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News for 30 July 2019

All the news for Tuesday 30 July 2019

Pan Am Games 2019 (Women) - Day 2
Lima (PER)


29 Jul 2019     ARG v URU (Pool A)     2 - 0
29 Jul 2019     CAN v CUB (Pool A)     10 - 0
29 Jul 2019     USA v MEX (Pool B)     5 - 0
29 Jul 2019      CHI v PER (Pool B)         13 - 0

Pool Standings

Pool A

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Canada 1 1 0 0 10 0 10 3
2 Argentina 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 3
3 Uruguay 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0
4 Cuba 1 0 0 1 0 10 -10 0

Pool B

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Chile 1 1 0 0 13 0 13 3
2 United States 1 1 0 0 5 0 5 3
3 Mexico 1 0 0 1 0 5 -5 0
4 Peru 1 0 0 1 0 13 -13 0

FIH Match Centre

Top teams earn shutout victories on Day 1

Ali Baggott

Photo: Yan Huckendubler

The usual suspects Argentina, Canada, USA and Chile all blanked their pool-play opponents to start the tournament. Victories came for Argentina 2-0 over Uruguay, for Canada 10-0 over Cuba, for USA 5-0 over Mexico and for Chile 13-0 over Peru. Pool-play games continue on July 31.

WOMEN Pool A: Argentina vs. Uruguay (2-0)

Argentina opened their tournament with a 2-0 victory over Uruguay. The score margin was the best result for Uruguay since 2014. Veterans Carla Rebecchi and Piti d’Elia scored for the Leonas.

Read more…

WOMEN Pool A: Canada vs. Cuba (10-0)

Canada came out firing with a goal in the second minute and three from striker Brienne Stairs to beat Cuba 10-0. Stairs' hat trick puts her at 100 international, the highest of any Canadian.Canada join Argentina at the top of Pool A with opening victories.

Read more…

WOMEN Pool B: USA vs Mexico (5-0)

The USA dropped Mexico 5-0 in their opening game of the tournament. It was a slow start for the Americans who scored four of their goals in the third quarter, while five different USA players got on the board.


WOMEN Pool B: Chile vs. Peru (13-0)

Chile came out flying with a 13-0 victory over Peru. Despite the score difference the stands were full of home crowd fans and Peru showed great resilience. Fernanda Villagran scored three for Chile in the win.

Read more…

Women’s pool-play matches continue on July 31 with Mexico vs. Peru (10:00), Chile vs. USA (12:00), Uruguay vs. Cuba (14:00) and Canada vs. Argentina (16:00). Game times are local to Lima, Peru (-5GTM). Follow the Pan American Hockey Federation on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at @panamhockey and online at panamhockey.org for the latest information.

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

Women’s National Team defeats Cuba to take Pool A lead

Brienne Stairs notches three goals as Canada cruise past Cuba 10-0 in opening round action from Lima

Ali Baggott

Photo: Yan Huckendubler

The Canadian Wolfpack ticked off the first box of their to-do list after they cruised past Cuba 10-0 in Pool A play. Veteran forward Brienne Stairs pocketed three goals in the win.

The Canadians wasted no time getting on the board as Canadian scoring phenom Brienne Stairs tapped in the first goal on a goalmouth scramble in the second minute of play. After settling the play, a hard ball into Wolfpack forward Holly Stewart sent Cuba keeper Yurismailis Garcia out to challenge but a sliding challenge forced a penalty stroke. Canadian defender Sara McManus delivered with fine form a low hard shot to double Canada’s lead. The goals continued from there as Canadian forward Stephanie Norlander buried another goalmouth scramble to give her side a 3-0 lead at the first break.

In the second quarter a quick free hit from defender Karli Johansen set up Stairs for her second goal, this time smashing a back hand in to the bottom corner for a 4-0 lead. Canadian forward Hannah Haughn’s speed gave her an open look at goal and her back-hand attempt was redirected swiftly by Maddie Secco for Canada’s fifth goal. The Canadians delivered on their first penalty corner of the game as McManus’ sweep shot took a deflection off a defender’s stick and floated over Garcia for a 6-0 Canada lead and, ultimately, the half time score.

The pace started to drop in the third quarter as captain Sunaylis Nikle kept the Cuban backfield more organized and compact. Cuba Yuraima Vera’s skills on a fast break put Canadian defenders Johansen and Danielle Hennig on their heels but without support Vera was unable to generate any opportunities towards goal. Canada had five penalty corners that they could not deliver on and the scoreless quarter left Canada ahead still 6-0.

