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News for 25 April 2019

All the news for Thursday 25 April 2019

2019 FIH Pro League (Men) - 25 April

25 Apr 2019     NZL v AUS (RR)     3 - 4     North Harbour Hockey Stadium, Auckland    
26 Apr 2019 20:45 (GMT +2)     GER v NED (RR)     Hockeypark, Moenchenglabach    
28 Apr 2019 14:30 (GMT +2)    GER v GBR (RR)     Hockeypark, Moenchenglabach

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 Australia 8 6 0 1 1 26 18 8 19 79.2
2 Argentina* 8 4 0 0 3 18 21 -3 13 54.2
3 Belgium 5 3 1 1 0 21 12 9 12 80.0
4 Great Britain 4 3 0 0 1 17 10 7 9 75.0
5 Netherlands 6 2 1 1 2 19 16 3 9 50.0
6 Germany* 5 2 0 1 1 10 9 1 8 53.3
7 Spain 9 0 4 0 5 23 34 -11 8 29.6
8 New Zealand 9 0 0 2 7 21 35 -14 2 7.4

* A cancelled match contributes 1 point to each team's results that is not shown in the tables as a cancelled mach
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

2019 FIH Pro League (Women) - 25 April 2019

24 Apr 2019     GER v GBR (RR)     2 - 0     Hockeypark, Moenchenglabach    
25 Apr 2019     NZL v AUS (RR)     1 - 5     North Harbour Hockey Stadium, Auckland    
26 Apr 2019 18:15  (GMT +2)    GER v NED (RR)     Hockeypark, Moenchenglabach    
27 Apr 2019 14:00 (GMT +1)    GBR v USA (RR)     Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, London    
28 Apr 2019 12:00 (GMT +2)     GER v CHN (RR)     Hockeypark, Moenchenglabach

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 10 7 2 0 1 20 9 11 25 83.3
2 Netherlands 7 6 0 0 1 23 4 19 18 85.7
3 Australia 9 5 1 0 3 19 13 6 17 63.0
4 Belgium 6 4 0 1 1 10 6 4 13 72.2
5 New Zealand 11 4 0 0 7 19 24 -5 12 36.4
6 Germany 5 2 0 2 1 10 7 3 8 53.3
7 China 10 2 0 1 7 14 26 -12 7 23.3
8 Great Britain 6 1 1 0 4 8 17 -9 5 27.8
9 United States 8 0 1 1 6 8 25 -17 3 12.5

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

Gablac double gives Germany women home debut triumph over Olympic champions Great Britain

Hannah Gablac scored twice as Germany’s women claimed victory over Great Britain in their first home match of the FIH Pro League, running out 2-0 winners against the Olympic champions on a rain-hit occasion at Mönchengladbach’s Hockeypark.

Germany remain fifth in the standings but have improved their points percentage to narrow the gap on fourth-placed Australia, who play New Zealand in Auckland on Thursday (25 April).  Great Britain remain in seventh place, but a drop in their points percentage sees them lose ground on sixth-placed New Zealand.

The long awaited home debut for Germany’s women (FIH World Ranking: 5) started later than initially planned, with heavy rain forcing a 55 minute delay to their clash with Great Britain (WR:2). Once play eventually started it was Die Danas who were in charge, having an early goal ruled out by an umpire video referral before forcing the Rio 2016 gold medallists to soak up plenty of early pressure. However, Great Britain almost took the lead against the run of play when a penalty corner drag-flick from Grace Balsdon seemed to catch Germany goalkeeper Julia Sonntag unsighted, with the shot-stopper perhaps fortunate to see the ball clip the inside of her left kicker before travelling away to safety.

Germany controlled the second period almost from start to finish, with Great Britain captain Hollie Pearne-Webb making two crucial blocks in front of goal before Nike Lorenz wasted a glorious chance when she failed to test Great Britain goalkeeper Amy Tennant with a strike from the top of the circle. Tennant’s contribution to keeping Germany off the score-board was huge, saving brilliantly from Pia Maertens, Charlotte Stapenhorst and Nina Notman to maintain British hopes of a positive away result.

Germany’s talismanic attacker Charlotte Stapenhorst showed her defensive worth shortly after half time, producing a breathtaking goal-line stop to deny Giselle Ansley’s penalty corner drag-flick from sailing into the net. It proved to be a decisive moment, with Germany finally getting the goal that their dominance deserved in the 38th minute when Hannah Gablac pounced, squeezing a shot on the turn to past Tennant to finally break British resistance.

The domination from the home side continued in the final quarter, with Tennant again coming to Great Britain’s rescue to deny Lena Micheel and the ever-dangerous Stapenhorst. Great Britain head coach Mark Hager threw caution to the wind in the final five minutes, replacing Tennant with an outfield player in the hope of snatching an equaliser. However, it was Germany who took advantage, with Gablac sealing a 2-0 win for the hosts by firing into an empty net with two minutes remaining.

“We defended really really well, used our chances and we are really happy with our first win at home”, said Player of the Match Charlotte Stapenhorst, before thanking the fans who had braved the bad weather. “It was a good performance. Loads of confidence comes from this [victory]. We play Holland on Friday, and we are hoping for better weather.”

Reflecting on the defeat, Great Britain captain Hollie Pearne-Webb said: “It was a tough game and we are extremely disappointed with the result, and the final two quarters [in particular]. A lot of lessons to be learned, moving forward. I don’t think we can blame the weather, I think we have to look at ourselves and our own performance. We weren’t good enough on the ball, and I think that is what cost us today.”

The FIH Pro League continues on Thursday 25 April with two highly anticipated Oceania derby matches, as the men and women of Australia travel to Auckland to take on hosts New Zealand.

