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News for 22 October 2019

All the news for Tuesday 22 October 2019

2019 Test matches ESP v ARG (M) - 2nd Test
Valencia (ESP)


20 Oct 2019     ESP v ARG     2 - 1
21 Oct 2019    ESP v ARG     2 - 2

FIH Match Centre

Playing the long game in bid for Olympic ticket

In the first qualification process of its kind, the next two weekends (October 25-27 & November 1-3) will see some fascinating hockey matches taking place as 14 men’s and 14 women’s teams do battle for a place at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The seven winning teams in each gender will join Japan men and women, who qualify as both hosts and as Asian champions. The other four continental champions are also qualified, namely Argentina men and women, South Africa men and women, Netherlands women, New Zealand women, Belgium men and Australia men.

Participants in the Olympic Qualifiers booked their places through one of three avenues: nations that finished first or second in the FIH Series Finals that took place earlier in the year; nations that finished in the top 4 of the inaugural FIH Pro League but did not win their Continental Championship; or by virtue of their FIH World Ranking.

Within each gender, the 14 teams have been drawn into seven pairs, and they will play a double header over two consecutive days with the scores from both matches added together. As French player Charles Masson pointed out: “It is two times 60 minutes, so we must be patient.”

The first weekend of action sees some interesting match-ups with much potential for upset.

In the men’s competition, European neighbours Spain (FIH World Ranking: 8) and France (WR:12) will be testing each other. Spain, who won a silver medal at the recent EuroHockey Championships, have much more top level experience, including three silver and one bronze medal collected over 17 appearances at Olympic Games. By contrast, France have appeared nine times with a fourth place in 1936 as their highest ever finish. France last appeared at an Olympic Games in 1972, while Spain has not been absent since 1956.

In recent competition however, France have proven themselves a force to be reckoned with. At the 2018 World Cup in Bhubaneswar, France surprised everyone by reaching the quarter finals, beating the reigning Olympic champions Argentina 5-3 in the pool round. At the same competition, France also drew with Spain, which is an indication that Les Bleus will not be overawed when they visit Valencia.

Netherlands men (WR:3) will be hosting Pakistan, which is always a potential tricky encounter. The Netherlands side has been enjoying steady success in the past few months. A third place finish in the FIH Pro League came off the back of a silver medal performance at the 2018 World Cup. The Dutch have played at 18 out of a total of 23 Olympic Games – the last time they were absent was the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Head coach Max Caldas and his men will have the pressure and expectation of a large and vociferous home crowd to contend with. Pakistan (WR:17), by contrast, have had an unsettled time. They have a new coach, Olympian Khawaja Junaid and the newly-formed squad will have two matches against Germany before heading to Amsterdam. But as sports fans know, surprise results are what makes sport so intriguing and watchable.

Canada (WR:10) and Ireland (WR:13) make up the men’s fixtures on the first weekend of action and this promises to be a very tasty encounter between two teams with similar styles and of similar standing. Both sides play fluid, fast, attacking hockey, but from a platform of top class goalkeeping. Both sides are looking to record back-to-back appearances at Olympic Games.

On current form, Canada probably have the edge. They won their FIH Series Finals event, beating Malaysia in front of the Malaysian home crowd. Ireland by contrast finished runners-up to France in a competition they were widely expected to win. They have also had the disruption of a change in coaching staff. Much will depend on whether the sense of expectation weighs heavier on one team than the other, and the two head coaches, Paul Bundy and Mark Tumilty will need to send their players out in the right frame of mind.

Of the three women’s matches, Australia (WR:2) versus Russia (WR:19) is probably the encounter that would seem the most clear cut. Not only do Russia find themselves up against one of the most on-form teams around at the moment, but the Hockeyroos are a team with a point to prove following their loss to New Zealand in the Oceania Cup. The Hockeyroos have moved up the world rankings to second; they are the only team to have beaten the Netherlands this year [in the FIH Pro League] and they have a world class squad of players that have now reached a point where head coach Paul Gaudoin has a wealth of options from which to select. Despite Russia’s ability to show resilience and to make set plays count, this is a very big ask.

China (WR:10) versus Belgium (WR:12), by contrast, is likely to go to the final second of the 120 minutes of play. These are two teams with very different styles of play but two sides equally committed to continuing their Olympic journey. China have been through a difficult patch, with their early exit from the 2018 World Cup a low point. In the FIH Pro League, they showed glimpses of their potential, with wins against Great Britain and USA. Head coach Huang Yongsheng seems to have found a way of combining the Chinese innate defensive play with speedy and creative attack.

Belgium are the newcomers to the top ranks of international hockey and they have been enjoying their time among the big guns. A fifth place finish in the FIH Pro League for a team that wasn’t initially going to be included was a good indicator of how far the side has progressed. Among their scalps in the Pro League were Australia, Great Britain and, in two confidence boosting performances – a 4-1 win over China in Belgium and a shoot-out win over China in Changzhou. Recent matches against Korea at a three-nations event in Ireland will have helped the European side prepare for another encounter in Asia.

The final match of the opening weekend sees Korea (WR:11) travelling to Valencia to meet Spain (WR:7). The Asian team will arrive in Spain on the back of warm-up matches against Ireland and Belgium, giving them plenty of time to acclimatise to European climate and style of play. The Korea side has slid down the rankings after a poor showing at the Asian Games, where they finished fourth. That said, Korea has not missed an Olympic Games since 1984 and will not want to let that record slip away.

Spanish head coach Adrian Lock has impressed upon his team that building a squad and a culture takes time. Spain are some way along the path with bronze medals at both the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 EuroHockey Championships but, as captain Georgina Oliva says: “We have been preparing for this moment for seven years. We are determined to be in Tokyo.”

The match schedule for the first weekend of FIH Olympic Qualifier action is as follows. All times are local times for the venue.

Spain v France, Estadio Betero, Valencia - 25 & 26 October 18:00 on both days.
Netherlands v Pakistan, Wagener Stadium, Amsterdam - 26 & 27 October 16:00 on both days.
Canada v Ireland, Rutledge Field, Vancouver, 26 & 27 October 14:00 on both days.

