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News update 24 June

All the news for Monday 24 June 2019

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

Results and fixtures (GMT +2)

22 Jun 2019    IRL v KOR (SF)     4 - 2
22 Jun 2019     FRA v SCO (SF)     3 - 0

23 Jun 2019     KOR v SCO (3 / 4)    5 - 0
23 Jun 2019     IRL v FRA (Final)    1 - 3

Full game replay on https://fih.live

FIH Match Centre

Ireland runners-up to France in FIH Series Finals but Olympic Qualifier Secured.

Having secured their Olympic qualifier spot yesterday with a 4-2 win over Korea, the Irish Men were runners-up today to host nation France.

In hot and humid conditions, it was Ben Walker and Sean Murray with one of the opening opportunities for Ireland in the first quarter. With a save by Thieffry, France were the first to make their mark on the scoreboard with a goal from Blaise Rogeau. It wasn’t long before Murray had another attempt, this time hitting the post. However, Ben Walker had him set up again moments later to give Ireland the equaliser.

France took the lead in the second quarter with Victor Charlet putting the ball in the goal after a scramble from a French penalty corner. Ben Walker and Michael Robson both made their presence clearly felt in this quarter while Ireland looked to continue with good energy and pace ahead of half time.

Victor Charlet put a second goal away for France in the third quarter, also from a penalty corner, to give the hosts a two-goal lead. Although the quarter ended Ireland 1-3 France, the final seconds were marked by a great chance for France with a save from David Harte rebounding, Paul Gleghorne stretching across the line on his knees to keep the ball out of the goal and Lee Cole ensuring it was pushed out of harm’s way before the whistle blew.

Ireland seemed to gain momentum again in the close quarter. A penalty corner in the final two minutes presented an opportunity, however Shane O’Donoghue, receiving it from Ben Walker, sent it slightly wide of the posts and France took the victory by two goals.

In the individual tournament awards, Shane O’Donoghue was presented with the award for top goal-scorer of the tournament, shared with France’s Victor Charlet.

Speaking on the match, Head Coach Alexander Cox said, “I’m not happy. We simply played a bad game from the start and couldn’t turn it around. We made way too many mistakes on the ball and our decisions were not quick enough.

We trailed the game from the start and couldn’t change it. This was one of those games where it simply wasn’t good enough. Overall I’m disappointed with this performance.”

However, with an Autumn Olympic qualifier now secure, the focus moves towards European’s in August where Ireland will face a tough Pool challenge against Germany, the Netherlands and Scotland.

Ireland 1 (S Murray),
France 3 (V Charlet 2, B Rogeau)

Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, J Bell, E Magee, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, B Walker, D Walsh, P Gleghorne, L Cole, S Cole
Subs: J Carr, M Bell, L Madeley, M Nelson, M Robson, N Glassey, C Harte.

France: A Thieffry, P van Straaten, T Genestet, H Genestet, S Martin Brisac, V Lockwood, C Masson, A Bellenger, G Baumgarten, F Goyet, V Charlet
Subs: B Rogeau, N Dumont, JB Forgues, E Tynevez, T Ponthieu, M Branicki, C Saunier.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Scotland miss out on bronze but finish higher than ranking once again

Scotland men were beaten 5-0 by Korea in the bronze medal match of the FIH Series Finals in Le Touquet. The Scots miss out on the bronze this time but have finished higher than ranking for the fourth time in three years.

Scotland took to the pitch against a Korea side ranked six places above them in the world rankings on the back of some big performances in Le Touquet.

It was a very competitive opening to the match with Korea enjoying possession but Scotland matching them with their work rate.

An excellent solo run by Russell Anderson through five Korean players almost created a shot on goal, but Kenny Bain couldn’t get on the end of the final pass into the D.

Korea hit the post after a sprightly attack down the left opened Scotland up, but the ball bounced clear and Scotland survived.

The Koreans took the lead towards the end of the second quarter after a break down the right set up Byungjin Jeon for a strike in the middle of the goal. Korea 1-0 Scotland.

There was a great chance for Callum MacKenzie right before half time, he took a great touch to go past two Korean defenders into the D but his effort shot up into the air and over the bar.

The Koreans went 2-0 ahead just after half time through some clinical finishing by Namyong Lee. A loose pass in the Scotland defence saw the ball played through for Lee and he lifted it over the advancing goalkeeper for the goal.

Cammy Golden had a penalty corner tipped over the bar as Scotland set about retaliating. Then there was a great chance for Anderson when he raced towards the far post to get on the end of a fizzed pass by Adam Le Page, but he couldn’t direct his shot on target.

Then Korea managed to find the Scotland net with a Jonghyun Jang penalty corner to go 3-0 up. The low shot squirmed under the stick of David Forrester to further the Korean advantage.

Sunghyun Kim scored Korea’s fourth right on the hooter for the end of the third quarter. They tore into the Scots D from the right and the cutback deflected into the Scots net for the goal.

Scotland were unlucky to be four behind going into the final quarter, but the terrific effort put into the tournament seemed to catch up on Scotland.

In the final quarter another drag flick by Jang fired into the bottom right corner to give Korea a fifth goal. Scotland battled until the end but it was Korea who took the bronze medal in Le Touquet, with the Blue Sticks finishing the tournament higher than ranking once again.

Scotland’s Kenny Bain said, “We’ve finished above our ranking – we said we’d try and get to the semi-finals and we met that objective so we’re really happy. We’ve got such a young team, and we’re missing a few players who are playing for GB, some others are injured, so that’s been quite tough for an inexperienced team.

“We’ve made a lot of good steps towards the Europeans which will happen this summer. I think the score line today was maybe a little flattering, but it’s been an enjoyable week and I think the tournament’s been a fantastic success.”

Scottish Hockey Union media release

FIH Women's Series Finals Hiroshima 2019
Hiroshima (JPN)

Results and fixtures (GMT +9)

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

23 Jun 2019     CHI v RUS (3rd/4th Place)    3 - 3 (3 - 1 SO)
23 Jun 2019     IND v JPN (Final)    3 - 1

Full game replay on https://fih.live

FIH Match Centre


Indian high at Hiroshima, annex FIH Series Final

s2h Team

Emulating their men's counterpart in style and substance, India ladies today annexed the FIH Series Final in Hiroshima today. Starting with a goal as early as three minutes from the start, Rani Rampal's team won the final against the hosts Japan 3-1, a week after Manpreet Singh's crack outfit did the same encore in Bhubneswar in the their FIH Series Final. Both men and women won all their matches in achieving a rare double for India. Further, Indian girls also made amends for their title defeat at Jakarata to Japan.

Both teams were relaxed ones insofar Road to Tokyo is concerned. While India made sure of thier entry into the last leg of Olympic Qualifier with a semifinal win yesterday, the host have doubly ensured their place ino the next Olympics as Asian Games champions and also hosts.

All India's goals came through penalty corners, PC expert Gurjit Singh again scoring a brace as she did in the semis against Chile yesterday.

Rani Rampal struck the first goal in the 3rd minute only to see it even out through an excellent field goal from Kanon Mori eight minutes later. Both sides completed the first half with the same 1-1 score line.

India was the dominant partner after lemon break.

Attacking from both wings, India almost outpaced the Japanese, who are the reigning Asian champions.

India got four successive penalty corners, but could not utilize in the spell. However, Gurjit could not be restrained for long. When her fierceful drag hit the left side netting off the fifth penalty corner of the session, the girls smelt the crown flavour.

The manner with which PC ball pusher Navjot Kaur jumped like frog symbolised the Indian joy.

But still 15 minutes were to be glossed over for final sigh of relief.

