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News for 22 June 2019

All the news for Saturday 22 June 2019

FIH Men's Series Finals Le Touquet-Paris Plage 2019 - Day 8
Le Touquet (FRA)

Results and fixtures (GMT +2)

21 Jun 2019    SGP v UKR (7 / 8)     1 - 3
21 Jun 2019     CHI v EGY (5 / 6)     2 - 3

22 Jun 2019 15:30     IRL v KOR (SF)
22 Jun 2019 18:00     FRA v SCO (SF)

23 Jun 2019 15:30     Loser IRL v KOR v Loser FRA v SCO (3 / 4)
23 Jun 2019 18:00     Winner IRL v KOR v Winner FRA v SCO (Final)

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

FIH Match Centre

Ton-up O’Donoghue says Green Machine back sucking on diesel after Egypt derailing

Shane O’Donoghue celebrates his 100th Irish goal. Pic: Fédération Française de Hockey

“It’s very humbling and very honoured to knock in 100 goals for my country,” Shane O’Donoghue said as he became the first Irish hockey player to hit the huge milestone.

His second effort out of three against Singapore on Tuesday got him to triple figures, making extra sure just seven minutes of game time after Ben Walker had “poached” what would have been number 100.

“The ball squirmed through the keeper’s legs and Ben had a cheeky grin on his face. He is a poacher so I have to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one!”

It came in his 174th cap, making for a remarkable strike rate for the Glenanne-raised Dragon and has included a series of big ones. For many big moments, O’Donoghue has been on the score sheet, notably netting in the European Championships bronze medal win in 2015 and the first win in Olympic competition for over a century versus Canada in 2016.

Any favourites? “The goal against Australia in the World Cup does stand out; instinct took over or maybe the body went into a bit of shock! That’s definitely up there. Also my first Olympic goal against Canada was a dream come true and a very proud moment. Those were two of the biggest in my mind.

“I definitely have to give credit to the squad I have played with for the last seven or eight years. I need the whole corner team to function to get to the milestone so a big shout-out to all those lads – there is a long list of them.

“It’s a very proud moment for me, my family and my girlfriend, Glenanne and Dragons. A big milestone.”

And he is hoping for a few more over the weekend as Ireland meet Korea on Saturday (2.30pm, Irish time) for a guaranteed Olympic qualifier place in October.

It means a chance for a modicum of revenge against the Asian side who so cruelly denied Ireland a ticket to London 2012 with Nam Yong Lee’s tip nine second from the end bursting the hockey-mania bubble in Belfield.

Lee will captain Korea on Saturday and is among a very experienced side with nine players capped over 100 times with several in their 30s. For Ireland, David Harte, Paul Gleghorne, John Jackson and Eugene Magee were both on field that day while Conor Harte missed out through injury for that devastating day.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then with Ireland (11th) moving up and Korea dropping down the rankings (now 17th).

This week, neither sides have been in full flow with Ireland undergoing a rollercoaster of emotions after a good start against Scotland was followed by a 2-1 loss to Egypt.

“As most people know, the Irish men’s team don’t do things by the book,” O’Donoghue continued. “We tend to make things a little bit difficult for ourselves at any tournament. You look back to the last qualifiers in 2015 in Belgium, losing heavily to Malaysia in the group and then beating them in the all-important playoff game.

“Sunday was so disappointing because we were purely beaten by a team with more hunger than us and played with a lot more passion. That hurts to say.

“These are traits that are our strength. To see an opposition team who aren’t anywhere near as good as us performing in those areas, close to 10 out of 10, was dissatisfying.

“We were in a very low place on Sunday, very down. It was clear the coaching staff and everyone around was pissed off and rightly so.”

Tuesday, though, saw the mood lift massively. As they arrived in the Le Touquet stadium, Scotland were earning a last minute corner which they went on to convert for a 3-2 win over Egypt.

It offered Ireland a reprieve with four-goals the target against Singapore to reach the semi-final, skipping the quarters in the process.

With much more on the line, now, it sharpened the focus.

“It was always about going in with a much more fine-tuned focus with that level of passion and attitude. That was going to be the main goal regardless of the Scotland game.

O’Donoghue shoots against Singapore. Pic: Fédération Française de Hockey

“It was clear to see we were out to make a statement. We were aggressive from the off and got that first goal inside 40 seconds. In these games, the big thing is normally remaining patient.

“You can sometimes be pestering the goal, might have to wait for the first goal [and get frustrated]. But it went extremely well, knocking three in early put us into a nice relaxed headspace, not having to chase the game.”

Eleven goals and a record-breaking hat trick later and O’Donoghue says there is a big sense of optimism around the camp.

“Having the extra day will help in these conditions. It’s quite humid and warm and there were some tired bodies even when we were winning the game quite convincingly. It allowed guys to recover and recharge the batteries.

“The semi-final will be a dog-fight and a very tough game but it’s all eyes on the prize. Everyone in the team is now in a much happier, peaceful kind of mindset compared to earlier in the week. To have that positivity going into a do-or-die game for us is going to be massive in terms of Olympic qualification.”

