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News for 13 November 2019

All the news for Wednesday 13 November 2019

BlitzStoks and SPAR South Africa victorious as Durban leg concludes

Picture – Everlasting Clicks / SA Hockey

The Durban leg of the Switzerland and South Africa Indoor test series concluded in unfamiliar surroundings after the local organising committee decided to move to Ashton College to protect the quality of indoor hockey on display. Despite the logistics change, the new venue seemed to raise the game for all four teams as they produced a fantastic display of indoor hockey.

Liberated by the improvement in grip the quality of hockey on display ratcheted up a couple of gears much to the joy of the compacted crowd at the Ballito school, as well as all of those watching on the DigiTV live stream.

The BlitzStoks, powered by Tops at SPAR for this series, repeated their heroic performance from the previous night winning 4-3 again, with Keagan Robinson once again getting the match winning goal. The journey to the conclusion was slightly different this time around though. Having given the hosts an early 1-0 lead, skipper Jethro Eustice had to watch on when Yves Morard made it 1-1 in the 23rd minute with a well worked penalty corner variation.

Ignatius Malgraff made it 2-1 when he finished off a wonderful team move for the BlitzStoks capped off by a brilliant last pass by Rusten Abrahams, but that lead was again short lived as Yves Morard used control & c to copy and paste his first goal with a second and restore parity at the end of the third quarter.

The final 10-minute stanza of the game started with a frenetic pace up and down, both teams trading punches like seasoned fighters in the 12th round, essentially the hockey equivalent of a Rocky Balboa movie. Switzerland thought they had landed the knock out punch when they scored from a 34th minute penalty corner through Martin Greder. They were wrong.

The BlitzStoks fought back in a manner refreshing to see and landed their own counter punch through a wonderful piece of Lungani Gabela skill to pull level with 120 seconds of the game remaining. A 3-3 draw would probably have satisfied the South Africans, but they didn’t want to be satisfied, they wanted to be elated, full and content all at the same time and surged forward one more time to win a penalty corner. Big moments need big players and there are few who will back themselves when staring down the cauldron better than Keagan Robinson. He did not disappoint giving the hosts a 4-3 win and a 2-0 series lead. Just writing it is making me tired, although that could also be the lack of sleep from having a new-born at home.

When you think of the SPAR South Africa indoor ladies’ side the word that must come to mind is excellence. Over the past almost 36 months they have raised the bar for Indoor hockey in this country and consistently achieved beyond the expectation. They faced a Swiss side that were fully up for this game tonight and having to withstand some heavy pressure stood firmer than my first car when that truck changed lanes without looking at his blind spot. Zimi Shange was the star of the show in leading a resolute defensive line.

SPAR South Africa scored the opening goal of the game in the ninth minute when Kara Botes finished off another PC variation. Lennie Botha’s team have shown their arsenal of penalty corners to be more lethal than the football team who shares that name. Despite Switzerland knocking on the door with more regularity than I have likes on a social media post, the SPAR South Africa ladies weathered the storm before the customary double punch settled the match.

Skipper Cindy Hack made a lung busting run from the middle of the park and Robyn Johnson picked her captain out superbly for Hack to tap into an open goal. Before Switzerland had a chance to blink, they were caught out again. Wonderful pressure by Amy Greaves saw the ball turned over and an interchange between Greaves and Hack made it certain for the skipper to get another.

With the SPAR South Africa ladies striving for the kind of perfection not seen since my Matric Maths paper, they will be disappointed in letting Switzerland get a small foothold into the game in the final quarter. Nora Murer got the goal from a penalty corner that their performance deserved, but in truth it turned out to be nothing more than a consolation as the SPAR SA Indoor Ladies took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the 6-match series.

Picture – Everlasting Clicks / SA Hockey

The tournament now heads to Sunningdale in Cape Town where there will be matches on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. If you are not in the area you can also watch the games on the livestream by Digitv at http://events.digitv.co.za  

SA Hockey Association media release

Beighton Cup: Indian Oil lifts title

Y. B. Sarangi

Indian Oil rode on two third-quarter goals to beat Punjab National Bank 2-0 in the final and lift the title in the 123 Beighton Cup hockey tournament at the SAI Complex on Tuesday.

After two goalless quarters, Karajwinder Singh put Indian Oil ahead by scoring a field goal in the 41 minute. Gurjinder Singh converted a penalty corner at the stroke of the third quarter to double the lead.

READ: Rani Rampal: Surreal to have scored the goal that secured Olympic qualification

Indian Oil held on to the lead till the end.

The result:

Final: Indian Oil 2 (Karajwinder Singh 41, Gurjinder Singh 45) bt Punjab National Bank 0.


More stick for MHC top two

New initiative: Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman speaking to the press after the launch of “Team Mas” Sports Brand yesterday. — MOHD SAHAR MISNI/The Star

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal and his deputy Prof Datuk Dr S. Shamala, who have been returned unopposed for a new term, are still facing a barrage of brickbats.

The latest hit came from MHC vice-president Datuk V. Radha Krishnan who has called both of them unprincipled for not keeping their word and resigning after the national team’s failure to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“I’ve heard not only once but many times during press conferences where they said they would resign should the national team fail to qualify for the Olympics, ” said Radha.

“They must hold on to their principles.

“One is a very successful businessman and the other a professor and once you say something, you must keep your word.

“How will others follow you if you don’t keep your word?” he asked.

“It won’t look good on the hockey association and our reputation. We are one of the top sports in the country, all other associations are looking at us and we are not setting a good example.”

Subahan won unoppossed when rival Datuk Kamarudin Meranun could not get enough nominations while Dr Shamala’s opponent K. Maheswari has pulled out.

