win over Old Alex built around goals in the first seven minutes from Sarah Torrans and Nicci Daly. Emma Russell got one back but Sarah Clarke replied to make the points safe.

The other big battle is for fourth spot with Pembroke putting their hands up once again with a great 2-1 win over UCD at Serpentine Avenue. Hayley O’Donnell got the only goal of the first half and while UCD got one back via Abbie Russell, Gillian Pinder won it from the penalty spot with 20 minutes left.

Cork Harlequins strengthened their place in fourth, however, on Sunday when they beat Ards 4-1. Again, early goals were key with Cliodhna Sargent and Alex O’Grady netting in the first 10 minutes before Yvonne O’Byrne and Nicky Barry stretched the lead out to four with half an hour to go.

Ards had fallen 3-2 to Belfast Harlequins to remain in a slightly precarious ninth place, particularly when it comes to their game with Muckross next weekend.

The Donnybrook club put up a big fight against Railway Union but ultimately fell to a 2-1 defeat with Hannah de Burgh Whyte’s corner switch the key goal.

In EYHL2, Queen’s assured themselves of top spot with a 6-0 win over Greenfields in Pool A while Monkstown fought back to beat Lurgan 3-2 to keep up their fight with Catholic Institute to top Pool B.

Women’s EY Hockey League

Saturday: Ards 2 (B McEwen, F Kidd) Belfast Harlequins 3 (L Geddes, J Watt, G Frazer); Loreto 3 (S Torrans, N Daly, S Clarke) Old Alexandra 1 (E Russell); Pegasus 3 (L McKee, R Maguire, A Speers) Cork Harlequins 0; Pembroke Wanderers 2 (H O’Donnell, G Pinder) UCD 1 (A Russell); Railway Union 2 (K Lloyd, H de Burgh Whyte) Muckross 1 (S Cannon)

Sunday: Ards 1 (F Brown) Cork Harlequins 4 (C Sargent, A O’Grady, Y O’Byrne, N Barry)

EYHL extended reports


Ards 2 (B McEwen, F Kidd) Belfast Harlequins 3 (L Geddes, J Watt, G Frazer);

Belfast Harlequins recorded their fifth win of the league season but results elsewhere meant their mathematical chances of reaching the EY Champions Trophy playoffs ended for this term.

After a lively start, Ards took the lead just before half-time from a penalty stroke from Brenna McEwen as Quins were unable to make their corner tally count against their Ulster rivals.

That all changed early in the second half with Lucy Geddes tying it up in the 39th minute and Jenna Watt got a nice deflection goal five minutes later.

Gemma Frazer eventually converted from the last of Quins’ corners with two minutes to go to make the points safe. Faye Kidd got one back on the final hooter for Ards.

Loreto 3 (S Torrans, N Daly, S Clarke) Old Alexandra 1 (E Russell)

Loreto got off to a dream start to win their 11th game of the campaign, keeping up their mathematical hopes of reeling in Pegasus. Sarah Torrans scored from play inside the first minute at Grange Road  and she then laid on the perfect cross for Nicci Daly to score a beautiful deflection to make it 2-0 in the seventh minute.

The Beaufort side had chances for more goals with a number of penalty corners before half-time with lots of good play around the back from Caitlin Sherin and Hannah Matthews combined with good long passes into the D for the forward lines to work with.

Alex, though, defended well with Emma Duncan to the fore and they got one back early in the second half from a corner shot, Emma Russell lifting a rebound over Liz Murphy from the initial effort.

Sarah Clarke, though, provided a trademark strike from a penalty corner to win it in the closing quarter.

Pegasus 3 (L McKee, R Maguire, A Speers) Cork Harlequins 0

Pegasus made it seven wins in succession – and sixth in March – to continue their incredible burst from the pack to move to the brink of the EY Hockey League regular season title.

They backed up their 5-0 midweek win over Belfast Harlequins with a similarly confident 3-0 success against Cork Harlequins who had been in great form prior to the tie.

Lucy McKee got Pegs in front from a swift counter-attack just three minutes into the tie and Ruth Maguire backed that up just before half-time from a penalty corner switched back to the injector.

They maintained that lead through an end-to-end third quarter before Alex Speers copper-fastened the success with 12 minutes to go from another set piece, following up a corner rebound.