Men’s FIH Series Finals (all at Le Touquet, France) – all streamed on FIH.Live
Saturday, June 22
Semi-finals: Ireland v Korea, 2.30pm; France v Scotland, 5pm (both Irish time)

Sunday, June 23
Bronze medal match: 2.30pm
Final: 5pm

The Hook

FIH Women's Series Finals Hiroshima 2019 - Day 8
Hiroshima (JPN)

Results and fixtures (GMT +9)

21 Jun 2019 15:45     FIJ v MEX (7/8 Place)     0 - 5
21 Jun 2019 18:00     POL v URU (5/6 Place)     2 - 2 (5 - 4 SO)

22 Jun 2019     IND v CHI (SF)     4 - 2
22 Jun 2019   RUS v JPN (SF)     1 - 1 (1 - 3 SO))

23 Jun 2019 15:45     CHI 17 v RUS (3rd/4th Place)
23 Jun 2019 18:00     IND v JPN (Final)

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

FIH Match Centre

India takes on Chile with spot in Olympic qualifiers on the line

India is unbeaten in the tournament so far and is just one win away from a place in the final round of the Olympic qualifiers.

Gurjit Kaur (second from left) slammed four goals in India's previous match against Fiji.   -  AFP

Title contender India will start as the overwhelming favourite against lower-ranked Chile in the semifinals of the women’s FIH Series Finals hockey tournament here Saturday.

The ninth-ranked India is unbeaten so far in the tournament, having registered comfortable wins over Uruguay (4-1), Poland (5-0) and Fiji (11-0).

And going by its world rankings and current form, India is expected to win hands down against world No. 16 Chile.

India is just one win away from securing its place in the final round of Tokyo Olympic qualifiers to be held later this year with two top spots up for grabs from here.

And achieving that goal shouldn’t be much of a problem for the Indians.

In all its pool matches, India had plenty of scoring opportunities but conversion rate is an area which is of a little concern for chief coach Sjoerd Marijne.

“We want to perform at the highest level possible and I believe there is still room for improvement,” Marijne had said.

“Our conversion rate can definitely be higher and if that happens it will be easier for us to win matches.”

In the last match against world No. 44 Fiji, Gurjit Kaur slammed four goals, including a hat-trick and the drag-flicker would look to carry her form in the remaining games of the tournament.

Skipper Rani Rampal said India can’t afford to take any team lightly.

“We are looking forward to the semifinal. We just have to just focus on ourselves. We have to give our best,” Rani had said.

Chile, on the hand, finished second in its pool and had to go through the cross-overs to seal its place in the last-four round.

Chile defeated Mexico 7-0, hosts Japan 3-1 before being stunned by world no. 25 Russia 2-5.

But in the cross-overs, Chile edged past Uruguay 5-2 to set up a last-four encounter against India.

In the other semifinal, Russia will take on world no. 14 Japan.


India book Tokyo 2020 qualifiers berth after reaching women’s FIH Series Finals summit clash

India defeated Chile 4-2 in the semi-final in Hiroshima on Saturday.

India reached the final with a convincing win. Hockey India

A powerful performance from drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur led India to the final of the Women’s FIH Series Finals in Hiroshima on Saturday after they defeated Chile 4-2 in the semi-final.

Gurjit converted two of the four penalty corners India got during the match. Navneet Kaur and captain Rani Rampal were the two other goal-scorers for India.

With the win, India took a step closer to qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics. They have now qualified for the final Tokyo Olympic qualifiers by virtue of finishing in the top two positions in Hiroshima.

The top ranked team in the tournament will now face the winner of the second semi-final between Russia and Japan in the final on Sunday.

Carolina Garcia and Manuela Urroz were the two goal-scorers for Chile in the semi-final.

Both teams played some tight hockey in the first quarter but it was India which continued to attack the Chile goal. Unfortunately, they could not open their scoring.

India got their first chance as early as the sixth minute but failed to convert an open goal. They earned a penalty corner but the Chile goalkeeper was alert to save the drag and then the rebound.

Chile also got a penalty corner in the first quarter. but failed to convert and score remained 0-0 at the end first quarter.

It was Chile who opened the scoring in the 18th minute when Garcia managed to put the ball across the line with a gentle push when an Indian defender was handling the ball on the line. India goalkeeper had missed a slip pass from the left to leave the far post open. But India line defender got the ball but failed to stop Garcia from tapping it in.

But Chile’s lead was only for four minutes. India earned a penalty corner and this time Gurjit made no mistake in sending the ball to the top right corner to equalise. The score remained 1-1 at the half.

Soon after the second half began, Navneet Kaur got the ball just outside the circle and moved in by beating three Chile defenders. She was on the top of the D when she top a step forward and flicked it powerfully over Chile goalkeeper to give India a 2-1 lead.

Six minutes later, Gurjit converted another penalty corner. It was similar to the first one and was good enough to beat the Chile goalkeeper.

Despite conceding two goals, Chile did not bog down. They attack continuously and were rewarded in the 43rd minute. Indian defence was caught aware when a Chile player made a run on the left and five Indian defenders fell behind. She hit a cross and no Indian defenders had no idea that Urroz was making a run from the centre. She found the ball in front of the goal and slated it home to make the score line 2-3.

India survived a penalty corner in the dying moments of the third quarter and went into the break leading 3-2.