FIH Pro League

24 April - Mönchengladbach, Germany

Result: Women’s Match 35
Germany 2, Great Britain 0
Player of the Match: Charlotte Stapenhorst (GER)

Umpires: Kim Jung Hee (KOR), Irene Presenqui (ARG) & Laurine Delforge (BEL - Video)


Official FIH Pro League Site

Germany take all three points in rain-affected FIHPL match

Giselle Ansley in the FIH Pro League for Great Britain's women

Great Britain suffered defeat away to Germany in a rain-affected match in Moenchengladbach.

The start of the match was delayed by 45 minutes because of heavy rain, and the visitors were left to rue a below par second half performance that saw Germany take a deserved victory.

The opening two periods saw Britain holding their own, but a goal after the break put Germany on top, and Mark Hager's side were unable to get a foothold in proceedings.

Amy Tennant was in fantastic form in the Britain goal and deserves a special mention, while defender Giselle Ansley made her 50th appearance for Great Britain.

Attention now turns to Saturday's first home game when GB host USA in London at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. With the women's team having won one of their six matches, they will be looking to a home crowd of more than 4,000 to make a difference on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Mark Hager's side have ten games remaining; eight of them at home, and will now look to use home advantage to move up the table, starting this weekend.

Full report

Hosts Germany had the ball in the net very early on, but it was pulled back for a dangerous clearance by Laura Unsworth, with Germany instead awarded a penalty corner. Down the other end Lily Owsley went on a great break but was unable to release the right pass in time.

Grace Balsdon then produced what proved to be Britain's closest moment in front of goal; her penalty corner clipping the heel of the German goalkeeper and rolling very narrowly wide.

Right before the first quarter interval, Owsley then showed her defensive qualities with a brilliant last-ditch tackle.

After the break it was then captain Hollie Pearne-Webb's turn to produce a brilliant tackle, and Germany then had two big chances through Horn and Lorenz but failed to hit the target. Amy Tennant then came into her own with a trio of fantastic stops, and Amy Costello also produced a great challenge just before half time to keep Britain in the game at 0-0 despite concerted German pressure.

Into the second period and Germany finally made their advantage pay; Hannah Gablac shooting home on the turn after good play down the left. Unfortunately GB didn't truly look like getting back on level terms, and needed Tennant to produce another couple of important stops.

With Tennant off the pitch and GB using eleven outfield players, Gablac took advantage to seal the win into an empty net with two minutes to go.

Germany 2
Hablac (38', FG), (58', FG)

Great Britain 0

Great Britain: Tennant (GK), Unsworth, Balsdon, Toman, Ansley, Pearne-Webb (c), Howard, Costello, Robertson, Evans, Defroand, Rayer, Petty, Jones, Owsley, Martin, Hunter
Unused sub: Heesh

Great Britain Hockey media release

Germany too strong for Great Britain in Monchengladbach

Germany sit fifth in the FIH Pro League after beating Great Britain

Great Britain's women lost for the second FIH Pro League match in a row as two Hannah Gablac goals gave Germany a 2-0 win in Monchengladbach.

After rain delayed the game by 45 minutes, Germany swept to their second win of the competition, registering 14 shots to the visitors' three.

Gablac struck in the third and fourth quarters, leaving Great Britain with only one win from six league matches.

Britain next host USA, who have no wins in eight, in London on Saturday.

In the inaugural FIH Pro League season, eight men's teams and nine women's sides play home and away fixtures, with the top four in each set of standings at the end of the season progressing to the Grand Final stage.

The top four teams in each competition also earn a place in the two-legged Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifiers but Great Britain currently sit seventh out of nine in the women's event.

BBC Sport

Hockeyroos and Kookaburras claim Anzac Day triumphs over New Zealand in Auckland

For the first time in history, the national hockey teams of New Zealand and Australia faced each other on Anzac Day, with the visiting Australians winning both the women’s and men’s matches at Auckland’s North Harbour Hockey Stadium on a day of remembrance observed by both nations.

Australia’s women avenged March’s home loss against the Black Sticks with an emphatic, clinical display to emerge a 5-1 winners against the hosts. Kaitlyn Nobbs, Emily Chalker and Savannah Fitzpatrick helped the Hockeyroos into a 3-1 lead before two Grace Stewart goals in the final quarter sealed the win as the visitors strengthened their hold on fourth place in the FIH Pro League standings. Defeat for New Zealand leaves them sixth in the table, having lost ground on fifth-placed Germany who were winners against Great Britain on Wednesday (24 April).

The Kookaburras were given a stern test by the Black Sticks men before winning 4-3 thanks to strikes from Tom Craig, Flynn Ogilvie and a double from Player of the Match Blake Govers. Australia remain second in the standings but have improved their points percentage, closing the gap on league leaders Belgium. New Zealand remain bottom of the standings.

The first of the meetings on Anzac Day - a national day of remembrance in New Zealand and Australia that commemorates the citizens of both nations who served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations - featured the women’s teams, with the Black Sticks (FIH World Ranking: 6) and the Hockeyroos (WR:3) contesting a hugely entertaining fixture in front of an enthralled crowd at the North Harbour Hockey Stadium.

Australia - beaten 3-1 by New Zealand in last month’s reverse fixture in Sydney - needed just two minutes to open the scoring in their first FIH Pro League match on the road, with Kaitlyn Nobbs following her penalty corner injection into the danger area and getting a decisive touch on a Jodie Kenny’s drag-flick. Despite conceding, it was the Black Sticks who posed the biggest threat for much of the opening two periods. Megan Hull had a goal ruled out by an umpire video referral due to back stick, while Ella Gunson and Kirsten Pearce also went close before Australia doubled their advantage six minutes into the second period. Emily Chalker was the scorer, turning brilliantly before unleashing a blistering strike into the bottom corner past New Zealand goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon.

The Black Sticks halved the deficit just before half time when Deanna Ritchie deflected home a pass from Stacey Michelsen, but Australia re-established the two goal advantage thanks to Savannah Fitzpatrick’s fourth goal of the FIH Pro League, beating O’Hanlon at her near post with a fierce forehand strike in the opening moments of the third period.