Pembroke Wanderers 2 (H O’Donnell, G Pinder) UCD 1 (A Russell)

A week after a shock loss to Ards, Pembroke bounced back to beat third-ranked UCD to give their chances of reaching the EY Champions Trophy playoffs a huge boost.

After an early injury to Suzie Kelly, Hayley O’Donnell put Pembroke on the right track with a powerful sweep shot. They spent much of the first quarter on the back foot, defending well while Louise Pert dealt with Hannah McLoughlin’s drag-flick.

An even second quarter saw Orla Patton run down the best of Pembroke’s chances as space and time proved hard to come by for either side.

Abbie Russell did put the back level in the 42nd minute from a free quickly-take on the 23, working it into the striker who finished on her reverse. But Aisling Naughton won a stroke soon after which Gillian Pinder scored to restore the host’s advantage with 20 minutes to go.

UCD hit the post twice in the endgame as the pace ratcheted up considerably in the closing quarter but no further scores meant Pembroke had a big win under their belts.

Railway Union 2 (K Lloyd, H de Burgh Whyte) Muckross 1 (S Cannon)

Railway Union ended a run of four EYHL defeats to rise back into seventh place in the table, reviving their faint EY Champions Trophy playoff chances.

Kate Lloyd showed some early menace and she lifted over Sorcha Cunningham from Zara Delany’s baseline run to make it 1-0 in the first quarter. Muckross equalised via corner injector Susie Cannon from a slick move but Railway restored their lead by half-time from a switch to Hannah de Burgh Whyte.

Cunningham made a double save to keep her side in the mix at half-time and she kept out a number of penalty corner chances in the third and fourth quarters. Muckross replied in kind, winning corners of their own but could not find a way through and Railway maintained the points. For Muckross, they now look to their crucial battle with Ards next weekend.


Ards 1 (F Brown) Cork Harlequins 4 (C Sargent, A O’Grady, Y O’Byrne, N Barry)

Cork Harlequins got back to winning ways on Sunday after their tough 3-0 loss to Pegasus but winning 4-1 at Londonderry Park against Ards.  Cliodhna Sargent smashed home from the top of the D for a great start before Alex O’Grady double the advantage in the 10th minute as Quins started at great pace.

Yvonne O’Byrne fired home another from the top of the circle after a spell of intense pressure, making it 3-0 at half-time. And any sting the game might have had was neutralised when Michelle Barry’s great run was turned in by Nicky Barry with half an hour.

Ards got one back via Frankie Brown before the end of the third quarter as the game became scrappier but it made little difference to the final outcome. It puts four points between them and EY Champions Trophy chasers Pembroke in fifth place, albeit with a couple of extra games played.

EYHL Division 2 round-up

Queen’s assured themselves of top spot with a 6-0 win over Greenfields as Emily McStea’s hat trick lifted them to 27 points and out of range of Trinity.

Corinthian swept to a comfortable 6-0 win over Greenfields with Sophie Maleady scoring twice in the first half to get them on their way. It was their third win of the group stages and lifts them into third place with one game to go on April 6.

In Pool B, Monkstown moved into top spot in the group as they came back from 1-0 down to beat Lurgan 3-2, overtaking Catholic Institute who were not in action in the competition this weekend.

Town scored the next three with Claire O’Reilly equalising in the 53rd minute before Sadhbh Hoban-Logan scored two goals in quick succession in the 57th and 63rd minute to turn things around. Sarah McClure kept them honest with a late goal but Town held on for a sixth win from seven.

Nex Saturday, Town face Insta in Limerick with the winner topping the group. Dungannon beat NUIG 1-0 to lift the Ulster side to 10 points.

Pool A: Greenfields 0 Queens University 6 (E McStea 3, J McMaster, C Whiteside, K Ferguson); Corinthian 6 (S Maleady 2, L Pomeroy 2, C Proud-Murphy, N Torrans) Greenfields 0

Pool B: Dungannon 1 (L Cassells) NUIG 0; Monkstown 3 (S Hoban-Logan 2, C O’Reilly) Lurgan 2 (C Johnson, S McCLure)

Irish Hockey Association media release

Pegasus closing in on Hockey League triumph

Belfast club defeat Cork Harlequins to move within one win of securing the title

Mary Hannigan

Lucy McKee: was on target in Pegasus’s victory over Cork Harlequins at Queens. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

With just two games to go Pegasus have one hand on the Hockey League trophy after maintaining their six-point advantage over Loreto at the top of the table on Saturday.