The fourth quarter was off to a slow start and while India dominated the proceedings, Chile looked to attack more. But in the 54th minute, India got a penalty corner. Gurjit nearly got her hat-trick as her drag hit the post. But manged to get a turnover on the counter and Rani was at the top of the D when she received the pass.

Rani made some space for herself on the left and launched a thunderous reverse shot which went through the legs of the goalkeeper. India made it 4-2 in the 57th minute. The scoreline remained the same at the end of the 60th minute.


FIH Women's Series Finals Valencia 2019 - Day 4
Valencia (ESP)

Results and fixtures (GMT +2)

21 Jun 2019     CAN v NAM (Pool A)     17 - 0    
21 Jun 2019     BLR v ESP (Pool A)     2 - 8

22 Jun 2019     RSA v THA (Pool B)     7 - 0      
22 Jun 2019 13:00     WAL v ITA (Pool B)
22 Jun 2019 17:00    CAN v BLR (Pool A)
22 Jun 2019 19:00    ESP v NAM (Pool A)

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

Pool standings

Pool A

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Canada 2 1 1 0 18 1 17 4
2 Spain 2 1 1 0 9 3 6 4
3 Belarus 2 1 0 1 9 8 1 3
4 Namibia 2 0 0 2 0 24 -24  

Pool B

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 South Africa 3 2 1 0 11 3 8 7
2 Wales 2 1 1 0 7 2 5 4
3 Italy 2 1 0 1 8 2 6 3
4 Thailand 3 0 0 3 0 18 -18 0

FIH Match Centre

Canada hammer Namibia

Photo: Yan Huckendubler

Canada was up against Namibia in game two of the tournament, where they had an opportunity to show what their offense is made of. The first goal was scored by Brie Stairs just two minutes into the game, as Canada went on a roll from there. Keeping their scoring mentality, Canada was able to take a commanding 6-0 lead before the first quarter was finished. Hannah Haughn was a star in the first quarter, scoring two late goals to further Canada’s stronghold against Namibia.

The second quarter was more of the same, with Canada capitalizing on their penalty corners early, with goals from Steph Norlander and the youngster, Elise Wong. This is Wong’s first goal in a major international tournament for team Canada, an amazing achievement for the young player.

Stairs scored three goals for Canada, raising her career goal record to 93. Canada was also able to capitalize on their penalty strokes throughout the game. Sara McManus scored an astounding four goals in this game, three of them coming from penalty strokes.

“I didn’t really expect it,” said McManus. “Normally there isn’t three strokes in a game, but I’m happy that I was able to put them away. We were really focused on making sure we stuck to our game-plan, and executed how we wanted to play.”

Canada finished the game with a 17-0 win, the highest score-line for any game in this tournament, as they try to build a big goal difference to give them a better chance at a first place group finish.

“We definitely have some history with them,” said McManus about Belarus. “We’re taking the confidence from the game today and bringing it into the game tomorrow.”

Field Hockey Canada media release

2019 FIH Pro League - Weekend fixtures

2019 FIH Pro League (Men)

22 Jun 2019 15:00 (GMT +2)    NED v AUS (RR)     Wagener Hockey Stadium, Amstelveen
23 Jun 2019 13:30 (GMT +2)    BEL v ARG (RR)     Wilrijkse Plein Antwerp, Antwerp
23 Jun 2019 14:00 (GMT +1)    GBR v NZL (RR)     The Stoop, London

2019 FIH Pro League (Women)

22 Jun 2019 19:00 (GMT -5)    USA v GER (RR)     Spooky Nook Sports, Lancaster
23 Jun 2019 15:00 (GMT +2)     NED v AUS (RR)     Wagener Hockey Stadium, Amstelveen
23 Jun 2019 15:30 (GMT +2)    BEL v ARG (RR)     Wilrijkse Plein Antwerp, Antwerp
23 Jun 2019 16:30 (GMT +1)    GBR v NZL (RR)     The Stoop, London

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

FIH Match Centre

Revolutionary innovations take centre stage as hockey heads to The Stoop

Hockey has long been a sport synonymous with innovation. From pioneering rule changes to the introduction of video umpire referrals, a willingness to embrace change has been crucial to the sport’s evolution. However, few - if any - of these adjustments to the status quo have had quite the same impact on hockey as the arrival of synthetic pitches.

Since their introduction in the 1970s – most significantly at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games, the first Olympic hockey competition to use a technology that has been employed at every Olympiad since – synthetic surfaces have changed the game almost beyond measure, providing a consistent, predictable surface which made hockey even faster and triggered the development of an array of new skills.

Over the past 40 or so years there have been huge technological advancements in order to constantly meet the ever-changing requirements of the sport, moving from sand-dressed surfaces right through to the development of water-based pitches and on to the water-saving surfaces that will be in use at the hockey competitions of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. While these high-tech surfaces often take months to install, the option of simply constructing a hockey pitch in any stadium you choose for one-off international matches has not been on the table. However, thanks to a ground-breaking partnership in the United Kingdom, boldly spearheaded by England Hockey, that dream is rapidly moving towards reality.

In October 2018, it was announced that Great Britain’s FIH Pro League double header against New Zealand’s Black Sticks on 23rd June 2019 would be played in west London at the Twickenham Stoop, home to Gallagher Premiership Rugby team, Harlequins. As The Stoop does not have a synthetic surface, the decision to move to the 15,000 seater stadium - which if at capacity will see the largest hockey attendance in the United Kingdom since the London 2012 Olympic Games – for just one day of hockey certainly raised a few eyebrows.

