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News for 02 October 2019

All the news for Wednesday 2 October 2019

India registers fourth win in Belgium tour, beats host 2-1

Simranjeet Singh (in picture) and Amit Rohidas ensured India beat Belgium comfortably, registering its fourth win in the tour in the process.   -  Hockey India

The Indian men’s hockey team eked out a fighting 2-1 win over reigning World and European champions Belgium to register its fourth consecutive win of the tour on Tuesday.

Amit Rohidas (10th minute) and Simranjeet Singh (52nd) scored for world no.5 India.

Belgium’s lone goal came from the stick of captain Felix Denayer in the 33rd minute.

Riding high on confidence after its 5-1 win over Spain in the third match of the Tour of Belgium, the Indian men’s hockey team started on an attacking note against the host and earned a penalty corner in the 10th minute, which was duly converted by Rohidas to give his side the lead.

World no. 2 Belgium, however, did not sit back and tried to counter the Indian attacks.

But some last-ditch defending from the Indians coupled with some fine saves by experienced goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh helped the visitors go into first quarter break with a one goal lead.

The second 15 minutes had a similar story as the visiting team enjoyed possession in the opening few minutes, creating a few chances but the quarter ended with the host putting intense pressure on its opponents.

With five minutes to go for half-time, Belgium earned its first penalty corner of the match, but Indian custodian Krishan B Pathak, who replaced Sreejesh for the second quarter, made an outstanding save to deny the world champion from levelling the scores. This helped India maintain its one-goal lead at the halfway mark.

Belgium showed its quality in the opening minutes of the third quarter as it secured another penalty corner in the 33rd minute and Denayer scored with stunning drag-flick to level the scores.

Thereafter, both the teams seemed focused on not giving away possession cheaply as the third quarter ended on level terms.

Belgium made a fast start in the final quarter and won a couple of penalty corners in quick succession but Pathak was upto the task again as he made some crucial diving saves to deny the hosts.

India, on the other hand, was happy to sit back and wait for its opportunity. India’s tactic bore fruit in the 52nd minute when it scored a well-constructed team goal in the 52nd minute through Simranjeet.

Down by a goal, Belgium attacked in numbers in the dying stages of the match and in the process earned another penalty corner, but the Indians came up with some resolute defending to secure their fourth consecutive win of the tour.

The Indian men’s hockey team will face Belgium again on Thursday.


Goalless draw for GB’s women in India test match opener

Great Britain’s women’s side played out a goalless draw against India in the first of three Test matches set to be played at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre this week.

Leah Wilkinson made her Great Britain debut whilst Maddie Hinch also earned her 50th GB cap in the hard-fought draw.

Both teams looked resilient in defence with clear cut chances coming at a premium.

Great Britain started off in the ascendancy, creating the first meaningful chance of the game as Lily Owsley unleashed a venomous reverse stick shot flew just wide of the post.

Shona McCallin followed this up shortly after as her fierce strike just cleared the crossbar from the edge of the circle.

India were well in contention though and forced Maddie Hinch into making a smart save from a penalty corner just before the end of the quarter.

The second-quarter was an evenly battled affair with neither side able to fashion a telling chance to test the opposition goalkeeper.

Hinch was called back into action early in the third quarter as she stuck out a right boot to divert the ball wide.

Immediately after, good work from Sarah Robertson earned a penalty corner where a well worked routine was deflected just wide of the onrushing attackers. The attacking impetuous continued as Izzy Petter’s attempt on goal was well stopped by the Indian ‘keeper to maintain parity.

Good work from McCallin in the box then saw her tee up Emily Defroand but Savita was on hand to deny the midfielder too.

Both sides threatened to snatch a late winner, with India winning a corner with just over two minutes remaining, but both clean sheets remained intact.

The fourth quarter saw limited opportunities for both sides as neither could work a way through a well organised defensive shape as the first match finished scoreless.