Canada advanced their lead in the fourth quarter as Haughn buried the seventh goal, while Stairs picked up her own rebound to complete the hat trick and an 8-0 Canada lead. Johansen stepped up to the plate on yet another penalty corner attempt. Her flick was well executed but saved on the line by Cuba defender Brizaida Ramos. Play continued and a ball came across the goal for Norlander to tap in to the empty net for a 9-0 Canada advantage. Canada’s Stewart cleverly batted in a rebound in mid-air following a blast from Secco to lift Canada in to double digits. Canada finished with a 10-0 victory and join Argentina with one win each in Pool A.

The Leonas and Wolfpack will clash in their second pool play game on July 31 at 16:00 local time (-5 GMT)

Field Hockey Canada media release

Dominant USWNT Ease Past Mexico in Pan American Games Opener

Image Taken by Mark Palczewski

LIMA, Peru - July 29, 2019 - An overcast sky at the Villa María del Triunfo complex saw the No. 13 U.S. Women's National Team take on No. 30 Mexico in their opening pool play game of the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. USA saw multiple scoring opportunities early but were unable to convert until late in the second quarter. After the first goal, the red, white and blue went on a scoring-spree in the second half with no answer from Mexico. USA produced a dominant first game as they went on to win 5-0.

The first quarter began as USA fought to create chances in Mexico's circle. From the top, Alyssa Manley (Lititz, Pa.) pushed the ball on goal with the hopes that a teammate could finish but Mexico goalkeeper Jesus Castillo was able to anticipate the tip in time to meet Lauren Moyer (York, Pa.) and block her shot. A few minutes later, Moyer carried the ball into the circle and passed it onto Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.) who managed to find a Mexico foot to earn the first penalty corner of the game. Sharkey took the straight shot, but the Mexico defense stopped the ball before USA could convert. A second penalty corner for USA was awarded to Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.) following a series of passes that found her deep by Castillo. This attempt saw Ali Froede's (Burke, Va.) sweep get deflected just over the goal. USA threatened a minute later as Froede swept the ball through traffic to Matson who sent a lifted backhand into Castillo’s chest. Castillo handled the rebound well, clearing it off the end line. With under two minutes remaining, Sharkey started a sequence of more scoring opportunities after earning an initial penalty corner that resulted in four consecutive. A final penalty corner for USA with time expired closed the first quarter with no goal as a result. Although USA saw many chances to capitalize, the game remained scoreless.

The second quarter saw an increase in the tempo for USA as they wasted no time bringing the ball into Mexico's circle. The opposition brought pressure of their own, earning their first penalty corner just one minute into the frame. Amanda Magadan (Randolph, N.J.) rushed the shot but was hit in the shin, resulting in a second chance. The drag flick off the second penalty corner by Michel Navarro was easily stopped by USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing (Houston, Tx.) and cleared out by Caitlin Van Sickle (Wilmington, De.). Mexico continued to clog up their defensive end, making it difficult for USA to enter the circle, and their added pressure helped earn their third penalty corner. Navarro faked a shot and passed the ball left to Jenifer Valdes who one-timed it right into Bing. Julia Young (Yorktown, Va.) cleared the ball over the sideline to end the threat. USA turned up the intensity, finally putting a goal on the board with four minutes remaining. The opening score came off a penalty corner that Sharkey slipped to Froede who swept it to Danielle Grega (Kingston, Pa.) who deflected it in at the stroke mark. USA did not rest, seeing several more scoring opportunities in the final minutes of the quarter but no result. USA led by one goal over Mexico going into the halftime break.

As the second half of the match got underway, USA kept the pressure on Mexico’s defense. On a possession by Manley, she passed the ball the Magadan who found a Mexico foot by the baseline. The penalty corner awarded was taken by Ashley Hoffman (Mohnton, Pa.), who dragged the ball just within the reach of Castillo for the save. Not even a minute later, another series of back-to-back penalty corners were earned to USA. The final penalty corner in the 34th minute led to a second goal for USA after Sharkey sent it wide off the right post and it was tipped in by Magadan. USA continued to push forward, where a shift in possession from the left to right found Anna Dessoye (Mountaintop, Pa.) who pushed it toward goal. A scramble ensued as the ball came off Castillo and it was batted in by Moyer to give USA a 3-0 lead. USA used the scoring momentum to earn their thirteenth penalty corner, which lead to their fourth goal as inserter Matson lofted the ball over Castillo on the rebound. With five minutes to go in the third quarter, a USA long corner was taken quickly and as Moyer attempted to receive it in the circle she was pushed hard from behind and a penalty stroke called. Hoffman stepped up and successfully buried the stroke into the left corner and past Castillo to make it 5-0. Mexico looked to answer with a three last-minute penalty corners as time ran out but could not get past the USA defense.