New Zealand created numerous opportunities in the third and fourth quarters, but their failure to convert their chances combined with Australia’s ruthlessness in front of goal proved their undoing. The Hockeyroos finished the match with a startling statistic of five goals from five shots, with Grace Stewart scoring a close range double from flowing team moves to complete a 5-1 victory on New Zealand soil.

“We’ve had a few games where we haven’t put goals in the back of the net, but today it wasn’t just PCs [penalty corners], it was team goals, with strikers putting it in the back of the net after being built up from the back”, said Australia’s Jane Claxton, who was named Player of the Match. “That is what we have been trying to do over the last few years, and slowly but surely we are getting there and putting more goals in the back of the net, which I think will give the girls more confidence leading into the next few games.”

A reflective New Zealand captain Stacey Michelsen said: “We needed to be clinical in the attacking circle. In the first half particularly we created so many opportunities, but our touch just wasn't there. There were a lot of mis-traps that lead to a lot of wasted opportunities, and second half, defensively, we just weren’t tight enough in the circle.”

The opening stages of the men’s Oceania derby match were closer than many would have predicted, with bottom of the table New Zealand (WR:8) frustrating a high flying Australia (WR:2) team for long periods. The Black Sticks produced some excellent defensive work to keep the visitors at bay, but eventually conceded twice in quick succession towards the end of the first period. A sensational cross-field backhand pass from Blake Govers created the opening for the first goal, picking out Trent Mitton who in turn released Tom Craig to fire home before Flynn Ogilvie smashed a glorious backhand strike into the net on the stroke of quarter-time.

The second quarter belonged to the hosts, with New Zealand applying pressure on the Australian defence and creating numerous scoring chances. A ferocious Cory Bennett penalty corner drag-flick came agonisingly close to reducing the deficit mid-way through the period, cannoning back off the left post into the helmet of goalkeeper Andrew Charter before being frantically cleared by Kookaburras captain Aran Zalewski.

As their women’s had done in the previous match, New Zealand pulled a goal back just before half time when George Muir caught the Australian defence napping and scooped home from close range. It was a goal that the Black Sticks certainly deserved, and their hard work brought further rewards when Arun Panchia equalised mid-way through the third quarter the a fine strike into the bottom right corner. However, Australia hit back almost immediately when Blake Govers rattled the backboard with a low penalty corner, putting the Kookaburras back in the driving seat going into the final quarter.

A poor challenge outside the circle by Hayden Phillips  on Jake Whetton proved costly, with Phillips being shown a yellow card before Govers compounded the error by scoring his second penalty corner of the game to put Australia 4-2 up. A dramatic final five minutes saw Australia hit the post through Jeremy Hayward moments before New Zealand gave themselves a life-line when Mackenzie Wilcox made it 4-3. However, the Aussies held on to claim their second FIH Pro League victory over the Black Sticks, adding to the 5-1 triumph achieved in Sydney last month.

“New Zealand had us scrambling toward the end there and it made it interesting for the crowd, but luckily enough we held on”, said Player of the Match Govers. “I believe it is our fault that we let them come back [into the game] so easily, but we have plenty of learnings to take away.”

Commenting on the match, New Zealand captain Arun Panchia said: “It’s great to be a part of this game, and to be playing on Anzac Day against these guys is pretty special. We are glad we put up a good fight, but still it is another loss for us.”

The FIH Pro League continues on Friday 26 April with Germany’s men and women facing the Netherlands in Mönchengladbach.

FIH Pro League

25 April - Auckland, New Zealand

Result: Women’s Match 36
New Zealand 1, Australia 5
Player of the Match: Jane Claxton (AUS)
Umpires: Annelize Rostron (RSA), Liu Xiaoying (CHN) & Peter Wright (RSA - Video)

Result: Men’s Match 27
New Zealand 3, Australia 4
Player of the Match: Blake Govers (AUS)
Umpires: Peter Wright (RSA), Javed Shaikh (IND) & Annelize Rostron (RSA - Video)


Official FIH Pro League Site

Kookaburras Edge Kiwis In Seven-Goal Anzac Day Classic

Ben Somerford

The Kookaburras have closed in on top spot in the FIH Pro League after Blake Govers’ double helped them edge New Zealand 4-3 in a thrilling Anzac Day contest in Auckland on Thursday.

Govers, who was named Player of the Match, fired home two second-half goals after the Black Sticks fought back from 2-0 down to level the match in the third quarter.

Earlier Tom Craig (14’) and Flynn Ogilvie (15’) both scored late in the first quarter to open up a 2-0 buffer, but New Zealand hit back via George Muir (29’) and Jared Panchia (37’).

Govers intervened with two goals from penalty corners either side of three-quarter time, before a late Mackenzie Wilcox goal for New Zealand ensured a tense final 90 seconds but Australia held on.

Australia were good value for the win, dominating all of the key statistics including 16-9 shots and 32-18 circle entries but were made to work for the points.

The result sees the Kookaburras move within one points percentage of world champions Belgium on top of the FIH Pro League standings, ahead of Australia’s next match away to Argentina on Sunday 5 May (AEST).

Govers said: "Towards the end New Zealand had us scrambling which made it interesting for the crowd. Luckily enough we held on."

After an uneventful opening 10 minutes, Australia fired in a quickfire double in the 14th and 15th minutes through Craig and Ogilvie.

Craig opened the scoring with an angled thunderbolt after Govers’ clever pass and Trent Mitton’s release.

Ogilvie added the second moments later after pouncing on a loose ball inside the D and firing home a clinical reverse stick finish.

New Zealand responded in the second period with a series of penalty corners which put Australia under intense pressure, coming closest in the 28th minute when Cory Bennett’s flick hit the post.

The Black Sticks did break through before the long interval when they caught Australia napping at the back, with an unmarked George Muir slotting home.

Defender Matt Dawson drifted forward for a half-chance in the 34th minute where he tested Black Sticks keeper Richard Joyce.