“It’s all part of our bigger plan to promote the sport, tied in very closely with hosting the FIH Pro League”, said England Hockey Chief Executive Officer Sally Munday. “We have a really good relationship with the RFU [Rugby Football Union], so I called them and said we were going to approach a rugby club in and around London, explaining what we were trying to do and also the level of our ambition. They said, straight away, that we should speak to Harlequins. We then met with David Ellis, the Chief Executive of the club, to discuss our crazy idea and it soon became clear that we would work really well together. After that we had to see if it was technically possible, so we got a group of experts who know about pitch laying, how to protect grass and what sub-structures we would need and hammered out a few ideas about what could be possible.”

It is not the first time that a non-hockey specific stadium has been used. The Netherlands staged both the 1998 and 2014 Hockey World Cup events in existing football stadiums. However, there is a significant difference between what happened at Utrecht in 1998 and The Hague in 2014, where essentially permanent constructions were put in place for a relatively short period of time, to the temporary and endlessly repeatable model being trialled at The Stoop, a trail-blazing move which has happened as a direct result of a National Association’s desire to maximise the opportunities that come with the FIH Pro League’s home and away format. The ground-breaking developments that lie at the heart of England Hockey’s project could, according to FIH Facilities & Programme Manager Alastair Cox, be genuinely game-changing for the sport.

“If we can make this work, it suddenly means that hockey can be played in any venue anywhere in the world”, says Cox, who has been working in close partnership with England Hockey, world class pitch manufacturers and FIH Global Partner Polytan, innovative sub-base and water management experts Polypipe, natural sports turf research and development specialists STRI Group and Harlequins on the project. “There is a hardcore community in hockey that loves the sport and will go and watch it regardless of the venue, which is fantastic, but if we want to engage with the broader audience, we have to make it as an attractive, appealing and enjoyable experience as possible.”

With the upcoming FIH Pro League matches at The Stoop being something of a one-off, construction work is already very much underway. “There is a bit more time this year, so this has allowed us to remove the turf, level the ground and enhance the drainage to provide the platform on which the temporary hockey pitch will be put in place, this year and into the future” continues Cox. “The model for this year is that which would be used when hosting a world cup.”

However, thanks to some of the innovations currently being trialled, the proposed turnaround for FIH Pro League matches in the coming years will, says Cox, be incredibly quick. “The plan will be that they [Harlequins] play rugby one weekend, then we can build a hockey pitch over the turf and play hockey the following weekend, before taking the hockey pitch out and ready for rugby to be played the weekend after. So we’d be aiming to be in and out of a stadium - laying the pitch, playing the match, removing the pitch - in six to eight days.”

While many of the questions regarding exactly how achieving this quite remarkable turnaround cannot be answered due to commercial confidentiality, there are certainly plenty of reasons why the ability to rapidly construct a fully functioning international standard hockey pitch in virtually any stadium in the world would be hugely advantageous to the sport. Rather than having to spend huge sums of money overlaying an existing hockey venue with the required infrastructure (constructing spectator stands, broadcast and media facilities, marquees for hospitality, pitch lighting suitable for television broadcast), a ready-made stadium comes with all of these things and more.

“We are hugely excited about the opportunity to work with Harlequins, not just for the upcoming matches and the fact that we are testing these new pitch technologies, but also the long-term potential relationship with them. They have got some really exciting plans for the development of their stadium, and for us to be in the discussion stages of how that could work for both rugby and hockey in the future is really exciting. We’ve really enjoyed working with them to date. Their values are very similar to ours in terms of how they go about their business, and we are excited about the opportunity we are going to get on 23rd June to see this new technology in action. We’re really grateful also to Sport England for their appetite to support this innovation and make it possible.”

The surface currently being installed at The Stoop for the upcoming FIH Pro League matches will be a version of Polytan’s Poligras Tokyo GT, the turf system that will be used at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The surface - which is made from a sugar cane, a sustainable product - requires up to 65 percent less water than the surfaces used at previous Olympics. Polytan have been one of the driving forces behind the innovations that will be trialled at The Stoop, finding new ways to both lay and lift a synthetic surface in a very short period of time, doing so in a manner that will allow the surface to be re-used time and time again.

Also involved in the partnership are Polypipe, the developers of the Permavoid system which supports the turf by ensuring that drainage is provided in a temporary location whilst also allowing air to flow, keeping the grass alive over the period of use. The STRI Group have advised England Hockey on appropriate ground preparations at The Stoop to ensure that the grass pitch is ready for the rugby season.

In March of this year, the project took a big stride forward when a temporary pitch replicating what will be in place at The Stoop was constructed at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre, where Great Britain’s men and women trained vigorously on the surface for two days. It was a crucially important move, allowing elite athletes to provide vital feedback about their experiences. “A lot of lessons were learned at Bisham”, says Cox. “From an FIH point of view, we absolutely insisted on that trial taking place. It was very good for everyone involved and the feedback was invaluable. It is important that we get things right or the players will simply not accept it.”