They meet again tomorrow before the series comes to a conclusion on Friday morning.

Great Britain 0
India 0

Starting XI: Hinch, Unsworth, Evans, Toman, Martin, Townsend, Robertson, Defroand, Ansley, Pearne-Webb, Neal, McCallin, Owsley, Hunter, Costello, Petter, Wilkinson
Unused: Heesh

Great Britain Hockey media release

Indian women’s hockey team plays out goalless draw with Britain

The defensive units of both the sides held fort as none of the teams could break a persistent deadlock, settling for a 0-0 draw at full-time.

Indian women are undefeated against world no 5 Great Britian in the five-match series.   -  Hockey India Twitter

The Indian women’s hockey team played out a goalless draw against Great Britain in the third match of its Tour of England on Tuesday.

India and Great Britain began the first quarter on a cautious note. The visitor tried to make a few inroads as the match progressed, but it couldn’t find an opening. The defensive units of both the sides held fort as none of the teams could break the deadlock.

The Indian Eves made an aggressive move towards the end of the quarter and earned a penalty corner, but Great Britain defence managed to keep India at bay.

India rode on the momentum and continued playing aggressively at the start of the second quarter.

The visitor was awarded another penalty corner in the 20th minute, which was again blocked out by Great Britain's defence.

Forwards from both the sides continued to look for the opening goal, but couldn’t find the back of the net as the deadlock continued at the halfway stage.

India continued in the same vein in the third quarter and earned its third penalty corner but once again failed to utilise the chance.

Great Britain was awarded its first penalty corner in the 35th minute from a counter attack but Indian goalkeeper Savita stood up to the test.

India made another aggressive move soon after and won its fourth penalty corner three minutes later but failed to hit the target yet again.

The same story continued in the fourth quarter with the both sides trying their best, but to no avail.

India made a few smart moves, but Great Britain always found a way to keep the ball away from its goal.

The visitor had a brilliant chance to seal the match when it won a penalty corner in the dying minutes of the match, but once again Great Britain defence stood firm to thwart the danger.

The Indian Women’s Hockey Team will play Great Britain in itss fourth match of the Tour on Wednesday, 2nd October.


2019 Test matches FRA v IRL (Men) -- 1st Test
Bordeaux (FRA)

1 Oct 2019     FRA v IRL     1 - 2

FIH Match Centre

Home side routs visiting Oman hockey team in first match

Azhar Khan

LAHORE - Pakistan Development Squad outclassed Oman hockey team 7-0 in the first encounter of the four-match test series played here at the outer ground of the National Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.

Trained by former Pakistan captain and Olympian Tahir Zaman, Oman team failed to impose any threat to the home side and most of the time deployed their force and energy to beef up their fragile defence but the speedy moves of home forwards made inroads in the striking circle and resulted in goals on regular intervals for the delight of a handful crowd.

Rana Abdul Waheed emerged as hero of the match as he completed his impressive hat-trick while Rana Suhail, Hammad Anjum, Rizwan Ali and Amjad Ali Khan contributed with one goal apiece for the winning side. Oman team is on a preparatory tour of Pakistan ahead of their participation in the Asia Confederation Hockey Cup in Bangladesh being played from October 14.

The local players started the match in great style and kept on attacking the visitors’ goal till the end, which helped them win the encounter 7-0. Rana Abdul Waheed scored the first goal of the match for home side through a field goal in the 8th minute soon after seven minutes, he doubled the lead through another field goal.

The men in green slammed in two more goals in the next half to take a healthy 4-0 lead. This time Hammad Anjum was the player, who fired in a fabulous field goal in the 19th minute to make it 3-0 while Rana Suhail made it 4-0, when he also struck a field goal in the 26th minute.

The hosts continued their dominance in the third quarter as they added two more goals in their tally, making it 6-0. In the 44th minute, it was Rana Abdul Waheed, who hammered the fifth goal of his side and also completed his well-deserving hat-trick. Soon after two minutes, Rizwan Ali converted a beautiful goal on penalty corner to make it 6-0.

