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News for 30 March 2019

All the news for Saturday 30 March 2019

2019 FIH Pro League (Women)

Result 29 March

USA v BEL (RR)     1 - 1 (5 - 4 SO) Spooky Nook Sports, Lancaster

Fixtures 31 March

15:30 (GMT -3)    ARG v CHN (RR) Estadio Mundialista, Rosario
18:00 (GMT -4)    USA v GBR (RR) Spooky Nook Sports, Lancaster

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 7 4 2 0 1 12 6 6 16 76.2
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 9 4 0 0 5 17 16 1 12 44.4
5 Belgium 4 2 0 1 1 4 4 0 7 58.3
6 China 7 2 0 1 4 13 15 -2 7 33.3
7 Germany 4 1 0 2 1 8 7 1 5 41.7
8 United States 5 0 1 1 3 5 13 -8 3 20.0
9 Great Britain 3 0 1 0 2 3 10 -7 2 22.2

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

USA snatch bonus point with shoot-out win over Belgium at Spooky Nook

USA women battled to a 1-1 draw against high-flying Belgium before claiming the bonus point by winning the shoot-out on a dramatic night of FIH Pro League action at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

A fourth quarter penalty corner conversion from USA’s Danielle Grega cancelled Alix Gerniers fifth minute opener and forced the shoot-out, with goalkeeper Kelsey Bing producing a Player of the Match performance to help the Americans claim the bonus point and record their best FIH Pro League result to date.

The result sees Belgium drop from third to fourth position in the FIH Pro League standings, while USA remain bottom of the table but have moved closer to eighth-placed Great Britain, a team who they will face at Spooky Nook on Sunday (31 March).

Belgium (FIH World Ranking: 13) came into the match against host nation USA (WR:12) looking for a third successive victory ‘on the road’, hoping to add to the back-to-back successes they achieved in Oceania against New Zealand and Australia early in February. A high quality display in the opening period at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex only served to increase the likelihood of a similar outcome, with Alix Gerniers giving the Red Panthers a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute when she touched home a clever backhand pass from Ambre Ballenghien.

USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing was certainly the busier of the two shot-stoppers in the first period, but that all changed in a second quarter largely dominated by the home favourites. Erin Matson, Kathleen Sharkey, Amanda Magadan and Lauren Moyer all went close to scoring, but could find no way past the ever-impressive Aisling D’Hooghe in the Belgian goal.

Belgium preserved their narrow advantage throughout the third quarter and had the better of the scoring opportunities in that period, although Lien Hillewaert’s goal-line clearance from a USA attacking penalty corner was vital to maintaining the status quo.

The only goal of an action-packed final quarter went the way of the Americans, who snatched an equaliser in the 50th minute with a penalty corner won by the quick hands of Mackenzie Allessie, with Danielle Grega scoring her third goal of the FIH Pro League by tapping in a pass from Caitlin van Sickle. Belgium came closest to a winner in the latter stages of the game with Barbara Nelen, Jill Boon and Pauline LeClef going close before the final hooter sounded, meaning that the teams would face a shoot-out to decide who would claim that all-important bonus point.

The shoot-out competition was one of the nerviest yet seen in the FIH Pro League, with advantage swinging back and fourth through nine tense rounds before the result was finally settled. Amber Ballenghien’s miss in sudden-death allowed Linnea Gonzales to score the winning goal, giving USA a 5-4 win in the shoot-out thanks largely to a brilliant goalkeeping performance from Player of the Match Kelsey Bing.

“Once we got on the scoreboard we were able to play with a little bit more intensity”, said USA captain Kathleen Sharkey after the match. “It was disappointing that we could not start with that intensity, but I think that is a key lesson we can take from this game. We need to come out with that intensity from minute one.”

Belgium captain Jill Boon said: “I think we played a really strong first quarter, then a little bit off in the second, but I think we were really threatening their goal in the third and fourth quarter and we really should have scored one of two goals extra. But in the end we got the draw and in the shoot-out it is always a 50-50 situation.”

The FIH Pro League continues Sunday 31 March with three matches all being played in the Americas. Argentina will host the national teams of China (women) and Spain (men) in a thrilling double-header at the Estadio Mundialista in Rosario, while USA’s women welcome Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallists Great Britain to Spooky Nook.

FIH Pro League

29 March - Lancaster, USA

Result: Women’s Match 26
USA 1, Belgium 1 (5-4 After Shoot-out)
Player of the Match: Kelsey Bing (USA)

Umpires: Ayanna McClean (TTO), Irene Presenqui (ARG) & Michelle Joubert (RSA - Video)


Official FIH Pro League Site

USWNT Defeats Red Panthers in Thrilling FIH Pro League Shootout Victory at Home

LANCASTER, Pa. - Field hockey returned to the Home of Hockey, Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa., as the No. 12 U.S. Women’s National Team hosted No. 13 Belgium in their fifth FIH Pro League game. Just a few months removed from their previous meetings on the same turf, USA was hungry for a victory and points in front of the large home crowd. Down late in the contest, USA tied the game in the 50th minute before moving to a shootout at the end of regulation. In the fourth round of sudden victory shootout, Linnea Gonzales (Bel Air, Md.) fired a backhand shot into the goal to secure the red, white and blue's 5-4 victory and extra point.

"I think once we were able to get on the scoreboard we were able to play with a little more intensity," said Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.), USWNT captain. "It was disappointing that we were able to start with that intensity, but I think that is a key lesson that we can take from this game. We need to come out with that fire and intensity from minute one."