Three minutes later a hopeful New Zealand ball forward was deflected high by Daniel Beale and mis-trapped by Josh Simmonds, allowing Panchia time and space inside the circle to convert to make it 2-2.

Australia searched for a reply and capitalised when Hayden Phillips was green carded in the 41st minute, winning a short corner which Govers converted in trademark style.

Jake Whetton won Australia a 50th minute penalty corner, which was sent to Govers to rocket home the Kookaburras’ fourth.

Australia almost claimed a fifth goal when Jeremy Hayward’s flick hit the post in the 55th minute but New Zealand responded to ensure a tense final 90 seconds.

Wilcox netted in the 59th minute after a turnover in midfield from Ogilvie, but Australia did enough to cling on, expertly milking the clock in the dying stages.

New Zealand 3 (Muir 29’, J. Panchia 37’, Wilcox 59’)
Australia 4 (Craig 14’, Ogilvie 15’, B. Govers 41’, 50’)

Hockey Australia media release

Australia hold on in tough match with the Black Sticks Men

The Black Sticks Men have fought gallantly against a strong Australian side before eventually falling 4-3 in a nail-biting finish. The Black Sticks found themselves early but managed to stick with the Kookaburras all the way through the match and ultimately ran out of time. The New Zealand Men saw some of the experienced players step up and play some incredible hockey which looks to have set them up well for the rest of the competition.

The Black Sticks and Australia started the match in an arm wrestle as both sides were looking to find gaps in the opposing teams defence. The Black Sticks Men were playing with confidence and looking to shock the Australian side. In the last two minutes of the quarter the Kookaburras managed to in quick succession put two goals into the goal.

The New Zealand Men managed to regroup in the second quarter and started applying pressure onto the Australian side. Late in the second quarter the Black Sticks had a series of penalty corners and went close on a number of chances including a shot that was fired off the crossbar. George Muir turned the pressure into a goal when he weaved his way in the circle and popped the ball in past Australia’s goalkeeper.

The second half started similar to the first with both sides playing some positive hockey. The Black Sticks managed to find the back of the goal first in the second half when Jarred Panchia was left unmarked in the circle and powered home his shot. The Kookaburras got their one goal buffer back when late in the third quarter Blake Govers flicked a low hard drag flick into the goal.

Australia extended their lead further when Blake Govers scored his second goal of the match on another low drag flick. The New Zealand side gave themselves a chance at tying the game when Mac Wilcox reversed the ball into the the Australian goal with two minutes to go.

Vantage Black Sticks Men 3 (George Muir 29 min, Jarred Panchia 37 min, Mac Wilcox 59 min)

Australia 4 (Tom Craig 14 min, Flynn Ogilvie 15 min, Blake Govers 41, 51 min)

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Classy Hockeyroos Claim Impressive Anzac Day Victory

Ben Somerford

The Hockeyroos have firmed up their grip on a top four spot in the FIH Pro League standings with an impressive 5-1 win over New Zealand in Auckland on Thursday.

Grace Stewart scored a brace after goals from Kaitlin Nobbs (2’), Emily Chalker (21’) and Savannah Fitzpatrick (31’) set up the victory in the Hockeyroos’ first away fixture of their FIH Pro League campaign.

New Zealand dominated the key statistics with more shots, circle penetrations and penalty corners but Australia were clinical in front of goal, converting all five of their shots into goals.

Nobbs and Chalker netted first-half goals but the Black Sticks threatened a second-half fightback when Deanna Ritchie pulled a controversial goal back on the stroke of half-time.

Like in the first-half, Australia started the second 30 in style, with Fitzpatrick firing under New Zealand keeper Grace O’Hanlon and the visitors never looked back.

The victory, in the first-ever Anzac Day match between the two nations, means Australia moves to 17 points ahead of their match away to Argentina on Sunday 5 May (AEST).

Player of the Match Jane Claxton said: "We've had some games where we haven't put goals in the back of the net.

“Today it wasn't just our PCs, it was team goals. We built up from the back. It’s slowly coming together.”

In 17-year-old Amy Lawton’s debut, Australia raced out of the blocks with Nobbs opening the scoring, when she injected a penalty corner and then deflected Jodie Kenny’s flick into the back of the net.

New Zealand thought they’d levelled in the 10th minute when Megan Hull’s pinpoint throughball found Olivia Shannon inside the D.

Shannon jinked and fired beyond Hockeyroos keeper Ash Wells but an umpire referral revealed her shot came from her backstick and was disallowed.

Stewart set up Australia’s second goal in the 21st minute when her left-flank run opened up an opportunity for captain Chalker who unleashed an exquisite near-post shot into the backboard.

Hull came close from a 27th minute short corner, before NZ captain Stacey Michelsen also tested Wells.

New Zealand pulled one back in the final minute of the first half, although it wasn’t without controversy, with the pass into the circle appearing dangerous while Ritchie’s deflection seemed to come off her leg. Australia had already lost their referral and thus the goal stood.

The Hockeyroos didn’t allow the setback to get to them, starting the second half perfectly when Lily Brazel pounced in midfield and set Savannah Fitzpatrick free. Fitzpatrick shot low and hard under O’Hanlon to make it 3-1.

Australia substitute keeper Rachael Lynch produced a stunning double save to deny FIH Pro League top scorer Olivia Merry and Michelsen in the 35th minute.

The visitors ran away with the game in the final 10 minutes thanks to a double from Gerringong product Stewart.

Rosie Malone and Brooke Peris combined in the 52nd minute to find Stewart to make it 4-1, before she added her second to cap another fine team move in the 58th minute.

New Zealand 1 (Ritchie 30')
Australia 5 (Nobbs 2', Chalker 21', S. Fitzpatrick 31', Stewart 53', 58')

Hockey Australia media release

Australia produce a strong second half to overwhelm the Black Sticks Women

Australia have avenged their loss to the Black Sticks Women from Sydney last month as they were clinical on both ends of the turf to beat the Black Sticks Women 5-1 in their Anzac Day match on Aucklands, North Shore. The Black Sticks played some good periods of hockey but ultimately struggled to contain an Australia side which made the most of their opportunities in the attacking circle.