Its in the fourth spell, India showed its verve in both attack and defence. When Japan pressed hard in the last five minutes, defender Deep Grace Ekka gave best performance in seeing the citadel remain intact. Japan certainly got two penalty corners, both disputed by the Indians, one off the feet of Gurjit, but good dfence again kept the clean slate.

India got its last penalth corner when a long scoop creted a havoc in the Japan circle. Gurjit now placed the high drag in the centre of the net, bemusing the goalie who was expecting either sides.

This goal was not only against the run of play, but also the last nail in the Japanese coffin.


Indian women’s hockey team beats Japan in summit clash

Indian women eked out a hard fought 3-1 win over the Asian champions at the Hiroshima Hockey Stadium.

Gurjit Kaur struck twice in the FIH series finals against Japan in Hiroshima. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur, who has been on a song, struck twice after skipper Rani Rampal provided the lead as India outplayed Japan 3-1 to clinch the FIH Women’s Series Finals, in Hiroshima on Sunday.

Leading from the front, captain Rani found the net as early as third minute but Japan’s Kanon Mori equalised in the 11th minute.

Gurjit scored in the 45th and 60th minutes to lead India to an emphatic victory. The world number nine Indian team had already qualified for the FIH Olympic Qualifiers 2019 on Saturday after securing a place in the Final of the competition.

Rani was adjudged the best player of the tournament while Gurjit emerged the top-scorer.

The Indian skipper struck the ball sweetly along the ground, beating the Japanese goalkeeper Akio Tanaka on her right side to give India a 1-0 advantage.

India’s dominance saw them win their second penalty corner in the ninth minute, but the team gave a foul away in the execution. Japan were unable to create opportunities for themselves as they could only manage two circle entries in the entire first 15 minutes.

But, when they did enter the circle on the second occasion, the Japanese forward-line combined to score an equalizer from their very first shot at goal.

It was Sakurako Omoto who picked up the ball at the 25-yard line, and played in a pass on the right flank to Yuri Nagai on the baseline, who then played a pass across goal which was successfully deflected by Kanon Mori onto the Indian Goalkeeper Savita, who could not react in time and conceded the goal.

The second quarter also saw India maintain possession which saw forward Vandana Katariya miss a good opportunity in the 18th minute as she picked up a loose clearance from just outside the striking circle, and ran into it to take a strike, but her shot went just wide of the post across goal.

Japan, on the other hand, also started to get into their rhythm, and tried to create chances by using the flanks, but India’s defensive cohesion made sure that they did not concede again. World number nine India controlled possession well as they made five circle entries compared to Japan’s zero.

The likes of Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam and Lilima Minz stepped up to help break Japanese attacks, and rotated the ball comfortably to create opportunities for India. However, a better performance by the Japanese defense in the final few minutes of the second quarter meant that both the teams went into the half-time break level at 1-1.

India stepped up their attacking flair again in the opening minutes of the third quarter winning two penalty corners but could not convert them into a second goal. Both the teams tried to look to take the important lead, with Japan making two circle entries and getting two shots away, while India made 8 entries and took 5 shots. However, the last of those 5 shots was the one which gave India the lead as constant pressure on the Japanese in the latter stages of the third quarter saw India win another penalty corner through captain Rani.

Drag-flicker Gurjit was India’s saviour yet again as she dispatched the ball into the top left corner of the Japanese goal to give her side a 2-1 lead in the 45th minute.

India managed the fourth quarter well as they maintained possession in the initial minutes with Navneet Kaur and Rani having opportunities to seal the victory with a third goal but their efforts were kept out by the Japanese Goalkeeper.

But on the other side of the field, India defended well from penalty corners to avoid conceding an equaliser. With just five minutes remaining in the match, Japan decided to take off their goalkeeper for an extra outfield player, and that helped them in creating some opportunities.

However, it also worked against them in the last minute of the match as Gurjit scored her second goal of the match through a penalty corner to make it 3-1 and wrap up the victory for India.

The Hindu

Sjoerd Marijne: We defended well, played fast combination hockey against Japan

India beat Asian Games champion Japan 3-1 in the final match on Sunday to clinch the title.

Indian women’s hockey team head coach Sjoerd Marijne Sunday said his players dished out a perfect game against host Japan in the summit clash of the FIH Series Finals here.

India beat Asian Games champion Japan 3-1 in the final match Sunday to clinch the title. The Indian team has already secured a place in the final round of the 2020 Olympics qualifiers by entering the final of this tournament.

“It was a hard-fought match, it was a difficult match. We did nothing wrong,” Marijne said after the match.

“I think we defended very well, we play fast combination hockey and have a good drag-flick. She (drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur) was impressive again today,” he added.

Gurjit was adjudged the highest scorer of the tournament with 11 strikes to her name while captain Rani Rampal was declared the player of the tournament.

The final round tournament of the 2020 Olympics qualifiers will be held later this year but the venue is yet to be decided by the international hockey federation. Marijne hoped that the Olympics qualifying tournament is held in India.

“We are happy with the 500 points. When we came here, our mission was 500 points. Hopefully, we will be given the advantage to play at home (in the final round of Olympic qualifiers) and that will be great,” he said.

Sports Minister Kiren Rejiju hailed the Indian women’s team for winning the tournament.

“Here comes the great news! India clinched the Women’s FIH Series Finals hockey tournament by beating Japan 3-1 in the finals at Hiroshima. What an amazing games displayed by Indian Women team. CONGRATULATIONS GIRLS!” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.

Rejiju also mentioned about forward Lalremsiami continuing to play in the tournament even though her father passed away on Friday.

“Indian women hockey player Lalremsiami’s father expired when India was to play a crucial semifinal at Hiroshima that would determine if India’s Olympics dream would be alive,” the sports minister wrote.

“She told coach, ‘I want to make my father proud. I want to stay, play and make sure India qualifies’”


OQ:India like to meet one of Korea, Pak or Austria

Errol D’Cruz

For Indian fans who have the gumption of deciphering the FIH Olympic qualifying system, the results from Le Touquet, France, where the third and concluding FIH Series Finals (men’s) took place, may hold more than a passing interest.

France beat Ireland in 3-1 in the final on Sunday to win the competition after both nations booked two berths on offer in the Olympic qualifying playoffs scheduled for October-November. Fast-rising France, who made waves at the Odisha World Cup last December, will have garnered enough ranking points to avoid a clash with India.

Fifth-ranked India are in the upper half of the draw and are assured of hosting a two-legged playoff, one of seven that comprise the new-look Olympic qualifiers.

India are likely to finish second in the pecking order if one of higher-ranked Belgium or Netherlands win the European championships in August and Australia do likewise in Oceania to book a direct berth at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

South Korea, China, Pakistan (if not banned for pulling out of the Pro League) and Austria are most likely to finish in the lower section of the draw. If Pakistan are kept out, Egypt squeeze in as the 14th team for the qualifiers and potential opponents for India.

The 14 teams that comprise the field for the Olympic qualifiers will face off as per rankings as well as draws from pots comprising the top three, four (top half), another four (lower half) and the bottom three. So, the draw of lots will pit the top three against the bottom three and the middle four of the top half against that of the lower half.

France and Ireland join Canada, Malaysia, India and South Africa in the qualifiers. Canada and South Africa, however, have chances to qualify directly from their continental championships. The vacant spots created from dual qualification will be filled by nations on the basis of world rankings to be decided on September 8 after the conclusion of the continental championships. Japan have qualified for the Olympics next year as hosts and created a vacant spot by winning the Asian Games gold medal in Jakarta last year.

In Le Touquet, France got the better of Scotland 3-0 in the semifinals. Ireland put paid to South Korea’s hopes with a 4-2 win in the other last-four clash to make the grade. The Indian women emulated their men by winning the FIH Series Finals in Hiroshima, Japan, beating the hosts 3-1 in the final on Sunday.