Looking ahead to what promises to be a momentous occasion at The Stoop, Sally Munday said: “The opportunity for loads of people to see top level hockey live and in a completely different environment is very exciting. This is something that has never been done before, and if I was a hockey fan – or even a rugby fan – I’d want to see how this is going to work. I’d encourage hockey fans to come along and be part of a moment in history, because this is not going to happen for the first time again. Witnessing something which could be game-changing for the sport is pretty special, I think.”


Official FIH Pro League Site

Twickenham Stoop primed for Great Britain's move into 'Big Stadium Hockey'

Fiona Tomas

England Men's Hockey Team training on a brand new "pop-up-pitch' which has been installed at The Stoop. This Sunday's double-header will see Great Britain’s men and women face New Zealand in their final home games in the inaugural FIH Pro League Credit: Julian Andrews

Great Britain’s hockey teams will run out on a pioneering pop-up turf surface at Twickenham Stoop on Sunday in an unprecedented move towards ‘Big Stadium Hockey’, which is set to draw the sport’s largest crowd in the UK since the London 2012 Olympics.

The ground-breaking pitch has been installed at the home of Gallagher Premiership club Harlequins, which will host a double-header when Great Britain’s men and women face New Zealand in their final home games in the inaugural FIH Pro League.

With around 12,500 tickets sold, the event is also set to exceed the 10,000 attendances the Women’s Hockey World Cup attracted at Lee Valley last summer.

Developed with the latest pitch technology, the portable turf requires up to 65 per cent less water than other performance-based surfaces. It could revolutionise the spectating profile of the sport, with the idea being that pitches could literally be dropped onto football and rugby stadiums during their off-season.

“This will not just be game changing for us, but for hockey around the world,” said Sally Munday, chief executive of England Hockey, who says the pitch innovation could solve the issue of limited seating at Stratford’s 3,000-capacity Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, which often has to be extended when hosting major fixtures.

“From a hockey perspective, if we want to host a big event, it means we have to build a massive amount of temporary infrastructure, temporary seats. What this allows us to do is simply go into an existing purpose-built stadium and drop a pitch. We have massive interest from a whole load of other sports and other stadiums, where it could be hugely beneficial for them too.”

The project has been spearheaded by England Hockey in partnership with synthetic surface provider Polytan, which will use the pitch technology at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Sport England and the International Hockey Federation have also supported the scheme, which is aimed at further capitalising on the legacy of the London Olympics and championing the spectator boom that hockey has experienced in recent years.

Since 2012, the number of fans who will have paid to see the sport after Sunday’s double-header gets under way will surpass one million – a significant increase on the 25,000 tickets sold for international hockey events in the 10 years prior to 2012.

Great Britain goalkeeper Maddie Hinch said: “If we can keep these ticket demands being as high as they have been since Rio, then we can do more one-off showcases like we’re doing for this one.

“It’s a fantastic platform for hockey to be played in front of a massive crowd. This stuff was just unheard of years and years ago. I remember going to international games and there were only hundreds of people there, let alone thousands.”

England Men's Hockey Team training on a brand new "pop-up-pitch' which has been installed at The Stoop. Hockey is looking to expand its audience Credit: Julian Andrews

The pitch will also be opened up to local schools and community groups before being transported to Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre, the headquarters for England Hockey and Great Britain Hockey, where it will be used as a training facility.

Munday, who will begin her role as Sport England chief executive in September, has defended the decision to stage Sunday’s event at Harlequins’ 14,800-capacity stadium – just 20 miles west of the Lee Valley – instead of evangelising for the game beyond the capital’s hotbed of hockey clubs.

“What we’ve consistently seen since the London 2012 Games is the massive growth of people wanting to watch hockey live, which culminated in us hosting the Women’s World Cup last summer,” she said.

“We’ve got bags of international hockey that’s going to keep coming back to the UK now that we’re playing in the FIH Pro League.

“If we can get the technology to work the way we want it to, there will be the opportunity to go to other locations around the country, but the priority at the moment is building a relationship with Harlequins, growing the audience and making sure the technology works the way we want it to.”

It takes six weeks to lay the pitch, after needing to flatten the Harlequins’ turf, but the next phase of the project will involve shortening the installation process, which could take up to a week in the future. The artificial pitch is not expected to damage the stadium’s natural pitch ahead of the rugby season, thanks to a key substance – Permavoid – which will enable the grass to keep growing and support drainage.

“We’re not actually worried about the grass this weekend because it’s the off-season,” Munday said. “We know we can protect the grass from the other testing we’ve done, so that hurdle has already been crossed – we already know the structure will protect the grass. What we’re checking is that the whole pitch plays as we want it to.”

However, the pricing of tickets for the double fixture seems to contradict England Hockey’s ambition to make the sport more accessible.

Adult tickets start at £34, while the cheapest child’s ticket costs £11.50. For the best seats, a family of two adults and two children would have to pay £120.

Munday, however, insists the tickets are based on a “whole day experience” with the opportunity to meet Great Britain’s stars after each game, culminating in a day out which is more than just hockey.

“We’re consistently growing our audience,” she said. “If you look at the FIH Pro League matches at the Olympic Park last Saturday, tickets were completely sold out. This is why we’re trying bigger stadiums, because the demand is there.”

