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News for 15 June 2019

All the news for Saturday 15 June 2019

FIH Men's Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019 - Finals
Bhubaneswar (IND)

Fixtures (GMT +5:30)

14 Jun 2019    RUS v POL (5/6 Place)     3 - 2
14 Jun 2019    USA v RSA (SF)     1 - 2
14 Jun 2019    IND v JPN (SF)     7 - 2

15 Jun 2019 17:00     JPN v USA (3rd/4th Place)
15 Jun 2019 19:15     IND v RSA (Final)

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

FIH Match Centre

South Africa superb in comeback win to secure final place

Image Courtesy of Hockey India

South Africa had overcome a slow start to find themselves in the FIH Hockey Series Finals final four. On a sweltering hot Bhubaneswar, the African champions took on the team that defeated them in the opening game USA. USA had finished top of the pool and skipped the Quarter-Final stage, while South Africa had secured their place in the semi-final with a thrilling 2-1 win over Russia.

The South Africans started the game the better side and created a few opportunities including three penalty corners. USA however managed to keep the South Africans at bay and with 5 seconds left on the clock won their first penalty corner of the match. When Aki Kaeppeler fired home the corner there would have been a few flashbacks from the South Africans after a similar pattern had developed in the opening game between the two.

But Garreth Ewing’s side have come a long way in the tournament and they proceeded to dominate the game and dictate the pace under very trying conditions due to the heat. Although dominating the possession the South Africans were not quite creating enough circle penetrations and headed into the half-time break 1-0 down with a few players guilty of snatching at chances presented.

But the break eventually came when South Africa won their fifth penalty corner of the match and Austin Smith stood tall and fired home. Smith is the highest capped player in the squad and his ability to handle the emotions at the time of pressure was telling in setting the game up for a grand stand finish.

As the African’s surged forward looking for a winning goal USA created the best chance of the game when Christian de Angelis missed the ball in front of an open goal and it struck his foot. It was the kind of chance that could have broken the resilience of the South Africans, but instead inspired them that they had to take advantage of that get out of jail card.

They did just that in the fourth quarter creating 10 circle entries to the USA’s 2, but with 1-minute left in the game it looked like we were headed to showdowns. Siya Nolutshungu was out stretching in preparation before an entire field move from back to front fell to Owen Mvimbi, his pass looked out of reach for Bili Ntuli, but the superb forward dived forward to reach the ball and fired a shot towards goal. Nicholas Spooner was the quickest to react and diverted the ball passed Klages in the USA goal with 34 seconds on the clock. That would be all, and South Africa had secured their place in the final, but more importantly in the next stage of the Olympic Qualification process.

Having headed to the tournament with hopes of a top 2 finish, the slow start may have quelled that ambition slightly. Well it would have if this was not a South African side. South Africans are at their best when their backs are against the wall and the quintessential characteristic of a South African sportsman is their ability to dig deep when few give them a chance. This team is full of South Africans and that’s the ultimate compliment I can pay to them.

FIH Hockey series Finals – Semi-Finals

South Africa 2 (Smith 42’ & Spooner 60’)
USA 1 (Kaeppeler 15’)


South Africa vs. India – 15 June 2019 – 15:45 SA Time

SA Hockey Association media release

South Africa Scores in Final Seconds to Defeat USMNT in FIH Series Finals Semifinals

Image Courtesy of Hockey India

BHUBANESWAR, India - The top two nations in the FIH Series Finals will play in an Olympic Qualifying Event. That goal has been in the back of the minds of the No. 25 U.S. Men’s National Team since they first stepped on the pitch at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India. In a rematch of their opening game, USA knew their opponent No. 16 South Africa and battled them until the very end but an unfortunate goal in the final seconds of regulation cut their dream short as South Africa won 2-1.

"The guys deserve nothing but compliments today," said Rutger Wiese, USMNT Head Coach. "They fought like lions but unfortunately the game lasted 35 seconds too long."

The first quarter saw South Africa come out on the front foot while USA maintained a similar structure to their first meeting, sitting in a deep half-field press. South Africa produced three circle entries early and in the fourth minute, Nqobile Ntuli got the first shot of the game and earned their first penalty corner. Although the attempt went wide, South Africa continued to threaten their circle and earned back-to-back penalty corners in the 9th and 10th minutes. USA goalkeeper Jonathan Klages (Berlin, Germany) made saves on both attempts, the first a straight drag and the second a drag down to the inserter Richard Pautz on the reverse whose deflection went off the toe of Klages. With time in the first quarter ticking down, Tyler Sundeen (Simi Valley, Calif.) sent a ball into the USA circle, hit a South Africa foot and earned a penalty corner. Aki Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany) calmly stepped up and sent a drag high into the net to give USA 1-0 lead as time expired.

South Africa maintained their attacking mentality in the second quarter, but USA continued to absorb the pressure. As their opponents were on the hunt to level the score Keenan Horne and Owen Mvimbi were the only two who registered shots and both went wide of the goal. On the other end, USA produced a shot of their own, but the play leveled out for the remainder of the frame as USA held the lead into halftime.

To start the third quarter, South Africa came out with four strikers but the change in structure didn’t confuse the USA unit. The red, white and blue produced a few more looks inside their attacking 25 but were unable to make connections in the circle. The first came through Will Holt (Camarillo, Calif.) on the left side when he tried to send a backhand cross that was successfully defended. An identical play through Tom Barratt (Greensboro, N.C.) was saved by South Africa goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse and the follow-up shot was deemed dangerous. This attack was matched by South Africa who earned a penalty corner in the 42nd minute. The first chance went off the foot of A. Kaeppeler and on the rewarded corner, Austin Smith scored on a drag down the middle for the equalizer as the quarter score ended tied at 1-1.

With the spot in an Olympic Qualifying Event lingering, the final fifteen minutes was hard-fought until the end. South Africa came out quick earning a two consecutive penalty corners in the opening minute. Klages came up big making two critical stops, the first a stand-up glove save on a straight drag and the second on the ground to fend off a double slip, close range shot. Just after, USA produced two chances of their own when A. Kaeppeler sent an aerial to Barratt on the right side who sent it into the circle to Sundeen but he was unable to get a shot off. Next, Kei Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany) used his skill to get on the left baseline and passed to Alberto Montilla (Allen, Texas) who could not control the pass. In the 53rd minute, USA almost scored when K. Kaeppeler worked it in the circle, ran the right baseline and Christian DeAngelis (Doylestown, Pa.) put it in but not before it hit his foot. Under a minute to go and with a shootout on the horizon, South Africa worked a deep ball into their circle that got shuffled toward the top. USA was unable to cleanly defend as a shot on goal was touched by Nicolas Spooner past Klages to give South Africa the come from behind 2-1 win.

At the end of the game, South Africa defender Tyson Dlungwana earned Man of the Match.

The U.S. Men’s National Team will play tomorrow, Saturday, June 15 at 7:30 a.m. ET in the FIH Series Finals bronze medal game against the loser of the second semifinal game.

USFHA media release

SA men’s hockey team down USA to book final spot

The South African men’s hockey team beat the USA 2-1 in the semifinal of the FIH Series Finals in Bhubaneswar, India, on Friday.

The USA took the lead right at the end of the opening quarter, with their only shot of the first half, through Aki Kaeppeler and held on until midway through the third quarter.

Austin Smith then levelled matters in the 42nd minute with the USA managing only one more shot after their early goal.

South Africa then piled on the pressure in the last quarter but it looked to be in vain as the clock ticked down.

Nicholas Spooner had other ideas though and with the South Africans' fifth shot of the final period scored a last-minute winner to send the boys in green and gold to the showpiece match.

The men from Mzanzi will next face India in the final match on Saturday, 15 June, after the latter defeated Japan 7-2 in the other semifinal.


Nicholas Spooner nets late winner as South Africa beat USA to reach summit clash

South Africa scored a late goal to eke out a 2-1 victory over the USA. Image courtesy: Twitter/@USAFieldHockey

South Africa scored a late goal to eke out a 2-1 victory over the USA and enter the summit clash of the FIH Series Finals hockey tournament on Friday.

The first semifinal between South Africa, the second highest ranked team in the tournament at 16, and world no. 25 USA was a hard-fought duel with the Americans looking on course for another upset win till the 42nd minute.

Despite South Africa dominating the early exchanges, it was USA who took the lead in the 15th minute through a penalty corner conversion by Aki Kaeppeler.

Stunned by the goal, the Africans pressed hand in the second quarter but failed to utilise the chances and USA went into the breather leading by a solitary goal.

South Africa kept up the pressure in the third quarter and eqaulised when Austin Smith converted a penalty corner in the 42nd minute.

From there on, both the teams tried hard to score the all-important winner but just when it looked the tournament would witness its first shoot-out, South Africa capitalised on USA's defensive lapse and struck just at the stroke of the final hooter through Nicholas Spooner to march into Saturday's final.

The win came as a sweet revenge for the Africans who were beaten 2-0 by the USA in the pool stages of the tournament.

Just like Wednesday and Friday's morning matches, there was a water break of one-minute after seven-and-half minutes of first two quarters because of extreme heatwave conditions.

Meanwhile earlier in the day, Russia scrapped past Poland in a classification match to finish fifth.


Clinical India outpace Japan in semi-final goal fest, set up summit clash against South Africa

Sundeep Misra

India's relentless pace proved too much for Japan. Image: Hockey India/ File

Bhubaneswar: In an evening powered by India’s phenomenal pace, mixed with an uncanny ability to pick out empty spaces, inter-woven with subtle skills, Japan’s early lead was not only neutralised, they were also handed out a lesson in scoring aptitude as India powered past the Asian Games Champions 7-2 to enter the final of the FIH Men’s Series Finals. By reaching the final which will be played against South Africa who beat the USA 2-1, India also made sure that they will play the concluding round of the Olympic qualifying, later in the year, in the battle to reach Tokyo 2020.

Japan scored through Kenji Kitazato (2nd) and Kota Watanabe (20th). For India, the scorers were, Harmanpreet Singh (7th), Varun Kumar (14th), Ramandeep Singh (23rd, 37th), Hardik Singh (25th), Gursahibjit Singh (43rd) and Vivek Sagar (47th).

It was a welcome return to scoring goals for Ramandeep. In the earlier matches, the Indian centre-forward, out with a knee injury for most of the year, did play a major part but the final touch needed to put the ball into goal wasn’t materialising. Against Japan, Ramadeep injected the PCs, provided the assists and scored twice, which could easily have been a hat-trick. Upfront, he was the busiest player along with Manpreet Singh in the midfield and Harmanpreet Singh in defence.

Looking back at the match, it was a surprise that Japan kept trying to outpace India. In fact, the same had happened in Jakarta at the Asian Games where they did try and match India step by step. But with an open midfield and a defence that was outrageously running upfront, Japan were sitting ducks on the counter. In no quarter, even after equalising 2-2, Japan tried to hold the ball, gain possession or even kill the pace of the game. The faster they ran through the midfield, turn-overs ensured that the Indian right flank overlapped with Mandeep, Ramandeep, Akashdeep and Nilakanta Sharma lying in wait to tear apart the Japanese defence.

One can either call Japanese coach Siegfried Aikman bold and audacious or foolishly rash. It was an audacious move that gave Japan the lead in the second minute. India had barely settled in, the fans still figuring out their bearings in the stadium when Japan saw the big, gaping hole in the Indian defence.