The silver medalists at the Jakarta Asian Games last year, exacted revenge of sorts by overturning the result and the ranking points gathered in Hiroshima are likely to help them retain 9th spot if not going a notch better.

Given that Argentina, Netherlands and Australia/ New Zealand are more than likely to qualify as continental champions, India may find themselves fifth or sixth in the pecking order. This would set up a clash with a nation in the other half of the draw and a potential playoff at home.

One of South Korea, USA, Belgium or Chile, if current rankings are anything to go by, could be India’s opponents in the all-important Olympic qualifiers with the assumption that South Africa, lurking in that zone, win the African championship and book tickets to Tokyo.

The first FIH Series Finals (women) was held in Banbridge, Ireland, where South Korea beat the hosts 3-1 in the final earlier this month.

The concluding FIH Series Finals is under way in Valencia, Spain.

The elite FIH Pro League for men (eight nations) and women (nine) is heading towards the playoffs in Amstelveen, the Netherlands, in June. The first four finishers qualify for the playoffs and Olympic qualifiers but some of those nations could emerge continental champions, thereby qualifying directly for Tokyo. The freed-up spots would be filled by nations by virtue of world rankings.


FIH Women's Series Finals Valencia 2019
Valencia (ESP)

Fixtures (GMT +2)

24 Jun 2019 16:45     ITA v BLR (Cross-over)
24 Jun 2019 19:00     ESP v WAL (Cross-over)

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

FIH Match Centre

2019 FIH Pro League (Men) - 24 June

22 Jun 2019     NED v AUS (RR)     1 - 4     Wagener Hockey Stadium, Amstelveen

23 Jun 2019     BEL v ARG (RR)     4 - 1    Wilrijkse Plein Antwerp, Antwerp
23 Jun 2019    GBR v NZL (RR)     2 - 0     The Stoop, London

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

Final Pool Standings

Rank Team Played Wins Win Draws Loss Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points Percent
1 Australia 14 10 0 2 2 40 26 14 32 76.2
2 Belgium 14 8 1 2 3 52 29 23 28 66.7
3 Netherlands 14 5 3 2 4 37 32 5 23 54.8
4 Great Britain 14 6 1 2 5 35 31 4 22 52.4
5 Argentina* 14 6 1 1 5 31 36 -5 22 52.4
6 Germany* 14 4 3 1 5 30 38 -8 20 47.6
7 Spain 14 2 5 0 7 33 45 -12 16 38.1
8 New Zealand 14 0 0 10   26 47 -21 4 9.5

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

FIH Match Centre

2019 FIH Pro League (Women) - 24 June

22 Jun 2019     USA v GER (RR)     2 - 3     Spooky Nook Sports, Lancaster

23 Jun 2019     NED v AUS (RR)     3 - 1    Wagener Hockey Stadium, Amstelveen
23 Jun 2019     BEL v ARG (RR)     1 - 2     Wilrijkse Plein Antwerp, Antwerp
23 Jun 2019     GBR v NZL (RR)     3 - 1     The Stoop, London

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

Final Pool Standings

Rank Team Played Wins Win Draws Loss Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points Percent
1 Netherlands 16 15 0 0 1 40 10 31 45 93.8
2 Argentina 16 10 4 0 2 31 15 16 38 79.2
3 Australia 16 9 1 1 5 35 23 12 30 62.5
4 Germany 16 9 0 2 5 34 24 10 29 60.4
5 Belgium 16 6 1 1 8 21 27 -6 21 43.8
6 New Zealand 16 6 0 0 10 29 32 -3 18 37.5
7 China 16 4 0 2 10 27 40 -13 14 29.2
8 Great Britain 16 3 2 1 10 22 37 -15 14 29.2
9 United States 16 1 1 2 12 15 47 -32 7 14.6

FIH Match Centre

Great Britain men complete line-up for FIH Pro League Grand Final

The line-up and fixtures for the FIH Pro League Grand Final, which takes place between 27-30 June at Amsterdam’s world famous Wagener Stadium, has been finalised after a dramatic and historic final day of regular season action on Sunday (23rd June).

With the line-up for the women’s Grand Final event already confirmed, all eyes were on the men’s competition as Olympic champions Argentina and Great Britain both targeted the one remaining berth in the upcoming showpiece in Amsterdam. However, Argentina’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of world champions Belgium in Antwerp denied the Pan American giants the point they needed to guarantee qualification, with Great Britain’s 2-0 victory over New Zealand in front of 12,000 fans on a magnificent occasion at The Stoop being enough to put GB into the final four by virtue of a superior goal difference.

Great Britain’s fourth place finish in the regular FIH Pro League season means that they will meet table-toppers Australia in their semi-final on Friday 28 June at 1715 Central European Summer Time (UTC / GMT+2), with Belgium and Netherlands - who finished second and third respectively - meeting in the other semi-final at 1900 local time. A complete list of the fixtures for the FIH Pro League Grand Final can be found below.

The final matches of the women’s FIH Pro League also took place on Sunday. World champions the Netherlands claimed their 15th win in 16 matches by beating Australia in Amsterdam while Argentina defeated Belgium in Antwerp. Like their men’s team, Great Britain’s women were also winners against New Zealand at the Twickenham Stoop - where pioneering technology has been used to lay a temporary hockey pitch in a rugby stadium - as the Olympic champions ended their FIH Pro League campaign on a positive note with a 3-1 victory. More information about all of today’s matches can be found below.

Ahead of today’s games, the team captains gave recognition to Olympic Day, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) initiative from to encourage the world to get active, learn about the Olympic values and discover new sports. The International Hockey Federation (FIH) - whose global Hockey4LIFE programme encourages people of all ages to START, PLAY and STAY in hockey - and the entire global hockey community is proud to support this initiative.

Men’s competition

Olympic champions Argentina (FIH World Ranking: 4) arrived in Antwerp’s Wilrijkse Plein knowing that a point against world champions Belgium (WR:1) - a match that was a repeat of the gold medal game at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games - would be enough for them to secure a place in the FIH Pro League Grand Final. However, an away match against the top ranked team in the game was never going to be an easy place to achieve it.

Things could not have got off to a worse start for Los Leones, with the Red Lions opening the scoring just 30 seconds into the match when Cedric Charlier brilliantly deflected a cross from the right into the top left corner before Maxime Plennevaux doubled the advantage with a rasping strike towards the end of the first quarter. The visitors had their chances with Matias Paredes - playing his 350th game for Argentina - and Lucas Martinez going close before Leandro Tolini flashed a penalty corner effort just wide of the target. Belgium moved into a 4-0 lead in the third quarter, with Charlier scoring his second before Felix Denayer found the bottom right corner from a penalty corner. Ignacio Ortiz scored a consolation goal in the fourth quarter, but Belgium were comfortable winners and will go into next week’s semi-final match against the Netherlands in confident mood.

“I think to have the lead really early is always something to take into account”, said Player of the Match Cedric Charlier. “It made the game today a bit easier for us as they had to chase the score, and we really like to have a bit more space to attack and play our game.”

Defeat for Argentina very much opened the door for Great Britain (WR:7), who knew if they could beat bottom-of-the-table New Zealand (WR:8) in their historic match at the Twickenham Stoop they would secure a place in the FIH Pro League Grand Final. However, they faced a Black Sticks team that have played very well in recent weeks and certainly were not to be underestimated.

With 12,000 predominantly British fans creating a raucous atmosphere, it was perhaps surprising that the visitors enjoyed the better of the opening moments, winning two penalty corners but not converting their chances. However, Great Britain soon settled and took the lead in the sixth minute thanks to a backhand strike from Chris Griffiths and largely dominated the first two quarters, with Zach Wallace going close to extending the lead when he hit the crossbar. Great Britain’s failure to add to their lead made for a tense final two quarters as New Zealand grew into the contest. However, a breakaway goal midway through the fourth period from Alan Forsyth, finishing from close range after an neat interchange between Ashley Jackson and Player of the Match Griffiths, gave Great Britain the cushion they needed to seal their place in next week’s showpiece at the Wagener Stadium.