The fourth quarter saw the visitors playing more defensive game, thus conceded just one in the last quarter as the hosts won the match 7-0. Amjad Ali Khan scored the last goal of the match in the 49th minute.

Hafiz Atif Latif and Muhammad Afzal officiated the match as umpires while Hassan Akhtar Rasool and Sohail Ashraf were judges, Shafique Bhatti was technical officer and Muhammad Zahid was reserve umpire. The second match will be played today (Wednesday) here at the same venue (outer ground of National Hockey Stadium).

Pakistan has managed the best security arrangements for the players and officials of visiting side to host the series in a befitting manner. Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary Asif Bajwa, former Olympians Chaudhry Akhtar Rasool, Qasim Khan, Anjum Saeed, Col (R) Asif Naz Khokhar and other former hockey greats and players witnessed the match and lauded the local side for winning the opening match.

The Nation

India men fully focussed on achieving qualification, says captain Manpreet

In the latest of a series of video interviews with the teams that will participate in the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, India (FIH World Ranking: 5) men’s captain Manpreet Singh looks ahead to his team’s crucial two-game clash against Russia (WR:22). The all-important matches will take place at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on 1/2 November 2019, with timings to be confirmed in the coming weeks. A transcription of the interview can be found below.   

The FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will be taking place very soon. How will your team prepare for these hugely important matches?

Manpreet Singh: “The team is preparing well right now because last month we went to Tokyo [Olympic test event] with a young team and they played very well there and won the series. Now we are focussed on fitness, attacking hockey and when we get in the circle for opportunities, working on that and defensive structure as well.”

What can we expect to see from your team in the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers?

Manpreet Singh: “We are working now on attacking hockey so when we get the opportunities, we score the goals. These are the things we are working on right now. Also we are working on our defence as we should not give [goal scoring] opportunities to any other teams. Right now, we are focussing on [both] attacking and defending.”

What are your thoughts about Russia, your opponent in the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, and how is your squad feeling about these matches?

Manpreet Singh: “Actually, we are not thinking about who we are going to play, we are focussing on the fact that we have to play two matches and we want to qualify for the Olympics. For that, the team are doing very well, focussing on fitness and doing very well in the camp, working hard every day in gym sessions, during training, everything.” 

Finally, what would qualifying for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 mean to you and your team?

Manpreet Singh: “It is huge, because obviously our team wants to play at the Olympics next year. That is why we want to play well in the Olympic qualifier. We want to win a medal at the Olympics.” 

Each qualifier consists of two back-to-back matches which will be played in the same venue. The winners of these FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will qualify for the 2020 Olympic hockey tournaments which will be staged in Japan’s capital city from 25 July to 7 August next year and involve 12 Men’s and 12 Women’s teams.


FIH site

One Dream in One Month as USWNT Prepares for FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier

BHUBANESWAR, India – In just one month, the No. 13 U.S. Women’s National Team’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualification fate will be decided when they compete against No. 9 India in the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier. Taking place halfway around the world at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India, both teams will go head-to-head on two consecutive days, November 1 and 2.

It’s simple: the team with the highest aggregated score will qualify while the other will have their Olympic journey cut short.

To prepare for the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier, both sides will have competed in preparatory series. From September 24 to 27, USA hosted No. 15 Canada at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa. for a three-game series that included one unofficial sanctioned game and two sanctioned matches. In the unofficial game, Canada took an early lead in the first quarter which stood through the half. USA evened the game but Canada went on to tally another two in both the third and fourth quarters to come out on top 3-1. The first sanctioned contest saw USA produce off a field goal in the first quarter through Anna Dessoye (Mountaintop, Pa.) and again in the third frame from Danielle Grega (Kingston, Pa.). Canada cut the goal margin in the 47th minute off a penalty corner conversion before USA put the game out of reach on a penalty corner of their own in the 60th minute through Ali Froede (Burke, Va.) to win 3-1. The second match went in favor of Canada who scored in the first minute and added two more, both in the 12th minute, to extend the lead. USA’s Caitlin Van Sickle (Wilmington, Del.) answered off a penalty corner in the 50th minute but not before Canada tallied one more in the 54th minute to take the game 1-4.