Australia started the match confidently and built some nice early attack. They earned the first penalty corner of the match when they found a Kiwi foot in the circle. Australia ran a great variation and managed to find the injector who deflected the ball into the back of the net. Following the opening minute shock when the Hockeyroos scored the Black Sticks started to construct some good attacking opportunities. The Black Sticks continued to pile on the pressure as the quarter wore on looking to find the equalising goal. At the end of the first quarter Australia was holding onto their narrow lead setting up an exciting second quarter.

Australia started the second quarter confidently and managed to find space in the circle where Emily Chalker powered a shot towards the close post and past Sally Rutherford. Deanna Ritchie managed to get one back on the half time whistle as Katie Doar managed to find Deanna Ritchie open in the circle for a deflection in past the Hockeyroos goalkeeper.

Australia started the third quarter the same way they did the first two when they found space in the attacking circle and got a clean shot off to extend their lead. The Black Sticks continued battling hard throughout the quarter as they pressed the Hockeyroos defenders trying to force turnovers. Heading into the final quarter the New Zealand Women needed 2 goals to get themselves back into the match. 

Australia mid-way through the fourth quarter look to have sealed the result after they found Grace Stewart in front of goal and she managed to chip the ball over Grace O’Hanlon. In the last minutes of the game the Hockeyroos found the back of the net once more to finish 5-1 victors.

Vantage Black Sticks Women 1 (Deanna Ritchie 30 min)

Australia 5 (Kaitlin Nobbs 2 min, Emily Chalker 21 min, Savannah Fitzpatrick 31 min, Grace Stewart 53, 58 min)

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Black Sticks hammered by Australia in Pro League match

Grace Stewart and Australia celebrate a goal during the Women's FIH Pro League match between New Zealand and Australia in Auckland. Phil Walter

Double delight for the Australian hockey teams in their Anzac Day clashes against New Zealand in Auckland.

Australia have gained sweet revenge for their loss to New Zealand last month in Sydney, hammering the women's Black Sticks 5-1 in their FIH Pro League encounter.

And the visitors edged the men's Black Sticks 4-3 in the second match of the double-header.

Australia's women were clinical at both ends of the North Harbour Stadium turf, easing to a comfortable win.

Grace Stewart bagged a second half brace while Kaitlin Nobbs, who scored in just the second minute of the match, Emily Chalker and Savannah Fitzpatrick also got on the scoresheet for Australia.

New Zealand's goal came on the stroke of halftime through Deanna Ritchie, who deflected a Katie Doar pass into the net to ensure the hosts would trail by just a goal, 2-1, at the break.

That jubilation was short-lived, though, as Australia started the third quarter the same way they did the first two when they found space in the attacking circle, Fitzpatrick getting a clean shot off to extend their lead.

The Black Sticks continued to battle for no reward and then Stewart put the game beyond doubt win sevens minutes remaining, chipping the ball over Grace O'Hanlon for her first goal and then finishing the hosts off with a second goal five minutes later.

In the men's match, the Black Sticks found themselves down 2-0 when Tom Craig and Flynn Ogilvie struck a double blow in the final two minutes of the first quarter.

The Kiwis regrouped in the second quarter and George Muir turned the pressure into a goal when he weaved his way in the circle and popped the ball in past Australia's goalkeeper.
The Black Sticks drew level early in the second half when Jarred Panchia was left unmarked in the circle and powered home his shot. The Kookaburras got their one goal buffer back when late in the third quarter Blake Govers flicked a low hard drag flick into the goal.
Australia extended their lead further when Blake Govers scored his second goal of the match on another low drag flick, reducing Mac Wilcox's late goal to nothing more than a consolation. 

WOMEN: Australia 5 (Kaitlin Nobbs 2', Emily Chalker 21', Savannah Fitzpatrick 31', Grace Stewart 53', 58') New Zealand 1 (Deanna Ritchie 30'). HT: 2-1.

MEN: Australia 4 (Tom Craig 14', Flynn Ogilvie 15', Blake Govers 41', 51') New Zealand 3 (George Muir 29', Jarred Panchia 37', Mac Wilcox 59'). HT: 2-1.

Black Sticks defender Rose Keddell ruled out after freak accident

Rose Keddell was ruled out for the Black Sticks after a freak injury. Photo /Photosport

The Black Sticks Women were dealt a cruel blow ahead of their must-win FIH Pro League match against Australia today when Rose Keddell suffered a freak injury.

The seasoned defender needed stitches to her head after copping a knock while training this week, Black Sticks interim coach Sean Dancer confirmed.

The 25-year-old was out running when a rubbish bin dropped from the truck after it had been emptied, striking the 165-cap star.

"She had an interesting story. She's had some stitches in her head…When I received the message from her I had to read it a couple of times to be sure what happened," Dancer told Radio Sport.

"For us, it would be great to have everyone available for such a key game against Australia. But unfortunately, we don't."

Keddell saw the funny side of the incident when posting on social media.

"Bit of a weird one being taken out by a rubbish bin but goes to show anything's possible so dream big!"

"I was running on the road and the truck was parked on the curb, so tucked into pass it in the footpath and the bin that was being emptied came down and smacked me on the top of the head lol. Weirdest scenario but cut me gooood," she said.

The Black Sticks women are hoping to bounce back after successive away defeats to Argentina and China.

They have won only four from 10 Pro League matches and were sixth on the points table ahead of the Anzac Day clash at the North Harbour Stadium.

Goalkeeper Sally Rutherford returns as one of two goalkeepers in the only change to the squad that went down 3-1 in Rosario two week ago.

The New Zealand Herald

Technical problems strike Spark Sport again, Black Sticks coverage affected

Australia beat New Zealand 5-1 in the Pro Hockey League game in Auckland on Anzac Day. PHOTOSPORT

Those planning to watch the Rugby World Cup on Spark Sport have been given further cause for concern with technical difficulties affecting the women's Black Sticks' game against Australia on Anzac Day.