“It feels like the last six months has all been worth it, to be honest”, said Great Britain captain Adam Dixon. “It’s been a long hard road, but to qualify for the Finals, knowing that we have got a couple of extra games to play now is a huge incentive. To do it in front of a fantastic crowd like this is even better.”

Women’s competition

The Netherlands (WR:1) women reinforced their status as the team to beat at next week’s FIH Pro League Grand Final event with a 3-1 win over Australia’s Hockeyroos (WR:3) at the Wagener Stadium in Amsterdam. Goals from Ireen van den Assem, Laurien Leurink and Maria Verschoor gave the Oranje their 15th win from 16 FIH Pro League matches, gaining a measure of revenge against the only team to have defeated them in this competition. The Netherlands face Germany in the semi-finals of next week’s showpiece, with Australia playing Argentina.

The Oranje delighted a packed stadium by opening the scoring in the first quarter thanks to Ireen van den Assem’s penalty corner drag-flick, although excellent Australian defence frustrated the home side for long periods. The world number one finally got some breathing space when goals from Laurien Leurink and a Maria Verschoor - the latter smashing a backhand strike into the roof of the Australian goal from a tight angle - took the score to 3-1 before the Emily Chalker netted for the Hockeyroos to finish the scoring at 3-1.

Speaking after the match, Player of the Match Maria Verschoor said: “We had a lot of control and we played a good match. We had a lot of chances but it was only at the end when we really made the goals. Australia was defending really well so we had to be patient. We scored the goals in the end, so that is really good. I think in the last couple of matches we weren’t at our best, but I think we are progressing and are confident [going into the Finals].”

Argentina (WR:4) were victorious in their final match of the regular FIH Pro League season, earning a confidence boosting 2-1 victory over Belgium (WR:13) in Antwerp ahead of their clash with Australia at next week’s FIH Pro League Grand Final event in Amsterdam.

Both of Argentina’s goals came in the second quarter of the match, opening up a 2-0 lead thanks to open play efforts from Micaela Retegui and Maria Granatto. Granatto’s effort was the goal of the game, cutting in from the right and evading five Belgian players before firing a backhand strike from the top of the circle into the bottom right corner. Belgium were competitive throughout but did not manage to score until the final minute when Stephanie Vanden Borre produced a moment of magic with a brilliant half volley. It was a goal that they deserved, but the victory was Argentina’s.

“We had maybe a weaker start and they scored two easy goals, where we didn’t have enough energy on and off the ball”, said Belgium’s Stephanie Vanden Borre after the match. “In the second half we had a good reaction, we started to push and we scored a goal in the last minute. It’s just a pity that they scored the two easy goals [early in the game]”.

Great Britain's women (WR:2) ended their FIH Pro League campaign on a positive note, thrilling the fans packed into The Stoop with a 3-1 victory over New Zealand's Black Sticks (WR:6). It was a positive finish for what has been a difficult campaign for the Olympic champions, but a hard-earned win in front of 12,000 fans will certainly give them reason to be optimistic about the future.

Hannah Martin's fortuitous goal put Great Britain ahead midway through the second quarter, with Lily Owsley scoring twice in the third quarter to put her side into an unassailable lead. New Zealand - who had two goals disallowed in the contest - reduced the deficit at the end of the third quarter when Olivia Merry scored her 15th goal of the competition with instinctive overhead volley. It was the final goal of the game, with Great Britain taking the three points.

“What an occasion and what an experience”, said Great Britain’s double goal-scorer Lily Owsley after the match. “The crowd were amazing, they were really cheering us on. We knew we needed a third goal, we needed a bit of security. This [New Zealand] team is fit and fast, we knew they would not stop running and keep coming at us. I was happy I got to put them in."

FIH Pro League - 23 June 2019

Wilrijkse Plein, Antwerp (BEL)

Result: Men’s Match 55

Belgium 4, Argentina 1

Player of the Match: Cedric Charlier (BEL)
Umpires: Coen van Bunge (NED), Jonas van ’t Hek (NED) and Sarah Wilson (SCO - video)

Result: Women’s Match 70

Belgium 1, Argentina 2
Player of the Match: Maria Granatto (ARG)
Umpires: Sarah Wilson (SCO), Alison Keogh (IRL) and Coen van Bunge (NED - video)

Wagener Stadium, Amsterdam (NED) 

Result: Women’s Match 71

Netherlands 3, Australia 1

Player of the Match: Maria Verschoor (NED)
Umpires: Michelle Joubert (RSA),  Amber Church (NZL) and Simon Taylor (NZL - video)

The Stoop, London (ENG)

Result: Men’s Match 56

Great Britain 2, New Zealand 0
Player of the Match: Chris Griffiths (GBR)
Umpires: Francisco Vazquez (ESP), Christian Blasch (GER) and Michelle Meister (GER - video)

Result: Women’s Match 72

Great Britain 3, New Zealand 1

Player of the Match: Izzy Petter (GBR)
Umpires: Liu Xiaoying (CHN), Michelle Meister (GER) and Francisco Vazquez (ESP - video)

FIH Pro League Grand Final - Wagener Stadium, Amsterdam (NED)

Fixtures and timings (all times CEST - UTC/GMT +2)

Thursday 27 June 2019 - women’s semi-finals
1715: 2nd vs 3rd – Argentina vs Australia

2000: 1st vs 4th – Netherlands vs Germany

Friday 28 June 2019 - men’s semi-finals
1715: 1st vs 4th – Australia vs Great Britain
2000: 2nd vs 3rd –  Belgium vs Netherlands

Saturday 29 June 2019 - women’s competition
1430: 3-4 play-off
1700: Final

Sunday 30 June 2019 - men’s competition
1430: 3-4 play-off
1700: Final


Official FIH Pro League Site

Hockeyroos End Home & Away Matches With Loss To Dutch

Mitch Wynd

The Hockeyroos finished the home & away stage of the FIH Pro League with a 3-1 defeat to the minor premiers Netherlands in Amstelveen on Sunday.

The world champions, buoyed by a loud crowd all in orange showed why they have not lost a single match since their defeat in Melbourne in February.

Rachael Lynch made two impressive saves early - her second in particular a highlight. As the Netherlands streamed forward into the circle, the cross would have gone straight to the waiting forward but for a diving interception by Australia’s most capped keeper.

Two early penalty corners went the way of the Netherlands, and the second one was converted by Ireen van den Assem with a low shot into the bottom left corner.

The momentum continued in favour of the hosts through the second term, with the half time stats seeing the Dutch well ahead in circle entries (15-3), penalty corners (5-0), and shots (9-1).

Australia had control of possession for most of the second quarter, but were unable to break through the Dutch defence and put their goalkeeper under any real stress.

Not much changed in the third quarter, with the Hockeyroos just seeming to lack intensity and drive to attack with purpose.

Rebecca Greiner found herself with the best scoring opportunity of the day when she managed to steal the ball at the top of the circle and face the goalkeeper one-on-one. Unfortunately, her shot was wide right and Australia remained goalless going into three-quarter time.

Edwina Bone found herself green carded early in the final quarter, and it proved to be costly as the Netherlands almost immediately scored through Laurien Leurink.

To put the result beyond doubt, Maria Verschoor added a third goal that was examined on review but ticked off by the video umpire.

After taking Jocelyn Bartram off the pitch to add an extra outfielder, Emily Chalker found herself in the right place at the right time to score a consolation goal for the visitors.

Were it not for an umpire review, the Netherlands would have had a fourth goal. The video umpire spotting a backstick and reversing the decision.

Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin said that improvement would be needed ahead of the semi finals.

“It was a good opportunity playing the best team in the world before the finals,” Gaudoin said post-game.

“We struggled to stick to the game plan against a quality team. That can happen, but we need to be significantly better against Argentina in the semi final.

“There were patches of really good play, but not enough. We need to go back and have a good look at what we’re doing with the ball.”

Australia’s next match will be the semi-final against Argentina at the same venue on Thursday.

Australia 1 (Chalker 57’)
Netherlands 3 (van den Assem 14’, Leurink 51’, Verschoor 54’)

Hockey Australia media release

Britain's men reach Grand Finals after historic win

Chris Grassick of Great Britain at the Twickenham Stoop

Great Britain's men reached the Grand Final of the first ever FIH Pro League on an historic afternoon at the Twickenham Stoop.

Needing a win to finish in the top four, Danny Kerry's side found the net early through Chris Griffiths and could have scored more in the first half, but then sealed all three points thanks to Alan Forsyth in the dying moments.

It was a convincing win for the home side, and in front of a fantastic crowd Kerry's team showed verve, invention but also defensive resilience when they needed to.

The FIH Pro League has been a hugely positive platform for the men, and they now face Australia on Friday night in their semi final in Amsterdam. They go into that match with a spring in their step and most of all optimism about the journey they are currently on.

Indeed the sport itself is also on a very positive curve, as shown by this game in front of the biggest hockey crowd in this nation since the London 2012 Olympics.

Full report

After all the fanfare before the game, Great Britain were called into defensive action right at the start of the match, Harry Gibson making an important save within the first minutes and then helping to repel a couple of New Zealand penalty corners.

But Britain soon settled into their rhythm and gave the vociferous home crowd something to cheer on six minutes when Chris Griffiths lashed home on the reverse for the first ever hockey goal to be scored at the Twickenham Stoop.

Danny Kerry's side were entertaining the 12,000 strong crowd, and Rhys Smith glided into the D down the left with real aplomb but was just cut out in front of goal.

Then Phil Roper tried his luck following an excellent run, but the visiting keeper stood firm and saved well.

Into the second period and again it was Britain on top, Zach Wallace hitting the bar from close range. Having been dominant, they will have been a little disappointed to go in at the break just one goal to the good.

After the interval Britain found it tougher going as both teams struggled to create chances. George Pinner stood firm from a couple of New Zealand penalty corners, while the Kiwis were resolute in defence.

Into the final quarter though, Britain had the second goal they so craved, Ashley Jackson's lovely pass finding Griffiths, whose effort looked goalbound but Alan Forsyth made absolutely sure from close range.

Britain deserved to win, and thanks to Belgium's thumping victory over Argentina earlier in the day, they finished a very creditable fourth in this first ever FIH Pro League.

Great Britain 2
Griffiths (6', FG)
Forsyth (54', FG)

New Zealand 0

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

Great Britain Hockey media release

Great Britain Men hold their nerve against Black Sticks Men

Great Britain have beaten the Vantage Black Sticks Men 2-0 in a tough contest between two highly skilled and attacking sides. The British team who were desperate for the win to secure their place in the FIH Pro League Semi Finals held their nerve to secure the three points and book their place in the finals weekend. The match was a ground breaking event for international field hockey as the match was played at The Stoop, London which is more famously known for being the home of the Harlequins Rugby Club. The turf being played on had been laid for this double header event.

The Vantage Black Sticks Men opened the match in a positive fashion when moments after the start of the match they earnt a penalty corner, the trap couldn’t be controlled meaning there was no opening minute goal for the New Zealand team. Great Britain scored the opening goal of the match when Christopher Griffiths reverse shot was fired past the kiwi goalkeeper Richard Joyce. Great Britain were looking threatening throughout the first quarter and managed to secure four clear shots on the New Zealand goal. The Black Sticks held on to keep the British lead at only one goal after the first quarter.

Great Britain continued to play with some significant speed as they put the New Zealand defence under immense pressure, the constant waves of attack were threatening and forcing the New Zealand side to pull off some incredible saves. New Zealand managed to find their footing as the second quarter wore on and secured three circle entries and one shot on goal in the second quarter as they continued to search for the equalising goal.

The third quarter was a contrast of attacking styles, the New Zealand side was carefully constructing their attacking sequences while the British side was attacking at pace and throwing great numbers forward as they looked to create overlaps on the Black Sticks defence. The New Zealand team looked composed as the third quarter wore on and began to attack with confidence as they looked to upset the British side who were desperate for the win. After three quarters Great Britain was clinging onto a narrow one goal lead and looking to hold off a fast finishing Black Sticks side who were searching for their first FIH Pro League win.

Great Britain went against the run of play with nine minutes to go when Griffiths carried the ball into the New Zealand defensive circle and swept the ball into the far corner where Alan Forsyth deflected the ball past the Black Sticks goalkeeper George Enersen. With three and a half minutes to go the kiwis pulled their goalkeeper hoping that the extra player would give them an attacking advantage.

Vantage Black Sticks Men 0
Great Britain Men 2 (Christopher Griffiths 6 min, Alan Forsyth 52 min)

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Great Britain men secure Hockey Pro League finals place at The Stoop

By Alicia Turner at The Stoop

Chris Griffiths scored GB’s opening goal at The Stoop PIC: WORLDSPORTPICS

Great Britain men secured a vital win against New Zealand at an electric Twickenham Stoop on Sunday.

The hosts’ win on a specially-constructed turf secured a final four berth at the FIH Pro League Grand Finals next week in Amstelveen.

Chris Griffiths started the game off scoring a blinder on his reverse, as he sped in from the top of the D.

Great Britain then worked solidly all from the forwards’ strong press as the Black Sticks found it difficult to enter their last third.

However, the hosts couldn’t add a second which kept the game in the balance until Alan Forsyth placed himself perfectly on the far left post, after Griffiths set up a strong dribble into the attacking circle securing a second goal in the final quarter.

This double header against New Zealand made history being the highest-attended hockey match on British soil since London 2012.

The fans were on the edge of their seats as the intensity picked up from both teams. Just in time for midfielder James Gall who produced strong line balls on the left hand side to the forward line.

Goalkeeper Harry Gibson made a vital save which made sure Great Britain took a 1-0 lead at half-time, along with Brendan Creed who made some brilliant blocks at short corners.

During the third quarter the Black Sticks maintained the majority of possession in hope to challenge the GB men, but never threatened goal.

GB now travel to Holland for the season-ending finals. How they get there is another matter, the travel logistics having yet to be rubber-stamped.

What GB do know is that they face Australia on Friday in the semi-finals.

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The Hockey Paper

Great Britain beat New Zealand to reach final four

Chris Griffiths sent Great Britain on their way to a memorable victory

Great Britain's men reached the FIH Pro League finals after a tense 2-0 win over New Zealand in front of a packed crowd at Harlequins' Twickenham Stoop.

In the first match played at a UK rugby stadium, Britain knew a win would see them reach the final four of the first FIH Pro League tournament.

Forward Chris Griffiths swept home the opener on five minutes to ease nerves.

And with New Zealand applying late pressure, Alan Forsyth tapped home in the final quarter to seal the win.

The finish sparked celebrations in the stands as Britain reached the final stages of a tournament which began in January.

Defeat for Argentina by Belgium shortly before this 14th and final league fixture left the door ajar for Britain to move into fourth place in the standings and Danny Kerry's side took full advantage.

They will now play Australia in Amsterdam on Friday, when Belgium will face Netherlands in the other semi-final.

Britain, buoyed by Argentina's 4-1 loss to Belgium, nearly paid for countless wasted chances in the opening half.

After Griffiths continued his fine run of scoring form by smashing the opener, Phil Roper saw an effort saved before Zach Wallace hit the post moments before the half-time interval.