India meanwhile kicked off a five-game series against No. 5 Great Britain in Marlow, United Kingdom on September 27, that will go through October 4. In the first meeting, India recorded a come-from-behind victory over the hosts. It took until the final quarter for a score when Great Britain capitalized in the 46th minute. India found the equalizer through Sharmila Devi and with 48 seconds remaining, the Eves won a penalty corner. Gurjit Kaur slotted the ball in to give India the 2-1 win. Game 2 saw Great Britain take an early lead off a penalty stroke in the 8th minute. India could not find the equalizer until just after the halftime break when Lalremsiami finished with a sweep as the game ended tied 1-1. Today's contest concluded in a scoreless draw putting the series at 1-0-2 for India. The Eves will finish out the series on Wednesday, October 2 and Friday, October 4.

The USWNT has met India five times in the past three years, mostly in major international competitions. The teams faced one another three times in 2016, with the first two coming during the Citi Rio Send-Off Series in Lancaster, Pa. The competitive two-game series saw USA defeat India 3-2 in the opener but saw many scoring opportunities go unanswered as they fell in the second match 1-2. This prepared the red, white and blue who met India two weeks later in their fourth pool game at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. USA was coming off the helm of winning their first three games over higher ranked opponents and continued the momentum for a 3-0 victory.

After that they went head-to-head in their second pool game of the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 10, 2017. USA opened the scoring in the second quarter and although India found the equalizer in the third, a strong collective second half scoring performance lifted USA over India, 4-1.

The most recent came on July 29, 2018 at the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London. After scoring first, USA was put under a lot of pressure until India found the equalizer one minute into the third quarter to bring the game to a 1-1 draw. This finish ultimately concluded USA’s World Cup campaign.

USWNT Olympic Qualifier in Bhubaneswar, India

Friday, November 1            Time: TBD
Saturday, November 2        Time: TBD

USFHA media release

Pakistan, Holland keen to revive hockey

ISLAMABAD    -   Holland’s Ambassador to Pakistan Wouter Plomp met with Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) President Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar at his office to discuss hockey relations between the two countries.

Wouter Plomp discussed hockey development exchange of expertise to further boost the cooperation between two of the super powers of world hockey. The ambassador showed keen interest in Holland team’s visit to Pakistan for friendly matches in near future. Both the officials assured all possible support to facilitate the interest of each other for the development of the game. The national hockey teams of Pakistan and Netherlands are set to play in back-to-back Olympic qualifiers in Amstelveen (Holland) on October 26 and 27.

Brig Khokhar described the meeting as very fruitful and was highly satisfied with the possible outcome of the meeting. “Both the countries had enjoyed tremendous success in world hockey and both could take massive advantage from each other’s experiences and especially Pakistan team, which is in rebuilding process, will gain a lot through exchange programmes.

“The ambassador’s visit will pave the way for further strengthening the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Netherlands.  We are looking forward for further meetings to chalk out plans for full scale matches between Pakistan and Netherlands hockey teams,” he concluded.

The Nation

De Sloover’s EHL dream comes true with the Beerschot purple beeboys

Beerschot’s Arthur de Sloover says he “always watched the EHL but never thought it would be possible” with his current club.

But the Kontich club are now on the verge of their first ever European appearance, a real baptism of fire as they take on German giants Rot-Weiss Koln in the KO16 on Saturday afternoon (12pm CET).

“I can say, in the name of the whole club, we are extremely excited to go to Barcelona,” the World Cup winner told the EHL website.