Belgium quickly settled with the ball in the opening moments of the first quarter but could not break through the USA defensive line. In the 5th minute, Alix Gerniers put the Red Panthers on the board off a deflection in front of goalkeeper Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas) for the 1-0 score. Belgium took over after the reset getting another try in the 6th minute, but Bing made a save off her glove and stick. Following the surge, USA was able to settle down offensively and in the 10th minute Lauren Moyer (York, Pa.) moved the ball into the circle before goalkeeper Aisling D’Hooghe cleared it high giving USA a penalty corner. With their first major chance of the match, USA misplayed the ball on the insert which Belgium quickly countered on. This lead to instant attack and a shot that Bing stretched for a save as the ball went wide of the goal. In the 13th minute, Bing was tested again as Belgium threaded the ball into the circle, making a stick save to force it away from goal. With time running short Danielle Grega (Kingston, Pa.) picked possession at midfield and passed it to captain Sharkey, who then fed it along to Gonzales but was intercepted by Belgium’s defense before the quarter came to a close.

The visiting team maintained control to open the second frame, entering the circle twice before USA settled and pressed forward. In the 20th minute, Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.) hit a hard shot on goal but was saved before Sharkey followed up with a shot that hit a Belgium defender’s foot. On the ensuing penalty corner Sharkey's straight shot was stopped by D’Hoogehe. Ali Froede (Burke, Va.) quickly picked up the rebound that was deflected wide. USA kept the pressure on in the 23rd minute as Sharkey sent a backhand shot toward goal but Belgium was there to counter on the deflection. Still pressing, USA entered the circle once more thanks to an intercept by Moyer who passed it to Grega for a shot on goal. Keeping the tempo going, Moyer followed up with a circle entry on the far side, from a pass by Gonzales, but her cross in front of the goal went untouched and rolled over the end. As halftime approached, Casey Umstead (Green Lane, Pa.) was given a yellow card, putting USA at a disadvantage that would be carried over into the second half.

In the third frame, the Red Panthers earned their first penalty corner of the game in the 33rd minute but goalkeeper Bing stood tall in net making a glove save on the attempt. USA quickly ran up field but had the ball intercepted at the 25 yard line. Belgium then put a pair of shots on goal but were stopped by Bing before a green card was issued to Grega in the 39th minute. Moments later Gerniers was issued a green card as the teams exchanged ball control around midfield. With the quarter winding down, USA charged down the far sideline. Caitlin Van Sickle (Wilmington, Del.) entered the circle and earned USA another penalty corner opportunity but could not convert. Another chance by the home team inside the circle was denied by an anticipating Red Panther defense before the quarter ended.

The final quarter started with Belgium getting a circle entry first on an attempt that was touched away by Van Sickle. Moments later USA set up for their fourth penalty corner of the game. On the insert, Van Sickle crossed it to a waiting Grega who deflected the ball into the net to tie the game in the 50th minute. Riding the momentum of the home crowd, USA followed up with another circle entry but was quickly shutdown by the Red Panther's defense. On Belgium's ensuing possession, Matson intercepted the ball at midfield and found Grega near the circle, but her shot went high above the net. On their next attempt, Belgium’s Anne-Sophie Weyns sent a hard shot just out of reach of Bing but still rolled wide of the goal. In the 58th minute, Belgium earned a penalty corner but USA asked for a video referral claiming it hit a Red Panther's foot. The call was reversed, giving possession USA but Belgium quickly intercepted the ball, entered the circle and earned a penalty corner. The drag attempt was stopped by Bing and Froede was there to clear the ball to Matson upfield. She found Gonzales who send a backhand toward goal that was saved. In the final minute, Belgium asked for a video referral of their own, which resulted in a free hit as time expired.

Heading to a shootout, per the FIH Pro League structure, each team earns one point for the tie but the winner of the shootout earns an additional point. Scoreless after the first round, Alyssa Manley (Lititz, Pa.) was next and although her initial shot was blocked by D'Hooghe, she recovered and found a wide open goal. Belgium’s Pauline Leclef tied the game seconds later before Moyer walked up for USA’s third try. The attempt was blocked but Moyer was awarded a penalty stroke on the play, which was then taken by Ashley Hoffman (Mohnton, Pa.) who scored to put USA up 2-1 after three rounds. Up next for the Red Panthers was Ambre Ballenghien who was denied by Bing. Paolino then scored on USA’s fourth attempt to make it 3-1, but Belgium’s Limauge quickly answered to make it 3-2. Matson was USA’s final shooter, who could not convert on an attempt that would have sealed the win for USA. Emma Puverez then tied the shootout as Belgium’s final shooter, beating Bing early and scoring before she could recover in front of the goal.

Heading into the sudden victory round of the shootout, Leclef hit a high backhand shot into the goal, putting the pressure on Manley to convert. She was able to beat D’Hooghe and score tying the score 4-4 after the first round. Next Limauge went up again for Belgium, who hit the outside of the goal. Moyer lined up for her second attempt for USA who could not get around a swift D’Hooghe as time expired. Back to Belgium, Versavel was able to hit the backboard but time had expired before the ball crossed the goal line. Matson had another potential winning attempt, but her shot went wide. In the fourth round of the sudden victory shootout, Ballenghien hit the outside of the goal as Gonzales' backend shot went in, giving USA a 5-4 win and a bonus point in front of an ecstatic home crowd.

Following the game, Bing was awarded Player of the Match for recording 17 saves and denying or forcing Belgium wide five times during the shootout.

"It was an honor to be named player of the match," commented Bing. "I'm very glad that we were able to pull out the win in shootouts. All of my saves came from help of our defensive unit. Their hard work allows me to make the easy save and do my role well."

The USWNT returns to the pitch on Sunday, March 31 against No. 2 Great Britain.