The Telegraph

Big Stadium Hockey is set to captivate London

Vantage Black Sticks Women vs Great Britain Women. Monday 24th June at 03:30am. Coverage is on Spark Sport

The Vantage Black Sticks Women will take to the turf for the final time in the 2019 FIH Pro League on Monday morning as they take on Great Britain at The Stoop, London. The match is going to be an incredible spectacle as it is being played on a Polytan Portable Pitch which has been laid specifically for this match. These will be the first matches in the FIH Pro League that will be played in front of 15,000 spectators with a sell out crowd ready to see the two sides battle it out.

The last time these two teams met, the Vantage Black Sticks Women put together a complete performance at the Ngå Puna Wai Sports Hub in Christchurch where the New Zealand side came away 5-1 winners behind a hat trick from the competitions leading goal scorer Olivia Merry.

Graham Shaw commented ahead of the match “We have managed to give our team a rest day before we start our preparation for Great Britain. The team have really enjoyed the Pro League and it has been a great opportunity to play world class opposition consistently. It has been very demanding on the players and managing the rest periods is a real challenge”

Shaw also talked about the amazing match that is going to take place at The Stoop, London “The team is really excited about playing in front of 15,000 people on Sunday, it should make for a fantastic atmosphere. We are really looking forward to getting onto The Stoop pitch on Friday and testing out the Polytan portable pitch”

Key Matchup

Megan Hull has enjoyed a breakout season in 2019, making her debut against Malaysia in 2016 where she accumulated four caps, Hull had not featured for the Vantage Black Sticks since that series. In 2019 Hull has not only featured in every match for the New Zealand Women but has set herself up as being a defensive rock, consistently cleaning up the oppositions fast breaks and putting some great passes through to the New Zealand midfielders.

Lily Owsley has been on the international scene for a while now and has managed to achieve some significant milestones such as being part of the 2016 Rio Olympics Gold Medal winning team. Lily currently leads the Great Britain side in goals scored with four and will be looking to increase this total against a side that she has already scored twice against previously.




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 Great Britain Men. Monday 24thJune at 1:00am. Coverage is on Spark Sport

The Vantage Black Sticks Men will take to the turf for the final time in the 2019 FIH Pro League when they take on Great Britain. Traditionally these two sides have had some close battles and this one promises to be another close match with both sides in desperate need of the three competition points. 

The last time these two sides met Great Britain walked away with a convincing 6-2 win over the Vantage Black Sticks. Great Britain’s leading goal scorer Sam Ward scored three goals in the match as the Vantage Black Sticks Men struggled to cope with the physicality that the British side brought to the match.

The New Zealand side have been looking more composed in the European leg of the FIH Pro League which has seen them draw with two of the competitions best sides in Germany and The Netherlands. The Black Sticks will look to finish their inaugural season in the FIH Pro League with their first win against a Great Britain side that still has everything to play for as they desperately try and make the top four and the Grand Final Weekend.

Key Matchup

Shea McAleese the veteran Black Sticks defender is quietly approaching 300 caps for the New Zealand team. McAleese has been going from strength to strength as the competition progresses. Always a presence on the defensive end for the New Zealand team, McAleese has been finding space on the attacking end and starting to apply some significant pressure on the opposition defence.

Sam Ward gave the Black Sticks defenders fits last time these sides met as he completed a hattrick which set Great Britain up for a fantastic 6-2 win. Ward has been on a tear in the FIH Pro League having scored eight goals for the British side throughout the competition. Ward also enjoys playing against the Black Sticks having scored four goals in the three matches he has played against them and having never suffered a defeat to the New Zealand side.




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

FIH Pro League Preview: GB v New Zealand

History will be made on Sunday 23 June when Great Britain’s men (2pm) and women (4:30pm) face New Zealand in an FIH Pro League double header match at Harlequins’ Twickenham Stoop Stadium using brand new pitch technology.

It will be the first-time hockey will have been played at a rugby stadium in the UK in what will be the biggest game since the 2012 Olympics with nearly 11,000 tickets sold for the games.

Tickets are available for the event which will also be shown live on BT Sport – click HERE to get yours.

GB men’s top four hopes still alive

Victory over New Zealand on Sunday, and defeat for Argentina against Belgium, is the only way Great Britain’s men can finish in the top four of the FIH Pro League as the team searches for a place at the Grand Final.

Only Spain’s Pau Quemada (10) has scored more goals than GB’s Phil Roper and Sam Ward (both 8) with Danny Kerry’s side looking strong in attack, especially given the recent form of Chris Griffiths who has three goals from his previous four appearances.

Set pieces remain an outstanding strength for Great Britain who have recorded the most goals from penalty corners in the league (12) with Belgium the only other side to have recorded double digits (10).

GB drew 2-2 to both Australia and the Netherlands in their previous matches, claiming the bonus point against the Kookaburras but being made to settle for one point against the Dutch last time out.

In the previous encounter between Sunday’s opponents, GB thumped New Zealand 6-2 in Christchurch as Ward bagged a hat-trick, Roper notched a brace and Captain Adam Dixon also got on the scoresheet for an emphatic victory.

Two changes have been made to the squad as Michael Hoare and Rhys Smith come in for David Condon and Ollie Willars.