Australia v Russia, Perth Hockey Stadium, Perth - 25 & 26 October, 15:00 & 19:00
China v Belgium, Wujin Stadium, Changzhou - 25 & 26 October 16:00 on both days.
Spain v Korea, Estadio Betero, Valencia 25 & 26 October, 20:00 on both days.

You can follow all the action as it unfolds via our live reporting service on the FIH website.

Click here for the complete list of broadcasters.

Also, every match will be available on FIH.live in all territories where there is no broadcasting deal in place.

FIH site

Pakistan's Qualification for Olympics- Mission Impossible

By Ijaz Chaudhry

On the opening day of the Olympics, the traditional ceremonies start with the Parade of Nations during which the participating sportspersons march into the stadium country by country.

For Pakistan, it has been the hockey squad which not only provided the major bulk of country’s contingent but also the biggest medal hope. The record speaks for itself. Country’s all golds (three) and silvers (three) at the Olympics have arrived courtesy hockey.  Of the four bronze medals, hockey contributed two. All the other sports combined have yielded two bronze: wrestling (1960) and boxing (1988).

 Pakistan’s last Olympic medal, a hockey bronze, came in 1992.   Since then, hockey has failed to bring any Olympic medal; closest was in 2000 where the green shirts finished 4th.

Still, hockey continued to present an outside chance of a medal and remained the major reason of world’s sixth most populated country‘s interest at the Olympics.

But unthinkable happened when Pakistan’s hockey team failed to qualify for the 2016   Olympics -a dubious first.

The disaster led to the removal of Akhtar Rasool, President PHF. Khalid Sajjad Khokhar replaced him.

But things went from bad to worse.
The main yardstick to assess a sports federation is the national teams’ show in the international arena. During Khokhar’s tenure, Pakistan suffered unprecedented humiliations:

  • Pakistan’s worst ever defeat in international hockey: 1-9 loss to Australia November, 2017 at International Festival of Hockey in Australia
  • Worst ever defeat against India: 1-7 in 2017 (Hockey World League, London) followed by another humiliation against the same team 1-6 in the same event, a few days later.
  • In the last 10 matches against India, Pakistan has lost all barring one draw
  • Failed to qualify for the Youth Olympics for the first time after finishing a miserable 6th at the qualifiers in Thailand in 2018; also suffered 1-12 defeat against Malaysia during these qualifiers
  • Asian Games 2018: Repeatedly declared as ‘the target’  ‘winning gold at the Asian Games meant direct qualification for the Olympics’. What to talk of gold, Pakistan ended 4th (equaling worst ever position at the Asian Games)
  • World Cup 2018: PHF has repeatedly bragged about its great success, ‘Pakistan qualified for this World Cup after failing to do so at the previous edition.’ Pakistan owed its presence to the FIH’s decision to increase the number of teams in the World Cup from 12 to 16. How Pakistan fared was simply pathetic: finished 12th equaling the worst ever position, scored just two goals; their lowest World Cup tally, goal difference of 10- also the worst in Pakistan’s World Cup history.

Now, the cycle is near completion with the next Olympics at the horizon.  Qualification for the 2020 Olympics and a reasonable show at Tokyo could have been a saving grace for this federation. 

Pakistan hockey was presented with a golden opportunity to be a part of world hockey’s big league for no less than four years at least. 

The FIH planned a new ambitious event FIH Pro League, featuring nine national teams. Played on home and away basis, and running for six months.

Though, ranked 13th at the time, Pakistan’s legacy and potential TV viewership helped them selected among the nine.    But the biggest hurdle was that no country was prepared to visit Pakistan for this league. Here, the CEO of England Hockey, Ms Sally Munday helped Pakistan. She persuaded David Sweetman, the CEO of Scottish Hockey Union, in making Glasgow Pakistan’s home.  Pakistan was confirmed as one of the participants in July 2017 for the first four editions of the Pro League with the first edition starting in 2019.  Everything including itinerary of the matches had been finalized. But the PHF dropped a bombshell just a few weeks before the commencement of the Pro League about their inability to participate. As has been the practice of the Khokhar regime, the reason given was the non-availability of the funds.

The FIH was left with no option but to suspend Pakistan from the Pro League. The world body also imposed a fine on the PHF.

It was the worst thing to happen.  Even if Pakistan had ended last 9th in the Pro League, mere participation would have fetched them enough rankings points to leapfrog the teams ranked ahead of them not present at the event. Hence, the green shirts might have been at no 9 or 10 in the latest FIH Rankings.  Instead, the ranking slid further and today Pakistan is at the17th place.

Now, for the Olympic qualification, they will face world no 3 Netherlands in Amsterdam on October 26 and 27.

Had Pakistan appeared at the Pro League and climbed to 9th /10th place, they would have been facing a much weaker opponent, probably South Korea or Ireland, and stood a very good chance to make it to the Olympics.     

Now, it is Mission Impossible.

In their last three encounters against Holland, Pakistan have lost by margins of four or more goals. This August, Holland figured in the Euro Nations Championships. Their league Hoofdklasse, the most competitive domestic competition in the world, is in full swing. So they will be battle hardened.

In contrast, Pakistan hasn’t played any international hockey since the 2018 World Cup. Recently, the under 21 side of 27th ranked Oman played a 4-match series in Lahore against the Pakistan Development Squad consisting of fringe players for national selection.  On the domestic front, a very poorly managed national championship was held

The choice of the head coach epitomizes the seriousness of the PHF for the do or die encounter with Holland.   Khawaja Junaid’s last assignment was at the Hockey World League in 2017 where green shirts lost to India 7-1 (in the league), India 6-1 (playoff) and Canada 6-0.

In country’s 72 years history, Pakistan never suffered so many miserable defeats in a single tourney. Khokhar summarily dismissed Junaid. Now Khokhar has recalled Junaid for the all-important assignment.

When asked if Pakistan has any chance against Holland, Pakistan’s legendary left winger Samiullah (World Cup winner 1978 & 1982) answered, “Yes, if seven to eight Dutch players develop diarrhoea a couple of hours before the match.”