Subscribers to the Spark Sport streaming service weren't initially able to see the beginning of the Pro League clash, where Australia hammered New Zealand 5-1 in Auckland.

It was announced that the start of the coverage had been "delayed due to technical difficulties," with information given out on Twitter Spark Sport's Twitter feed..

"We'd like to let our customers know that the live stream for the FIH Pro League Women's NZ v AUS has been delayed due to technical difficulties," Spark Sport announced on Twitter.

"We don't yet have confirmation of the new start time and are working to have this up shortly.

"As soon as we have more information, we'll update customers on this post. Thanks for your patience and understanding."

The problem was sorted and viewers were then able to watch the game in its entirety, however, the damage had been done and the criticism flowed in.

"Looking good for RWC, when they can't even handle a small audience for Hockey! This subscription based world we now live in only works if your product is worthy," one customer wrote on Facebook.

"This is a bloody joke! And you think you're going to successfully show the RWC?? Play it on Duke then so that at least I haven't wasted my free trial for nothing," another disgruntled viewer wrote.

This is the second time the fledgling sports broadcaster has run into technical issues.

At the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix earlier this month an error message was displayed during the final practice session and the pre-qualifying race.

While having issues during a hockey game of Formula One race is annoying, it could be disastrous for the image of Spark Sport if it happened during the Rugby World Cup, which begins in September.


Spark Sport streaming fails during Black Sticks hockey match - raising 2019 Rugby World Cup concerns

Olivia Merry of the Black Sticks during the loss to Australia. Photo / Getty

Spark Sport's live streaming has hit another snag, with its customers up in arms over issues during the Black Sticks hockey match this afternoon.

The ANZAC Day clash between the Black Sticks Women and Australia was meant to be shown on Spark Sport, but fans weren't able to see the match initially, with the broadcast being "delayed due to technical difficulties", and the Black Sticks having to direct people to their Twitter feed to follow the match.

While the problem was eventually resolved and customers were able to watch, or view the full broadcast on demand later this evening, the technical issues left many fans disgruntled, and questioning Spark's abilities to broadcast the Rugby World Cup later this year.

"This is a bloody joke! And you think you're going to successfully show the RWC?? Play it on Duke then so that at least I haven't wasted my free trial for nothing," said one customer on Facebook.

"Looking good for RWC, when they can't even handle a small audience for Hockey! This subscription based world we now live in only works if your product is worthy," added another.

This is not the first issue Spark Sport have had with their streaming service, which many New Zealanders will be reliant upon if they want to watch the World Cup in Japan come September.

During their stream of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix earlier this month, on-demand versions of the final practice session and the pre-qualifying race stalled with error messages.

There were also gripes about the fact that while Spark Sport runs no ads of its own, it does have gaps in its coverage for when the host broadcaster, from whom it's taking a feed, goes to commercials.

Spark Sport planned a full review of that weekend's issues, and may have to do so the same after today's drama, apologising to their customers for the trouble caused.

As it turns out, some fans were probably better off not watching the hockey, as the Black Sticks Women were smashed 5-1 by their transtasman rivals.

There are 148 days remaining until the Rugby World Cup.

The New Zealand Herald

FIH Pro League Scouting Report: USWNT vs. Great Britain

In anticipation of the U.S. Women's National Team's upcoming FIH Pro League match, here is a scouting report you’ll want to review before the starting whistle.

Game Day: Saturday, April 27, 2019

Time: 9:00 a.m. ET

Location: Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, London, Great Britain

Live Stream: Don't miss a second of the FIH Pro League action and watch the USWNT take on Great Britain this Saturday. The FIH has signed a four-year media rights agreement with Bleacher Report Live for the territories of Canada and the United States. Bleacher Report Live is operated by Turner Sports, a division of WarnerMedia. The platform, which is Turner’s live sports streaming service, will be the primary destination for all fans to watch FIH Pro League matches.

Opponent: Great Britain

FIH World Ranking: 2

Head to Head: Coming into the second meeting between these two teams in the FIH Pro League, USA and Great Britain previously met at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa. just four weeks ago. A brisk and windy evening welcomed the teams as they tested each other on both sides of the field. No. 12 USA struck first in the second quarter to take an early lead but No. 2 Great Britain responded by scoring three unanswered goals to prevail 3-1. This marked Great Britain's first FIH Pro League win and first under newly appointed head coach Mark Hager, previously the New Zealand women's head coach.

Prior to their meeting last month, the last time USA and Great Britain met was in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games preliminary round. After USA led 1-0 heading into the final quarter, Great Britain tied the game off a penalty corner in the 53rd minute before following up with the game-winning goal moments later by Alex Danson on a redirect play to win it 2-1.  

Head to Head
(since 2013)

4 Previous Matches
1 Draws





Total Goals


What You Need to Know: The Olympic champions of Rio 2016 have set their sights on defending their title at Tokyo 2020, and a strong showing in the inaugural edition of the FIH Pro League would be an important step along the road toward achieving that goal. With Olympic gold medal-winning Head Coach Danny Kerry switching to the England and Great Britain men’s program, David Ralph stepped up from assistant coach on an interim basis. In January 2019, it was recently announced that former Australian international Mark Hager had left his position as Head Coach of New Zealand’s Black Sticks to become the head coach of England and Great Britain’s women. The initial FIH Pro League squad contains six players who were on the podium at Rio 2016: defensive trio Hollie Pearne-Webb, Giselle Ansley and Laura Unsworth, midfielder Susannah Townsend and forwards Sophie Bray and Lily Owsley. While fellow Olympic gold medalists Alex Danson and ace goalkeeper Maddie Hinch are both taking a break from international hockey, there are plenty of other wonderful players on the roster, including Hannah Martin, a pacey attacker with enough skill to hurt any team in the world.