"They were playing to what we prescribed and doing really well," said head coach Kerry. "We should have been three or four-nil up but wanted to score a superb goal rather than just a goal. If we'd lost, that lesson would have been learned."

Goalkeeper Harry Gibson made key saves before half-time and when play resumed in the the third quarter, Britain defended a succession of attacks.

Their resistance ensured the visitors ended the match with nothing to show from their five penalty corners and when Ashley Jackson cleverly sent Griffiths through in the final quarter, he fired across goal, for Forsyth to turn home and confirm a memorable victory.

Captain Adam Dixon said: "We're really happy. It's a massive pay-off for the last six months.

"It's been quite tiring and quite taxing, so to be in there competing for medals rather than fifth or sixth place is really great for us. We'll quickly put this game to bed and look forward to next weekend.

"It felt great to go out in front of that crowd. It felt like a World Cup in the Netherlands or something. It felt different to the games we normally play.

"To see so many people wearing red and white and cheering when we attacked was great, made it feel a bit more real. It was amazing."

BBC Sport

'The noise was deafening'

Ross Bone, BBC Sport at The Stoop

GB captain Adam Dixon says teams will be "scared" to play them in the finals

It had been billed as the biggest hockey crowd in this country since the 2012 Olympics and the mass of people on the way to the stadium seemed to back that up.

One aerial pass by Brendan Creed from one side of the field to the other almost brought the house down. When Chris Griffiths gave Danny Kerry's side the lead the noise was deafening.

With Belgium's 4-1 win over Argentina opening the door for Great Britain to qualify for the final four of the FIH Pro League, the crowd were well aware of the importance of what they were watching.

New Zealand put the Great Britain defence under the most pressure in the third quarter, and it seemed to get to the crowd. The cheers were replaced with murmurs and groans and there was an air of anxiety.

It wasn't until Ashley Jackson combined with Chris Griffiths to set up Alan Forsyth for the second, game-clinching goal in the final quarter that we really heard the crowd roar again. But roar they did, as Kerry's side sealed their place in the first ever FIH Pro League finals.

Final standings and semi-finals

Friday, 28 June - Semi-finals

Australia v Great Britain - Wagener Stadium, Amsterdam
Belgium v Netherlands - Wagener Stadium, Amsterdam

Sunday, 30 June - Finals

Semi-final 1 loser v Semi-final 2 loser - Wagener Stadium, Amsterdam
Semi-final 1 winner v Semi-final 2 winner - Wagener Stadium, Amsterdam

BBC Sport

Confirmed: Who will join Great Britain in the FIHPL Grand Finals?

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

Great Britain's men have reached the Grand Finals of the first ever FIH Pro League.

The tournament takes place in Amsterdam this coming weekend, fixtures as follows (all UK times):

Fri 28 Jun:
Great Britain vs Australia, 4:15pm
Belgium vs Netherlands, 7pm

Sun 30 Jun:
Third/fourth place 1:30pm
Final 4pm

All games are live on BT Sport.

The women's competition features Netherlands, Argentina, Australia and Germany, and takes place on Thursday and Saturday.

The FIH Pro League will return to London in May and June 2020 with four big weekends of international hockey - stay tuned for details.

Great Britain Hockey media release

GB women end on a high with good win over New Zealand

Great Britain's women in the FIH Pro League

Britain's women ended their FIH Pro League campaign on a real high with a super 3-1 win at home to New Zealand.

Lily Owsley scored twice and also set up Hannah Martin as Mark Hager's side put in their best performance of the season in front of more than 11,500 people at the Twickenham Stoop.

Both on and off the pitch it was a hugely memorable day for the sport, with a young group of British women performing well on home soil in front of the biggest home hockey crowd the nation has seen since the London 2012 Olympics.

Head coach Mark Hager will have been very pleased with his side's display as they earned a second home win in the competition. They have shown good progress under his stewardship and this result will only have strengthened the collective belief amongst the group.

Full report

Young forward Izzy Petter has been impressive since her introduction to the squad in this season, and twice she almost broke the deadlock in the first quarter with some incisive play.

In the second quarter New Zealand upped their tempo and had the ball in the net, but it was disallowed for use of the back of the stick. That decision proved pivotal as Lily Owsley went on a trademark run down the right and allowed Hannah Martin to score from close range to give Britain the advantage.

Martin almost doubled the lead early in the second half but it was just wide, then Tess Howard was brilliantly denied twice, although it did not take long for Britain to double their advantage as Owsley slammed home on the reverse.

Before the third quarter was up Owsley had another from a penalty corner, converting a smart routine to put GB three goals to the good.

Olivia Merry spoiled the party ever so slightly with a consolation for the visitors, and then Susannah Townsend and Lizzie Neal were gunning for a fourth for Britain.

NZ then had a decent spell of pressure with Maddie Hinch standing firm, and then the Kiwis saw a super penalty corner disallowed for not coming out of the D. It was a marginal call - but correct - and it enabled to see out the game with some degree of comfort.

Great Britain 3
Martin (23', FG)
Owsley (34', FG), (42', PC)

New Zealand 1
Merry (44', FG)

Great Britain: Hinch (GK), Unsworth, Toman, Ansley, Pearne-Webb (c), Costello, Balsdon, Jones, Neal, Robertson, Townsend, Hunter, Martin, Burge, Howard, Owsley, Petter
Unused: Heesh (GK)

Great Britain Hockey media release

Vantage Black Sticks Women unable to overcome clinical Great Britain

Great Britain have closed their FIH Pro League campaign with an impressive 3-1 win over the Vantage Black Sticks Women from The Stoop in London. Great Britain was outstanding on the offensive end of the field that saw them hold off a fast finishing New Zealand side.

The first quarter was an even contest between two sides that were looking to finish their FIH Pro League campaign in style. As the period wore on the British side looked to apply some significant pressure on the Vantage Black Sticks and were able to create several goal scoring opportunities, Grace O’Hanlon led a great New Zealand defensive effort to stifle the Great Britain chances.

Amy Robinson showed some great hustle to start the second quarter and managed to send a ball across the face of the Great Britain goal. The Black Sticks continued to apply pressure on the Great Britain defence, in the sixth minute they were rewarded with their first penalty corner of the match. Alia Jaques put the ball into the goal, however on review this was overturned to keep the match scoreless. Great Britain went against the run of play to score the opening goal of the match when Lily Owsley drove along the baseline and laid the ball back for Hannah Martin to deflect into the New Zealand goal. Heading into the sheds at half time the British side was holding a narrow 1-0 lead.

Great Britain made the best start possible to the second half when Sally Rutherford pulled off a great first save, Lily Owsley jumped on the rebound and powered a reverse stick shot into the net to double the British lead. Great Britain then continued to press the Black Sticks defence and earned several penalty corners midway through the third quarter, the New Zealand side was able to scramble to keep the ball out of the goal. Late in the third quarter the British side was able to extend their lead when Lily Owsley scored her second of the match off a rebound from a penalty corner. In the final minute of the third quarter the Black Sticks managed to get themselves onto the score sheet when Olivia Merry scored her 15th goal of the FIH Pro League.

As time was running out the New Zealand team ramped up their intensity in the match, the Black Sticks managed to construct some great circle entries but struggled to get off any clear shots on goal. With one minute to go in the match Stacey Michelsen managed to find a Great Britain foot in the circle, New Zealand was unable to convert the penalty corner as Great Britain looked to have secured the win.

Vantage Black Sticks Women 1 (Olivia Merry 44 min)
Great Britain Women 3 (Hannah Martin 23 min, Lily Oswley 34, 42 min)

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Great Britain women end magical Stoop day with win

By The Hockey Paper at Twickenham Stoop

GB women run out at Twickenham Stoop PIC: Worldsportpics

Great Britain women ended their trying Pro League campaign with a morale-boosting win over New Zealand at The Stoop on Sunday.