The Belfast side beat Cork Harlequins 3-0 at Queens to edge ever closer to the title. And Greg Thompson’s side will expect to seal that title in their next game when they play bottom club Muckross at home on Saturday week.

Their defeat by Pegasus a fortnight ago, followed by draws with Belfast Harlequins and UCD, all but scuppered Loreto’s hopes of pipping their rivals to the crown, but they did at least return to winning ways on Saturday with a 3-1 victory over Old Alexandra.

First-quarter goals from internationals Sarah Torrans and Nicci Daly sent them on their way, Sarah Clarke’s late penalty corner strike securing the win after Emma Russell had narrowed Loreto’s advantage.

Pegasus, meanwhile, eased to victory over Cork Harlequins, Lucy McKee and Ruth Maguire putting them 2-0 up by half-time before Alex Speers fired home from a penalty corner on the hour mark. A Lorna Bateman save from a penalty stroke prevented the margin of victory from being even more comfortable.

Further ground

Defending Hockey League champions UCD lost further ground on the top two when they were beaten by Pembroke Wanderers, Gillian Pinder’s penalty stroke deciding the game after UCD’s Abbie Russell had cancelled out the early lead Hayley O’Donnell gave the home side.

That win keeps Pembroke in the hunt for a top-four finish, with only Pegasus and Loreto so far mathematically certain of qualification for the Champions Trophy.

The next two spots are now between UCD (on 30 points with three games to play), Cork Harlequins (27 points with two games left) and Pembroke (23 points with four games to go), Cork having picked up a win from their second game of the weekend when they beat Ards 4-1 up north on Sunday.

Champions Trophy qualification is out of reach for Belfast Harlequins, Railway Union and Old Alexandra, while Ards and Muckross continue to battle it out to avoid automatic relegation – Ards, still four points ahead of Muckross (having played one game more), remain the favourites to go in to a play-off.

Hockey League - Saturday: Pembroke Wanderers 2 (H O’Donnell, G Pinder pen), UCD 1 (A Russell); Loreto 3 (S Torrans, N Daly, S Clarke), Old Alexandra 1 ( E Russell); Pegasus 3 (L McKee, R Maguire, A Speers), Cork Harlequins 0; Ards 2 (B McEwen, F Kidd), Belfast Harlequins 3 (L Geddes, J Watt, G Frazer); Railway Union 2 (K Lloyd, H de Burgh White), Muckross 1 (S Cannon). Sunday: Ards 1 (F Brown), Cork Harlequins 4 (C Sargent, A O’Grady, Y O’Byrne, N Barry).

The Irish Times

A new era: Lima 2019 officially delivers to the Peruvian Hockey Federation the new pitch for the Pan American Games

Federación Peruana De Hockey

Carlos Neuhaus, Executive Director of Lima 2019, and Gianni Delucchi, President Federación Deportiva Peruana de Hockey   

Villa María del Triunfo, March 23rd. In the most important milestone in the history of Peruvian hockey, the Organizing Committee of Lima 2019 delivered this morning to the Peruvian Hockey Federation the two official courts of this sport, where the matches of the Pan American Games will take place.

Gianni Delucchi, head of the Peruvian Federation of this sport, and Carlos Neuhaus, Executive Director of Lima 2019, were in charge of signing the proceedings that put an end to a delay that lasted generations for the national hockey, but today already enjoys impeccable water courts.

"I don’t know whether to say dream come true or task accomplished, but we are looking forward for much more, we are going to recover the progressions that we have always had at the South American level and shorten the gaps we have with the countries of the Pan American zone," Delucchi said at a moment of the ceremony that was attended by the two national teams, led by Claudia Ardiles and Felix Mafferetti, and the head coach, Patricio Martínez.

After taking the official photos of the event, the players entered to the court and had a first contact with it, where they practiced shots to the goal and carried out different activities with the 'stick' and the ball.

The two water courts are part of the Andrés Avelino Cáceres sports complex, where two rugby courts are also being built, a series of paleta fronton, pelota vasca and softball courts and a waterpolo pool. In addition, the archery will be played and, during the ParaPan American Games, the specialties of soccer 5 and soccer 7.

This will be one of the venues where the XVIII Pan American Games Lima 2019 will take place, from July 26th to August 11th.

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

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