USFHA media release

FIH Pro League Preview: USA v Great Britain

Owsley v USA HWC2018

After a five week break, our women’s team are back in FIH Pro League on Sunday 31 March when they face the USA at Spooky Nook in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Both sides may be striving for their first wins of the tournament (at the time of writing the US are yet to play Belgium on Friday 29 March) in a game which you can watch at 11pm GMT live on BT Sport – here is how they have got on so far.

Familiar faces return alongside exciting new edition for GB

Mark Hager and his team will be boosted by the return of Rio 2016 Olympic champion Laura Unsworth and fellow defender Amy Costello after both missed their opening three games through injury, while goalkeeper Sabbie Heesh is in line to make her first appearance in the FIH Pro League.

They are joined in the squad by 18-year-old University of Nottingham midfielder Alex Malzer - another member of the GB Elite Development Programme (EDP) to graduate to the senior squads - who could become the first player born in the 2000s to represent England or Great Britain if she plays.

It has been a tough start to the competition for Great Britain, having only secured two points from three games, but they have improved with each match played and on another day could have beaten China in their last game.

As it was they showed great character to secure the bonus point by winning the shootout and will be hoping to take that momentum into this game.

Several players in this squad – including Giselle Ansley and Grace Balsdon – made their GB debuts against the USA in a 2-2 draw in San Diego in 2014, while the last game between the two teams came at Rio 2016 with final quarter goals from Sophie Bray and Alex Danson securing a 2-1 win.

Furthermore Lily Owsley could win her 50th Great Britain cap if she features, although Hollie Pearne-Webb is unavailable for this game but will be part of the squad for the Argentina match the following week.

Transitioning US hoping for home advantage

As with their upcoming opponents, it’s certainly not been the start to the FIH Pro League that the Americans would have wanted.

They almost secured an impressive scalp in their opening fixture though, leading Argentina 2-0 away from home in the final quarter only for the world number three team to score twice late on before securing the bonus point in the shootout.

Defeats against The Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand followed, although they did run the Hockeyroos very close in Sydney but lost 2-1, with Jodie Kenny and Mariah Williams striking in the final quarter.

This is very much a side in transition, with several key players having recently stepped away from the international scene and boasting one of the youngest squads in the tournament.

But under the leadership of Kathleen Sharkey they continue to improve, with Danielle Grega having impressed so far this tournament with two goals while 17-year-old Mackenzie Allessie has featured in every game so far.

They are highly likely to be without the exciting Erin Matson – who scored a stunning goal against England at last summer’s World Cup – and Margaux Paolino for this game however as they both continue to recover from injury.

Great Britain Hockey media release

Costello excited for FIH Pro League debut

Amy Costello (R)

Having missed Great Britain’s opening FIH Pro League tour through injury, Amy Costello is looking forward to her first involvement in the new competition when GB take on the USA (31 March) and Argentina (6 April) in their next set of matches.

The GB and Scotland international featured in all six matches at the 2018 Wanglibao Champions Trophy in November before sustaining the injury, but revealed she’s fit and firing for the upcoming tour.

She said: “I’m feeling really good. It’s been great to get back on the pitch, as soon as the girls came back I was in training ready and raring to go.

"I’m really looking forward to getting out on the stage to play and make my debut in the competition. I think the USA and Argentina matches will have big crowds and big pressure to get our first win, but I’m really looking forward to getting back out there with the girls.

“BT Sport have been great putting the games on TV and it's been great to watch then, even if there have been some anti-social times! The atmosphere that has been created by all the different countries getting people down to watch the games has been great and it’s been good to watch them.

“I was up and ready with the alarm set in the morning to watch the GB games, because it’s a league people will often come in and out of the team, so I think it’s something that you’ve got to get used to. At the moment there will be injuries or people not selected, it’s just part and parcel with the new structure of the home and away league.”

Amy Costello

Despite being yet to win a match from their opening games, the USA did earn an impressive draw against Argentina and pushed Australia close earlier in the competition, and Costello is prepared for a tough battle:

“I think you’ve got to respect every team, but the USA game will be one that we’re looking to target and get a result from. They are physical, but we can equally match that, they’re a good side so we’ll do our scouting and see where our opportunities lie to try to capitalise on it. If we put in good performances hopefully we can get results from both games.

“We’re really hoping to get some good results, with Mark Hager coming in as head coach we’re looking to make gains and move forward. I think we can put in two good performances and get two good results, we’ve got the potential so it’s just about delivering now.”

Watch GB take on the USA live on BT Sport from 11pm GMT and be there for the return fixture when hockey comes to London on April 27 for GB’s first home FIH Pro League match - tickets are on sale here.

Great Britain Hockey media release

2019 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup - Day 5
Ipoh (MAS)

Results 29 March

IND v POL (RR)     10 - 0
KOR v JPN (RR)     4 - 2
MAS v CAN (RR)     3 - 2

Finals (GMT +8)

JPN v POL (5/6th Placing)     6 - 1
18:05     MAS v CAN (3/4th Placing)
20:35     IND v KOR (Final)

Final Pool standings

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 India 5 4 1 0 24 6 18 13
2 Korea 5 4 1 0 16 9 7 13
3 Malaysia 5 3 0 2 15 12 3 9
4 Canada 5 2 0 3 14 17 -3 6
5 Japan 5 1 0 4 9 12 -3 3
6 Poland 5 0 0 5 3 25 -22 0

FIH Match Centre

Youthful India thrash Poland 10-0 ahead of final against experienced South Korea

Sundeep Misra

Brimming with confidence and showing immaculate control, India demolished Poland 10-0. Image courtesy: Twitter @TheHockeyIndia

Brimming with confidence and showing immaculate control, India demolished Poland 10-0 to finish the league stage of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup undefeated with 13 points. Twenty-four goals have been scored on the road to the final with only six conceded. Mandeep Singh and Varun Kumar, who led the rout against Poland, sit on the top of the goalscorers list with seven and five goals each. It's a fine balance achieved between a full-back, penalty corner flicker and an all-out striker.