While the majority of the Great Britain squad is made up of players who represent England, there is also a trio of Scots selected in the shape of Sarah Robertson, Amy Costello and goalkeeper Nicola Cochrane.

Recap of Great Britain's Previous Game: Great Britain's previous FIH Pro League game came almost 20 days ago on April 6 against No. 4 Argentina. The hosts came into their meeting against reigning Olympic champions Great Britain as heavy favorites, having won four successive FIH Pro League matches without conceding a goal. The were certainly the better team in the opening period and could easily have been two goals ahead, with Maria Granatto swinging and missing from close range before seeing another effort cleared off the goal-line by British defender Giselle Ansley.

It seemed only a matter of time before Las Leonas took the lead, which they duly did four minutes before halftime when Julieta Jankunas cracked an unstoppable backhand strike into the bottom right corner after a swift breakaway. Just two minutes later, Argentina’s lead - and goalkeeper Belen Succi’s remarkable four-and-a-half game, 234 minute run without conceding - came to an end thanks to a glorious penalty corner from Grace Balsdon, who sent an unstoppable drag-flick into the roof of the Argentina net to leave the sides level at the break.

The third quarter well and truly belonged to the home favorites, who scored two unanswered goals to open up a 3-1 lead. Jankunas scored her second backhand effort of the game before Victoria Zuloaga drilled a penalty corner strike against the Great Britain backboard.

The result was put beyond all doubt with arguably the best goal of the game, Maria Granatto producing a brilliant deflection to float the ball over Great Britain goalkeeper Nicola Cochrane after some magical set-up play down the right from Eugenia Trinchinetti. A cool finish from Great Britain’s Sarah Jones completed the scoring at 4-2, as Argentina moved to the top of the FIH Pro League standings for the first time.

Great Britain's Roster: Click Here

USFHA media release

Italians face difficult days in KL

By Jugjet Singh

Italy captain Agustin Nunez during the FIH Series Finals press conference at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Wednesday. PIC BY ROSELA ISMAIL

KUALA LUMPUR: World No 32 Italy are the lowest ranked side in Kuala Lumpur, and going by their team list, they are going to face a torrid time in Group B of the FIH Series Finals starting on Friday.

Malaysia will play their last group game against the Italians on April 29 and by then, should know their future in the tournament.

Both teams have met only twice with the first one being the 1978 World Cup where Malaysia won 3-1.

And the second time, Italy were leading 4-3 before Malaysia scored the equaliser in the final hooter to salvage some pride in the 2008 Olympic Qualifier in Kakamigahara, Japan.

And this time they meet again in a pre-Olympic Qualifier, and hopefully Malaysia do not forget the lesson in Kakamigahara.

With 33-year-old skipper Agustin Nunez their highest capped player (67 international caps), Malaysia should steamroll the Italians.

Italy coach, Roberto Da Gai was being realistic when he said: “We are the lowest ranked team here. So we do expect a tough time against China and Malaysia in our group.

“Brazil is just like us, so here is where we can steal some points and not end up last in the pool.

“We want to have a chance at the play-off for semi-finals by finishing third in Group A, and who knows, a good game in the play-off can open more doors,” said Da Gai.

The Italians had only five days of training before arriving in Malaysia on Tuesday.

“It was only selection and then some training before going to Malaysia. And we have yet to play any international matches or friendlies this year as the planned Poland warm-ups were cancelled,” said Da Gai.

Malaysia must surely be looking at three points against the Italians, as there are no excuses for them to lose after such an extensive preparation including the Azlan Shah Cup — comparatively.

New Straits Times

Warning from China coach

By Jugjet Singh

China coach Kim Sang Ryul. PIC BY ROSELA ISMAIL

KUALA LUMPUR: China coach Kim Sang Ryul has issued an early warning to the teams competing in the FIH Series Finals starting on Friday.

“This team is much better than the one who played in the World Cup (in Bubaneswar last year),” said Sang Ryul.

The South Korean master coach took China to their first ever World Cup, where they finished 10th, while Malaysia ended 15th out of 16 teams.

Malaysia will open accounts in the pre-Olympic Qualifier against Brazil on Friday, followed by China on April 28 and Italy on April 29.

In Group A are Canada, Austria, Wales and Belarus.

The top two teams in each group qualify for the semi-finals, while the second and third placed teams in each group fight for the other two semi-final slots.

Coach Roelant Oltmans’ Malaysian side should pay heed to Sang Ryul's warning, even though the Korean had overhauled 50 per cent of his World Cup side.

“We made nine changes to the World Cup squad as we had 18 Inner Mongolia players in Bhubaneswar. For Kuala Lumpur, I have nine from Inner Mongolia while the other nine are from many other provinces,” said Sang Ryul.

He was coaching Inner Mongolia but received a four-year contract from China recently.

In the World Cup, China held England 2-2 and Ireland 1-1 to advance to the next round but were beaten 1-0 by France in the play-off for quarter-finals.

Interestingly, China have four players with fewer than five caps, while 23-year-old Meng Lei will be making his international debut.

But still, Sang Ryul is optimistic of China playing in the final.

New Straits Times

No buts about it – Kim isn’t joking about turning China into powerhouse

KUALA LUMPUR: South Korean coach Kim Sang-ryul (pic) wants to turn China’s men team from being the butt of jokes to hockey juggernauts.

And he is expecting his boys to put up a strong challenge at the FIH Series Finals starting tomorrow at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Under Sang-ryul’s guidance, China defied the odds to finish 10th in the 16-member field in the World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India, last December – and they did even better than Malaysia, who finished 15th.

That saw them move up four rungs to 14th in the world.

At the World Cup, Sang-ryul only had the services of Inner Mongolian players but for the Series Finals, which is the qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, he will have the services of players from all over China.

The 64-year-old Sang-ryul, who has 30 years of coaching experience, said he made nine changes to the team that played in the World Cup.

“I’ve the best players from all over China for the tournament here. We are well prepared,” said Sang-ryul.