It was a lovely through from the midfield that saw Kenta Tanaka race into the Indian striking circle and give it to Kenji Kitazato whose flash zipped past a shocked Krishan Pathak.

Tactically, the big question for Japan was, what now? It was too early to retreat into a defensive structure. Japan attacked. After getting over the shock of conceding a second-minute goal, India got their structure back in place.

Immediately after that, Nilakanta Sharma saw his reverse shot saved by the Japanese goalkeeper. A minute later, Nilakanta, Ramandeep, Hardik played a one-to-one but Gursahibjit Singh’s hit deflected off the goalkeeper’s pads. India were slowly pressing. Varun Kumar’s aerial onto the right flank almost succeeded in opening the space but the trap was weak. The equaliser came in the seventh minute off India’s second PC. Harmanpreet Singh’s flick deflected off the keeper’s gloves into goal. At 1-1, India looked settled but needed to do more in the midfield to exert control.

The pace was breakneck. Both teams were at each other’s throat. In the pace generated by both, there was enough heat to set the turf alight. India looked the more penetrative. Ramandeep fluffed two chances followed by Akashdeep. Then came the third PC followed by the fourth from which Varun Kumar’s flick went between the goalkeeper and Masaki Ohashi. India had a 2-1 lead at the end of the 1st quarter.

Japan opened the second quarter at high speed. They sped down the right flank and entered the Indian striking circle at will. Kenta Tanaka once opened up Manpreet Singh inside out before swivelling back and taking hard hits at the Indian goal; both shots were saved by Sreejesh. The momentum was going back to Japan. In the 20th minute, Kota Watanabe found himself in front of Sreejesh after a lovely move down the left flank. The deft touch went into the Indian goal as Japan tied 2-2. At this stage, India did look rattled. Aikman, on the sidelines was smiling. Kenji Kitazato was zipping through the midfield as India struggled to rein him in.

In the 23rd minute, India got a break when Gurinder sped upfront and his hit was deflected in by Ramandeep. India led 3-2. The players hugged Ramandeep knowing how much that goal meant to him. Two minutes later, off a melee, the ball bounced off Simranjeet’s stick. Kitazato tried to control but instead gave it away to Hardik on top of the circle. The youngster’s powerful hit made it 4-2. Off the sixth PC, Varun’s flick hit the post and deflected away. Japan had two PCs in the dying moments of the second quarter. But India walked away unscathed 4-2 for the break.

Both teams were unrelenting in the third quarter too. India blew away their seventh and eighth PC, but finally got the fifth goal off the ninth PC. Manpreet was stopping the ball but the inject was wobbly so Manpreet took a straight hit which rebounded off the goalkeeper’s pads and an alert Ramandeep back flipped the shot for India to lead 5-2.

With two minutes left, Japan had their third PC and the deflection seemed good. The Japanese did their best in trying to convince the umpire, but a tournament run without a video replay is like not having a gen-set in an area with electricity issues. Arguing with the umpires unsettles the team and India took advantage when Nilakanta sped through and his pass was parallel to the goalkeeper where Gursahibjit only had to deflect in. At 6-2, the match was out of Japan’s hands.

In the fourth quarter, Japan were wilting as the pace was killing them. In the 47th minute, Gurinder sent in a cross which was hit into goal by Vivek Sagar. India led 7-2. Japan had three PCs in the fourth quarter but couldn’t score off any. They also got two yellow cards in the match which made things difficult for them. In trying to force the pace, Japan gave away too many turnovers. In fact, the final quarter was a story of turnovers.

For India, the circle penetrations crossed 25 with 15 shots on goal.

Japan’s coach Aikman said after the match, “I think we played well, were good in the game. I think we were unlucky. We conceded PCs which in our opinion were not PCs. Unfortunately, those turned into goals. We were able to fight back, recover. They scored again, we recovered. After that, we lost our head, discipline. Mentally you deal with disappointment. We could have handled it well. Still we tried to play as well as we could. But there was some frustration.”

Indian coach Graham Reid said, “The idea was to start better than what we did. Giving away a goal is always difficult.”

Aikman did agree that India were the more physical team. “India played a mature game. Hit the ball, were more physical. But it should be like that. We must deal with it. Our players are not used to this kind of physicality. We were a bit soft.”

Reid refused to divulge too much about the final on Saturday. “You have to wait and see. I am not going to give away too much. It was good to see some different variations tonight. It's also important that PC flickers get their rhythm.”

Things won’t be too different in the final against South Africa on Saturday. India will hunt for opportunities. South Africa have pace and they will counter-attack. But in the dismantling of Japan, India can’t luxuriate in the excesses of it; there is a still a final to be won.


India turns on the style

Wallops Japan to enter final and face South Africa

Uthra Ganesan

Fantastic finish: Ramandeep Singh comes up with a spectacular effort for one of his two goals in India’s thumping win over Japan in the semifinals on Friday. 

The Indian team that everyone wanted to see finally stepped up, partially, in the semifinals of the Hockey Series Finals here against Japan on Friday, storming to a 7-2 victory and setting up a final clash against South Africa.

Despite the scoreline, it was not a 100 percent performance from the host. When in flow, the Indians can be a delight to watch, and they showed glimpses of it in the second half.

The margin could have been bigger if the forwards, specially Mandeep Singh, had managed to avoid a bit of show-boating and got their positioning correct early on.

Credit, though, must also go to Japan goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa, who brought off some impressive saves. Despite the difference in rankings, it wasn’t expected to be an easy outing for India and it wasn’t made any easier when Kenji Kitazato slammed in the opening goal in the second minute itself.

It took the Indians by surprise and saw them hit back with desperation, getting an equaliser five minutes later through Harmanpreet Singh’s penalty corner.

For the first 20 minutes, it was an even battle before Ramandeep Singh tapped in in the 23rd minute and Hardik Singh, unmarked at the top of the circle, got in a rebound two minutes later.

The second half was completely different. The lethargy was replaced by aggression and it looked like the players had been given a free hand.

The team spread out, the flanks became important in creating openings, the holding time reduced and suddenly, the Indians were all over the Japanese half.

The team kept trying to earn penalty corners — it got 10 in all — while also putting pressure on the Japanese defence through short passes inside their circle.

It worked, as in the 37th minute Ramandeep Singh slotted home a rebound from India’s eighth PC.

Japan dismantled, the discipline they are known for vanished and despite a few counter attacks, there was no come back for the Asian Games champion.

In the other semifinal, South Africa completed its spectacular recovery in the tournament by entering the final with a 2-1 win against USA.

After a disastrous start to the competition, SA edged past a fighting USA to ensure a spot in the Olympic qualifiers. USA would now take on Japan for the third spot.

Earlier in the morning, Russia upset Poland to finish its campaign with a 3-2 victory and fifth spot in the competition, repeating its performance in the Pool stage.

The results: 5-6 place: Russia 3 (Marat Khairullin, Pavel Golubev, Sergey Lepeshkin) bt Poland 2 (Mikolaj Gumny, Michal Kaspryzk).

India 7 (Ramandeep Singh 2, Gursahibjit Singh, Vivek Prasad, Varun Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Hardik Singh) bt Japan 2 (Kenji Kitazato, Kota Watanabe)
South Africa 2 (Austin Smith, Nicholas Spooner) bt USA 1 (Aki Kaeppeler).

The Hindu

India achieves OQ objective after Japan kill today

s2h Team

Host India majestically made it to the Olympic Qualifier with a quality display against Japan in the semi-final of the FIH Open Finals in Bhubaneswar. India posted a heart warming 7-2 win to take its spot in the Sunday final. With this, it joined South Africa for the 14-team Olympic Qualifier to come off late in the year.

South Africa, who lost to the States in the opener, were almost in the same predicament today in the other semi-final before a gritty goal in the dying seconds tilted the scales. Its again the USA team that took the lead the same way they did in the Bhubaneswar opener against the African champions. However, controlled midfifeld play did not allow further leeway, a mistake that cost them the opener (0-2). Experienced player in the side Austin Smith, who is familiar with the Kalinga fans for being part of Hockey India League, did an encore three minutes before the end of third quarter.

The last quarter saw both teams giving their best. When it almost appeared the match will end in a draw, Nicolas Spooner came up with a gem of goal to give his side the Olympic Qualifier slot.

The other semifinal was not a thriller like the one in the first. It appeared initially there is a fight on hand for India. More so when Kenji Kitazato stunned India with an immaculate goal within 100 seconds of the start. Harmanpreet Singh five minutes later and Varun Kumar in the 14th minute struck a goal apiece to douse the Japan's early fires. Both were from penalty corner manouveres.

Indians went for the first 2-minute break with a goal lead. Japan pressed hard and got its dividends in the 20th minute with field goal from Kota Watanabe (2-2).

Egged on by the goody crowd, Indians pulled up their socks and did not allow any leeway to the Japanese, who are not contained. It was comeback kid Ramandeep Singh who proved to be Japan's undoing with hawkish eye on the ball. Fittingly, he posted a brace of goals, giving further hopes on his returning form. He lost most of Indian engagements last year after sustaining an ankle injury at London CT.

The two goal he has got, and the manner it was accomplished, must have given him the much needed relief, boasting his confidence.

In the 25 minutes space after Ramandeep's first goal in the 23 minute, India added another another four goals to fill the Cup of woes for the Japan. Japan have any way qualified for the Tokyo Olympics being the hosts and also by winning the Asian Games hockey chapter.

Vivek Prasad, Gursahibjit Singh and Hardik Singh are the other scorers for India.


India coach Graham Reid pleased after team's thumping win over Japan, but says job far from over

Anish Anand

India secured a 7-2 win over Japan on Friday. Image: Hockey India

Bhubaneswar: When Japan exploited weak areas in the Indian defence and scored two goals to make it 2-2 in the first half, it seemed like Graham Reid's India will once again suffer in a knockout match. But that was not the script for Friday's victory as India thrashed Japan 7-2 to ensure they make it to the Olympic Qualifiers.

It was a win that pleased head coach Reid the most in the tournament.

"I think it's the first game where I was almost satisfied," Reid said in the post-match press conference. "That's the great thing about getting better and improving. You should always be trying to find things to get better at. We gave away an early goal, and it's always difficult to come back."

Japan opened the scoring in the match after resisting early pressure from India. The counter-attacking gameplan was working for Siegfried Aikman until Reid decided to slow things down in the second quarter. Indian players started controlling the game and added five more goals to the scoreline from 2-2 to take the game away from the frustrated Japanese players.

Aikman expressed displeasure at the way the initial penalty corners were given in favour of India but accepted that his players lost discipline as the match progressed.

"I think we played well, were good in the game. I think we were unlucky. We conceded PCs (penalty corners) which in our opinion were not PCs. Unfortunately, what always happens, those turned into goals. We were able to fight back, recover. They scored again, we recovered. After that we lost our head, discipline," Aikman said.

India's first three goals came from penalty corners and the Japanese players were seen arguing with the umpire with certain decisions. It was evident that the players were getting frustrated as India was from converting penalty corner chances.

"Mentally you have to deal with disappointment. We could have handled it well. Still, we tried to play as well as we could. But there was some frustration. We were unlucky, let me say that.