The scorers for India were Vivek Sagar (1st), Sumit Kumar (7th), Varun Kumar (18th), Surender Kumar (19th), Varun Kumar (25th), Simranjeet Singh (29th), Nilakanta Sharma (36th), Mandeep Singh (50th), Mandeep Singh (51st) and Amit Rohidas (55th).

Having played the first match on Friday, India now have approximately 24 hours to get ready for the all-important final. Probably in preparation for that, India didn't bring on their captain Manpreet Singh. The armband went to a thoroughly deserving Surender Kumar, the vice-captain of the team. He, in turn, celebrated with a goal; a fine direct hit off a penalty corner that invoked some nostalgia of a by-gone era when players like Pargat Singh Dilip Tirkey hammered in those direct shots.

The last time an Indian player scored off a direct hit against Poland was probably also Dilip Tirkey at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, a moment that even now open up wounds in that team of 2000. India needed a win against Poland to enter the 2000 Sydney Games semi-final and led 1-0 till almost the last minute. But then a defensive error and Poland equalised. The team that India play tomorrow in the final, South Korea, came in through the back door to enter the semis. History says they beat Pakistan and went through to their first and only Olympic final.

None of that drama happened at the Azlan Shah Stadium. Poland coach Karol Sniezek knew he had his work cut out. He later explained the limitations of his team to stop an opponent that hardly committed a mistake. "We can't handle India's speed and control," he said when explaining the defeat. It also has to be understood that Poland are ranked 21st while India are 5th.

India could have slowed the game down, which they did. They played half-cock in midfield but their fluency and the space provided by Poland ensured that the goals kept coming. It also helped that the opening goal came in the first minute when Sumit found Vivek Sagar who hammered the ball past the Polish goalkeeper. Poland was rattled as Hardik, Kothajit, Nilakanta, Vivek, Simranjeet and Sumit Kumar rotated the ball efficiently. Errors were minimised and turn-overs were less. The flow was excellent as India repeatedly entered the Polish striking circle.

In the first quarter, only two goals were scored. It was in the second quarter that India knocked in four – Varun getting two of penalty corners, Surinder knocking in a direct penalty corner and Simranjeet tapping the ball in off a goalmouth melee. At the break, it was 6-0.

Nilakanta Sharma scored the only goal in the third quarter off a soft shot. In the fourth quarter, Mandeep Singh powered in two and 10th goal came off an Amit Rohidas flick. India had taken off Sreejesh with a few minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

It's always difficult when there is nothing at stake with the team thinking 'we are playing the final.' It's here that discipline and grit shine through. One did feel that India could have rotated more and ran less than required. Indian manager and analytical coach Chris Ciriello disagreed on the 'go-slow' theory. "We didn't want to change too much. Lot of times you see teams try and save themselves. But we had a plan and we wanted to execute that. (You should) never play with your form."

Indian captain Manpreet Singh was excited about playing 2019's first final. "The team is very excited. We really want to win here. For that, we have to execute the plan. You can't give Korea opportunities, especially conceding penalty corners."

A contrast of Korea and India's matches against Poland gives an interesting view. Even though when you play a final, it's usually about plan, tactics and strategy that is clock-worked for each quarter. Against Poland, Korea really struggled in the midfield. Poland led 2-1 in the 50th minute. By comparison, India led 8-0 in the 50th minute. Korea equalised in the 56th and scored the match-winner with 30 odd seconds to go.

Though, that's not how the Indian team will approach Saturday's final. "We are confident," said Manpreet. "We will play with a lot of energy, as we have shown through the tournament. The defensive structures are good, the strikers are getting the goal. I am very positive about the final."

India did try and get Gursahibjit Singh onto the scoreboards by giving him more time on the pitch. The youngster still has to get his first goal in his first senior outing. "We wanted him to score," said Ciriello. "Same for Shilanand Lakra. He is getting into the right positions and also did his best to create. It's just a shame he couldn't score off the chances he got."

Unless there are early breakthroughs in the final, defensive structures will remain in place. Korea have an experienced bunch of players who have played almost 2000 matches. India, in comparison, are just short of 1500. But the startling difference between the sides is of youth where nine Indian players have played less than 50 games. Korea has nine players with more than 100 caps. India have three players above 100. In the 200 caps department, Korea have three players while India have Sreejesh and Manpreet. Kothajit will notch up his 196th cap in the final.

It's the youth that is expected to shine in the final – Hardik Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Shilanand Lakra, Sumit, Sumit Kumar and Vivek Prasad. India will rely on pace, skill and the smoothness they have displayed in switching positions or spreading out on the flanks and so effortlessly pushing the ball upfront. A good sign is Birendra Lakra coming back into form, moving up and down like a yo-yo. Mandeep Singh's seven goals including a hat-trick puts him down as a real threat against Korea. But it isn't his goals that have stood out. It's been his hard work in the striking circle in the last three matches that have created penalty corners and made space for the others to come in.