“It’s the first time we will play on the European stage and It is a nice way to see where we are at on the European level. It is a really big challenge and we can’t wait to kick off and show everyone what the purple beeboys are capable of!”

De Sloover has been with the club since his teenage years, moving from St Georges to take on a higher challenge, attracted by the family atmosphere which he felt was similar to his formative club.

“That’s something I feel is very important,” he said. “The fact I knew Stanley Verhoeven, who I played in the international youth teams, helped in my decision. We are a pretty young team and a good group of friends, so I am very happy to have joined.”

It helped elevate his game enough to break into the Red Lions’ line-up in January 2017, doing enough to be part of the European Championships’ silver medal winning side that year.

He has retained his place, playing all seven games in the World Cup and then earning Euro gold in August this year.

With Beerschot, they qualified for the EHL courtesy of a sensational run to the Belgian grand final, hitting form at the perfect time to win through the quarter and semi-finals against the odds.

“Our first goal last season was to qualify for the quarter finals. The rest was a bit of a bonus, so we could play without too much pressure!”

They fell behind 2-1 in the first leg of the quarters against La Gantoise but, playing with freedom, they stormed to a 2-0 second leg win to advance to the final four.

“The euphoria after that game was enormous, especially when we heard that we had to play the semis against our big rivals, Herakles. It gave us a big opportunity to arrive in the finals.

“After two intense games, we were the better side and went on to the finals. There, we faced an opponent that was just a bit better than us, Leopold. We gave everything we had, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.”

It was 2-2 in the first game before Leo won the second leg 4-3.

“It was very close but, in the end, we can be very proud of what we achieved and have no regrets. We would never have imagined we could go so far in the competition. For us, it was something very special and we have enjoyed every second of it.”

De Sloover is a crucial figure for the beeboys but they have plenty of experience on the biggest stage. Olympic gold medalist Lucas Rossi and England’s Nick Catlin – a BRONZE medal winner in 2018 with HC Rotterdam – will provide serious know-how.

Gaetan Perez, Sydney Cabuy and Maz Capelle will be key players while Wales’ James Carson and Ireland international Sam O’Connor have arrived during the summer.

So far this season, they sit in second place in Group B of the Belgian league thanks to wins over Leuven and Antwerp along with a draw against Herakles and just one loss on their agenda.

It gives them a decent formline but de Sloover knows Rot-Weiss will be a new level of challenge.

 “Of course we would have preferred to first face a team that is a bit less strong on paper, especially with the new format!

“But, on the other hand, it is a big challenge for us to compete with one of the biggest European clubs. It’s a team with a few world class players and we will show them the respect they deserve.

“But we will do everything to make it difficult for them. Hopefully we can get a big result out of it. Maybe it’s the only time we will play in the EHL for years, so we will try to make the very best of it.

“We are a team that is good when we are under pressure but we can be a fantastic team when we have nothing to lose. I am sure we are going to show that to Europe!”

Euro Hockey League media release

Field hockey drops a pair in North Carolina

Cardinal suffers two close losses to ACC foes

By Arman Kassam

Junior attacker Corinne Zanolli (above, left) scored the lone Cardinal goal of the field hockey team's two-game road trip to North Carolina in a 3-1 loss to Wake Forest. Stanford also fell at the hands of Duke. (JOHN P. LOZANO/isiphotos.com)

No. 15 Stanford field hockey (6-5, 1-0 AEC) suffered a 3-1 loss to No. 21 Wake Forest (4-5, 0-1 ACC) and a 1-0 loss to No. 2 Duke (8-1, 0-1 ACC) this past Friday and Sunday, respectively. The Cardinal’s tour of North Carolina brought on tough battles and even tougher decisions, as Stanford just barely dropped the ball against the Demon Deacons and could almost taste a tie against the Blue Devils in the second half of Sunday’s match.