"We certainly lost the momentum. That I can't deny. We tried to keep our gameplan, tried to counter-attack tactically. Twice the umpire was in between our pass. Unfortunate, it happens. But those little details matter. For us, it's a lesson to be better prepared for those things. We lost the momentum and India got it."

Japanese players were also taken aback by the physicality of the game, with two of their players getting off the field on a stretcher. The heat only made it more difficult for them.

"India played a mature game. Hit the ball, were more physical. But it should be like that. We have to deal with it. Our players are not used to this kind of physicality. We will not try to hurt them. But they don't care, want to get the ball to their players. We were a bit soft. Something I have noticed in the past too, it's difficult for us."

For Reid and team, a target was achieved on Friday by staying on course for the Olympics qualification, but the coach says the job is done yet as the team has to qualify for the main event in Tokyo and there's also a final to be played on Saturday.

"The most important is that this is great practice for us. It's the final (on Saturday). We are trying to win tomorrow (15 June). Yes, great to qualify (for Olympic qualifiers) but the focus is to prepare for South Africa and give our best.

"Finals are always different games. We all have watched more than enough to know that finals are different to round games, the pressure is different. It's going to be a really interesting and good challenge for us," Reid said.

After playing his 100th match for India on Friday, defender Harmanpreet Singh credited the mindset of the team for overcoming a tricky challenge against Japan.

"Any match, any tournament, the mindset is to go step by step. Of course, it was a big match. We wanted to win before thinking about the next match. We don't think about losing. Our mindset is always to win. Nobody comes to lose. We put in a good effort, and won because of that."

In the earlier semi-final, South Africa left it late to clinch the match against the US and made it to the final. After beating the US 2-1, South Africa will now face India in the final on Saturday (7.15 IST) at the Kalinga Stadium. The match for the third place between the US and Japan will start at 5 pm.


Graham Reid satisfied India's performance in 7-2 triumph

India beat Japan 7-2 in the semifinals of the FIH Hockey Series Finals on Friday to secure its place in the summit clash and also a spot in Olympic Qualifiers.

Samarnath Soory

Head coach Graham Reid says India played a "good game" against Japan.   -  BISWARANJAN ROUT

India was in deep trouble as Japan scored the opening goal in the 2nd minute, then made it 2-2 in the 20th minute leaving the crowd at the Kalinga Stadium shell-shocked. India recovered from the early scare as goals from Ramandeep Singh, Hardik Singh, Gursahibjit Singh and Vivek Prasad secured a 7-2 win to seal a place in the final of the FIH Hockey Series Finals at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar on Friday.

The team’s ability to dig deep has left India’s head coach Graham Reid ‘almost satisfied’.

“It was good game today. I am very happy for the young players for scoring (Hardik and Gursahibjit). It is the first time where I was almost satisfied,” Reid said.

The win also booked India’s place in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers in November. The Australian said that his team will strive to put in better performances in the upcoming tours of Japan and Belgium.

“We have not qualified for the Olympics yet. There is one more round to go (Olympics Qualifiers). And we have two tours before November, so we will see what more we can do before the qualifiers,” he added.

Defender Harmanpreet Singh, who played his 100th international game for India on Friday, admitted that the game was far from perfect.

“When it comes to the basics of hockey, we have done well. But I would not say that we have not committed any mistakes. But there is always a way to rectify those mistakes. We have worked hard for this and we have the mindset to the win the tournament,” he said.

Despite the defeat, Japan coach Siegfried Aikman felt that his team has learned a valuable lesson.

“We lacked the physicality of India. Two of my players took hits and that intensity what the Indian players showed makes the game so good. We are not used to that kind of hockey. But the best thing is that now we know better after playing match at this level,”

—We have won our final, says South Africa coach—

South Africa staged a remarkable comeback against USA in the first semifinal of the day as it came back from 0-1 down at half-time to win 2-1 by scoring in the dying seconds of the game. The reigning African Champion’s head coach Rutger Wiese was delighted that his team has secured a spot in the Olympic Qualifiers.

“We had won our final. The final (on Saturday), whoever we play, will be the cherry on top,” he said.

It had been financially difficult year for the world no 12 where the players had to pay for their flight tickets to play in tours abroad. Wiese felt that the win would ease the situation going on with the South African Hockey Association.

“We could now walk into the board room and say that they now have to sort out the funding and give us the Test matches we need to prepare for the Olympics,” he said.


Stats Speak: India have an edge over Springbok in final

BY B.G.Joshi (in Kalinga Hockey stadium Bhubaneswar)

Ramandeep Singh (caps-128, goals-50) have returned to Indian team after one year, won the man of the match award in SF vs. Japan yesterday. Ramandeep (extreme left) raised stick after scoring 50th goal in international hockey. Photo courtesy FIH

India-South Africa final match is very rare phenomena in hockey. Both teams have met in title match thrice. India won title in Indira Gandhi International Gold Cup (Lucknow-1994), Chief Minister International Gold Cup (Chennai-1996) and Champions Challenge Cup (Kuala Lumpur-2001) against South Africa.
 Here are the overall statistical highlights:





South Africa




For India

Goals For

South Africa








In  Title match







Last  Five Matches







Last met in Nov2018 in Bhubaneswar World Cup   Pool match, India won 5-0; It is biggest ever wins of India against South Africa. *in 1994 league match in round robin format.


FIH Women's Series Finals Banbridge 2019 - Day 8
Banbridge (IRL)

Fixtures (GMT +1)

15 Jun 2019 11:00     SGP v UKR (7 / 8)
15 Jun 2019 13:15     IRL v CZE (SF)
15 Jun 2019 15:30     KOR v MAS (SF)

16 Jun 2019 11:00     FRA v SCO (5 / 6)
16 Jun 2019 13:15     Loser IRL v CZE v Loser KOR v MAS (3 / 4)
16 Jun 2019 15:30     Winner IRL v CZE v Winner KOR v MAS (Final)

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

FIH Match Centre

Green Army one win from a guaranteed Olympic qualifier place

The Green Army sing Ireland’s Call prior to their game with Singapore. Pic: Billy Pollock

Interim coach Gareth Grundie says last Sunday’s 8-1 mauling of the Czech Republic will have “no bearing” on his Ireland side’s outloook as they face a rematch in Saturday’s FIH Series’ semi-final at Banbridge.

The stakes are much higher this time around for the Green Army with victory assuring a direct Olympic qualifier next October.

The Czechs scraped into the final with a quarter-final shoot-out win over Scotland on Thursday evening after a low-quality 0-0 draw.

As such, the Irish side will take huge confidence into the tie. The understated Grundie, however, was typically careful not to ramp up expectations.

“We’ve done quite a bit of homework on them leading into the tournament so we know their strengths and won’t take anything for granted,” he said.

“The last game has no bearing on the outcome of this semi-final and we’ll make sure we are prepared as best we can be.”

Nonetheless, the World Cup silver medalists have been the stand-out side this week, scoring 21 and conceding just two in three games to date.

The win over the Czechs was their most complete performance against a side they have previously struggled against with Anna O’Flanagan gobbling up four chances.

She was deployed in midfield in the Singapore game in the midweek 11-0 win while Shirley McCay was used in the forward line. They could well revert back to more regular positions given the elevated stakes.

The win on Saturday will earn a final shot on Sunday against either Korea or Malaysia and while that would mean the key target will already be in the bag, that tie could also prove important for a few additional world ranking points.

Currently, Ireland are in the shake-up for a home Olympic qualifier with the points on offer here and August’s European Championships going a long way to aid that cause.

Korea would be a direct rival in that regard so finishing above them could be crucial further down the line.

The Hook

Malaysia indo-or-die mission against South Korea in semi-finals

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia women’s hockey team are just one match away from qualifying for the final of the FIH Series Finals in Banbridge, Ireland.

K. Dharmaraj’s squad edged France 3-2 in the cross-over match on Thursday to qualify for the semi-final against world No. 11 South Korea.

The Koreans reached the semi-finals by winning all three Group B matches (beat Ukraine 5-0, Scotland 3-1 and France 1-0).

Malaysia, ranked 22nd, must beat Korea in order to reach the final and finish in the top-two to reach the qualifying playoff match in October for a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics next year.

In the match against France, Malaysia started off well by taking a 2-0 lead in the first eight minutes of the match through Nuraini Abdul Rashid (second) and Fatin Sukri (eighth).

A minute later France reduced the deficit with a goal from Delfina Gaspari.

Hanis Nadia Onn scored Malaysia’s third goal in the 15th minute before France managed to pull one back through Gussje van Bolhuis in the 26th minute.

Dharmaraj said that it will be a do-or-die mission Malaysia against Korea in the semis.

“We need to reach the final if we hope to keep our hopes alive to play in the next round of the Olympic qualifier. I have faith in my players rising to the occasion to give their best in the semi-finals.”

“We have never drawn or beaten them before. So the challenge will be on us to get the better of the Koreans, who are ranked much higher than us,” said Dharmaraj.

“I have faith in my players rising to the occasion to give their best in the semi-finals.

“We have to play a close-marking game and cannot afford to make any slip-ups in defence as they have skilful players.

“I am pleased with my players’ performance and hope that they will make full use of the chances to get the goals,” said Dharmaraj.





(Czech Republic win 4-3 in a penalty shootout)


(Malaysian Time)

S. KOREA vs MALAYSIA (10.30pm)

The Star of Malaysia

FIH Men's Series Finals Le Touquet-Paris Plage 2019 - Day 1
Le Touquet (FRA)

Fixtures (GMT +2)

15 Jun 2019 11:15     IRL v SCO (Pool A
15 Jun 2019 13:30     EGY v SGP (Pool A)
15 Jun 2019 15:45     KOR v CHI (Pool B)
15 Jun 2019 18:00     FRA v UKR (Pool B)

16 Jun 2019 11:15     SCO v SGP (Pool A)
16 Jun 2019 13:30     EGY v IRL (Pool A)
16 Jun 2019 15:45     UKR v CHI (Pool B)
16 Jun 2019 18:00     KOR v FRA (Pool B)

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

FIH Match Centre

Hartes go back to where it all began as vital cogs in the Green Machine

Conor, Emer and David Harte on the day they won their first cap.

Le Touquet will always hold a special place for the Harte household as the French coastal venue brought international debuts for David, Conor and Emer all on the same weekend.

The twins are back in town for the FIH Series Finals this weekend, pursuing the Olympic goal once again. For Conor, it is his fourth time at the venue but he almost missed that first one at the 2006 Celtic Cup as he took in another celebration much closer to home.

“Basically, I was a non-travelling reserve and had not been able to give my girlfriend Leagh [now his wife] and answer whether I could go or not to her debs!” he reminisced.

“The team was selected last minute and I didn’t make it I was able to go! I was suited and booted and on a bus to the venue when I got an SMS (showing how long ago it was now!) from Dave Passmore saying ‘we’ve two injuries to two defenders, need you to fly out tomorrow morning at 7.30am’.

“The glamour! I genuinely remember showing Leagh the text message asking her to also read it to make sure it was real and I wasn’t making it up! I also think I may have struggled to reply due to lack of credit!

“Bear in mind I was after a few cokes at this stage! So I stayed at the debs until the end, got picked up at early o’clock the next morning by my Dad who had messaged me saying ‘get on the water’ when I told him I got called up the night before! A wise man.”

He arrived to hear Ireland had lost to Scotland in the opening game as he put his bag onto his makeshift extra bed in Paddy Brown and Adam Pritchard’s room. The rest was something of a blur.