In all probability, for the second successive time, Pakistanis interest at sports biggest quadrennial event would end months before the lighting of the torch at Tokyo.


11th ranked Malaysia face 7th ranked Great Britain for the Olympic qualification. President and Deputy President Malaysian Hockey Confederation have stated, “We will resign if Malaysia fails to qualify for the Olympics.”

Will Khalid Khokhar and secretary PHF Asif Bajwa do the same? Bajwa was holding the same office when Pakistan failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
Ijaz Chaudhry writes on hockey & other sports. For more about him and his work, visit: www.sportscorrespondent.info


National hockey team spurred by social media messages

By Jugjet Singh


THE national team touched down in the Netherlands yesterday feeling motivated and confident, and the first welcome waiting for them was a hearty breakfast at coach Roelant Oltmans’ residence.

The team will play Britain for a Tokyo Olympic berth on Nov 2 and 3 in London.

They are feeling motivated following a social media campaign initiated by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) to spur the players ahead of the matches against Britain.

Even the players’ families, officials and fans including comedians, Mamat Sepah, Azlee Senario and Acong Sweetchild, joined in and posted positive messages for the players on MHC’s social media accounts.

The message MHC are trying to drill into their players is ‘Demi Negara Pasti Layak!’ (Qualify for the nation).

It is hoped that the players will be inspired and motivated to turn the tables on Britain and qualify for the Olympics for the first time since 2000 Sydney.

The team are in the Netherlands to play warm-up matches against Dutch sides HOC Gazellen-Combinatie and HC Bloemendaal on Oct 26 and 27. They will head to London the following day.

Captain Shukri Mutalib was feeling positive at KLIA in Sepang on Sunday before the team departed for the Netherlands.

“We are ready to give Britain a tough fight until the last second of both matches.

“And the motivational videos (on social media) by family members, friends and fans have made our resolution stronger. We want to qualify for the Olympics,” said Shukri.

Oltmans has taken 20 players with him, but two will be dropped from the qualifier.

“Just like how we qualified on merit for the last World Cup, I believe it is not impossible to get back into the Olympics after 20 years.

“We are ready. The key is to be consistent in both matches,” Shukri added.

The Lee Valley Stadium, the venue for the qualifier, is expected to be packed with home fans following encouraging ticket sales and the playing-time weather is expected to be around 12 degrees Celsius or lower.

New Straits Times

We are confident of qualifying for Olympics, says Sushila Chanu

Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam said the team was determined to book its place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

Midfielder Sushila Chanu is confident of the Indian women’s hockey team qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics as she feels the country has made a lot of improvement in the last three years.

The Indian team, which returned to the Olympic fold in Rio in 2016 after a gap of 36 years, plays against United States here on November 1 and 2 for a berth in next year’s Tokyo Games.

“We know how it felt representing India at Olympics when we qualified for it after a 36-year gap in Rio. However, when we came back from that outing, there was a unanimous feeling around the group that we need to push ourselves and make sure we consistently put in the performances which will help us in qualifying for the next edition,” Sushila said.

“We have made huge strides from the previous Olympics, and now we are all very determined to secure our place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” said the 26-year-old Sushila who captained the side in 2016 Rio Olympics.

It was a disastrous performance for India in the Rio Olympics as the team crashed out in the preliminary stage after losing four matches and drawing one to finish at the bottom of the group.

“We have the best opportunity to qualify for Tokyo Olympics as we are playing at home against USA. We will have the support of the home crowd, and even though USA are a strong unit, we have full belief in ourselves and in the way we play.” — Sushila Chanu

“We have 10 players in this current side who were there in Rio as well, and all of us collectively want to experience that feeling again. Not just that, we want to win a medal for the country this time in Tokyo,” said the midfielder from Manipur.

The World No. 9 Indian team is currently training here at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium ahead of their Olympic Qualifiers against world number 13 USA.

“We have the best opportunity to qualify for Tokyo Olympics as we are playing at home against USA. We will have the support of the home crowd, and even though USA are a strong unit, we have full belief in ourselves and in the way we play.

“We have made huge strides in our game from 2016 and now is the time to show it to the world that India is here to challenge for the top honours, regardless of the opposition we face. That is the kind of confidence we have and we are determined to produce the results in the Olympic Qualifiers,” Sushila said.

Having missed two major tournaments last year due to a long-term injury, the midfielder returned to the side at the start of this year. She said the journey back to the team has been a tough one.

“It was unfortunate that I suffered a long-term injury in 2018, and had to miss major tournaments like the 2018 FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup in London, the 2018 Asian Games and the AHF Women’s Champions Trophy. It was a difficult period for me personally as I was low on confidence.

“There were times when I would doubt myself and think about the what-ifs, but the support I received from my family, support staff and teammates was immense, it helped me in making a comeback,” said Sushila who has 179 international caps.


Husband and wife appointed to officiate hockey at Tokyo Olympics

George Heagney

International hockey officials David and Jackie Tomlinson are off to next year's Olympics. They are pictured with daughters, Emily, left, and Sophie. WARWICK SMITH/STUFF

The Olympics should dominate discussion around the dinner table for the Tomlinsons for the next few months.

Palmerston North couple David, 39, and Jackie, 40, Tomlinson have both been appointed as officials for the Tokyo Olympics next year.

The pair are among the country's top officials, with David an umpire and Jackie a technical official, which is a level down from the technical director, who runs the entire event.

They are both on the pro league panel and elite umpiring panel, but this appointment is as big as it gets for them.

"Other than the World Cup it's the pinnacle of our sport," David said. "For both of us to be selected is pretty amazing and it's possibly a unique appointment."

Jackie said she wasn't aware of any other hunsband-and-wife pairs who had officiated at an Olympics.

"It's lucky it hasn't counted against us," David said. "It's the fact they have appointed both of us on our merit."

The couple have two daughters, Emily, 7, and Sophie, 5, but they will remain at home during the tournament.

David started umpiring in 2007 and his 100th international will come at the start of next year in either the pro league or at the Olympics.