“We played five friendly matches with Asian Games champions Japan and won four matches and lost one.

“The players are in high spirits and they’re looking forward to finishing in the top two of the tournament,” said Sang-ryul, who has a four-year contract with China.

China will be led by captain and midfielder Du Chen and penalty corner drag flicker Du Talake.

Sang-ryul added that he wanted to make China a powerhouse in hockey.

“Winning the tournament here will be a great boost for us to qualify for next year’s Olympics. And it will also help us play more matches with stronger teams,” said Sang-ryul.

China will open their Group B campaign against Italy tomorrow in the eight-team tournament.

Their other matches are against Malaysia on Sunday and they wrap up the fixtures against Brazil on Monday.

Group A comprises Austria, Belarus, Canada and Wales.

The Star of Malaysia

Hockey legends challenge Malaysian team to end 20-year Olympic absence

By Aftar Singh

Legends: (from left) Datuk Mirnawan Nawawi, Datuk Seri N. Shanmuganathan and Nor Saiful Zaini posing for a photograph at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Three former hockey Olympians are challenging the men’s hockey team to dream big and end Malaysia’s 20-year wait to feature in the Olympic Games.

Hockey legends Datuk Seri N. Shanmuganathan, Nor Saiful Zaini and Datuk Mirnawan Nawawi took time off yesterday to motivate the players to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Malaysian hockey team have not featured in the Olympics since Sydney in 2000.

The national team’s journey to qualify for the Tokyo Games begins tomorrow when they feature in the FIH Series Finals at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

The 72-year-old Shanmuganathan wants the long wait to end.

“It has been almost 20 years now that Malaysia have not qualified for the Olympics,” he lamented.

“We have committed players. They should not hold back as expectations are high on them to deliver their best in front of the fans.

“Hockey is the number one team sport in Malaysia and I hope to see the players rise to the occasion to win the tournament,” said Shanmuganathan, who featured in three Olympic Games – Mexico (1968), Munich (1972) and Montreal (1976).

He was the captain of the team in Munich and Montreal.

Shanmuganathan, who also played in three World Cups – Amsterdam (1973), Kuala Lumpur (1975) and Buenos Aires (1978) – added that the players must play with the right attitude.

“They should not allow the opponents to put them under pressure. The young players should step up to play as good as their seniors,” said Shanmuganathan, who played 125 matches for Malaysia from 1968 to 1978.

He was also the captain of the Malaysian team who finished fourth in the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur in 1975 and also coached the national team from 1987-1988.

Nor Saiful and Mirnawan, who have also played in three Olympics – Barcelona (1992), Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000), shared the same sentiments.

“Overall, we’ve an experienced team as some of them have played in World Cups,” said Nor Saiful, who was the skipper of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic team.

“I’ve faith in the team. I believe they can defy the odds. I’ve played in three Olympics and I want them to experience the same,” said Nor Saiful, who is currently the national junior coach.

Mirnawan, the captain of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games team, admits the road to the Olympics looks tough but he insists nothing is impossible.

“The players need to believe that they can do it. I’m confident they will deliver with the home-ground advantage and fan support,” said Mirnawan, who is a sports commentator with Astro Arena.

The Star of Malaysia

U-21 USWNT's Defense Shines, Concludes Tour with Tie to Host Nation

MÖNCHENGLADBACH, Germany - The U.S. U-21 Women's National Team met the Germany U-21 squad for the second time in the final match of their international tour. USA made the necessary adjustments to compete with the high level of competition following the previous matches that they played earlier this week. Although the team absorbed lots of pressure from Germany at the start, USA’s defensive intensity increased throughout the match, as well as promising offensive opportunities, ultimately playing to a 1-1 tie.

“It was pleasing to see the group improve across their four games in Germany," said Phil Edwards, USA Field Hockey's Senior Manager of Junior High Performance. "The level of competition was high, as you would expect playing Great Britain and our hosts, and the players stepped up to the challenge. These experiences are invaluable as part of the players development and hopefully they head back to the United States ready to take the next step forward.”

Throughout the game, the team showed great resilience and determination to match the level of play from the opposition. The defensive strength and determination to win the ball and play with a consistent attacking mentality shutdown Germany’s offense. In turn, allowed USA to counter attack and create offensive pressure. Germany generated a lot of circle attack in the first and second quarters, but were unable to capitalize on most of their opportunities due to USA's defense. One of the Die Danas' attacks found its way through in the 21st minute on a field goal. USA responded by generating a few offensive threats and earned a penalty corner in the process, but Germany's goalkeeper made a diving save to keep the ball out. At halftime, the score stood 0-1.

USA made tactical and positional adjustments at halftime and came out of the locker room with a hunger to close the final two quarters on a high note and finish off the tour with a win. The red, white and blue applied a lot of pressure on the press which resulted in interceptions and counter attacks. In the middle of the third quarter, USA made an intercept off the press, where the ball then made its way to Mary-Kate Neff (Villanova, Pa.), who put it over Germany's goalkeeper to level the score to 1-1 in the 33rd minute. USA earned more penalty corners throughout the second half, including one where Jillian Woglemuth (Mount Joy, Pa.) collected a rebound from the initial shot and fired a reverse shot into the goal, but it was called back.

The final quarter was played mostly between the 25-yard lines with both teams making the occasional foray into their respective attacking circles. With one minute left in the game, Germany got into USA’s defensive circle and got the ball past USA’s goalkeeper, but Carter Ayars (Wilmington, Del.) was there to make a goal line defensive save to keep the game knotted at 1-1.

After the match, USA and Germany participated in a penalty shootout where USA defeated the Germany side 3-2 with Corinne Zanolli (Newton Square, Pa.), Megan Rogers (San Diego, Calif.) and Maddie Zimmer (Hershey, Pa.) scoring.

Overall, the tour was a filled with high-quality, close competition and provided invaluable growth experience for the U.S. U-21 Women's National Team. Up next, the the team will participate in a training camp May 10-12 at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa.

USFHA media release

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