The Cardinal came off of a glorious 2-0 victory over rival Cal (3-6, 0-1 AEC) on Sept. 20, having now won 14 of the last 16 confrontations against the Golden Bears since 2016. A third-quarter goal by junior attacker Corinne Zanolli broke a 0-0 deadlock against the Golden Bears, and then another from the All-American sealed the deal in the 58th minute.

The battle against Wake Forest was a different story. Cut off in Demon territory, the Cardinal gave up two goals in the fourth quarter. Zanolli added another to her nation-leading 15 goals in the second quarter — a missile from the top of the circle. But in the third quarter, the Deacons’ junior forward Alexis Grippo returned the compliment with her first goal of the season. And like the gelatinous blobs that constrained Mr. Incredible, the Deacons suppressed the Cardinal and popped in two more goals in the second half at the hands of Grippo and sophomore midfielder Laia Vancells with less than five minutes remaining.

The Stanford loss had hope to be redeemed in Durham, not too far from Chapel Hill, the home of No. 1 University of North Carolina (9-0, 2-0 ACC), Duke’s next opponent. Here the field hockey team ventured into the unofficial capital of the collegiate sport, the Mordor of hockey-dom. The Devils, the equivalent of the Ringwraiths and true servants of Sauron the Deceiver, were able to score a point in the 18th minute. Duke beat Stanford in terms of shots (11 to 7), shots on goal (4 to 3) and corners (4 to 2). Although the Cardinal made valiant attempts at putting one on the scoreboard, their momentum was not enough to topple the tower of Barad-dur and truly usher in the fourth age. Freshman attacker Lynn Vanderstichele, a London native, was able to place two shots on target for the Cardinal and freshman defender Rose Winter added one.

Stanford’s next opponent is Syracuse (7-2, 1-1 ACC), which they will face on Oct. 5 at 2:00 p.m. PT in Berkeley, CA.

The Stanford Daily

Field hockey posts winless weekend

Drew Beckman & Madison Hahamy

Credit: Sam Rubin

With losses against both Harvard and Hofstra this weekend, the Yale field hockey team failed to build upon the momentum it established through a dominant six-goal win against Wagner just a week ago.

Yale faced off against No. 19 Harvard (4–2, 1–0 Ivy) and Hofstra (4–5, 0–0 Colonial) on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Despite a strong showing against a high-powered Crimson team, the Bulldogs fell 2–1 in both contests. After conceding the first goal on a Harvard corner, the Blue and White rebounded when forward Olivia Levieux ’21 tied the game just five minutes later. The Elis continued to put pressure on the Crimson, frustrating its players and coaches throughout the game. However, their efforts came up short, as Harvard’s captain Bente van Vlijmen netted a goal off of another penalty corner in the third quarter. Nonetheless, the Bulldogs proved themselves capable of playing against some of the nation’s top talent.

“Going into Harvard, our team was incredibly focused and ready to work hard for each other,” Levieux said. “I think that teamwork mindset is why we came out so well against Harvard.”

In the first quarter of the game against Harvard, Yale appeared strong and confident. Working together as a team, the Elis moved the ball quickly, keeping possession and building attacks.

Forward Josie Jahng ’23 told the News that although Yale was nervous entering the first quarter, the Elis quickly realized that it was anyone’s game and that they were entirely capable of competing against the Harvard team.

Although the Crimson struck first with a goal by Hannah Pearce, the Elis did not concede defeat. They continued pressuring their rival with promising attacks, one of which ultimately resulted in the goal by Levieux. After having her initial shot deflected by Crimson goalkeeper Ellie Shahbo, Levieux deftly pursued her own rebound and scored for her third goal of the season.

The second quarter was closely contested, with neither team able to break through for a second tally. The Elis continued to play with a sense of confidence and fluidity that challenged and frustrated Harvard’s side.