At the World Cup last year he umpired the quarterfinal between the Netherlands and India, the semifinal between Belgium and Great Britain, and the third-and-fourth playoff.

Jackie started officiating in 2013, having umpired before that, and has risen quickly. She was technical official at last year's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and has worked at world league finals.

Jackie received the news about going to the Olympics when she saw an appointments email and was thrilled. She then rushed to tell David to check his emails too.

"It wasn't on the radar for me. I wasn't expecting it," Jackie said.

There are three other Kiwis going and they are all umpires: Simon Taylor, from North Harbour, Kelly Hudson, of Bay of Plenty and Gisborne's Amber Church.

Their match appointments won't be confirmed until they are actually at the Olympics.

The Tomlinsons both work at Palmerston North Boys' High School and the school accommodates them by giving them time off for their hockey commitments.

Next week Jackie is going to Perth to act as technical director for the Australia versus Russia Olympic qualifiers, while David is heading to Germany to umpire Olympic qualifiers between Germany and Austria.


Gonzalez Joins U-16 USWNT Coaching Staff

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Field Hockey is pleased to announce that two-time Olympian, current U.S. Women's National Indoor Team athlete and former U.S. Women's National Team member Melissa Gonzalez has been appointed as an assistant coach for the U.S. U-16 Women’s National Team.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be able to work with and alongside both the talented Junior High Performance staff and players,” commented Gonzalez. “I’d like to express my excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to help develop, mentor, challenge, grow and assist these aspiring athletes. I’m eager to help in any capacity I’m able to serve.”

Since her retirement from international competition following the 2018 Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup, Gonzalez has remained in the game and developed herself as a coach, as the current assistant coach at Wake Forest University and also assisting at a pair of Junior USWNT team camps and coaching at the National Futures Championship in 2019. She will team up with fellow London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympian Katie Bam, head coach of the U-16 USWNT, and Allan Law, former Scotland international who is the other assistant coach.

“Melissa brings a great deal of high performance experience to the U-16 program and her ability to not only coach but also mentor and inspire the players made her the standout candidate to step into the role,” said Phil Edwards, USA Field Hockey’s Senior Manager of Coaching and Performance. “If I was an athlete I would be extremely excited about the prospect of being able to work with her in 2020.”

USFHA media release

OTHL enters Phase II of Prestigious Nehru Cup

s2h Team

One thousand hockey legs XI defeated State Champion school of Mizoram 4-2 to register its second success in as many as matches, which ensure the team move to Phase II of prestigious Sub-Jr Nehru cup today in New Delhi. Young forwardline of Mohit, Shoaib, Nitin and Priyansu troubled their rival team's defenders. In the keenly contest match today (Monday, the 21st Oct.), Mizoram took lead early only to see Nitin equalize. Then came a gem from Ankush's direct penalty corner conversion to give OTHL the lead. However, after half time Mizoram equalized only to see Nitin scoring again before another prodigous kid Priyanshu sealing the tie in OTHL's favour. Priyanshu was declared Best Player of the match too.

On Saturday, One thousand hockey legs defeated State Champion school of Gujarat to make a wining beginning in the 37th Jawaharlal Nehru Sub-Junior Hockey Cup, underway at Delhi's pride Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium. The team led by reliable defender, who led our team to Pune recently for the 4th SNBP Inter-school tournament, scored a goal through penalty corner, and then debut maker Shoaib Md added one before captain Md. Sameer converted a penalty corner to get us 3-1 score in the opener. Nitin of GBSSS, Janakpuri, tore the Gujarat team's defence, creating in its wake many chances. He was later fittingly adjudged as the Best Player of the match.

Nehru Cups are one of the six leading tournaments the Society based in New Delhi has been organizing over a long time. Due to its precise organization and rich history, the tournament is highly rated in Indian domestic circuit. Various State Governments' Education Departments organize Inter-school tournament to spot the champions team. This team is then sponsored by them to send Delhi. Being a nation wide phenomenon, we are proud we got entry since 8 years. Our performance so far has been noteworthy too. This year's team was actually our second best in the U-15 age group.

Priyanshu getting Best Player award at the hands of former international player VB Singh

Selectors Nirmal Jeet Singh and Uma Shankar ji were tasked to pin down 33 players in August. After many days of watching the boys in the selection trials they recommended 33 players of age group Under-15. The best of the lost was sent to Pune to take part in the 4th SNBP Inter-school tournament. The second best were played here in the Nehru Cup. However , four boys -- captain Md. Sameer, forward Nitin, defender Ankush Kumar and goal-keeper Pradeep Kumar -- were continued for the Nehru Cup too, considering their over all ability to turn the matches in their favour. Undoubtedly, the foursome lent solidity to our new boys who had enormous teething problems. Significantly, the foursome played in the 10th Hockey India Sub-Jr National Championship held in Bilaspur in June 2019, thus making hattrick of their matches for the year in question.

As a first step, 22 players were given training on turf grouns by student coach Sunil. He shortlisted players and then finalized the final 16 with consultation with Nirmal Ji and Uma Shankar Ji, mentors. The team: Aalok & Pradeep goalkeepers. Ankush, Sameer, Nikhil as defenders. Prashant, Arvind, Prince Tiwari, Yash as midfielders. Raunak Paswan, Nitin, Md.Shoaib as forwards. Ghitorni boy Priyanshu, spotted for his talent after his steller show in the Festival Cup 2019, was the youngest of the lot, who seemed to possess dexterity and depth in whatever he does on the field. He is a future prospect, and is glad to see him in action against India's best domestic teams.

Nehru Hockey Tournament Society is the first hockey organization in India to give nascent OTHL entry for its Combined Team in line with NCC. We have been participating in the prestigious tournament since 8 years. Our boys will play their second match on Monday, the 21st October 2019 at picturesque Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.


Beeston women attract record TV audience

Rod Gilmour

Beeston's TV service has grown club's profile Credit: David Kissman Photography

When Beeston men narrowly failed to secure a Euro Hockey League place a few seasons ago, they set about becoming a continental club on their own accord.