“I just remember being excited and determined to make the most out of the whole experience! I don’t really remember the game or anything but I do remember the high fives with all the lads before the game.

“And I do remember getting a taste of international hockey. Dave got his first cap too and I think I may have been more nervous for him being the last line of defence. All in all an incredible day for us both and also with Emer our sister getting her first cap that same day too!”

Plenty of water has passed under the bridge since then. That loss to Scotland was the second last time Ireland have been beaten by their Celtic rivals, the most recent coming two months after that with the Green Machine unbeaten in 20 meetings since.

Conor has run up 234 caps, the denomination of time he uses to measure his relationship with his wife.

“When people used to ask how many years we were together, I would say the number of caps I was on instead as Leagh was with me for the very first!”

Those years marked a kind of year zero for the men’s team with Ireland hovering around 20th in the world, rising through the list to be European bronze medalists and qualify for the Olympics and the World Cup.

December’s trip to Delhi, though, did not go exactly to plan and Ireland bowed out at the group stage, their first time finishing below ranking for over a decade.

It was a tricky year with the full impact of Craig Fulton’s departure to Belgium and the short timespan to introduce a new coaching regime proving tough to manage.

With 2019 being a vital year in the Olympic process, there was little time to lick wounds.

“Believe it or not, we had only maximum two weeks off post World Cup because we finished much sooner than we had hoped for.

“We literally hit the ground running and were all given a heavy, heavy gym and running program by our excellent staff who created top quality programmes for us between December and March.

“We made massive gains in those three or four months as we identified we weren’t fit, strong or powerful enough at the World Cup.

“We knew we could be better and to be fair the entire squad put the head down and worked extremely hard. Its only now we are seeing the differences and making strides.”

The squad got back together on the hockey-front in March with camps in Dublin and Kampong. It also encompassed a “very open” debrief as they sought to put things right for the Road to Tokyo.

“We identified a number of key areas where we had to improve and I think we are getting there. Small details and a sharp focus can be hugely beneficial in the long run.

Conor Harte after Ireland’s recent 3-2 win over France. Pic: Billy Pollock

“Maybe the World Cup was what we needed – a bit of a stock take where we are and were and what we needed to improve to get to where we want.

“To be fair, for this group and the men’s team over the past 10 years, we’ve been very fortunate with having successful tournament after tournament, qualifying for Olympics, world cups, medalling at a European Cup etc so the World Cup felt odd and unfamiliar territory!”

And they have the chance to start putting things right against the Scots early on Saturday morning (10.15am Irish time – live on the FIH.Live website), before facing Egypt on Sunday and Singapore on Tuesday.

Ireland are top seeds but Harte has been through enough of these events to know not to be complacent.

“I think if you’re not wary of every team here, you will create problems! We’ve learned over the past number of years to respect your opponent above all else, negate their strengths and play to ours and trust our plan and ability.

“Its all a process and starts in the mind! Scotland always have good teams and it won’t be any different here. Individually, we must execute our roles and collectively perform. Like any tournament, you must build throughout it and be under no illusions that game one will be a 10/10. But if it is – great!”

Men’s FIH Series Finals, Pool A (all at Le Touquet Paris Plage, France – Irish times)
Saturday: Ireland v Scotland, 10.15am (Irish time); Egypt v Singapore, 12.30pm
Sunday: Scotland v Singapore, 10.15am; Ireland v Egypt, 12.30pm
Tuesday: Scotland v Egypt, 12.30pm; Ireland v Singapore, 2.45pm

The Hook

Evolving tactical approach to serve Green Machine well in Le Touquet

Irish coach Alexander Cox. Pic: Billy Pollock

Alexander Cox is hoping the evolving tactical approach he is looking to implement with the Irish senior men will serve the side well at the FIH Series Finals in Le Touquet.

They start their campaign on Saturday morning against Scotland before facing Egypt on Sunday and Singapore next Tuesday. The equation is the same as the women’s competition in Banbridge – top the group and go straight to the semi-finals, second and third go into Thursday’s quarters.

A top two finish is the target, bringing with it an assured place at the direct Olympic qualifiers next October.

Cox took on the role a few months before the World Cup in the wake of Craig Fulton’s move to Belgium – which ended up in a gold medal for him – but the short timeframe and limited contact time due to the European club season meant they travelled to India under-cooked.

It was something the side recognised in their post-tournament debrief but, with a longer lead-in time, more tactical input and variation is in place to be implemented now.

“I’m very happy with how we are evolving because our normal style is man-to-man,” he said after the recent series win against France. “I thought we should also add a zonal defensive structure because that gives us more opportunities to play counter attacks from certain areas on the field.

“We also need to mix it up against different opposition so it is more difficult for them when they outlet. All of a sudden, we play a zone or we play man-on-man.

“The way we play now with a 4-4-2 or a 3-5-2 system, we are in control most of the time so the opposition has to find a way through it and I’m really happy how we are playing that zonal defence now.”

The adjustment in approach has also seen a number of personnel changes; notably Olympians Alan Sothern and Kirk Shimmins will not play a part this week in France.

“It was a tough decision; the reason for the guys who are not included now like Kirk and Alan, with the experience that they have, I want to see more from them on the field – as simple as that.

The Irish squad that will line out in Le Touquet. Pic: Billy Pollock

“So they need to step up their game to give the team more on the field, especially. I also chose a different forward line. Two guys who normally play midfield, Sean Murray and Michael Robson, play in the forward line now and it gives me the option to play a bit different from what we used to – a little more attacking, a little more freedom and the connections from midfield to attack.

“That’s important for the way we play on the ball and that’s also the reason why I picked the forward line that we have at this moment.”

Chris Cargo is unavailable for this tournament while Eugene Magee will miss the Euros for work reasons. On the flip side, John Jackson comes back in after being unable to take part in the World Cup.

It is part of the ongoing issues the management team have to cope with. Cox, though, says the contact time with the panel was good for this preparation to get a few things in place.

“We have to work around the whole group and that means we have a lot of players who play overseas and we have a lot of players who also have a job next to hockey.

“We have to work with the situation that we have and until now we’re doing that in a good way. It is tough. The position we are now in the world rankings, that is a position that is good but it’s really difficult to get a better position because you’re fighting against a lot of teams who are fully professional.

“That’s why I am proud of the boys that they make all the space and room in their lives to train hard despite the fact they also have a family, like Eugene, and they also have jobs. So I take my hat off to them!”

In Le Touquet, the targets for the competition are clearly defined. Ireland will be the top-seed and will definitely be the team to beat in their group. They are unbeaten in 20 games against Scotland who will be without Chris Grassick and Alan Forsyth due to their call-ups to the GB panel.

Egypt showed in 2017 they can cause plenty of problems with their powerful approach but Singapore are – like their women – rank outsiders.

Eugene Magee with his family following his hat trick against France last week. Pic: Billy Pollock

After the group stages, though, Ireland will likely meet either Korea or France, both of whom are very tough opponents. The French hosts reached the World Cup quarter-finals while there will certainly be no shortage of motivation against the Asian side who denied Ireland a ticket to London 2012 in heart-wrenching fashion.

Nonetheless, two wins over the US and a series win against the French at Lisnagarvey suggests Ireland are in good form.

“The aim is to get to the top two to get to the qualifiers and if we don’t reach that then we will be disappointed,” Cox continued. “It will be tight. France has the same quality as we have and Korea is a quality team but we have one aim and that is to finish in the top-two.

“I am confident that we can especially if we play well. If we have a big volume of that, I have a lot of confidence that we can succeed in France.”

** Interview with thanks to John Flack; all games from Le Touquet will be streamed live on https://fih.live/

Men’s FIH Series Finals, Pool A (all at Le Touquet Paris Plage, France – Irish times)
Saturday: Ireland v Scotland, 10.15am (Irish time); Egypt v Singapore, 12.30pm
Sunday: Scotland v Singapore, 10.15am; Ireland v Egypt, 12.30pm
Tuesday: Scotland v Egypt, 12.30pm; Ireland v Singapore, 2.45pm

The Hook

Charlet set for comeback with France in Le Touquet

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

Waterloo Ducks Victor Charlet will make his return to action this week as he looks set to lead the line for France at the Hockey Series Finals in Le Touquet.

Charlet was a crucial cog in the French side’s run to the World Cup quarter-finals with his penalty corner drag-flicks and defensive running a big feature for les bleus.

He missed the Euro Hockey League KO16 and FINAL4 as well as the Belgian playoffs through injury but has worked hard to be back in the line-up for France’s bid to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

He will be joined by EHL-winning club mates Pieter van Straaten and Nicolas Dumont as well as Royal Leopold’s Gaspard Baumgarten and Jean-Baptiste Forgues who won this year’s Belgian league.

French champions Saint Germain provide Tom Genestet, Francois Goyet and Blaise Rogeau to the equation put together by Jeroen Delmee.

France start their campaign with a Saturday evening game against Ukraine while their group also features Korea and Chile.

The other group features top seeds Ireland. They will give a tournament debut to Luke Madeley following his super season with Three Rock Rovers, helping them to the EHL KO16 as well as six trophies across indoor and outdoor competitions.

From that Three Rock team, he joins Daragh Walsh, Ben Walker and Jamie Carr in the line-up. All bar Walker will join KHC Leuven next season.

Among their star men are KHC Dragons’ Shane O’Donoghue and SV Kampong goalkeeper David Harte. They started their tournament against Scotland before facing Egypt on Sunday and Singapore on Tuesday.

Euro Hockey League media release

FIH Women's Series Finals Hiroshima 2019 - Day 1
Hiroshima (JPN)

Fixtures (GMT +9)

15 Jun 2019     CHI v MEX (Pool B)         7 - 0
15 Jun 2019     JPN v RUS (Pool B)     2 - 1
15 Jun 2019     POL v FIJ (Pool A)         6 - 0
15 Jun 2019    IND v URU (Pool A)         4 - 1

16 Jun 2019 12:00     RUS v MEX (Pool B)
16 Jun 2019 14:00     CHI v JPN (Pool B)
16 Jun 2019 16:00     URU v FIJ (Pool A
16 Jun 2019 18:00     POL v IND (Pool A)

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

FIH Match Centre

India begins race to Olympic qualifiers with match against Uruguay

Ranked ninth in the world, the Indian women’s team needs to finish among the top two in the FIH Women's Series Finals to make it to the Olympics qualifiers to be held later this year.

The India women's hockey team during a practice session ahead of the FIH Women's Series finals.   -  PTI

A confident India, led by Rani Rampal, will look to make it to the qualification round of the Tokyo Olympics when it opens its campaign against Uruguay in a pool A match of the FIH Women’s Series Finals here Saturday.

Ranked ninth in the world, the Indian women’s team needs to finish among the top two in the tournament to make it to the Olympics qualifiers to be held later this year.

“Our only mission this year is to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the athletes are prepared for this challenge,” said chief coach Sjoerd Marijne on the eve of their opening match.

“We are a better experienced team now and the athletes know the importance of this tournament in which the winning team will be rewarded with 500 ranking points and that gives home advantage for the next round of qualification.”

Marijne said his team has prepared well for the tournament and finishing on the top is a realistic goal.

“We had two good practice matches (against a local club and the Japanese team). Since we arrived one week prior to the start, we have had good training sessions which has provided us an understanding of the pitch.