GB women looking for final day victory

Despite not picking up enough points to make the top four of the FIH Pro League, there have been some encouraging displays for a GB side that has given senior international debuts to five exciting young players in the league.

Esme Burge, Holly Hunt, Alex Malzer, Lizzie Neal and Izzy Petter have all featured in the FIH Pro League with the youngsters earning plaudits for the impact they’ve had.

Great Britain’s women’s side pushed the Netherlands all the way in their previous match before being cruelly denied a draw after conceding a last-minute goal from what had otherwise been a very strong performance.

Going into Sunday’s match there’s two changes from the team that faced the Netherlands last time out with Maddie Hinch and Amy Costello coming in for Amy Tennant and the injured Sarah Evans.

Great Britain’s women opened their FIH Pro League campaign against Sunday's opposition back in February, a match they lost 5-1 to a clinical Black Sticks side in what was a more even match than the score-line would suggest.

Former New Zealand Head Coach Mark Hager will come against the side he led to Commonwealth Gold in 2018 for the first time in the UK having taken charge with GB ahead of the 2019 FIH Pro League.

Great Britain Hockey media release

Stoop fixture key factor behind Hinch's return

PLAYING in front of nearly 15,000 fans at Twickenham Stoop is exactly why Rio hero Maddie Hinch couldn't resist returning to hockey.

The 30-year-old goalkeeper is back from ten months away, resuming a glittering career that reached its dizzying peak with gold at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Hinch, who saved four penalties in a shootout to earn victory over the Netherlands, stepped away to spend a season in the Dutch top flight with Stichtsche.

Back between the sticks for the FIH Pro League run-in, Hinch says she's refreshed and ready to spearhead a tilt at Tokyo.

"It's been an incredibly important ten months for me," said the 2016 Olympic international.

"I was in a place where I was really struggling to enjoy the game anymore, and I knew I had so much more to give.

"I needed some time to reset and now I feel in a great place, not just with my hockey, but mentally as well.

"It's like I'm starting all over again. I'm looking forward to giving so much more energy than I could ten months ago.

"In the end, I started to see that I really missed it. Not only did I miss playing, I missed the lifestyle, the discipline, I missed Bisham Abbey!

"I just missed being a part of this team. As soon as I felt that way, I picked up the phone to Mark (Hager) and asked if I could come back."

Hager, who took over as coach in January, now has one of the finest goalkeepers in the world at his disposal for the end of the inaugural Pro League campaign.

And Hinch will once again play her part in history as the Stoop hosts a men's and women's double-header between Great Britain and New Zealand.

An anticipated capacity crowd at the iconic rugby stadium would shatter a record for the highest-attended hockey match on British soil since London 2012.

With crowds for last summer's Vitality Women's Hockey World Cup, Hinch's last tournament before her self-imposed break, topping 100,000, the sport's growth is in overdrive.

However many more medals the goalkeeper adds to her cabinet, she'll always swell with pride when she's reminded how many people she's inspired to get involved in the game.

"Occasions like this were one of the reasons I came back," she said.

"Just pulling on a shirt and playing in front of one person is a special occasion, but to potentially be able to do it in front of 15,000 people is unheard of.

"When I started, I would go to an international game and there would be a few hundred people there.

"Now we're talking about filling a 15,000-seater stadium. Hockey is just in such a great place.

"We couldn't have done that without doing what we did in Rio.

"People are picking up a stick, people are getting involved, tuning in and picking it up on social media.

“Without that, we can't keep growing as a sport and these matches are just another platform to show why hockey is a great sport.

"We're excited to go out there, put on a show and hopefully get a GB win on the way.”

Great Britain Hockey media release

Scotland o60s men narrowly beaten by the Netherlands

In a superb game of end-to-end hockey Scotland 60s men narrowly lost out to World Champions the Netherlands 2-1. It was a fantastic team effort by the Scots against one of the top ranked sides.

The Netherlands scored early when a dangerous cross was deflected in by a Scottish defender.

The rest of the half was dominated by Scotland with no reward to show for it. The game was very competitive with the Scots working hard for an equaliser.

The Scots dug in and managed to get into the Dutch circle and win a couple of corners without managing to take advantage.

At half time it was still 1-0 to the Dutch but with all to play for in the contest. Scotland were playing good possession hockey by now and denying the Dutch their clinical passes.

With 13 minutes to go the Netherlands scored a second from a rare attack. There was an excellent save by Murray Graham and it looked as though the danger was cleared only for the Dutch to rifle another shot into the back of the net.

This served to motivate Scotland who pulled one back with 11 minutes left when a flowing move led to a great strike by Ali Hay.

Scotland threw everything at the Dutch in the final five minutes but the Netherlands managed to cling on to their narrow lead despite Scotland creating a number of chance. Next up for Scotland is Spain on Saturday.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Teams get their prize money

By Jugjet Singh

MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal said we found out that the clubs were becoming restless, we prepared the cheques and banked them in today . NSTP/Syarafiq Abd Samad

The prize money owing was long overdue, by more than three months, but the teams that competed in the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) finally got their winnings yesterday.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) paid out the RM430,000 owing to the podium finishers.

The clubs had earlier cried foul when they did not receive their prize money long after the MHL had ended on March 2.

However, MHC had their reasons for the delay.

“We had too many obligations this year and so there was a delay in paying the prize money to the clubs.