In the third quarter, the Crimson earned three consecutive corner penalties, which proved to be too much for the Elis’ defensive unit. On the third corner, van Vlijmen converted, netting her third goal of the 2019 season. The Blue and White continued to fight for an equalizer, but Harvard limited Yale to just two shots in the fourth period, both of which were saved by Shahbo.

Although Harvard’s 14 shots were markedly more than Yale’s six, the Bulldogs put all of their shots on target, challenging the keeper throughout the game. Overall, Yale’s offense looked far more threatening than it had in the team’s previous contests against ranked opponents such as No. 13 Liberty and No. 5 Virginia.

“Going into the rest of conference play we really want to take the confidence with which we played Harvard and look to further that,” forward Imogen Davies ’21 said. “Hopefully we can convert the hard work so far this season into some more great performances on the field and hopefully a few more goals.”

After a promising performance at home against Harvard, the Elis traveled to Long Island to face Hofstra on Sunday.

Following a scoreless first quarter, Yale took the lead on a penalty corner goal by captain Bridget Condie ’20. Limiting Hofstra to just two shots in the first half, the Bulldogs entered the break with a 1–0 lead. However, the Pride responded in the second half with a much stronger offensive effort.

With four shots in the third quarter alone, Hofstra found net twice in six minutes. Defender Camilla Larsson scored off of a penalty corner to tie the game, and midfielder Madison Warfel gave the Pride the lead with a goal just before the end of the third quarter.

The loss against Hofstra comes as a disappointment to the Bulldogs, especially given their impressive performance against Harvard on Saturday. However, the Bulldogs have no time to lament the losses as they enter into the crux of their conference season.

“I can’t comment on Hofstra, except to say that we were all obviously incredibly disappointed with our performance and moving forward, we are going to focus again on the team and continuing the process of working hard for each other,” Levieux said.

The Bulldogs head south to take on the Princeton Tigers on Friday in New Jersey.

Yale Daily News

Sam Ward surprises Leukaemia battling Alfie

Having heard of hockey mad Alfie Sharp’s battle with leukaemia, GB and England international Sam Ward took it upon himself to pay a visit to see the 12-year-old and deliver a signed shirt to his home.

Alfie plays as a forward for Luton Town HC and last season was awarded the U12s Coach’s Player of the Year. But after being diagnosed with leukaemia on 30 May, Alfie has been left struggling to walk or stand until recently when, with the help of his physio, he was able to stand with his hockey stick for the first time.

After his trip, Ward reflected on what was a poignant visit.

“Meeting Alfie was pretty incredible to be honest,” he said.

It was an emotional day to say the least. I can’t really put it into words, it was very humbling and it’s rare that I’m speechless about something but that’s how I was. It was great to see him and his family and see how appreciative his mother and father were, it’s unbelievable to be able to do something like that and make such a difference.

“When I arrived, I think Alfie’s first comment was ‘I won’t ever forget it, this is the best thing that’s happened to me since I’ve had cancer’ and at that point it really hit me quite hard. It was hard to fight back the tears.

“It was emotional, I put myself to bed for three hours in the afternoon because I was so emotional.

“Alfie’s parents were unbelievably grateful that I was there, it was just amazing to see if I’m completely honest.

“It all came about when we got a message at England Hockey asking if there was any chance that I could send him a shirt or something, so I just said ‘how about we trump that and I’ll go and visit him?’

“We sat and had a good chat, it was probably the quickest hour and forty-five minutes of my life. We chatted about hockey, how things are going and did everything we could to put a smile on his face.

“It was an incredible experience, very humbling and something that I would definitely do again.

“We’re hoping that as soon as he’s well enough he’ll be down at the sidelines watching us, it would be really nice and hopefully when he’s better he’ll be able to come down to see a game.”

Great Britain’s men’s side are next in action when they look to seal their place at Tokyo 2020 against Malaysia on November 2 and 3 in the Olympic Qualifiers.

England Hockey Board Media release

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