The final quarter of action saw Mexico try to get on the scoreboard with no success as they were met by USA’s strong defensive sticks. The teams took turns attacking each other’s circles, but many of the opportunities went over the end line before the ball could be received. With five minutes left in the match, USA's attack worked the ball into the circle, and Sharkey collected it, turned and shot but the ball barely grazedCastillo’s glove as it deflected out. USA continued to push as Margaux Paolino (Villanova, Pa.) on a great reception managed a backhand shot that was saved off the kicker of Castillo. The final quarter went goalless for both teams, making the final score USA 5, Mexico 0.

For their next match of the 2019 Pan American Games, the U.S. Women’s National Team will face No. 15 Chile on Wednesday, July 31 at 1:00 p.m. ET. Tomorrow, the U.S. Men's National Team will take on hosts Peru at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Team USA is ready in Lima with a gold medal and automatic qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on the line. With that, fans and followers can join the conversation and follow along with additional story lines with the hashtag #AllEyesOnLima on social media and usafieldhockey.com. Check back often for more stories around USMNT and USWNT athletes, umpires, venue, history and more as the Pan American Games get underway.

Don’t miss a moment! For more information, check out the 2019 Pan American Games Event Program by clicking here.

Looking for a way to support the teams in Lima? Click here to make a gift today and leave a comment with your gift to cheer on your favorite athlete on the U.S. Men’s or Women’s National Team. All notes will be sent to the team.

USFHA media release

Pan Am Games 2019 (Men) - Day 2
Lima (PER)

Fixtures (GMT -5)

30 Jul 2019 10:00     ARG v CHI (Pool A)
30 Jul 2019 12:00     TTO v CUB (Pool A)
30 Jul 2019 14:00     CAN v MEX (Pool B)
30 Jul 2019 16:00     USA v PER (Pool B)

NB. No live streaming until Semi-final stages

FIH Match Centre

Live From Lima: Scouting Report - USMNT vs. Peru

As a lead up to today’s Pan American Games (PAG) match-up, here are a few details you’ll want to know before the starting whistle.

Game Day: Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Time: 5:00 p.m. ET

Opponent: Peru

FIH World Ranking: 55

2018 South American Games Finish: 5

Current Pan American Games Record: 0-0-0

Last Time USA Played Opponent: While USA has not played the host nation in recent years, the two teams last met at the inaugural men's Pan American Cup in Havana, Cuba in 2000 during crossovers. In this contest the red, white and blue topped Peru 3-1. The USMNT finished fifth in the tournament and Peru placed eighth.

What You Need to Know: Peru is coming off a fifth place finish at the 2018 South American Games in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The team finished 0-2-1 with a -8 goal differential and 10 goals for in a pool that consisted of PAG opponent No. 28 Chile, No. 29 Brazil and No. 94 Paraguay. Sebastian Dennison scored the team’s two goals in the tournament, and he will lead the charge for Peru’s offense again in Lima. Peru did not appear in the last Pan American Games in 2015 but will look to make a statement as the host nation.

Peru Roster:
#            Name     Caps
1           Felix Mafferetti (GK)     70
2           Vincenzo De Martis     39
3           Alberto Vives     21
4           Antonio Piazza     20
5           Christopher Knight Arce     27
6           Hugo Visosa     15
7           Edson Vera     36
8           Abel Romero     11
9           Miguel Rivera     19
10           Rodrigo Diaz Esponsa     35
11           Sebastian Dennison     24
12           Guillermo Power (GK)     4
13           Daniel Huanca     0
14           Fabrizio Corno (C)     50
15         Johannes Valakivi     13
16           Fernando Lopez     21
            Head Coach: Patricio Martinez
            Assistant Coach: Carlos Morales & Jorge Querejeta
            Manager: Diego Manco

Team USA is ready in Lima with a gold medal and automatic qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on the line. With that, fans and followers can join the conversation and follow along with additional story lines with the hashtag #AllEyesOnLima on social media and usafieldhockey.com. Check back often for more stories around USMNT and USWNT athletes, umpires, venue, history and more as the Pan American Games get underway.