“However, when we found out that the clubs were becoming restless, we prepared the cheques and banked them in today (yesterday),” said MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal.

The delay was mainly because MHC had spent about RM1 million to host the men's FIH Series Finals in Bukit Jalil where Malaysia clinched the silver and qualified for the final round of the Olympic Qualifier in November.

“And then women's coach K. Dharmaraj had requested for friendlies in Italy (versus Spain and Italy) as well as Scotland (against club sides) before heading to Ireland for the women's FIH Series Finals.

“That set us back about RM600,000 and then there is also the men's Tour of Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and South Korea this month to get ready for the knock-out.

“That, too, will cost about RM500,000.

“So, we delayed paying (the MHL teams their prize money) because we have to spend first and then make our claims (from the government). However, the matter has been settled.

“Even though I had said we need about three weeks to pay the MHL clubs, we used some of the cash in our coffers to pay them first and settle this matter," said Subahan.

Timesport had reported yesterday that clubs, who won in the MHL, were not happy after their prize money, which usually is shared among players and officials, was delayed by more than three months. Nonetheless, the MHC settled the “money owing” in 24 hours.

The MHC had already paid the national league umpires and officials before Hari Raya.

New Straits Times

SSTMI show BJSS a real thunderstorm

The other two Thunderbolts also got off to a good start, with Pahang beating Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL)

By Jugjet Singh

It rained goals at the National Stadium II yesterday as Junior Hockey League double champions Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolts began the new season in style.

Playing under a drizzle, SSTMI found themselves trailing 1-0 to sister-team Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS)-Thunderbolts before turning on the power to romp home 6-2.

Although BJSS opened the scoring through Amirul Hanif Mamat in the third minute, SSTMI hit back with goals from Shamir Rizmi Shamsul (ninth, 17th), Faris Harizan (21st), Muhajir Abdu Rauf (25th), Amirul Hamizan Azahar (58th) and Hafizz Fikri Zali (59th).

Amirul also scored the second goal for BJSS in the 57th minute. Both his goals were off penalty corners.

“The scoreline is quite flattering, but one must take into consideration that we had four players who featured for Tenaga Nasional in the MHL (Malaysia Hockey League).

“BJSS, however, have a completely new team and their players are in Form Four and below,” said SSTMI coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman.

The other two Thunderbolts also got off to a good start, with Pahang beating Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL)-Datuk Bentara Luar 2-1 and while Anderson downing Terengganu Hockey Team 3-0.

The four Thunderbolts sides are fully sponsored by Tenaga Nasional.

RESULTS — Perlis Young Lions 0 PJCC Tigers 5, KL Wipers v MSSP-PSHA (postponed due to rain), Sabah Jnrs 0 SSMS Resilient 3, BJSS Thunderbolts 2 SSTMI Thunderbolts 6, BJSS Juniors v SSTMI Juniors (postponed due to rain), Pahang Thunderbolts 2 UniKL-Datuk Bentara 1, Anderson Thunderbolts 3 Terengganu HT 0.

New Straits Times

Hockey shines a light in Afghanistan

It was 73 years ago that Afghanistan was one of the top 10 hockey nations in the world. Since then, wars and civil unrest have meant that the sport has drifted out of public consciousness and the national men's team now sit at 91 in the FIH World Rankings, while the women have no world ranking at all.

The Afghanistan Hockey Association has ambitions to restore hockey's popularity in the country and is using Olympic Day as a vehicle to do this.

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.

In line with Olympic ideals, the Afghanistan Hockey Association is looking to use hockey as a tool for peace and a means of rebuilding society. With the Olympic movement promoting peace across the world, Olympic Day on 23 June is a way to celebrate the power of sport to bring people together.

This is a sentiment echoed by the Afghanistan Hockey Association: “We understand the main idea behind the Olympic movement and its values is to use sport for the benefit of humanity.

“Due to the civil war in the country, a gap between the society/culture and sports has been created but sport is a powerful tool for peace, unity and building a responsible society.”

The Afghanistan Hockey Association has created an innovative day of activities that seek to promote hockey and its many values to a wide-ranging and diverse population.

The idea is to provide coaching sessions, educational seminars and other events that promote hockey as a sport that is inclusive to all and mirrors the values of the Olympic movement. There will be hockey tournaments held in all provinces that currently have active hockey teams. This will include a tournament in the capital city Kabul and some events in children’s orphanages. Seminars will take place that explore issues around anti-doping and coaching in life skills as well as hockey. And there will be a number of forums that will bring people together to discuss the values of sport and how they relate to other areas of life. These forums will include the relationship between sport and art and sport and music; women and sport; and sport and disabilities.

There will also be fun sessions, particularly aimed at younger children, such as designing the five Olympic rings using colourful fruit and vegetables. And in a movement that really highlights how sport can be used as a powerful voice against feelings of fear and tension, an art project will encourage people to paint pictures depicting sport and peace, including the pictures of national hockey players, on the high, grey security walls that surround many government buildings in Kabul.

The Afghanistan Hockey Association says: “We would like to represent the true values of sport and the Olympic movement with our Olympic Day project. We want to say no to any discrimination; create opportunities for the participants to play hockey; to enjoy friendship; to respect each other beliefs and and experience the spirituality of sport.”


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