They signed a partnership deal with HC Rotterdam to join forces over training programmes, ideas and events, while Bee TV was born when club officials set up a camera and laptop and streamed matches live.

"It was a project gone mad," said Bee TV manager Cellan Griffiths. Now into their second season with a professional video tower, commentary booth and live service, their commercial vision was boosted by Beeston Ladies securing promotion to the Investec Premier Division last year and extra incentive to build upon 'double header' matches.

It saw their 'Oktoberfest Hockey Special', when Beeston hosted Surbiton men and women last season, attract a record audience as well as healthy terrace attendances.

Packaged across social platforms, all told there can be upwards of 40,000 digital views when taking in Galvanised TV's Monday Night Hockey highlights show. On Saturday, Bee TV claimed 5,000 unique viewers as Beeston Ladies cast aside their early season travails with a fine 2-1 home victory against Buckingham, a near record high for a women's match at Nottingham Hockey Centre.

"What's special about our sport is that we have equality in numbers between the men's and women's game," said Griffiths. "It's not always the case that the men's game has higher numbers. We are encouraged by that."

Nicki Cochrane, the Scotland and Beeston goalkeeper, added: "We need to keep pushing it, the club system is so important for us and it's a huge moment for women's sport. It's a brilliant thing and it's massive for the club to get hockey out there." 

Beeston are currently the only top flight club producing a professional TV output and Griffiths is encouraging others to follow suit. Although England Hockey holds domestic league broadcasting rights, they have stalled on investing in a product until there is an attendance boost to attract sponsors.

The disparity in crowds between the club and international game is a concern and is one area which will have to be addressed when Nick Pink moves shortly into his chief executive role from England Golf.

College girls lift Beeston

Last week, this column mentioned the youthful feel to the current women's Premier Division squads and the Beeston XI's average age of 21.75 came to the fore in stunning fashion on Saturday. Bottom of the table a fortnight ago after four opening defeats - the club's first three matches came against the heavyweight trio of Surbiton, Hampstead and Holcombe - Colin Clarke's side now have back-to-back victories. Moreover, their two goals against Buckingham were scored by 16-year-old schoolgirls, Repton's Sian Emslie and Oakham's Rebecca Malyon.

Slough find baby boom solution

Slough midfielder Laura Bailey was close to stopping her duties with the club this season due to the headaches in trying to sort childcare at weekends. She wasn't the only player to have similar thoughts over the last two seasons. And so, following a baby boom with the 1st XI, Slough's coach Kali Takher set upon an idea to make life easier for the team's five mothers and their six children as he worked with the club's volunteers to launch a matchday crèche.

Slough's Laura Bailey with son Arthur after 5-3 win Credit: Rod Gilmour

The 'Slough Sprouts' initiative was launched at the weekend and clearly paid dividends as the hosts beat Sevenoaks 5-3. In a tough league, Slough, who won the last of their 11 Premier Division titles in 2010, are fighting to regain their top-flight status. Wimbledon, who remain top alongside Reading with four successive wins, beat Harleston Magpies 2-0, with GB international Suzy Petty scoring their second. It is anticipated that clubs will be without their GB players this weekend with the women's Olympic qualifying matches looming.

Early start for Exeter

The BUCS hockey league has gone national for the first time this season. In the case of Exeter, the ladies 1s will be up at 4am on Wednesday for a return flight to Edinburgh to play their opening midweek fixture in the ICG women's hockey programme, alongside their Saturday national league duties. It is usually a member of Exeter men's squad who is forced to travel to Scotland in a day. Every December, the loser of the drinking game Fives has to get on the early train to Edinburgh Waverley the next morning, spend an hour or so with Edinburgh's captain and return the same day in a 16-hour round trip.

The Telegraph

Scottish Premiership Sunday fixtures throw up some big results

Grange open up a three point lead at the top of the men`s Premiership after seeing off Uddingston at Fettes, but in the women`s league the title aspirations of Western Wildcats suffered a blow with a goalless draw against a hard-working GHK.

Grange may have won 7-2 in the end, but it was far from plain sailing for the champions for much of the match.

Jacob Tweedie gave Grange the best of starts with a strike in only two minutes but by the end of the first quarter the score was back level through Uddingston`s Campbell Cochrane. An upset looked a possibility when the same Uddingston player put his side 2-1 ahead at a penalty corner, and that was the situation at the interval.

Robbie Shepherdson levelled for Grange early in the second half, but a pivotal moment came when the Lanarkshire side`s spot effort was saved by Scotland keeper Dave Forrester.

Grange took advantage of their good fortune and Marcus O`Brien put them 3-2 in front. However, the floodgates opened in the final quarter, Tweedie scored his second, Callum Milne added the fifth from the spot and the closing strikes came from John McCluskey after a scramble and Josh McRae.

A good weekend for Kelburne with back-to-back victories, they went to Tayside and came away with a 2-1 win over bottom side Dundee Wanderers. It was a good couple of days also for Paisley striker Jack McKenzie who found the net twice, bringing his weekend tally to five. Blair Williams got the Wanderers goal. However, the result pushes Kelburne out of the lower reaches of the division for the first time this season and they now occupy fifth place.

In the women`s Premiership Western Wildcats failed to move out of sixth spot after failing to score against a strong, and very youthful, GHK defensive performance. Ali Westwood in goal for GHK made a string of excellent saves to walk away with a clean sheet.

GHK Head Coach Susan McGilveray said, “On paper we shouldn’t have got anything from the game; we had a very young and inexperienced team up against several very experienced players in a team full of confidence. But we matched them all over the pitch for 70 minutes and I couldn’t have asked for more from my young squad. These girls are learning so much this season and are an exciting prospect for the future.”

GHK are now within touching distance of Hillhead in seventh place with the two due to meet on Saturday.

Western Wildcats`s coach Kaz Cuthbert summed up her frustration at the result. “Becky Ward hit the post three times and their keeper had a stormer, we just had no outcome.”