Goals from Hannah Martin and a fine double from Lily Owsley proved too much for the Commonwealth champions, while a much-needed victory came at just the right time for Mark Hager’s side ahead of an important few months for the OIympic champions.

GB ultimately finished at the bottom end of the table, but this win showed that they are a team on the move with Hager’s new regime having taken time to bed in.

Their 3-1 victory ended a thoroughly memorable double header day for GB hockey – where the men qualified for the Grand Finals –  in front of around 12,000 spectators in Twickenham.

The double home win left the paying punters in celebratory mood, a crucial factor in maintaining the support for next year’s tournament.

The second part of this GB-Kiwi encounter started at a fairly sedate pace before shifting through the gears as the match wore on.

It was Izzy Petter who caused some early scares in the Kiwi circle, while goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon had to be on her guard at several junctures.

New Zealand thought that they had taken the lead when GB failed to clear a PC at the second attempt as the ball was squeezed past Maddie Hinch. But like most goals these days, it was taken upstairs for a referral and the goal was disallowed.

There was no denying Britain their chance to take the lead minutes later as Owsley hurtled down to the baseline in the Kiwi circle, her cross causing panic and Martin bundled home.

From provider to goalscorer, Owsley made the Black Sticks pay early in the third quarter when she picked up the ball at the top of the D and shot low past a body of players and goalkeeper Sally Rutherford. Her second came via a switch PC and Owsley hit high into the net.

Olivia Merry then handed the Kiwis some respite just before the end of the third quarter, while Giselle Ansley was denied in the final quarter as Rutherford’s outstretched stick denied her GB’s fourth.

The Kiwis did find the net with 90 seconds left from a low PC, but the ball didn’t leave the circle.

Great Britain will now disband for the summer (after a trip to Japan in July for a six-match series) as the home nations enter the European tournaments.

For England, the EuroHockey Championships represent an important week in Antwerp.

Win that and they will qualify for the Olympics – but the likelihood is that Great Britain will play for an Olympic qualification place in the autumn.

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The Hockey Paper

Great Britain beat New Zealand as Lily Owsley scores twice

Lily Owsley scored twice as Great Britain overcame New Zealand

Lily Owsley scored twice as Great Britain's women secured a third win of the FIH Pro League by beating New Zealand 3-1 in their final fixture.

The match was just the second to be played in a UK rugby stadium as it followed a win for Britain's men at Harlequins' Twickenham Stoop.

Britain's Hannah Martin struck first before Owsley slammed in a second and struck a third from a penalty corner.

Olivia Merry pulled back a consolation but Britain merited their victory.

Britain avenged the 5-1 defeat handed to them by New Zealand when the sides met in the Pro League back in February.

In all they had five penalty corners to the visitors' one in an impressive display which meant they finished eighth of nine teams in the Pro League.

The victory saw head coach Mark Hager beat the New Zealand team he managed at last year's Commonwealth Games, before taking charge of the British women's team in January.

"What an occasion and experience," said forward Owsley, 24. "Its been a tough period. We knew it would be a bit like that as Mark said we would try a lot of things. We have really gritted it and we are seeking consistency, which we have found in the last two games."

The top four teams from the Pro League standings will contest the semi-finals in Amsterdam on 27 June.

Netherlands, who finished first, will play fourth-placed Germany, while Argentina take on Australia.

BBC Sport

Black Sticks lose hockey finale in London to Mark Hager's Great Britain

New Zealand's Olivia Shannon (R) in action during a 3-1 loss against Great Britain. Alex Davidson

Mark Hager has led Great Britain to a revenge win over his former Black Sticks charges in a FIH Pro League women's hockey international at the home of English rugby champions Saracens.

Great Britain won 3-1 on a temporary turf at The Stoop in London on Sunday (Monday NZ time) to avenge their 5-1 defeat in Christchurch in February.

The British team finished second-bottom in the nine-nation women's league, but upset sixth-ranked New Zealand.​

The Black Sticks men's team closed their Pro League campaign without a win after a 2-0 defeat to Great Britain.

Mark Hager watched his Great Britain team beat his former Black Sticks side 3-1 in London. Alex Davidson

Hager, who led the Black Sticks to the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal, resigned last December to take up the Great Britain and England team coaching jobs.

His resignation came during a review into the New Zealand team environment, prompted by an outcry from some players after Hager mistakenly sent an email bagging players to the entire team.

Lawyer Maria Dew QC allegedly found 24 of 33 (70 per cent of players interviewed) current and past players she interviewed had "serious concerns" about a "negative environment".

However, the review showed "a very clear disconnect" between "the majority player view of a negative environment" and the "almost unanimous view of the HNZ and HPSNZ [Hockey New Zealand and High Performance Sport NZ] staff, as well as a smaller group of players, that the environment is largely positive and successful".

Black Stick Stacey Michelsen makes a break. Alex Davidson

Hager's Great Britain produced an outstanding attacking display to beat the fast-finishing Black Sticks by two goals at Saracens.

The first quarter was an even contest until the Britons applied some significant pressure were able to create several goal scoring opportunities.

Grace O'Hanlon led a resolute New Zealand defensive effort to stifle Great Britain. Amy Robinson showed some great hustle to send a ball across the face of the Great Britain goal in the second quarter.

Alia Jacques had a goal ruled out from a penalty corner following a review.

Great Britain scored against the run of play when Hannah Owsley deflected Lily Owsley's baseline pass for a 1-0 halftime lead.

New Zealand goalkeeper Sally Rutherford pulled off a great initial save early in the second half, but Owsley netted with a reverse stick shot form the rebound to double Great Britain's lead.

Owsley scored her second goal off a rebound from a penalty corner.

 In the final minute of the third quarter the Black Sticks scored when Olivia Merry scored her 15th Pro League goal.

She netted just over half of the Black Sticks' 29 goals as the New Zealanders finished sixth following six wins and 10 defeats.


Shea McAleese New Zealand competes with England goal scorer Christopher Griffiths. Alex Davidson

Great Britain booked their place in the top-four of the men's competition with their win over the Black Sticks.

The Black Sticks opened brightly with an opening minute penalty corner, but the trap could not be controlled and the chance went begging.

Great Britain opened the scoring when Christopher Griffiths fired a reverse shot past Kiwi goalkeeper Richard Joyce.

New Zealand lifted in the second quarter with three circle entries and one shot.

The Black Sticks looked composed in a scoreless third quarter, but Great Britain clinched their win in the fourth with a goal against the run of play.

Griffiths carried into the New Zealand defensive circle and swept the ball into the far corner where Alan Forsyth deflected it past the Black Sticks goalkeeper George Enersen.

New Zealand withdrew Enersen for the final few minutes to bring on an extra attacker, but they were unable to score.

The Black Sticks finished last in the eight-team men's league with four draws and 10 defeats from 14 games.

Dane Lett (L) fires a pass for the Black Sticks. Alex Davidson


Results from FIH Pro League games in London on Sunday (Monday NZ time)


Great Britain 3 (Lily Owsley 2, Hannah Martin) NZ  Black Sticks 1 (Olivia Merry).

Final round-robin standings (16 games): Netherlands (45 points) 1, Argentina (38) 2, Australia (30) 3, Germany (29) 4, Belgium (21) 5, New Zealand (18) 6, China (14) 7, Great Britain (14) 8, United States (7) 0.

Semifinal draw: Argentina v Australia, Netherlands v Germany.


Great Britain 2 (Christopher Griffiths, Alan Forsyth) NZ Black Sticks 0.