USFHA media release

EuroHockey Championship II (Men) 2019 - Day 2
Cambrai, France


29 Jul 2019     UKR v ITA (Pool A)         3 - 5
29 Jul 2019     RUS v AUT (Pool A)     2 - 2

Fixtures (GMT +2)

30 Jul 2019 16:45     CZE v BLR (Pool B)
30 Jul 2019 19:00     POL v FRA (Pool B)

Live streaming via http://www.eurohockey.org

Pool Standings

Pool A

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Russia 2 1 1 0 5 3 2 4
2 Austria 2 1 1 0 4 2 2 4
3 Italy 2 1 0 1 6 6 0 3
4 Ukraine 2 0 0 2 3 7 -4 0

Pool B

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 France 1 1 0 0 7 0 7 3
2 Poland 1 1 0 0 4 0 4 3
3 Belarus 1 0 0 1 0 4 -4 0
4 Czech Republic 1 0 0 1 0 7 -7 0

FIH Match Centre

EuroHockey Championship III (Men) 2019 - Day 2
Gibraltar, Gibraltar


29 Jul 2019     MLT v SVK (Pool B)     1 - 3
29 Jul 2019     CRO v POR (Pool B)     5 - 0

Fixtures (GMT +2)

30 Jul 2019 15:45     TUR v SUI (Pool A)
30 Jul 2019 18:00     LTU v GIB (Pool A)

Pool Standings

Pool A

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Switzerland 1 1 0 0 11 1 10 3
2 Gibraltar 1 1 0 0 5 1 4 3
3 Turkey 1 0 0 1 1 5 -4 0
4 Lithuania 1 0 0 1 1 11 -10 0

Pool B

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Croatia 2 2 0 0 12 0 12 6
2 Portugal 2 1 0 1 6 5 1 3
3 Slovakia 2 1 0 1 3 8 -5 3
4 Malta 2 0 0 2 1 9 -8 0

FIH Match Centre

EuroHockey Championship III (Women) 2019 - Day 2
Lipovci, Slovenia


29 Jul 2019     SVK v HUN (Pool B)     3 - 0
29 Jul 2019     SUI v LTU (Pool B)     1 - 3

Fixture (GMT +2)

30 Jul 2019 18:00     CRO v FRA (Pool A)

Pool Standings

Pool A

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 France 1 1 0 0 16 0 16 3
2 Croatia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Slovenia 1 0 0 1 0 16 -16 0

Pool B

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Lithuania 2 2 0 0 5 1 4 6
2 Switzerland 2 1 0 1 14 3 11 3
3 Slovakia 2 1 0 1 3 2 1 3
4 Hungary 2 0 0 2 0 16 -16 0

FIH Match Centre

Hockey players hot but not bothered in European tour


PETALING JAYA: The heatwave in Europe has taken the Malaysian hockey players by surprise and they are bracing themselves for another ‘hot’ action against Spain tomorrow.

The Malaysians are on a playing tour in Europe as part of their preparation for the final Olympic qualifier in November.

On Friday, they pulled off a shocking 4-2 win against two-time World Cup champions Germany under searing and dry conditions.

Due to the heat, the players were given a four-minute water break instead of two.

With temperatures reaching up to 40°C, Malaysian captain Sukri Mutalib (pic) said they took a longer time to adapt.

“It was tough in Germany. We slept in rooms that didn’t have air-conditioning. Conditions are usually pleasant here, but it was different this time around,” said the 33-year-old midfielder.

“But we took it as a challenge. We are in Barcelona now, the weather is the same but we are beginning to adapt.”

Sukri said they last played Spain in 2014, and it would be interesting to see how the team have progressed.

“We’re doing lots of video analysis. They are ranked ninth, and we have not played them in five years,” he said.

“The win over Germany has given us some confidence to play against European sides. We should not rest on our laurels because we are here to learn and get better.”

It was the first time in 19 years that Malaysia defeated Germany after their 2-1 success at the Azlan Shah Cup in 2000.

Roelant Oltmans’ side will also take part in a four-nation tournament comprising Spain, Ireland and England from Aug 2 to 4.

They have friendly matches against Holland (two matches) in Breda from Aug 6-8 and Belgium (two matches) in Antwerp from Aug 10-12.

The Star of Malaysia

Medals aplenty for England Masters at European Cup

There was plenty of success for England's Masters teams at the IMHA European Cup in Rotterdam as they came away with three golds and three bronze medals.