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Maryland field hockey’s Emma DeBerdine named Big Ten Freshman of the Week

David Suggs

Maryland field hockey’s Emma DeBerdine battles for possession in her team’s 6-0 win over Indiana on Oct. 13, 2019 at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex. (Gabby Baniqued/The Diamondback)

After impressing in Maryland field hockey’s comeback victory over No. 21 Ohio State, forward Emma DeBerdine was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week, the conference announced Monday.

The Lancaster, Pennsylvania, native was a spark in Maryland’s rally on Sunday, starring in the midfield — a position she had never played for the Terps.

DeBerdine tallied five points against the Buckeyes, coming up with timely plays at crucial situations throughout the second half. She set up Kelee Lepage’s opener, calmly flicking a pass through traffic to find her teammate.

Minutes later, DeBerdine got a goal for herself, weaving her way through the Ohio State backline before tapping in Madison Maguire’s pass to close Maryland’s deficit to one.

And at 36:14, DeBerdine added to her goal tally, tipping defender Bodil Keus’ penalty effort past the reach of goalkeeper Aaliyah Hernandez. It was her sixth goal of the season — tied for the third-highest total on the team.

With the honor, DeBerdine became the first Maryland player to win Big Ten Freshman of the Week since Bibi Donraadt did so on Oct. 22, 2018.

DeBerdine and the Terps return to the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex to face Michigan State on Friday.

The Diamondback

Emma DeBerdine didn’t miss a beat as a midfielder for Maryland field hockey vs. Ohio State

David Suggs

Midfielder Emma DeBerdine during Maryland field hockey’s 2-0 win over No. 3 Connecticut on Oct. 6, 2019 at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex. (Gabby Baniqued/The Diamondback)

Maryland field hockey midfielder Kelee Lepage drifted into a pocket of space just inside the shooting circle — an area the Terps failed to regularly penetrate in the first half of their matchup against No. 21 Ohio State on Sunday.

Forward Emma DeBerdine found her with a slick feed, prompting the senior to do what Maryland had failed to do in its previous six quarters: finish a scoring chance.

When the ball caromed off the backboard, the Terps’ woes were no more.

While many of Lepage’s teammates rushed toward her, it was DeBerdine’s creativity that carved a chance out of nothing.

It was only the start for DeBerdine. After helping the Terps break their scoreless streak, she notched two goals to deny the Buckeyes an upset victory. The performance added to a growing list of impressive displays from the freshman, who has produced repeatedly — this time in an unfamiliar position.

“She’s a great player,” midfielder Brooke DeBerdine said earlier in the season, “She came out prepared for her freshman year, and it’s obviously showing.”

Going into Sunday’s matchup, the DeBerdine sisters and the Terps only had one thing on their minds after No. 9 Michigan shut them out in their previous match — a 1-0 defeat.

“Do our jobs and finish,” Emma DeBerdine said. “We definitely needed to finish.”

But after falling behind to two early Ohio State goals, coach Missy Meharg was frustrated with Maryland’s attacking display, especially in a second quarter that saw the Terps muster only one shot on goal.

As a team, Maryland struggled to keep possession of the ball, often relying on dribbling instead of committing to its usual passing-centric attack.

“It’s a passing game before dribbling game,” Meharg said. “This is something that has been a problem of ours, and it was for the first couple quarters.”

But the third quarter presented a return to form for the Terps, who leaned on Emma DeBerdine to show the quality that had pushed them up the national rankings.

Emma DeBerdine — who has spent the season as part of the front three — dropped into the midfield, gaining more influence on the ball while helping the Terps keep possession and carve out more dangerous chances.

“One of the bright spots was seeing Emma DeBerdine in the midfield,” Meharg said. “She gave us so much connection between our backfield and our front field.”

Minutes after the Buckeyes’ lead swelled back to two, the freshman burst in front of the goalmouth, cutting in front of defender Jennica Jonovich before tapping in Madison Maguire’s cross.

Barely five minutes later, DeBerdine slotted home her second — a deflection off defender Bodil Keus’ penalty corner effort — to push Maryland’s lead to two, a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

“It definitely felt good to play [as a midfielder],” she said. “We definitely were able to make a lot of infield breaks on them, and a lot of in-and-out passing, which is fun to be a part of in the midfield.”

The freshman has impressed on the front line throughout the season — her six goals rank tied for second on the team, while she ranks fourth in points with 16.

But her strong showing in the midfield is certain to stick in Meharg’s mind. She’s looking to make the necessary adjustments to ensure the Terps are ready to go come the postseason — and the freshman has already earned a ringing endorsement.

“We’re going to see her more in the midfield,” Meharg said.

The Diamondback

Takeaways from Duke field hockey's eventful weekend

By Cam Polo

Sammi Steele's solid season in goal continued. Photo by Mary Helen Wood | The Chronicle

Okay, take a breath.

No. 4 Duke came up with a win against James Madison Sunday less than 48 hours after dropping an overtime contest 3-2 to No. 7 Virginia. And while the loss was surely heartbreaking with Duke losing a lead late, the Blue Devils came back strong to handle the Dukes from James Madison by a final of 2-0, reaffirming their strength.

Under the lights Friday, the game was off to a frantic start, with each team recording five shots in the first two quarters. No shots found twine, however, and the score remaining knotted at zero, until Duke's Olivia Sahaydak put a shot past the keeper halfway through the third quarter. Haley Schleicher added another for the Blue Devils in the fourth, but Virginia tied the game with a minute to go, and carried its momentum into overtime, scoring inside the first two minutes of play.

Sunday found the Blue Devils playing an entirely different ballgame. It was the early chances that powered Duke, Leah Crouse finding the back of the cage in the first minute and Noor Van de Laar slamming one home later in the first. The Blue Devils put the game on cruise control, relying on strong defensive play to hold off a four-shot effort by James Madison in the final frame.

Three statistics that matter

1. Four goals by four different players: Four Duke attackers got in on the scoring action this weekend, as the offensive production continues to be spread up and down the lineup. No player has hit the double-digit mark in goals, yet Duke (11-4) boasts an impressive 11-4 overall record. Ten players have at least one to their name, in an offense that puts up 2.6 goals a game.