Manpreet is right when he says they have to stop Korea from creating chances. Korea know they have ageing legs and they would wait for the counters – a kind of knock-out punch. Korea have seven players over the age of 30. India have only Sreejesh who is 30 years old. Twelve Indian players are below 25. The Indian coaches would red-line players like Jang Jong-hyun, a solid defender with a mean penalty corner flick; Lee Seung-hoon, a player with excellent man-to-man marking skills; Jung Man-jae who can effortlessly create on the flank and also the man who got in two goals that won Korea the game against Poland; Lee Nam-yong, the Korean skipper can be extremely slippery upfront. He is extremely dangerous in the circle and has a deft touch when it comes to placing the ball through a melee of legs. Lee Jung-jun, the left half, can change momentum and position in the flash of a second.

Chris calls the Korean side experienced and smart. "They will create chances and we have to deny them. The match is at 8 pm and the weather should be perfect. In the end, we as a team have to take our opportunities."

Opportunities will be plenty. The Indians play high press with a lot of focus on rhythm, momentum and flow. The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup may not be the ultimate test but for a young team, a win in the final would be the first sunray out of the gloom of the year gone by.


India clinical against Poles, Korea final hurdle

s2h Team

Bolsterd by another fabulous win, India will face South Korea in the final tomorrow with added vigour. India expectedly indulged against Poland today in its last pool mInatch with a handsome scoreline. India's methodical show saw them beat Poland 10-0in the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 on Friday. India-Korea final is billed for Saturday.

Against Poland, Vivek Sagar Prasad (1'), Sumit Kumar (Junior) (7'), Varun Kumar (18', 25'), Surender Kumar (19'), Simranjeet Singh (29'), Nilakanta Sharma (36'), Mandeep Singh (50', 51') and Amit Rohidas (55') scored to ensure India remained unbeaten. Mandeep Singh with his contribution to India's scoreline became the highest goal-scorer for the tournament with a total of seven goals while Varun Kumar took his personal tally to five goals in the tournament so far.

The 2-0 lead India earned early in the match through the 1st minute goal by Vivek Sagar Prasad and Sumit Kumar's (Junior) 7th minute goal which was well-assisted by forward Mandeep Singh's backhand pass in the circle gave India the edge. The team controlled the proceedings with a structured game executing their plans to perfection.

The second quarter saw India strengthen their attack as they made space inside the striking circle. In good form, Sumit Kumar (Junior) earned a PC for India which was perfectly converted by dragflicker Varun Kumar. The following minute saw Surender Kumar score off a PC created by Amit Rohidas.

Though India had lost forward Shilanand Lakra to a green card in the 24th minute, the team created a PC and in a re-take resulted in Varun Kumar scoring off a direct, powerful flick to take India's lead to a strong 5-0.

Simranjeet Singh added to the team's lead when he worked with Mandeep Singh after receiving a beautiful assist from Nilakanta Sharma to put the ball past Polish goalkeeper Mateusz Popiolkowski.

With a formidable 6-0 lead at half-time, India continued to dominate with their midfielders playing responsibly, shifting the ball swiftly and fiercely to make space. In the 36th minute, a good pass by Sumit to Nilakanta Sharma helped him score.

Though India managed only one goal in the third quarter, the team made a strong finish with superior attack in the fourth quarter that fetched the team three more goals.

The Polish goalkeeper, meanwhile was impressive as he made some brilliant saves off shots taken by Gursahibjit Singh and Simranjeet Singh early in the fourth quarter.

A powerfully struck PC by Amit Rohidas too was well-saved by Popiolkowski.

India's eighth and ninth goal came off skilful displays by Mandeep Singh. His first goal was scored after he intercepted Michal Raciniewski to take a direct shot on goal while his second goal was well-assisted by Gurinder Singh.

India's tenth goal was scored after Surender Kumar earned a PC with Amit making a good conversion.

Mandeep Singh won the man-of-the-match for the second time.

On 30 March 2019, India will take on Korea in the Final at 18.05 hours IST.


India mauls Poland 10-0, to face Korea in final

Five-time champions India maintained their unbeaten streak in the tournament, collecting 13 points from five league matches.

Indian men’s hockey team players during a Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh. Photo Credit: PTI

Striker Mandeep Singh continued his rich form and scored a brace to help India thrash minnows Poland 10-0 in their last league match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh on Friday.

Already assured of a place in Saturday’s summit clash against Korea, the Indians scored goals almost at will, leaving the Polish players in daze.

Besides Mandeep (50th, 51st minutes), dragflciker Varun Kumar (18th, 25th) also struck twice while Vivek Sagar Prasad (1st), Sumit Kumar (7th), Surender Kumar (19th), Simranjeet Singh (29th), Nilankanta Sharma (36th) and Amit Rohitdas (55th) were the other goal-scorers for India.

Five-time champions India, thus, maintained their unbeaten streak in the tournament, collecting 13 points from five league matches with the help of four wins and a draw.

With two strikes on Friday, Mandeep became the highest goal-scorer in the tournament with a total of seven goals while Varun took his personal tally to five goals so far.

It was expected to be a one-sided contest and it turned out to be so as India raced to a 2-0 lead by the seventh minute through Vivek and Sumit’s goals.

The second quarter saw India strengthen their attack as they made space inside the striking circle. In good form, Sumit earned a penalty corner for India which was perfectly converted by Varun.

A minute later, Surender registered his name in the score sheet by scoring from a penalty corner created by Rohidas.

Though India lost forward Shilanand Lakra to a green card in the 24th minute, they secured another penalty corner and Varun was bang on target with a powerful flick to hand his side a commanding 5-0 lead.

Simranjeet then added to the team’s tally when he worked with Mandeep after receiving a beautiful assist from Nilakanta Sharma to put the ball past Polish goalkeeper Mateusz Popiolkowski.

With a formidable 6-0 lead at half-time, India continued to dominate after the change of ends.