The Women's 035s, led by Head Coach Gareth Ikin, secured their gold with a thrilling 3-2 victory over a determined German side. Needing only a draw to finish top of their pool, they took the lead with a goal from Sarah Cockayne. Germany then equalised before Nic George restored the lead, only for their opponents to strike back yet again. It was England who were to have the last say though as Cockayne produced a fine finish at the far post to secure the title.

The Women's 040s also overcame Germany in a close encounter to clinch their gold. Marshalled by Sue Sutton, they finished top of the table with six points with a narrow 1-0 over the Germans courtesy of a fine finish from Suzy Clapp and a save from Amanda Billington to keep out a stroke.

A third gold against Germany was secured by the Men's O35s as they came away 3-1 winners. Daffyd Bowles, Alex Kotlarzewski and Ben Aberry were on target for Mark Moss' side to convincingly beat their opponents in the final.

Both the Men's O40s and O45s came home home with bronzes, the former doing having finished third in their group.

The O45s can count themselves unlucky not to have finished higher, missing out on a gold on goal difference and finished third.

The Women's 045s, coached by Katie Ridewood and Deb Wilkes, also picked up a medal as they beat The Netherlands in a shootout to win bronze. Paula Nicholas grabbed a crucial equaliser for England in normal time before Anne Fairbrother scored the decisive shootout effort.

This was an excellent campaign for the English sides and a positive reflection on all the hard work and commitment shown over many months by the players and their management teams. With a little more good fortune they could have improved on what was a tremendous haul of medals.

Special mention must be made of the excellent support that the sides received from an enthusiastic and at times extremely vocal group of family and friends.

You can read more about the teams’ progress on the Masters section of the website here.

England Hockey Board Media release

Harendra Singh still open to coach junior hockey team, but on his own terms

Harendra, who coached India to the 2016 Junior World Cup crown at home, wants equality in terms of what foreign coaches are offered in India

Harendra Singh. Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

Harendra Singh is still interested in taking up the vacant post of junior men’s hockey team coach, but is unwilling to “compromise” on his terms and conditions.

Harendra, who coached India to the 2016 Junior World Cup crown at home, said he is still open to take up the job for which he had applied in the past but he wants equality in terms of what foreign coaches are offered in India.

“I had applied for the position long back and I am still open for it but my terms and conditions remain the same. I want my terms and conditions to be at par with the foreign coaches, be it salary and facilities. There will be no compromise on this,” Harendra told PTI.

“Why can’t we be treated at par with foreign coaches?” he questioned.

Harendra also coached the senior national team but a disappointing World Cup campaign at home last year drew curtains on that stint after Hockey India fired him from the post.

The national federation later expressed its desire to reinstate Harendra in his previous role with the junior side but his demands for equal terms and conditions at par with foreign coaches came in the way.

According to the job advertisement posted on the Hockey India website, the tenure offered for the position is till the 2021 Junior World Cup.

The position has been lying vacant since last month after Hockey India fired Jude Felix after a string of poor results.

The initial deadline for applying for the post was July 5, which was later extended to July 25 and then August 16.

The Hindu

Army hammer Police in Noor Khan Hockey

ISLAMABAD - Majestic Army taught hockey lesson to Pakistan Police by thrashing them 16-0 in 65th Muhammad Noor Khan National Hockey Championship 2019 match at Abdul Sattar Edhi National Hockey Stadium, Karachi on Monday.

Four-star Safeer was the architect of Army’s drubbing of Police as he scored four goals and was also involved in four other goals. Army started the first half on a very powerful note and put Police defence under sword, but some poor finishing denied Army of scoring more goals and they could score in the first 15 minutes.

Same was the case in the second quarter, as Army fired in four more goals while the third quarter saw the winning side netting five goals and in the fourth and last quarter, Army managed to put two more goals. Besides Safeer’s four goals, Awais Zahid, M Umar and M Rizwan contributed with two goals each while M Afzal, M Zeeshan and Amjed Lai hit one goal apiece.

The soldiers won the match 16-0

In the second match of the day, Railways and Navy played out 1-1 draw. Umair Sattar gave Railways the lead which was equalized by Asad Azhar. The match was played on fast pace, but despite their best efforts, both the teams failed to add on further goals and had to settle for one point each.

In the third match, PAF thrashed Sindh 4-0. Mohib Ullah, Mudassar, Shahbaz and Mohsin scored one goal each for the airmen while fourth match between Wapda and Mari Petroleum Cooperation Limited (MPCL) was washed out due to rain and according to PHF rules, both teams were awarded one point each.

Hats off to Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) supporting staff and groundsmen, who, despite thunderous rain, which continued to lash out entire morning and afternoon, worked very hard to ensure matches played uninterrupted. Special thanks to PHF Staff Officer Tariq Mir for helping sports journalists getting timely updates.