2. 1.01 Goals Against Average for Sammi Steele: Goaltender Sammi Steele has been having quite the year protecting the cage for the Blue Devils, this weekend carrying her over the one goal allowed per game mark by the narrowest of margins. Her poise in net along with solid defensive play around her has been a key for this Blue Devil squad and will continue to be important as the team advances towards the postseason.

3. 2:28: The time, in minutes, it took for Virginia (13-3) to score two late goals to come from behind and beat Duke on Friday, a demoralizing loss for any team, exacerbated by the rapid succession of the conversions. The ability of the Blue Devils to rebound from that loss to take care of business against James Madison (6-8) is a testament to their resilience.

Key quotes

Duke head coach Pam Bustin to GoDuke.com on Friday’s loss:

"I thought we played a great game in a great contest tonight. We were finishing well in the circle, but our corner defense we will need to take a look at and our corner attack we just need to finish and execute better."

Bustin to GoDuke.com on going forward:

"We will continue to work together to figure it out, we are putting our heart and souls into it and we are going to keep working together to find success.”

Bustin to GoDuke.com on the team’s quick turnaround:

"After Friday's loss, the team really did come together and continued to set some goals and realign some commitments to their game. I thought today we started off on the right foot.”

Looking forward

Duke will finish out the regular season with four games, hoping to build some momentum prior to the postseason. The Blue Devils face both Louisville and Richmond next weekend in Durham, looking to defend their home turf.

The Chronicle

No. 7 Virginia field hockey moves to 13-3 after sweeping its weekend series

The Cavaliers defeated ACC opponent Duke Friday before travelling to Philadelphia to defeat Drexel

By Kushal Patel

Sophomore back Amber Ezechiels scored her first goal of the year to cap off the come-from-behind win against No. 4 Duke.  Courtesy Virginia Athletics

No. 7 Virginia defeated No. 4 Duke Friday afternoon at Turf Field in a highly anticipated ACC rivalry matchup, and followed Sunday with a close victory against a struggling Drexel team in Philadelphia. The Cavaliers (13-3, 3-2 ACC) extended into overtime to record a 3-2 victory against the Blue Devils (11-4, 1-3 ACC) before handling the Dragons (3-11, 1-2 CAA) in another 3-2 final.

Coming off an impressive road victory against then-No. 5 Louisville last weekend, Virginia faced another test against a talented No. 4 Duke team this weekend. The Cavaliers tackled the challenge head on, matching the Blue Devils stride for stride before ultimately clinching the victory in overtime.

The game was tight the entire way as Duke registered 12 shots and Virginia accounted for 13. Both offenses had five shots in the first half, but the defenses were up to the challenge, conceding zero goals and entering the half scoreless.

Duke scored just over seven minutes into the third quarter off a goal by sophomore forward Olivia Sahaydak, who capitalized on her chance when Virginia sophomore goalie Lauren Hausheer came out of the net and left an opening.

However, freshman back Cato Geusgens answered and scored her fifth goal of the season in the fourth quarter. The goal came off of a corner play, and sophomore midfielder Greer Gill and senior back Anzel Viljoen served assists.

The Blue Devils responded quickly after being awarded a penalty shot. Hausheer was able to get a piece of the ball but ultimately could not stop the shot by senior midfielder Haley Schleicher, and Duke regained the lead.

Down 2-1 with over a minute to play in the game, Virginia appeared out of it until they were awarded a penalty corner. Viljoen scored her fifth goal off of the corner to tie the game at 2-2 and send the game into overtime.

Riding a wave of momentum after the Viljoen goal, Virginia did not look back in the overtime period. The defense did not allow a single shot, and just under two minutes in, sophomore back Amber Ezechiels scored her first goal of the year to cap off the come-from-behind win.

Following their impressive victory over Duke, the Cavaliers turned their attention to a road battle against Drexel. Despite winning the contest by only a goal, the Cavaliers dominated from start to finish. Virginia maintained control of the pace throughout and out-shot the Dragons 21-8.

Both teams led with a strong offensive attack, with all five goals of the game coming in the first half. Sophomore midfielder Annie McDonough struck first, just over three minutes into the game, but senior midfielder Tess Horan responded a few minutes later off of a deflected goal. With about 30 seconds left in the first quarter, Gill scored a short tap in to make the game 2-1.

Drexel junior forward Chandler McFeeley and Viljoen would exchange goals in the second quarter to produce a final score of 3-2.

After a rough patch midway through the season, the Cavaliers have found their rhythm at the perfect time, winning five straight games, three of which were against ranked opponents.

The Cavaliers return home to play No. 17 Liberty next Monday at 6:30 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on ACC Network.

The Cavalier Daily

Yale sweeps first weekend this season

Drew Beckmen

Courtesy of Sam Rubin

After losing six consecutive games by one goal, the Yale field hockey team seized victories over Dartmouth and Quinnipiac over the weekend.

Yale (4–9, 1–3 Ivy) took on Dartmouth (3–10, 0–4) on Saturday at home. The Bulldogs wasted no time in asserting their dominance over the Big Green, scoring twice in the first half with goals from forward Camille Scheyer ’20 and captain Bridget Condie ’20. Although Dartmouth tallied 15 shots in the half, Yale goalkeeper Sydney Terroso ’21 stood tall and saved all eight shots on goal. The Bulldogs continued the deluge of scoring with four goals in the second half en route to a resounding 6–0 win. On Sunday, Yale built upon its momentum with a 2–1 victory over local rival Quinnipiac (3–12, 1–4 Big East).

“Our mentality going into the Dartmouth game was a really calm kind of confidence, and this allowed us to attack aggressively but also play patiently in terms of building the play,” midfielder Imogen Davies ’21 said. “It was really fun to see everyone on the top of their game and just playing a really enjoyable and fun game.”

In the first quarter, Davies’ magnificent pass from the defensive end found Scheyer wide open in front of goal. In a one-on-one with Dartmouth goalkeeper Isabella Santucci, Scheyer maintained composure and sent the ball to the back of the net.