In the 36th minute, it was Nilakanta’s turn to score after receiving a good pass from Sumit.

Though India managed only one goal in the third quarter, the team made a strong finish in the fourth quarter and scored three more goals.

The Polish goalkeeper, meanwhile, was impressive as he made some brilliant saves to keep Gursahibjit Singh and Simranjeet Singh at bay early in the fourth quarter. A powerfully struck penalty corner by Rohidas too was well-saved by Popiolkowski.

India’s eighth and ninth goal came off skilful displays by Mandeep. His first goal was scored after he intercepted Michal Raciniewski to take a direct shot on goal, while his second was well-assisted by Gurinder Singh.

India’s 10th goal was scored after Surender earned a penalty corner with Amit making a good conversion.

The Hindu

Stats Speak: India-South Korea will play 12th title match

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

After 9 years India-South Korea will lock horn for the title match of 28th Azlan Shah Cup.

In 2010, the summit clash was rained out and both India and Korea were declared joint winners. In total India has faced Korea in 11 finals of various continental and invitation tourneys.

India has won titles on 4 occasions, where as South Korea on 8, once both were joint winners.

Here are statistical highlights on final matches played by India since inception:

Tournaments played-223, Gold Medals won-53.

In Azlan Shah Cup, appearances-22, Gold Medals won-5(1985, 1991, 1995, 2009, 2010-joint winner, Silver medals-2(2008, 2016).

Against South Korea, title matches played-11, India wins-4(1990 New Delhi IGIG,1998 Bangkok Asian Games, 2007 Chennai Asia Cup, 2010 Ipoh Azlan Shah Cup).

South Korea wins-8 (includes 2010 joint winner of AZ Cup), Korea wins in 2 Asian Games

(1994 Hiroshima, 2002 Bussan), 2 Asia Cup (1993 Hiroshima, 2013 Ipoh),2 Indira Gandhi Intl. Gold  Cup (1995 New Delhi,1996 Lucknow), 1 Takamodo Cup(2004 Gifu) and 1  Azlan Shah  Cup(2010 Ipoh).

India-South Korea: Head to head









Goals For


Goals For









Title Matches







In Azlan Shah







Last 10







In   Ipoh







*2010 Azlan Shah Cup final was rain out, both were declared joint winners

 After Dhyanchand’s era India beats any Europeans team (ranked in first 21) by scoring double digit goals. In Berlin (1936) Olympics India beat France 10-0.

10-0 is the biggest ever win of India against Poland. Previously in Johannesburg Champions Challenge Cup (2011) India wins 7-0 versus Poland.

10-0 is also Azlan Shah Cup tournament biggest wins record; previously Australia beat Canada (in 2015), China (in 2014) and South Africa (in 2014) by 7-0.


India hockey team strikers to undergo camp under Kieran Govers

Kieran Govers, an Olympic bronze winner and two-time World Cup gold medallist, will conduct a short camp for the Indian strikers from among the core probables.

Kieran Govers, who retired from international hockey last year, is an Olympic bronze medallist and two-time World Cup gold medallist with Australia.   -  Getty Images

Decorated former Australia hockey player Kieran Govers will be in India next month to conduct a short camp exclusively for the strikers.

Govers, an Olympic bronze medallist and two-time World Cup gold medallist, will conduct a short seven-to-eight days camp for the Indian strikers from among the core probables at the SAI South Centre in Bengaluru.

The camp is a part of Hockey India’s ongoing developmental programme.

“Kieran Govers will be here next month for a short camp with the strikers. The camp is exclusively for the strikers. After the strikers’ camp, we will also have exclusive camps for defenders and goalkeepers,” a source privy to the development told PTI on condition of anonymity.

“These camps are part of preparations for the Olympic Qualifiers.”

A similar camp for strikers of the women’s team was held under former Australia player Glenn Turner in Bengaluru in December last year.

Govers was handpicked to conduct the camp after legendary Jamie Dwyer turned down an offer, citing personal engagements.

“I am presently undergoing a coaching course and I would love to give it back to the game in future. But currently I am tied up with my hockey stick brand and that’s why I had to turn down an offer to conduct a short camp in India next month,” Dwyer said from Perth.

“David John (India’s High Performance Director) asked me whether I can come to India for a short camp but the offer came pretty late and by that time my engagements were already set,” he said.

Govers made his debut for Australia in 2010 and retired from international hockey at the age of 31 in November last year.

He won two World Cups (2010, 2014), three Champions Trophies (2010, 2011, 2012), one World League Final (2014-15), one Oceania Cup (2011), a Commonwealth Games gold medal (2014) and an Olympic bronze medal (2012) with Australia. He represented Australia in 126 international matches, scoring 60 goals, including memorable efforts in the 2012 Champions Trophy, 2012 London Olympics and 2014 World Cup.


2019 Test matches CHI v ESP, Santiago (CHI)

27 Mar 2019 20:00     CHI v ESP (test match)     2 - 4
29 Mar 2019 20:00     CHI v ESP     1 - 2

FIH Match Centre

Belgian quarter-finalists take shape ahead of final day of regular season

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

With the last eight already confirmed, the battle in Belgium on the final day of the regular season is to decide who exactly plays who.

If things stay as they are, there is a mouthwatering chance of Waterloo Ducks coming up against KHC Dragons in the last eight. The Ducks have the best record from the two sections so far with 13 wins out of 15 so far, most recently running up a 4-3 win over Daring, coming back from 3-1 down with goals from Gauthier Boccard, William Ghislain and Maxime Bertrand.