“We have played these teams during the World League Round 2 in 2017 and we are aware of their capabilities,” Marijne said.

In the warm-up matches, India beat a local club team 4-1 followed by a 2-1 win against the Japanese team which is grouped in Pool B with Chile, Russia and Mexico.

“The pitch here is fast which suits our style of play. We have utilized the past week in Hiroshima to allow our bodies to get used to the time-difference and the weather,” Marijne said. “On Thursday we had an off day to allow the players to keep their minds off hockey for a bit and come back feeling fresh on Friday where we have one good training session to build the rhythm for the match on Saturday,” he explained.

After the opening match, India will play Poland on Sunday followed by Fiji on Tuesday.

“Our previous tours this year to Spain, Malaysia and Republic of Korea taught us to remain focused on our end result and not to take any team lightly,” Marijne said. “Every single match is important and that’s how the team needs to approach it.”


2019 FIH Pro League (Men) - 15 June

14 Jun 2019     ESP v NZL (RR)      3 - 2    Club De Campos Villa, Madrid
14 Jun 2019     GBR v NED (RR)    2 - 2 (Shootout 3 - 4    Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, London

16 Jun 2019 13:00     ESP v ARG (RR)     Club De Campos Villa, Madrid
16 Jun 2019 14:30     GER v AUS (RR)     Crefelder Hockey Club, Krefeld
16 Jun 2019 14:30     BEL v NZL (RR)     Wilrijkse Plein Antwerp, Antwerp

Live streaming and full game replay on https://fih.live (May be 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 11 7 0 2 2 32 24 8 23 69.7
2 Belgium 11 6 1 2 2 44 26 18 22 66.7
3 Netherlands 12 5 3 1 3 34 26 8 22 61.1
4 Germany* 13 4 3 1 4 29 36 -7 20 51.3
5 Great Britain 13 5 1 2 5 33 31 2 19 48.7
6 Argentina* 11 5 0 1 4 25 28 -3 17 51.5
7 Spain 13 2 5 0 6 31 42 -11 16 41.0
8 New Zealand 12 0 0 4 8 26 41 -15 4 11.1

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

15 Jun 2019     CHN v USA (RR)     4 - 0    Wujin Hockey Stadium, Changzhou    
15 Jun 2019 16:00     GBR v NED (RR)     Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, London
16 Jun 2019 12:00     GER v AUS (RR)     Crefelder Hockey Club, Krefeld
16 Jun 2019 16:30     BEL v NZL (RR)     Wilrijkse Plein Antwerp, Antwerp

Live streaming and full game replay on https://fih.live (May be 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 Netherlands 13 12 0 0 1 35 8 27 36 92.3
2 Argentina 14 9 4 0 1 28 12 16 35 83.3
3 Australia 13 8 1 1 3 31 18 13 27 69.2
4 Germany 14 8 0 2 4 30 19 11 26 61.9
5 Belgium 13 5 1 1 6 19 22 -3 18 46.2
6 China 17 5 0 2 10 31 40 -9 17 29.2
7 New Zealand 14 5 0 0 9 25 29 -4 15 35.7
8 Great Britain 14 2 2 1 9 19 35 -16 11 26.2
9 United States 16 1 1 2 12 13 48 -35 7 15.6

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

Netherlands men take a big step towards Grand Final qualification with shoot-out win over Great Britain in London

The Netherlands men moved one step closer to securing a place in the FIH Pro League Grand Final thanks to a shoot-out victory over Great Britain at London’s Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, with the Oranje claiming the bonus point after an enthralling game finished with the scores locked at 2-2.

Player of the Match Jeroen Hertzberger twice put the Netherlands ahead, with equalisers from Chris Griffifths and Alan Forsyth as Great Britain took the match to a shoot-out. However, the visitors snatched the bonus point by scoring four of their five attempts in the one-on-ones, with Netherlands goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak doing enough to deny efforts from Forsyth and GB captain Adam Dixon.

The two points earned by the Dutch means that they sit third in the FIH Pro League standings with two matches still to play, while the one point taken by Great Britain from the contest leaves them in sixth position with just one match left. A top four finish in the FIH Pro League comes with tickets to this month's FIH Pro League Grand Final in Amsterdam and also the FIH Olympic qualifiers, which take place later this year.

Earlier in the day, Spain claimed their second win in two days by beating New Zealand 3-2 in Madrid. More details about today’s matches can be found below.

Great Britain v Netherlands - Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre, London (ENG)

Following their impressive 3-1 triumph over the Netherlands (FIH World Ranking: 3) at HC Oranje-Rood earlier this month, Great Britain (WR: 6) had every reason to believe that they could replicate that result in the reverse fixture at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

The home side had the best chance of the first quarter when Chris Grassick, making his first international appearance for 18 months after being sidelined through injury, fired just over just the crossbar. However, it was the Dutch who were first to make a mark on the scoreboard thanks to Jeroen Hertzberger, who deflected home from close range early in the second period.

Great Britain had some good chances to equalise, with the hugely influential Ashley Jackson - another player making an international return after a long absence - forcing Netherlands goalkeeper Sam van der Ven into some fine saves from penalty corner situations.

At the other end, Mirco Pruijser and Billy Bakker went close with backhand efforts before Great Britain pulled themselves level through Chris Griffiths, who fired home from a tight angle after being put through on goal thanks to a perfect pass from the quick-thinking Jackson.

Hertzberger struck again nine minutes from time with a trademark backhand strike, ruthlessly punishing Great Britain for giving away possession in their own territory. However, the hosts were awarded a penalty stroke in the final minute of the match when James Gall was fouled directly in front of goal, with Alan Forsyth sending Van der Ven the wrong way from the spot to take the match into a shoot-out.

Forsyth missed Great Britain’s first attempt in the shoot-out, leaving the home favourites trailing until GB goalkeeper George Pinner did enough to deny Dutchman Jonas de Geus. Following successful attempts from David Ames (GB), Jeroen Herzberger and Seve van Ass (both NED), Great Britain captain Adam Dixon failed to convert, giving the Netherlands a bonus point that may eventually prove enough for them to secure that all-important top four finish.

Player of the Match Jeroen Hertzberger said: “We gave it away in the last minute, so that hurts a little bit. On the other hand, it is tournament hockey and there are no prizes to be dealt today. We got two points, maybe it should have been three. All in all it’s a tough game here, away against GB. We’ll take the two points and keep going.”

Spain v New Zealand - Club de Campos Villa, Madrid (ESP)

Earlier in the day and fresh from their superb 3-2 victory over Australia on Thursday (13 June), Spain (WR: 9) were looking to achieve an Oceania double when they faced New Zealand (WR:8) at Madrid’s Club de Campos Villa.

The battle between the Red Sticks and the Black Sticks was evenly contested throughout the first two quarters, with clear goal-scoring chances few and far between. In the first period, Spain’s Diego Arana fired into the side of the goal from a tight angle before New Zealander Aiden Sarikaya tested Spain goalkeeper Quico Cortes, while a smart video referral earned Spain a penalty corner opportunity that was wasted by a failure to control the ball at the top of the New Zealand circle.

Spain took charge in the third quarter, finally making the breakthrough when Enrique Gonzalez - who plays his club hockey with Club de Campo - found the target in the 36th minute with a deflected strike after some excellent work from Ricardo Sanchez. Marc Bolto doubled the Spanish advantage just before the end of the quarter, adding the finishing touch from close range after a superb interchange of passes between Xavi Lleonart and Vincenc Ruiz.

The final quarter was packed full of drama, with Hugo Inglis pulling New Zealand back into the game when he stole possession from Sergi Enrique before powering into the circle and unleashing a brilliant backhand strike just inside the right post. Spain restored their two goal lead when Pau Quemada scored his ninth goal of the FIH Pro League with a sensational upright backhand volley,  but a Kane Russell penalty corner made the score 3-2 with five minutes of the match remaining.

The Black Sticks piled on the pressure in the dying stages of the match and were awarded a penalty corner with 21 seconds remaining, but another crucial video referral from Spain saw the decision overturned as the hosts claimed their second FIH Pro League win in as many days following a win-less run that lasted eleven matches.

The FIH Pro League continues on Saturday 15 June with attention switching to the women’s competition. China welcome USA to the Wujin Hockey Stadium in Changzhou before Olympic champions Great Britain face world champions the Netherlands at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London.

FIH Pro League - 14 June 2019

Club de Campos Villa, Madrid (ESP)

Result: Men’s Match 47
Spain 3, New Zealand 2

Player of the Match:
Enrique Gonzalez (ESP)
Umpires: Coen van Bunge (NED), Christian Blasch (GER) and Martin Madden (SCO - video)

Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre, London (ENG)

Result: Men’s Match 48

Great Britain 2, Netherlands 2 (3-4 after shoot-out)

Player of the Match: Jeroen Hertzberger (NED)
Umpires: Jakub Mejzlik (CZE), Marcin Grochal (POL) and Laurine Delforge (BEL - video)


Official FIH Pro League Site

Spain take the points in the Madrid heat

The Spanish Men have come away with a tense 3-2 win over the Vantage Black Sticks Men in a highly entertaining match between two sides who were desperate for the win. The match was incredibly close all the way through and this was reflected in the shots on gaol between the two sides being 6 shots each. The New Zealand looked to finish the match confidently, however the Spanish side held their nerve and took the result 3-2.

The opening quarter was an even contest between the two teams midfields, neither team was able to put the oppositions defence under any significant pressure. It was the Vantage Black Sticks who held the majority of possession in the first quarter holding 54% of the ball. The Spanish side did manage to enter the New Zealand circle four times to New Zealand’s two in what was an even battle all around to start their FIH Pro League match.

Spain earned the first penalty corner of the match late in the second quarter when they found a New Zealand foot in the circle, Spain was unable to trap the subsequent penalty corner and we were left scoreless as the  arm wrestle continued as neither team was able to construct any chances of real significance. Spain had the majority of possession in the second quarter with 61% of the ball, however they were only able to turn all this possession into two circle entries. Heading into the second half there was still everything to play for after a match where the two sides couldn’t be separated.

Spain took their first real opportunity of the match midway through the third quarter when some scrappy play in the circle led to Enrique Gonzalez being left open, he took the opportunity to put a powerful shot into the net of the kiwis goal. Minutes later Spain found the back of the goal for the second time in the match when some great short passing down the right side of the field provided some space, they were then able to lay the ball back towards to spot to be deflected home by Marc Bolto. New Zealand would need a big final quarter if they were going to get themselves back into the contest.

New Zealand came out of the gates strongly in the final quarter, in the second minute they earned their first penalty corner of the match after finding a Spanish foot in the circle. Kane Russell’s drag flick off the penalty corner sailed high and wide of the goal. Hugo Inglis opened the match up with ten minutes to go when he stole the ball off the Spanish defender, Inglis then charged towards goal and ripped the ball into the back of the net. Spain went straight back down the field and turned the ball over in the New Zealand circle, Pau Quemada grabbed the rebound and reversed the shot home to allow Spain to regain their two goal buffer. The Vantage Black Sticks earned a penalty corner with six minutes to go in the match, Kane Russell stepped up for his second flick of the match and this time went low and hard into the goal.