PHF president Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar also deserves all the credit for managing everything quite well. After first day’s of huge fuss, when sports journalists were running from post to pillar to get information but no one was bothered to help them out, the PHF chief not only took serious notice of the mismanagement, but also deputed Tariq Mir to assist media. Since then, everything is apple-pie order.

The Nation

Not enough new talent in JHL

By Jugjet Singh

ONLY four new players with talent were identified from this year’s 14-team Malaysian Junior Hockey League (JHL).

But national juniors coach Nor Saiful Zaini is unperturbed with the lack of depth in the league.

Nor Saiful already has a squad for tournaments leading up to the 2021 Junior World Cup.

“Five of my players are with the senior squad while another four played for the indoor team at the recent Asia Cup in Thailand.

“The others are in training. Even though very few new talents were identified from the JHL, it is not a big problem as we already have the players for the Junior World Cup qualifiers in 2021.

“The only problem the team are facing right now is the lack of opportunities to play in tournaments or friendly matches.

“But I believe that too will be solved once the senior men and women’s Olympic qualifiers are completed,” said Olympian Nur Saiful.


TOMORROW — S-Finals(1st leg)

Men: SSTMI Thunderbolts v Anderson Thunderbolts (Pitch I, 4pm), SSMS Resilient v Pahang Thunderbolts (Pitch I, 6pm).

Women: PJCC Black Widows v PKS UniTen (Pitch II, 4pm), Mutiara Impian v SSTMI-UniTen (Pitch II, 6pm).

THURSDAY — S-Finals (2nd leg)

Men: SSMS Resilient v Pahang Thunderbolts (Pitch I, 4pm), SSTMI Thunderbolts v Anderson Thunderbolts (Pitch I, 6pm).

Women: Mutiara Impian v SSTMI-UniTen (Pitch II, 4pm), PJCC Black Widows v PKS UniTen (Pitch II, 6pm).

* Matches at National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

New Straits Times

Woodridge record first win in SPAR provincial hockey finals

Woodridge’s Micaela Sanderson (left) is challenged by Chiara Williams-Wynn of DSG in their clash in the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge provincial finals at Collegiate in Port Elizabeth on Sunday. Photo: Full Stop Communications

Woodridge won the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge for the first time when they defeated DSG 3-0 in the final at Collegiate in Port Elizabeth yesterday.

Based at Thornhill just outside PE, Woodridge completed a fine year in the tournament after winning the PE Coastal qualifier in May.

The five regional winners contested the provincial finals, played on Saturday and yesterday. The other teams were York High from George, Clarendon Girls’ High from East London and Queenstown Girls’ High.

Woodridge and Grahamstown school DSG qualified for the final after ending as the top two teams following the round-robin phase of the provincial event.

For Edith Molikoe, the Woodridge captain, it was “a huge honour” to claim the title.

“This is something we have been working towards the whole year so it really is a great experience for us,” she said after the final.

“Two years ago when we played in the provincial finals we didn’t quite know what to expect, but this time we just came out with a bang.

“It’s difficult to explain how we are feeling right now. Some of the girls are in matric and won’t get a chance to play in this again, so the win was fantastic for them.”

She added that they knew they would have a tough final against their Grahamstown rivals.

“We played DSG during the season and we realised it would not be an easy game.

“They know our tactics and we know theirs, so it just came down to the mental side of things and how to handle that best in a pressure situation.

“We didn’t have a specific strategy in the final but just came out and played with our hearts to achieve the best we could.”

Molikoe said it was a significant triumph for the sport at the school.

“This win means a lot to Woodridge hockey because we have never won anything this big before and it’s good to show other schools that we are here to compete.”

While the win was an honour, she said the tournament was also about making friendships.

“To reconnect with so many of our friends and have a night like on Saturday when we all got together and had fun is what makes this event special.”

SPAR EC sponsorship and events manager Alan Stapleton hailed the fourth edition of the tournament as another resounding success.

“This year has been better than ever,” he said. “There has been a really close rivalry, a few surprises and the finals were very special because of the quality of hockey on display.

“Every year things just get a little bit better and 2019 has been another huge success.”

He also spoke about the camaraderie of the tournament, which fitted in with SPAR’s principles.

“More important than the close rivalry are the friendships and bonds that are formed throughout the tournament. That is very important to us and it continues to be a big part of our planning.”

Fullstop Communications media release for the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge

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