They finish off this stage of the competition with a potential cracker against fellow EHL side Royal Leopold. Leo sit third in group B after they fell to a 3-1 defeat to La Gantoise last weekend who moved above them as a result. As such, Leo could face anyone of Oree, Beerschot or Dragons.

Dragons have been a little bit off form compared to previous years but seem to be finding form at just the right time as they dismissed Antwerp 7-1 with goals from Shane O’Donoghue’s hat trick, two from Florent van Aubel and further goals from Louis Willems and Kirk Shimmins.

Dragons face Oree on Sunday with the possibility of overtaking Beerschot in their group which could change their opponent.

Racing Club de Bruxelles have topped Pool A with a 3-0 win over Braxgata with Tom Boon scoring twice from the penalty spot, making it 26 goals for the season so far. Cedric Charlier got the other goal. They will come up against Herakles who were 3-2 winners against White Star.

** Waterloo Ducks, KHC Dragons and Royal Leopold will play in the EHL KO16/FINAL4 in Eindhoven from April 17 to 22, 2019. Get your tickets on www.ehlhockey.tv/tickets

Euro Hockey League media release

Kampong continue closing the gap to Bloemendaal in the Hoofdklasse

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

SV Kampong continue to hack into the gap at the top of the Hoofdklasse as they battled to a 2-1 win on Friday evening to beat HC Tilburg.

In tandem with Bloemendaal’s 2-2 draw at Pinoke and their loss to Kampong recently, it has cut the gap between first and second from six points down to just one after 16 rounds of matches.

Kampong came from a goal behind against Tilburg after Welsh international Gareth Furlong made it 1-0. Philip Meulenbroek has been a revelation since coming out of retirement and he equalised in the 23rd minute before Robbert Kemperman got the winner in the second half.

For Bloemendaal, all the goals came in the last 20 minutes as Tim Swaen’s penalty corner and a stroke from Arthur van Doren made it 2-1 with 14 minutes left. Alex Hendrickx – another Belgian World Cup gold medalist – tied the game in the last minute, though, for Pinoke for 2-2.

HGC’s impressive recent form came to an abrupt end as they lost 3-0 at Den Bosch with Austin Smith, Joaquin Menini and Nicolas Della Torre all scoring in the first half hour.

It has allowed Oranje-Rood to move level with them on 30 points. Niek van der Schoot and Thomas Briels had them 2-0 ahead against SCHC with only a few minutes gone but the Bilthoven club were back equal at 2-2 by half-time. Benjamin Stanzl won the game with 15 minutes left when he made it 3-2.

The Eindhoven club stay in the top four, just ahead of Amsterdam who made it two wins in a row since Graham Reid finished up as head coac. Boris Burkhardt and Mirco Pruijser both scored twice with Billy Bakker starting the scoring in a 5-1 win over Klein Zwitserland.

They are three points outside the playoff places alongside Den Bosch. Rotterdam have an extra three points to make up but a strong 6-3 win – coming back from 3-1 down – against Almere helps their cause.

** You can see HC Oranje-Rood, SV Kampong and AH&BC Amsterdam in the EHL KO16/FINAL4 from April 17-22, 2019 in Eindhoven. Get your tickets on www.ehlhockey.tv/tickets

Euro Hockey League media release

PREVIEWS: English Men's Hockey League

East Grinstead host the University of Exeter in their final regular season match on Sunday, needing a big win to ensure they hold on to the fourth and final play-off spot in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.

East Grinstead are currently level on points and goal difference with Holcombe while Reading, Wimbledon and Brooklands MU could all still snatch the last play-off spot away from them.

Holcombe head to Reading for a match crucial to both their play-off ambitions, while Wimbledon host top of the table Surbiton and Brooklands MU entertain second-placed Hampstead & Westminster.

And in the day’s other top flight match relegated Sevenoaks are at home against play-off bound Beeston.

In the Men’s Conference East the battle for a spot in Division One next season following the restructure reaches a climax as teams battle to finish in the top six.

City of Peterborough go to bottom of the table Cambridge City hoping to win and see one of the two teams above them – Brighton and Teddington – lose out. Brighton & Hove host Teddington on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Old Loughtonians host Richmond, with both teams aiming to get a win and climb up to seventh which would see them in the play-offs for Division One hockey next season.

In the Men’s Conference West Fareham and the University of Bristol are both aiming to record victories on Sunday and secure their place in the Division One play-offs.

Fareham currently hold seventh place, and host Oxford Hawks, while the University of Bristol go to the University of Birmingham.

It’s a similar position in the Men’s Conference North, where the top six are secured but two teams are battling it out for seventh spot and a shot at a Division One place for next season.

Currently seventh, Doncaster host Loughborough Students, while Preston are at home against Belper and are aiming to leapfrog Doncaster with a win.

* The EHL Promotion Tournament begins at the Nottingham Hockey Centre on 7 April, with the University of Exeter playing Conference East champions Old Georgians in the first match at 1315hrs.

Conference North champions Bowdon will then take on West winners Havant at 1530, before the remaining matches take place at alongside the EHL Championships at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London on 13-14 April.

* Tickets for the Investec Women’s and Men’s Hockey League Finals are on sale now!

Taking place at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Sat 13 and Sun 14 April, the country’s best teams do battle.

Tickets for a single day start at just £2 for under 18s and £13 for adults. For both days it’s from £8 for under 18s and £20 adults – fantastic value to watch elite domestic players in action.


Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, 31 March 2019)

Premier Division
Brooklands MU v Hampstead & Westminster 14:00
East Grinstead v University of Exeter 14:00
Reading v Holcombe 14:00
Sevenoaks v Beeston 14:00
Wimbledon v Surbiton 14:00

Conference East
Brighton & Hove v Teddington 14:00
Cambridge City v City of Peterborough 14:00
Old Georgians v Canterbury 14:00
Old Loughtonians v Richmond 14:00
Oxted v Southgate 14:00

Conference West
Chichester v Team Bath Buccaneers 13:00
Fareham v Oxford Hawks 14:00
Isca v Cardiff & Met 14:00
Olton & West Warwicks v Havant 14:00
University of Birmingham v University of Bristol 14:00

Conference North
Doncaster v Loughborough Students 14:00
Leeds v Bowdon 14:00
Preston v Belper 14:00
University of Durham v Alderley Edge 14:00
University of Nottingham v Sheffield Hallam 14:00

England Hockey Board Media release

PREVIEWS: Investec English Women's Hockey League

Fourth-placed Buckingham face one last match as they bid to hold on to the fourth and final play-off spot in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division, but they face a Slough side who are fighting for their survival.

Clifton Robinsons could overtake Buckingham and snatch the final post-season spot if Slough win, and Buckingham aren’t taking anything for granted.

“We know Saturday will be a really tough match as Slough are a good side and a very tough side to play against, especially at home,” said Buckingham head coach Zak Jones. “However, we are very much looking forward to the challenge.

“Our goal this season was simple; to finish as high up the table as possible. Although we have not been as consistent in our performances as we would have liked this year, a top four finish is in our own hands and as fourth is now the highest we can finish, that is what we will be aiming for.”

Elsewhere, if Slough win the University of Birmingham could end up facing the relegation play-offs. But if Birmingham can win at home against Beeston, they will be safe.

Top of the table Holcombe go to relegated Canterbury as they aim to hold on to the top spot, while Surbiton are second and head to Bowdon Hightown.

Clifton Robinson’s hopes of play-off action rest on getting a result at home against East Grinstead, Buckingham losing and a four goal deficit being overturned in the process.

In the Conferences a top six finish guarantees a place in the new Division One North and South in 2019, whilst the three teams finishing seventh will play off for two further places.

Leaders Hampstead and Westminster need a win at home against Ipswich to guarantee the Investec Conference East title, while second-placed Wimbledon entertain Bedford and could still snatch the title if Hampstead don’t win.

Elsewhere, Horsham are at home against Sevenoaks and a win could move them up the table and into sixth spot, thereby ensuring Division One hockey for next season if St Albans lose at Cambridge City.

Whilst league winners Stourport host runners up Gloucester City, four teams in the Investec Conference West are battling for three spots in Division One following the league restructure for next season.

Reading and Isca play each other as they bid to hold on to places in the top six, Olton & West Warwicks who are currently seventh go to Exe and would claim a top six finish with a win, as would Swansea City if they draw with Oxford Hawks.

And in the Investec Conference North champions Loughborough Students go to Sutton Coldfield as they prepare for the first of their Promotion Tournament matches next weekend. Elsewhere the teams finishing second to sixth are confirmed and Leeds will finish seventh and go into the play-offs.

Round one of the EHL Promotion Tournament takes place at the Nottingham Hockey Centre on April 7.

The winners of the Investec Conference East will play the team who finish ninth in the Investec Premier Division at 1315hrs, while Investec Conference West winners Stourport face Investec Conference North champions Loughborough Students play each other at 1530.

The final set of Promotion Tournament matches take place at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London on April 13-14.

Tickets for the Investec Women’s and Men’s Hockey League Finals are on sale now!

Taking place at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Sat 13 and Sun 14 April, the country’s best teams do battle.

Tickets for a single day start at just £2 for under 18s and £13 for adults. For both days it’s from £8 for under 18s and £20 adults – fantastic value to watch elite domestic players in action.


Saturday, 30 March 2019

Investec Women’s Hockey League

Investec Premier Division
Bowdon Hightown v Surbiton 14:00
Canterbury v Holcombe 14:00
Clifton Robinsons v East Grinstead 14:00
Slough v Buckingham 14:00
Univ of Birmingham v Beeston 14:00

Investec Conference East
Cambridge City v St Albans 14:00
Hampstead & Westminster v Ipswich 14:00
Harleston Magpies v Southgate 14:00
Horsham v Sevenoaks 14:00
Wimbledon v Bedford 14:00

Investec Conference West
Exe v Olton & West Warwicks 14:00
Reading v Isca 14:00
Stourport v Gloucester City 14:00
Swansea City v Oxford Hawks 14:00
Trojans v Barnes 14:00

Investec Conference North
Sutton Coldfield v Loughborough 14:00
Fylde v Univ of Durham 14:00
Leeds v Ben Rhydding 14:00
Leicester v Belper 14:00
Timperley v Brooklands-Poynton 14:00

England Hockey Board Media release

Wins for Grove Menzieshill and Uddingston in Scottish Men’s National League 1

Grove Menzieshill leapfrogged Western Wildcats into second spot with a narrow 2-1 win over Watsonians in a catch-up National League 1 fixture on Tayside.

The contest looked to be heading for a draw, but up popped Gavin Tomlinson to finish off a penalty corner for the late winner.

Watsonians held a slender half-time lead through Fraser Heigh, but Luke Cranney levelled for the Dundonians in the second half.

Uddingston`s bandwagon continues to roll along, they beat Hillhead 5-1 to hold on to fourth place in the table.

Once again Aussie Brad Hughes was among the goals with a hat-trick, the others came from Gavin MacKenzie and Steven Percy.

The Lanarkshire side have now opened up a five point gap, and only Edinburgh University can overtake them as the students have a double header this weekend.

However, Uddingston could seal the position with a win over Kelburne on Saturday.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

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