Vantage Black Sticks Men 2 (Hugo Inglis 50 min, Kane Russell 55 min)
Spain Men 3 (Enrique Gonzales 36 min, Marc Bolto 43 min, Pau Quemada 51 min)

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Britain take a point from the Dutch in FIH Pro League thriller

Chris Griffiths for Great Britain's men in the FIH Pro League

A fantastic evening's hockey saw Britain come away with a point against the Dutch in a thriller in the FIH Pro League.

Danny Kerry's side were 1-0 and 2-1 down in the game, but took the match to a shootout with a last-minute penalty stroke from Alan Forsyth.

The stroke was won by Forsyth after a sensational pass from the returning Ashley Jackson, while Chris Grassick also more than played his part in the game after 18 months out injured, almost scoring twice in front of a hugely supportive crowd at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

Jackson had already set up Chris Griffiths in the second half for GB's first goal, and Kerry's men showed quality, heart and endeavour against a top drawer Dutch side.

The point means the men are still in the hunt for a top four finish in the FIH Pro League, and go into next weekend's finale at the Twickenham Stoop with still all to play for.

Full report

In glorious evening sunshine on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the game started at a lively pace; a good hockey crowd in attendance buoyed by the return of both Chris Grassick and Ashley Jackson.

The first quarter saw few chances as the teams sized each other up, and it was Grassick who came closest as his effort clipped the keeper and landed on the top of the net.

Early in the second quarter and the Dutch had a great sight of goal with an overload on the home defence, but young Tom Sorsby got back well to snuff out the threat.

The Netherlands were upping the tempo, and took the lead when Jeroen Hertzberger was well placed to expertly turn home a free hit that was leathered into the D from distance.

GB looked for an immediate response as Zach Wallace won a penalty corner but Jackson was denied and Grassick put the rebound just wide with little time to react.

With GB down to ten players after a card for Chris Griffiths, the visitors found a little space inside the D but George Pinner was well placed to boot clear on 25 minutes.

With the half almost up, a superb crossfield pass from Brendan Creed released Phil Roper, and he won another corner that Sam van der Ven did well to stop from Jackson.

Harry Gibson had a couple of efforts he needed to deal with early in the second half, but GB then began to get a greater foothold in the game and were showing patience in possession. That approach paid dividends with 38 on the clock, Jackson sliding a super pass into Griffiths, and although he still had a lot to do the East Grinstead man fired home superbly at the near post.

Wallace was next to go close in front of goal, firing in a stinging effort that was only kept out by the very top of van der Ven's pad. And then Britain were made to pay for turning over possession just outside the 22, Hertzberger smacking home on the reverse with a little under ten minutes to go.

With five minutes left Danny Kerry removed 'keeper Gibson, and it almost paid immediate dividends as Griffiths was very close to finding a teammate in the D.

A sensational Jackson pass then allowed Alan Forsyth to expertly win a corner in the final minute, and from the set piece we were then awarded a penalty stroke on referral for a stick tackle. Under immense pressure, Forsyth remained cool and took the game to a shootout to decide the extra point.

Into the shootout, the Netherlands always had the upper hand after Jorrit Croon scored the first effort and then Forsyth put his inches wide, and it was left to Adam Dixon to keep Britain in it with the final attempt, but Blaak managed to keep him out. And so Britain took a single point but still remain in the hunt for a top four spot.

It really was a fantastic evening's entertainment, and a boisterous crowd went home extremely pleased with what the effort, commitment and quality from the men's side.

Great Britain 2
Griffiths (38', FG)
Forsyth (59', PS)

Netherlands 2
Hertzberger (16', FG), (38', FG)

Netherlands win 4-3 on shootout

Great Britain: Pinner (GK), Gibson (GK), Willars, Creed, Waller, Dixon (c), Gall, Sorsby, Sloan, Ames, Grassick, Jackson, Condon, Martin, Griffiths, Wallace, Roper, Forsyth

0-1 Croon scored
0-1 Forsyth missed
2-0 Pruiser scored
2-1 Roper scored
2-1 de Geus missed
2-2 Jackson scored
3-2 Hertzberger scored
3-3 Ames scored
4-3 van As scored
4-3 Dixon missed

Great Britain Hockey media release

Great Britain men lose to Netherlands in shootout

Alan Forsyth scored a penalty stroke with 45 seconds remaining in normal time to take the match to a shootout

Great Britain men's hopes of reaching the FIH Pro League semi-finals hang by a thread following a shootout defeat by the Netherlands.

Alan Forsyth's last-minute penalty stroke ensured a 2-2 draw at full-time, but GB lost the shootout 4-3.

Danny Kerry's side secured a point but still need a win and for other results to go their way to reach the top four and qualify for the semi-finals.

"I'm really proud for the lads," head coach Kerry told BT Sport.

"The last few weeks we've played all the top teams, we've either won or we've drawn. We've come a long way in a short time.

"We've got good depth, we're playing well and we're a real threat."

Jeroen Hertzberger opened the scoring for the Netherlands at London's Lee Valley Hockey Centre after 20 minutes, before Chris Griffiths equalised for GB in the third quarter with a superb strike from a tight angle - his third goal in as many games.

Hertzberger looked to have secured a Dutch victory when he scored his and his side's second with a reverse stick shot with nine minutes left on the clock in London.

But Forsyth levelled the scores with 45 seconds remaining, taking the game to a shootout.

He went on to miss his effort in the shootout but George Pinner saved from Jonas de Geus to level it up, but Adam Dixon's miss gave the Dutch the win.

The match marked all-time leading goalscorer Ashley Jackson's first appearance for GB since the 2016 Olympic Games, while Chris Grassick, the Scotland captain, also returned to the GB set-up following 18 months out through injury.

GB play New Zealand in their final round-robin match at the Stoop in London on Sunday.

BBC Sport

Vantage Black Sticks set to take on Belgium in milestone matches

Vantage Black Sticks Women vs Belgium Women. Monday 17th June at 02:30am. Coverage is on Spark Sport

On Monday Morning New Zealand time the Vantage Black Sticks Women are set to face the Belgium Women for the second and final time in the FIH Pro League. At the start of February, the Belgium Women stunned the Black Sticks 1-0 with a goal in the last minutes of the match. The New Zealand side will be looking to even the ledger as they continue to build on some strong form they have been showing in their overseas matches.

Graham Shaw the Vantage Black Sticks Women’s coach commented on the performance against the Netherlands "We played well in patches during the game putting together some good connections and creating some nice goal scoring opportunities. We are looking to play with more confidence in the attacking end going into the Belgium game. We were disappointed in the way we conceded the goals as we felt we could have controlled their attacks a bit better. Belgium will provide a new challenge but we are very much focusing on ourselves and the improvements we can make, game by game".

The match is going to be an incredibly special one for the Black Sticks Women as their Captain Stacey Michelsen is set to play her 265th match for the New Zealand side. This will make her the most capped Vantage Black Sticks Women’s player of all time.

The player that Michelsen is going to overtake to become the most capped player is former team mate Emily Gaddum who stated “It’s been an honour to hold this record and now pass on the achievement to an absolute legend of the game. It has been a pleasure playing alongside and watching Stacey develop into one of the world’s best. A huge congratulations to Stacey and I wish her and the girls all the best for the upcoming match”.

Graham Shaw commented ahead of the milestone match for Michelsen “Stacey Michelsen is not just an incredible hockey player but a fantastic person as well. She leads by example on and off the field and deserves every recognition she gets in becoming the most Capped Vantage Black Stick Women’s player of all time. The New Zealand hockey community, world hockey and the wider New Zealand public are very lucky to be watching a truly World Class hockey player. We are delighted she is our team and we hope Stacey will continue to be a Black Sticks player for many years to come”.

In her 264 matches to date Stacey has scored 32 goals, been to two Olympic Games (London 2012 and Rio 2016). She also has a complete collection of medals from the Commonwealth Games.

Michelsen commented “Being given an opportunity at such a young age to play so many games is what helped me develop as a player. The more opportunities that you get testing yourself against the top opposition the faster you will develop”.

Not content yet she still has goals that she wants to achieve in hockey “I would love the opportunity to go to another Olympic Games, my goal is to be in that Olympic Games team and to have another opportunity at winning an Olympic Medal”.

Key Matchup

Fresh off a brace of goals against the Netherlands, Olivia Merry will be looking to find the back of the net again as she looks to build on her tournament leading 11 goals in the FIH Pro League. Merry is a physical presence up front for the New Zealand side and when given space in the circle is capable of putting a goal past any defence in the game.

Belgium has an experienced player of their own in Jill Boon who has amassed a whopping 291 games in her career. Boon has enjoyed a good record against the New Zealand team having played them six times and scoring twice in those games.




Sam Charlton



Tarryn Davey



Katie Doar



Steph Dickins



Ella Gunson



Megan Hull



Brooke Neal



Rose Keddell



Olivia Merry



Stacey Michelsen ©



Alia Jaques



Grace O’Hanlon



Kirsten Pearce



Sally Rutherford



Olivia Shannon



Holly Pearson

Striker / Midfielder


Liz Thompson



Amy Robinson



Shiloh Gloyn



*One to be omitted

Vantage Black Sticks Men vs Belgium Men. Monday 17th June at 12:30am. Coverage is on Spark Sport

The Black Sticks Men will take to the turf in the early hours of Monday morning against the World Champion Belgium Men’s team. These two sides met at the start of February and battled it out for a highly entertaining 4-4 draw. Belgium comes in to the match having rebounded from back to back losses against the Dutch with an absolute hammering of Germany 8-0.

The Black Sticks Men have looked impressive in the European matches of the FIH Pro League as they have battled it out for draws against two of the top sides in the competition. The New Zealand Men had their chances to collect the three competition points when they took on Germany in Krefeld. Unfortunately, the German team kept fighting as they denied the New Zealand side their first win of the 2019 FIH Pro League.

Vantage Black Sticks Men’s Coach Darren Smith commented ahead of the match with Belgium “It will be a tight turnaround to get from Madrid on Friday evening up to Antwerp for the match against Belgium on Sunday. We made sure that the team had a run on the Antwerp pitch two weeks ago when we first arrived because we knew that there would be no opportunity for a training prior to the game”

“It will be a great match and of course we know that they are a tough opponent but getting the chance to meet on their home soil will be an exciting occasion. The last time we met In NZ it was a quick and high scoring encounter, which finished 4-4. Both teams like to play at pace and we will need to make sure that we defend well, put them under pressure and take our chances”

Key Matchup

Tom Boon from Belgium is an attacking threat from anywhere on the field. Boon leads the charge for the Belgium team with 8 goals in the FIH Pro League. A veteran of 277 matches now in which he has scored 104 goals. Watch out for Tom Boon if he is given any opportunities to run as he will look to make the New Zealand defence pay.

Stephen Jenness got himself back on the score sheet for the Black Sticks Men with the first goal in the opening minute against Germany. Jenness has been finding some great space in behind the opposition defence, if the New Zealand team is able to feed him some good ball watch out for the opportunities Jenness will create for the team.




Richard Joyce



George Enersen



Shea McAleese



Cory Bennett



Dane Lett



Kane Russell



Nic Woods



Arun Panchia ©



Nick Ross



Marcus Child



Aidan Sarikaya



Hugo Inglis



Hayden Phillips



Jared Panchia



Jacob Smith



Dom Newman



Stephen Jenness



Sam Lane



George Muir



*One to be omitted

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Ockenden Joins Kookaburras Elite With Cap 350

Mitch Wynd

Eddie Ockenden is set to join elite company on Sunday when he represents the Kookaburras for the 350th time against Germany.