Although Dartmouth had 11 penalty corners in the first half, strong performances from Terroso and the Bulldogs’ defensive corner unit kept the Big Green scoreless. The Elis added to their lead within the first minute of the second quarter as Condie scored on a corner assisted by midfielder Sarah King ’21.

Despite entering halftime with a 2–0 lead, the Bulldogs did not show any signs of complacency. On a corner just three minutes into the second half, Davies played the insertion pass to midfielder Alissa Wong ’22, who allowed forward Olivia Levieux ’21 to send a shot into the bottom left corner of the goal. Levieux has been one of the team’s leading offensive contributors, netting a goal in each of the Elis’ four conference games.

After failing to score in the first four games of the season, Condie has also emerged as a reliable source of offensive production for the Bulldogs. Condie, who scored her second goal in the third quarter, has seven goals this season, tied with Levieux for the most on the team.

In the final period of play, Yale scored two goals in rapid succession. On the first, forward Anissa Abboud ’21 beat a defender before finding forward Kelly Dolan ’22, who had no problem slipping the ball past the netminder. Less than a minute later, forward Annina Zelkin ’20 scored her first career goal for the Bulldogs.

Zelkin’s goal capped off a dominant performance for the Elis. Playing in front of the Alumni Weekend crowd, the team appeared focused and determined throughout the game. Despite suffering so many narrow defeats this season, the Elis seemed more motivated than ever before.

“Going through adversity drew us together,” midfielder Théodora Dillman ’22 said. “We learned what it means to truly support one another and learned how to believe in one another even when fighting through results that weren’t what we wanted.”

In their second game of the weekend, the Bulldogs traveled to crosstown rival Quinnipiac. The Elis had a strong half frame after entering the break 1–0 down. In the fourth minute of the second half, Levieux scored on a penalty corner to even the contest. Condie then scored a fourth quarter goal to propel the Elis to a 2–1 victory.

This marks the first time that the Elis have been on the winning end of a closely contested game. Up until this weekend, the Bulldogs’ season has been characterized by close losses to talented teams. The win against Quinnipiac potentially marks a turning point that could give the Bulldogs momentum for their three remaining conference games in the season.

“I think we proved to ourselves most importantly that we can score and can come out of tough games with good outcomes,” Condie said. “I think the emphasis will be on having fun and enjoying the last couple weeks together.”

Yale travels south to Philadelphia to face the Quakers on Saturday at 12 p.m.

Yale Daily News

Field Hockey Shut Out by Both Harvard and Albany

By Faith Fisher

Cornell suffered two disappointing loss over the weekend as it failed to register a goal. Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

Cornell field hockey suffered two losses versus top-25 competition this past weekend. Harvard and the University of Albany each clinched shutout wins over the Red, 2-0, and 5-0, respectively.

Four years have passed since the Red (7-5, 2-2 Ivy League) has reigned victorious over the Crimson (10-3, 4-0). As a revamped team embracing a new coaching philosophy and toting wins against top competitors this season, the team was ready to reverse the unfavorable course of history.

The game on Saturday had a dual-purpose — play quality field hockey and raise money for the Make-a-Wish foundation. The fundraiser was spearheaded by senior midfielder Maddy Conklin, who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis and became a member of the Make-A-Wish family in 2010.

“She is the heart and energy of our team,” head coach Andy Smith said. “She is an inspirational person in everything she does. We played very hard against Harvard, and I think that the cause had a little bit of something to do with it.”

Despite the bright prospects of the day and evident heart displayed on the field, the inertia of history proved too strong to overcome.

Starting the game against the Crimson, the Red adhered to the season’s strategic trend — enter the field with energy to secure an early advantage. Although Cornell’s drive and vigor were apparent, its efforts were futile — the first half saw offensive domination by the Red, but five shots and four penalty corners failed to translate into goals.

“I feel like we came out and battled Harvard for the first 20 minutes of the game,” Smith said. “We had all the shots, we had all the possession.”

Unlike the Red, the Crimson was able to find the back of the net with more ease, notching the first goal of the day in the eighth minute of the quarter.

The Crimson — clearly energized by their first-quarter goal — brought a revamped offensive drive to the second stanza. The Red’s defense proved to be an adequate bulwark against their advances until the last two minutes of the quarter. Harvard’s Kiley Allen took advantage of a rebounded ball and netted it past senior goalkeeper Maddie Henry for the Crimson’s second goal.

The 2-0 scoring gap established in the first half persisted for the rest of the game. The remaining frames saw staunch back-and-forth defense from both sides, but the Red could not muster enough offensive opportunities to turn the scoreboard in its favor.

“I think for the full 60 minutes we went out there, never gave up, and believed we were in this game,” senior defender Kristen Ferguson said. “We just didn’t execute under pressure and finish on the balls we had.”

The Red tried to learn from their mistakes as it faced off against Albany (10-6, 1-2 America East), but to no avail.

“I had hoped that our execution under pressure would be better against Albany, but unfortunately the same thing let us down,” Smith said. “We made a lot of individual errors without team structure, and it cost us goals.”

The score remained neutral through an uneventful, defense-driven first quarter.

The game took a turn in the sixth minute of the second quarter as Albany scored the first goal of the contest. Just 5 minutes later, the Great Dane’s 1-0 advantage quickly ballooned into a two-goal lead when Dana Bozek clinched her first goal of the day.

Smith decided to insert sophomore goalkeeper Laura Kubit in goal during the third quarter. Despite a stellar performance in the frame with three saves, Kibit failed to stop Bozek, who chipped the ball into the net and extended the scoring gap to a comfortable 3-0 lead.

The Red entered the fourth period hungry and desperate for a comeback. The team, however, struggled to capitalize on its four shots on goal. Meanwhile, Bozek clinched two more goals to cap off scoring for the day.

“We just didn’t take our chances and they did,” Smith said. “We will go into Wednesday’s game with confidence high, knowing that we need to get the first goal.”

Looking to learn from this weekend, the Red will return to Dodson field this Wednesday at 4 p.m. to take on Lehigh.

The Cornell Daily Sun

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