Final round-robin standings: Australia (32 points) 1, Belgium (28) 2, Netherlands (23) 3, Great Britain (22) 4, Argentina (22) 5, Germany (20) 6, Spain (16) 7, New Zealand (4) 8.

Semifinal draw:  Australia v Great Britain, Belgium v Netherlands.


Pearne-Webb: Why I'm proud of our performance at The Stoop

Hollie Pearne-Webb of Great Britain

Women's captain Hollie Pearne-Webb was left very pleased with her team's display in their final match of the first ever FIH Pro League.

In front of a record-breaking crowd, the women put in their best display of the season and turned over New Zealand 3-1 at the Twickenham Stoop.

Hollie said,"The Pro League has been a bit of a journey, we’ve had our ups and downs. We started off with New Zealand away with a pretty poor performance so I’m incredibly happy that today we put out a performance in front of this amazing crowd. It’s been an amazing opportunity, I’m just so glad that we could do it and the people that have come down to watch saw us do ourselves justice.

"We showed last week the sort of performance we can put in and I’m really happy and so proud of the girls that we were able to build on it, be consistent and put in another really good performance today."

"I think today and last week are our baseline, now we need to move on up. I’m really proud of all the girls and the youngsters with how they have stepped up, it’s really exciting with what these next few months hold."

Next up for the England athletes is the EuroHockey Championships in Belgium in August, while both Wales and Scotland also have EuroHockey II Championships this summer.

Great Britain Hockey media release

11,500 supporters make hockey history in the FIH Pro League

Great Britain's women in the FIH Pro League at the Twickenham Stoop

11.500 supporters helped create hockey history at the Twickenham Stoop.

The crowd made Great Britain's matches against New Zealand the best-attended games in the nation since the London 2012 Olympics - yet another marker for a sport on the rise.

In addition we estimate that the men's match had the biggest ever male hockey attendance on these shores outside a home Olympics.

Since the beginning of the 2012 games, a million supporters have now paid to watch hockey in Britain, with the Olympics, women's World Cup, Commonwealth Games, EuroHockey Championships and many more events contributing to hockey's new status as a genuine spectator sport.

These FIH Pro League matches at the home of Harlequins were another significant move forward, and crucially the entire sport can also benefit from the temporary pitch technology which can allow the sport to be played in existing stadia in a far quicker and more efficient manner than ever before.

With the FIH Pro League coming back to London next year and four big weekends of hockey in the capital in 2020, the game shows no signs of slowing down!

Great Britain Hockey media release

Where are the non-Malays?

By Jugjet Singh

Because a ‘majmuk’ team will have many different thinkers who can deliver in a tournament.NSTP/Aswadi Alias

Triple Olympian Nor Saiful Zaini and former international Madzli Ikmar are perplexed by the same problem.

Where have the Sikhs, Indians, Chinese and Eurasians gone?

Nor Saiful oversees the four Thunderbolts sponsored teams — Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI), Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), Anderson and Pahang Hockey Academy.

Madzli, meanwhile, is the team manager of BJSS.

“When I was playing hockey, we had players from every race representing the country in hockey. Now, it is difficult to spot a Sikh, Indian, Chinese or Eurasian playing the game in Malaysia. It is something to be worried about,” said Nor Saiful, who played in the 1992 (Barcelona), 1996 (Atlanta) and 2000 (Sydney) Olympics.

So why is he worried?

“Because a ‘majmuk’ team will have many different thinkers who can deliver in a tournament. However, it is different now,” he added.

There is only S. Kumar left in the senior men's team while it’s only Kirandeep Kaur in the women's team.

Both the men and women's junior squads are made up of the same race.

In the ongoing Junior Hockey League (JHL), there are only 27 non-Malays out of the 308 registered players.

“We (Thunderbolts) have spotted a few non-Malay players over the years.

“They were good in the age-group tournaments. However, when they reached Form Four and Five, sports took a backseat,” said Madzli.

Madzli and Nor Saiful’s teammates at the Sydney Olympics were Maninderjit Singh, Chua Boon Huat, K. Gobinathan, S. Kuhan, Jiwa Mohan, Keevan Raj and Calvin Fernandez. The JHL resumes today.

FIXTURES — Today: PJCC Tigers v Sabah Jnrs (KLHA Stadium, Datuk Bentara-UniKL v Perlis Young Lions (Datuk Bentara Stadium), BJSS Thunderbolts v KL Wipers (National Hockey Stadium), Terengganu HT v SSTMI Thunderbolts (Batu Buruk Stadium), Pahang Thunderbotls v BJSS Juniors (Wisma Belia Stadium), SSTMI Juniors v Penang (SSTMI Stadium), Anderson Thunderbolts v SSMS Resilient (Azlan Shah Stadium) — matches at 4.45pm.

New Straits Times

Can’t stick to any keeper

Latest casualty: Goalkeeper Mohd Hairi Abdul Rahman went under the knife two weeks’ ago and is not sure whether he can recover in time for the Tokyo Olympic qualifier in October.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s goalkeeping department has been plagued by injury woes again. This time, Muhd Hairi Abdul Rahman, is the latest to join the crocked list.

The 29-year-old Hairi, who featured in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh in March and the FIH Series Finals in Bukit Jalil in April, has been sidelined due to a knee surgery two weeks ago.

Hairi stepped up as the No. 1 goalkeeper following the absence of two others – Muhd Hafizuddin Othman and S. Kumar.

Hafizuddin suffered a hamstring injury that ruled him out for five months last year while top goalkeeper S. Kumar picked up a 7.5cm muscle tear in his right thigh during a match in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) in February.

Kumar has recovered from the injury and is expected to play in a Tour in Europe but his form is questionable.

Hairi admits the goalkeepers’ injury woes are major headaches for the country ahead of the Olympic Games qualifier.

Down and out: Goalkeeper S. Kumar has been out of action after sustaining a muscle tear while playing in the Malaysia Hockey League in February.

“Injury is unavoidable in sports but to have most of the goalkeepers injured is not good for the national team,” said Hairi, who played in the World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India, last December.

He will skip next month’s playing Tour in Europe and has withdrawn from the invitational Olympic tournament in Japan in August.

Hairi is also unsure whether he will recover in time for the playoff matches in October to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“This is the worst injury I’ve suffered in my playing career. I’ve been undergoing rehabilitation for the last two weeks and it will take two to three months for me to recover,” he said.

“I don’t want to take the risk of aggravating my injury by making a quick comeback. I will take my time to recover and I’m not sure whether I can make it for the Olympics qualifier,” said Hairi, who made his national debut at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh in 2016.

Malaysia have a fourth goalkeeper in Muhd Zaimi Mat Deras, who played in the Sultan Azlan Cup in March.

The Star of Malaysia

4- Match Series Between Dar Hockey Academy & Pakistan Army

By Ijaz Chaudhry

Tauqer Dar with Academy Colts

Dar Hockey Academy is presently Pakistan’s finest hockey nursery. Founded in 2006, the Lahore based academy picks raw talent from all over the country.  Since 2009, the academy players have been gaining selection in Pakistan’s national teams. At times, as many as four academy players have been part of the Pakistan team.

Dar HA has made five training tours of leading European hockey nations, Holland, Belgium and Germany apart from visiting big names of Asian hockey, India and Malaysia.

Pakistan army has always been a great patron of sports including hockey. A number of officers and soldiers have represented Pakistan’s national hockey teams.  Acknowledging the potential of the Dar Hockey Academy, army sports board invited the academy to play a 4-match series against the army hockey team in Rawalpindi at the army hockey stadium.

Led by academy’s founder president Olympic gold medallist Tauqeer Dar, the Dar HA squad for the series in Rawalpindi comprises 20 players and four officials. The first match is scheduled on Monday, June 24th. 

Ijaz Chaudhry writes on hockey & other sports. For more about him and his work, visit: www.sportscorrespondent.info


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