Retired Kookaburras legend Jamie Dwyer is the only other Australian to reach the milestone, retiring after 365 appearances.

The man of the moment shared what it means to him to reach the significant achievement.

"I'm very happy to have played so many games and I think it's very interesting and I'm proud to have played this many games for Australia," Ockenden said.

"I love the team, I still love going to training and if you think about all those years and all those training sessions, all the teammates and coaches, that's what really makes the 350 number into a whole thing that's actually a long time and a lot of effort from a lot of people."

Growing up in Tasmania and playing his junior days at North-West Graduates Hockey Club, Ockenden knew from a young age that he wanted to be a Kookaburra.

"Early on, playing hockey for Australia was what I really wanted to do, and from a younger age than most I knew I really wanted to do it," he recounted.

"I don't think you have goals when you're that young, but I definitely saw it as something I wanted to do. I wanted to move to Perth and I wanted to play hockey for Australia was something I remember in primary school."

The 32-year old has had many influences along his journey and many special moments to reflect on.

"Winning two World Cups was pretty special and going to three Olympics has been a real highlight."

"We have great people involved in the Australian setup and we have for a long time. Also the Tasmanian Institute of Sport and Andrew McDonald who's been fantastic in developing players. He's been there a long time, he's been great for me and the TIS has been amazing."

Kookaburras coach Colin Batch spoke about the milestone man ahead of the big day.

"Ed has been an incredible player for the Kookaburras, I was involved when he was first selected to play for Australia and I have watched him mature as a player, as a person, and now as a leader in his long career," Batch said.

"He’ll shy away from individual accolades, he is the consummate team player."

While the match will carry plenty of significance for Ockenden - it also is an opportunity for the Kookaburras to turn around a poor start to their European leg.

A shootout defeat against Great Britain was followed up by a 3-2 loss to seventh-placed Spain on Thursday.

The Kookaburras still sit in top spot on the standings, but they will be disappointed with their last two results and keen to respond with a victory.

Batch was under no illusions as to the threat the German team poses.

"Germany's always a huge challenge, they're one of the top performing teams in world hockey, and in the Pro League they've found some form in recent times," said Batch.

"We're looking forward to that challenge of playing well and having a good result against them."

Three players join the Kookaburras squad ahead of the match, with Jacob Whetton, Josh Simmonds, and Jacob Anderson meeting the team in Germany.

Meanwhile in the Hockeyroos camp, victory over Great Britain last weekend sees the ladies currently in third place, with 27 points from 13 matches and a points percentage of 69.23.

Coach Paul Gaudoin pointed out that a full four-quarter performance was the aim for his team.

"We're looking forward to the match against Germany, it becomes a very important match - if we win this, we're pretty much assured of playing in the finals so there's a little bit riding on it," he said.

"We need to play for 60 minutes, the Germans have shown they can come back and win matches late in the game, so we're going to have to be on from the first whistle to the last."

Jodie Kenny joins the squad after missing the match against Great Britain - meanwhile, Penny Squibb has been ruled out of the remainder of the Pro League with a hamstring injury.

Both matches will be televised live on Kayo Sports and FOX SPORTS 507 on Sunday. The Hockeyroos match starts at 8pm AEST, and the Kookaburras match starts at 10:30pm AEST.

Follow both @Kookaburras and @Hockeyroos Twitter pages for live match updates.

Sunday 16 June - Crefelder Hockey Club, Krefeld
Germany v Hockeyroos - 8pm AEST
Germany v Kookaburras - 10:30pm AEST

Hockeyroos 19-member squad:

Athlete (Hometown, State)

Jocelyn Bartram (Albury, NSW)
Edwina Bone (Orange, NSW) *Plays for ACT
Lily Brazel (Sydney, NSW) *Plays for VIC
Emily Chalker (Crookwell, NSW)
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA)
Kalindi Commerford (Ulladulla, NSW) *Plays for ACT
Madison Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW) *Plays for QLD
Savannah Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW) *Plays for QLD
Rebecca Greiner (Bundaberg, QLD)
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD)
Rachael Lynch (Warrandyte, VIC)
Ambrosia Malone (Burleigh, QLD)
Georgina Morgan (Armidale, NSW)
Kaitlin Nobbs (Newington, NSW)
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT)
Grace Stewart (Gerringong, NSW)
Renee Taylor (Everton Park, QLD)
Sophie Taylor (Melbourne, VIC)
Mariah Williams (Parkes, NSW)

Kookaburras 21-member squad:

Athlete (Hometown, State)

Jacob Anderson (Mackay, QLD)
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD)
Tim Brand (Chatswood, NSW)
Andrew Charter (Canberra, ACT)
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW)
Matthew Dawson (Killarney Vale, NSW)
Blake Govers (Wollongong, NSW)
Jake Harvie (Dardanup, WA)
Jack Hayes (Wollongong, NSW)
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT)
Tim Howard (Wakerley, QLD)
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA)
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA)
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS)
Flynn Ogilvie (Wollongong, NSW)
Lachlan Sharp (Lithgow, NSW)
Josh Simmonds (Melbourne, VIC)
Matthew Swann (Mackay, QLD)
Corey Weyer (Biggera Waters, QLD)
Jacob Whetton (Brisbane, QLD)
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA)

Hockey Australia media release

Townsend excited to play at biggest match since London 2012

Townsend v Argentina FIH Pro League

KENT hockey superstar Susannah Townsend believes playing in front of a record crowd at the Twickenham Stoop will be the perfect preparation for Great Britain as they step up their bid for a place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The former Sutton Valence School pupil, who won Olympic gold in 2016, will make her return from a six-month ankle ligament injury when Great Britain men’s and women’s teams face New Zealand in a double header on the final day of the new FIH Pro League tournament at the home of Harlequins on Saturday 23 June.

A record number of tickets have already been sold for the 14,800-capacity stadium at the Stoop – although seats are still available – meaning it would be the biggest crowd to watch hockey in Britain since the London 2012 Olympics.

Despite Britain struggling for results after Rio, with the women’s team currently sitting seventh in the Pro League standings, Townsend insists the pressure of playing in front of a crowd of almost 15,000 at The Stoop will hold them in good stead for the Olympic qualifiers taking place in the autumn.

“When you go to an Olympic Games, you have to be able to perform in front of big capacity crowds, so I think we need to get used to that kind of atmosphere again,” she said.

“It’s a big pressure that you can’t really experience when you’re only playing in front of a couple of thousand fans.

“Playing at the Stoop will be very different to Lee Valley, but it will be very valuable for us playing to step up to the big occasion.

“Hopefully it will mean people who aren’t normally interested in hockey will come along and support, especially if the men and women are seen supporting each other – that makes the sport an even greater spectacle.”

Despite sitting third from bottom in the standings, Great Britain women’s hockey are confident of making the most of home advantage in their latest FIH Pro League contest.

And while the experienced Townsend knows New Zealand will be a tough fixture, the midfielder is hoping her side can emulate the successful playing-style of the Harlequins teams when they take to the Twickenham Stoop turf later this month.

“The key to being so hard to beat at home is making wherever you play your fortress,” she added.

“Lee Valley has been a special place for us since London 2012, but we love playing at other venues.

“The Stoop is the home of the kings and queens of men’s and women’s rugby where we see an exciting flair of rugby played and I’m hoping we can do exactly the same with hockey.

“The intention is to make the Stoop another home from home and it would be great to get some points on board as well.”

Great Britain Men and Women face New Zealand in a unique FIH Pro League double-header at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday, 23 June.

Great Britain Hockey media release

How did Great Britain's Olympic hockey heroes fall back down to earth?

Rod Gilmour

Great Britain huddle during the Women's FIH Field Hockey Pro League match between Great Britain and Australia. Great Britain have won just two of 14 FIH Pro League games Credit: Getty Images

Great Britain's women made history at the Rio 2016 Olympics with a thrilling gold medal against Holland. But they go into Saturday's rematch as underdogs. What has gone wrong in the intervening years?

Dutch continue to prosper

One wonders how long it would have taken Holland to recover after the drama of the Olympic final against Great Britain in Rio if coaching changes had been enforced. During their semi-final against Germany, Australian coach Alyson Annan, one of the greatest female players of all time, “blacked out” in the heat. Believing there was another quarter to be played, the players had to tell her the match was going to a shoot-out.

Annan then stared blankly from the dugout in the final as Britain’s Hollie Pearne-Webb struck to deny the Dutch an Olympic hat-trick. After nine months in the job, there were calls for Annan to be sacked. Since then they have won 62 of 68 games, losing just two.

This included coasting to the world title, scoring goals – 35 to be precise – at leisure.

“In Holland we see it as a problem that others aren’t competitive. The World Cup was too easy,” says Dutch journalist Sander Collewijn. As such, Annan has used 33 players in the FIH Pro League, with an average age of 24. The Dutch top the standings with 12 wins from 13. Britain have just two wins in 14 games.

Home frailties

England’s 2018 was a largely forgetful affair. Bronze at the Commonwealth Games – which clouded over four goals from 45 penalty corner attempts – was followed by a limp exit to the Dutch in the World Cup quarter-finals. No longer were they “angstgegner England”, the team Holland feared the most.

Technically lacking, stilted and devoid of momentum, England buckled under home pressure. Coach Danny Kerry may even have had one eye on the GB men’s job, a role he soon took up.

Until Australian Mark Hager took the reins in March, England morphed into Great Britain and still looked short of quality. Britain have missed Shona McCallin and Nicola White with long-term concussion, their leader Alex Danson is recovering from a brain trauma injury and talismanic goalkeeper Maddie Hinch has only just returned from an international break after leaving the central programme after the World Cup.

“Yes, we are Olympic champions but that was four years ago,” admits midfielder Suzy Petty. “The way the rankings work it doesn’t change as much as other sports. We don’t see ourselves as world No 2 at the moment. We have a year to go, let’s see what happens.”

GBR win Gold after a penalty shootout Women's Hockey Final. Britain's Olympic triumph seems a long time ago now Credit:  Julian Simmonds

Club system woes

The Dutch domestic system dwarfs English women’s hockey. Holland has more than 1,000 hockey pitches, clubs are commercially driven and have a bigger say in retaining players over the international team.

“Their club level is so high, they can bring in players from everywhere,” says Hinch, who has returned from playing Dutch club hockey. “The talent is higher from an early age and that’s why no nation is competing with them.”

Conversely, less than 10 per cent of facilities in England are owned by clubs, whose European showings continue to fall flat. Our top clubs say that contact time is limited with their internationals, highlighted by six GB players being unavailable for Surbiton’s European sojourn at Easter.

Meanwhile, Pearne-Webb, GB’s standout captain, did not start a single game for the league champions last season.

“Have a stronger club system,” is Hinch’s rallying call for English hockey. “The Dutch don’t have school sport and their clubs are littered with kids signing up with waiting lists. There is the geographical side as well, people can get around more easier. There could be more emphasis on what we are doing at club level.”

Pooling talent

GB are certainly missing hardened internationals such as Kate Richardson-Walsh, Crista Cullen and Sam Quek, players who were capable of standing up to the trophy-hogging Dutch. But while English hockey looks at its domestic product, there are positives. Notably with GB’s Elite Development Programme, with five players thrust into the Pro League squad, including Izzy Petter and Esme Burge, 18 and 20 respectively.

“I have always been an advocate to involve younger players sooner, they are the future of the programme and hats off to Mark for trying,” says Craig Keegan, the former GB women’s assistant coach.

Indeed, Hager, who was a goal-hungry Australian during his playing days, has used 27 players in the Pro League, with an average age on a par with the Dutch.
GB need to show flair

Britain cannot qualify for the Pro League Grand Finals later this month. But Keegan believes GB can now show the best of their strengths on Saturday. “They can use a more outgoing, expansive style,” he adds. “Be conservative against the Dutch and they will wear you down eventually.”

Petty, too, remains upbeat as Hager continues to implement competition for places. “You know where you stand with Mark,” she says. “He makes us run up the pitch more, is getting us fitter, making the attackers more ruthless and the defenders defend more.”

They are beginning to show signs of cohesion, bolstered by forward Lily Owsley’s return from injury. But an Olympic defence? Well, who knows, Kerry could achieve the remarkable with the men’s team; Paris 2024 is a more likely path for the women.

The Telegraph

Hockey at The Stoop and why the Pro League is here to stay

Since January, Great Britain’s men and women have playing home and away in the inaugural year of the FIH Pro League. A ground-breaking, new, global hockey competition that sees the greatest hockey nations battle it out for glory. Bringing a new format designed to get the very highest entertainment out of international hockey, each fixture is guaranteed a winner with any draws being dramatically settled by a shootout to decide which team is awarded a bonus point.

Great Britain Hockey is always looking to push our sport forward and it is excited about to be hosting a thrilling conclusion to their campaign with the final home games set to be played at the Twickenham Stoop Stadium, home of Harlequins. Following on from the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup which was witnessed by 125,000 people last summer, Great Britain Hockey wants to continue to grow hockey as a spectator sport. The ability to put a hockey pitch down in a bigger stadium is part of that process, and is a game-changing moment for the sport as other nations are looking at how they may replicate this move.

This announcement marks another hugely positive step forward for international hockey in this country. Last summer, the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup in London, making it the biggest standalone women’s sporting event of the year. With BT Sport long-term partners of the sport, youth participation up 80 per cent since London 2012, and the GB women’s team the current Olympic champions, hockey continues to go from strength to strength.

Speaking to the FIH, David Ellis, Harlequins’ Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Great Britain Hockey to bring their sport to a wider audience here in South West London. Our Club has a history of innovation and adventure and we take great pride in being able to offer our neighbours and supporters the chance to see something different at The Stoop. Hockey supporters from all over the country are welcome at our home and can look forward to enjoying a day to remember here in June.”

Using ground-breaking new technology, a temporary surface is currently being installed at the Stoop in order to bring hockey to this top class stadium. It is an exciting venture as hockey makes history with the Stoop pitch surface to use an Olympic standard turf system that will feature at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

The innovations being trialled for this historic Stoop fixture not only require finding new ways to lay the hockey surface, but also the facility to lift it again after a short window of time. This will allow surface to be re-used time and time again and ensure that as well as ensure that the grass pitch is ready for the Harlequins’ upcoming season.

As well as being the home of Harlequins, The Stoop has hosted numerous other fixtures over the years including the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup Final, regular England Women’s rugby matches and was once home to the London Broncos rugby league team.

Hockey will now add itself to the sporting history of the Twickenham venue as we close our FIH Pro League campaign at The Stoop, for what promises to be an incredible day out. Tickets are still available from the Great Britain Hockey website, should you wish to be part of this historic occasion.

The Hockey Paper

Jackson on the move from HGC to rising English club Old Georgians

©: World Sport Pics

Ashley Jackson will move from HGC to English club Old Georgians for the upcoming year following a superb return to action for the Dutch club.

Jackson helped the club finish third in the Dutch championship, earning them a first ticket back to the EHL since they won the trophy in 2011.

His performances also have seen him make a comeback for the Great Britain team with Danny Kerry recalling him for their Pro League game against the Netherlands on Friday evening.

Old Georgians have recently earned promotion to the top tier of English club hockey and have made a series of eye-catching signings.

In their official post about Jackson’s arrival, the club stated: “We are thrilled that he has chosen our club for his return to domestic hockey. One of the main causes for his return to English hockey is so he can resume his international career. He is a triple Olympian and has represented England and GB over 230 times.

“He is the leading international scorer for the nation having scored over 130 times and we hope to witness him adding to this tally as an OGHC player.

“Ashley has been regarded as one of the best players in the world over the last decade and we look forward to having him around the club in this historic first season in the Premier League.”

He joins a strong line up at Old Georgians with Sam Ward already at the club. George Pinner moves from Holcombe after four years with the Kent outfit, current Scotland international Andy Bull from Beerschot as well as Lee Morton and Liam Sanford from Reading.

Euro Hockey League media release

Butali tackle Wazalendo as hockey league takes shape


Champions Butali Sugar Warriors have a chance of going clear atop of the men’s hockey Premier League when they take on Wazalendo on Saturday at the City Park Stadium.

Butali and Wazalendo go into the match in a contrasting fashion after last weekend’s matches.

The champions are inspired after they edged out Nairobi Simba Union 3-1 at City Park to move to the summit of the standings while Wazalendo hope to put behind the disappointment of losing their unbeaten start to the season, crushing to Western Jaguars 2-0 in Kakamega.

The victory against Nairobi Simba saw Butali return to the top of the men’s table with 13 points while the loss to Jaguars proved costly for Wazalendo who dropped from the summit to third place with 12 points.


Jaguars scaled two places to second in the league with 13 points, losing the top spot to Butali on inferior goal difference.

Also last weekend, former champions Kenya Police dropped vital points after they were forced to 2-2 draw by stubborn United States International University -Africa (USIU-A) at City Park.

Jaguars, who had previously stunned former champions Nairobi Simba and Strathmore University Gladiators, have four wins, a draw and a loss while Wazalendo have four wins and one loss.

In fact, Western Jaguars enjoyed a short stint at the summit until Butali came calling with a swift victory against Nairobi Simba.

Bruised Strathmore University Gladiators eye their first win of the season when they take on fifth-placed Greensharks in Saturday’s other Premier League match.

From their five outings, Gladiators, who are placed at the bottom of the 10-team league, have lost four, drawing once while Greensharks are perched at the middle of the table with nine points drawn from three wins and two losses.


Butali Warriors will go for the second weekend without their inspirational playmaker Zack Aura, who is away but head coach Dennis Owoka said they are ready to take the battle to Wazalendo.

Owoka said that even though they beat Wazalendo last season home and away 3-0 and 2-1 respectively, Fidelis Kimanzi’s side have already proved that they are among the title contenders this season. “We have studied their systems this year and what we need to do is tighten our defence,” said Owoka.

With defending champions Telkom not in action, their rivals will be playing catch-up to close in on them at the top of the women’s Premier League.

Second-placed United States International University (USIU) take on Strathmore Scorpions on Sunday at City Park, a day after unbeaten Lakers will have hosted Amira Sailors in Kisumu.

Still on Saturday, former champions Sliders take on Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

Telkom are top with 11 points from three wins and two draws. USIU and Lakers have seven points each but the varsity students get to occupy the second place in the league on a superior goal difference. Amira are fourth with five points.

USIU have two wins, a draw and loss, Lakers have one win and four draws while Amira have one win, two draws and one loss.

Daily Nation

Thunderbolts told to dominate JHL

TNB chief corporate officer Datuk Roslan Ab Rahman and TNB chief corporate affairs officer Datuk Omar Sidek receiving a jersey from Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School Thunderbolts assistant team manager Mohd Hamee Mohtar (third from left) at TNB Sports Complex on June 14, 2019. Pic by ASWADI ALIAS.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional yesterday paraded their four Thunderbolts teams who are expected to dominate again the Junior Hockey League (JHL) starting this month.

A special attire unveiling, as well as Hari Raya event, was held at the Tenaga HQ in Kuala Lumpur, with a message to maintain their domination in the JHL.

Last season Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) became double champions while Anderson were second. Pahang Sports School were third and Bukit Jalil Sports School fifth.

Only UniKL-Datuk Bentara Luar managed to break Thinderbolts’ monopoly by finishing fourth.

The four Thunderbolts teams, fully sponsored by Tenaga Nasional, have been told to defend both the League as well as Overall titles this season, and make sure they sweep the top four spots in the League.

“This season will be evenly contested because all four Thunderbolts have a mix of experience and novices in their teams.

“As for Anderson, we want to win the league title this season,” said Anderson coach K. Kaliswaran.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation have drastically reduced the number of teams in the JHL for quality control purposes.

For this season, there will be only 14 teams in one division. Last year, there were 30 teams: 10 in Division One and 20 in Division Two.

Thunderbolts look the best prepared to make a clean sweep again.

New Straits Times

Chile promotes social inclusion through hockey on Olympic Day

Removing all barriers to participation is the aim of a project being launched by the Chilean Hockey Federation in conjunction with Olympic Day on 23 June.

The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Olympic Day is a world-wide initiative that aims to promote the values of the Olympic movement, as well as get people active and help them discover new sports. The day is underpinned by three pillars central to the Olympic ideals: to move, learn and discover. And, through the work of our continental federations and national associations, hockey is a sport that has embraced Olympic Day wholeheartedly.

The Chilean Hockey Federation (CHF) has recognised that, when it comes to people with mental or physical disabilities, hockey is not always an easy game in which to participate. And so, to address this issue, the Federation is starting an initiative to introduce hockey to young people with physical and learning disabilities.

The initiative is being launched through four workshops across the country, where people of all abilities can join together and spend a day playing hockey. The workshops will be run by experienced coaches and all the participants – with or without disabilities – will be able to enjoy a day of fun, entertaining and educational hockey activities.

Following the launch, regular weekly training sessions will be run, offering the youngsters a place to develop their hockey talent and general motor skills, as well as providing a network for social interactions.

Outlining the reasons for laughing this initiative, the CHF says: “Through hockey, we are looking to promote and facilitate social inclusion and emotional development of people with physical disabilities as well as learning difficulties. We are also using this as a means of raising awareness among the hockey community.”

The project has committed to running hockey training sessions for children and young people with learning difficulties on a weekly basis throughout the year. The first training session will take place in Santiago, where there are already facilities that can cater for a group of mixed ability hockey players. Over time, the initiative will expand to other areas of the city and, eventually, across the country.

The sessions will initially cater for children and young adults from 10-18, an age group the CHF has identified as going through much personal and social development. Again, as the project grows and gains traction, the sessions will be increased and opened to older people.

Qualified coaches and volunteers will run the sessions, and a person with training in specialist needs will also be involved in ensuring the programme meets the emotional and physical needs of all the participants, as well as ensuring the training is run safely.

This launch event, with the four workshops, will give the whole project great visibility and awareness, something the CHF hopes will attract a wide range of people to pick up a hockey stick and join in.

 “There is a real need and value in social interaction and sports activity,” says a spokesperson for the Chile Hockey Federation.

“We want to encourage sports activities to be part of the personal identity of children with disabilities. Through hockey, they can develop motor and social skills, which are most important in their development. Even more importantly, we want to generate a space where people with and without disabilities can interact and develop fraternal bonds. Working together we can reach more people and get them involved in this wonderful sport of hockey.”


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