“Yes, Subahan has managed the association well but I think it will be a big loss if we don’t give Kamarudin a chance at the helm.”

The MHC will hold their AGM on Nov 16 to select the new office bearers for another term from 2019 to 2023, but Radha is calling for the elections to be postponed after reports that Kedah HA and Kuala Lumpur HA sent two different nomination letters. Radha wants the Sports Commissioner to investigate the matter.

He said that he and two other top members of the executive board have tried to reach the Sports Commissioner to intervene after Kamarudin’s nomination was disqualified.

“We have sent e-mails to the Sports Commissioner seeking an urgent meeting to discuss the issues facing MHC now.

“Let’s start afresh. If Subahan and Dr Shamala are not afraid, then let’s postpone and wait for the Sports Commissioner to clear things up first.”

The Star of Malaysia

Quartet of Penn field hockey players receive All-Ivy postseason accolades

Alexa Schneck was named to the first team

By Jess Mixon

Senior midfielder Alexa Schneck was named first team All-Ivy for the fourth straight year. Credit: Gary Lin

Senior Alexa Schneck received her fourth first team All-Ivy field hockey team honor Tuesday, as the Ivy League released the 2019 selections. She is joined by three teammates, freshman Elita van Staden and sophomores Gracyn Banks and Madison Jiranek, and who all earned their first All-Ivy second team selection.

Schneck joins an elite squad of former Quakers who have earned the honor for all of their four years. Only two have accomplished the feat before her: 2017 graduate Alexa Hoover and 1987 graduate Donna Berk.

Hoover remains an all-time leader in Penn history with 68 goals and 163 points over her career. She also holds the record for most goals and points scored in a game, scoring a whopping five goals and 10 points in a game against St. Joseph's her junior year.

Senior midfielder Alexa Schneck. Credit: Son Nguyen

Clearly following in huge footsteps, Schneck has repeatedly proven herself to be indispensable on the field for the Red and Blue over her career at Penn. The two-year captain has played 4150 minutes over her four years and has started in every possible Ivy League contest. A dynamic midfielder, she put up 19 goals and 15 assists over her career for a 53 point total.

The two sophomores have similarly been huge presences on the field for the Red and Blue this season. Banks scored the team's first goal of the season against Monmouth and made 14 starts after only making seven appearances her freshman year. Jiranek, who also plays for women’s lacrosse, has five goals and two assists on the season, putting her at third overall on the team with 12 points.

Freshman van Staden is ending her first season with the Red and Blue ranked ninth in the Ivy League for her two game-winning goals. She ends the season as the leading team scorer with seven goals and 14 points.

Schneck will have one final chance to compete for the Red and Blue on Nov. 22, as she will travel to Winston-Salem, N.C. for the NFHCA Senior Game.

The Daily Pennsylvanian

Field Hockey Beats Columbia in Season Finale, But Falls Short of NCAA Tournament

By David Aley

Senior Bente van Vlijmen moves the ball up the field in the final game of her career. Timothy R. O'Meara

Huddling in a circle on a brisk morning in New York City, donned with purple ribbons in their hair and around their arms, the athletes on the Harvard Women’s field hockey team were motivated to win for a few particularly meaningful reasons: to make the best of their last shot at impressing the NCAA voters in hopes to receive a bid for the NCAA tournament selection, and to raise awareness for Meningitis, a neurological disease that affected one of the members of the team, senior forward Maddie Earle.

“Obviously, the game was super important to us, both from a field hockey point of view, as well as due to the fact that [Earle] and [senior midfielder] Olivia Ostrover had organized it as a Meningitis Awareness game,” said junior captain Mimi Tarrant. “I really think that honoring the game for that cause helped us keep everything in perspective. Our main message before the game was to enjoy playing and to play for those who maybe aren’t able to.”

The No. 15 Crimson women (13-4, 6-1 Ivy League) defeated Columbia (7-9 3-4 Ivy League) by a score of 2-1 in the final regular season match of the season. Led by a pair of goals by captain Bente van Vlijmen in the first and third quarters, the Harvard team reached 13 wins for the third straight year, a first for the program.

But to van Vlijmen, although the team came out with a win, there is still much room for improvement.

“We really had to show the NCAA and the people who make the decision for the bid [in the NCAA tournament] in this game that we can take on teams and really dominate them,” said van Vlijmen. “We only beat them by two to one, and that, I think, was a little bit of a disappointment because I know we can do better as a team.”

Although a few unfavorable circumstances threw the team off their game—a frozen field Friday night forced the game to be moved to Saturday morning—van Vlijmen didn’t want to make excuses for the team. It was a game where the Crimson expected to win and win big, so a finish as close as this one showed the team that they need to be more focused and ensure they don’t underestimate any more teams moving forward.

Still, van Vlijmen made sure that the team didn’t walk away without a few highlights. At 12:38 in the first quarter, she put in a shot during a designed play on a penalty corner shot.

“I think [the designed play that led to the goal] really was a big team effort and if one of those little parts of the chain doesn't go right, nothing will go right,” said van Vlijmen. “You score as a team and not as an individual.”

It wasn’t until around four minutes into the third quarter that Harvard netted its second goal, and van Vlijmen noted that the team struggled for a while to find its flow and structure with the offense.

“I started on [Columbia’s] 25-yard line, and when that happens, I really don’t think I just try to put all my power behind what I do and try to be decisive and quick,” said van Vlijmen of the second goal. “We had all hoped that we had scored [the second goal] a little earlier on, but it was still a very important goal.”

The second goal put van Vlijmen in second place on Harvard’s all-time points list. And while she feels grateful to be recognized for such an achievement, the senior noted that this was in no small part due to the help of the rest of her teammates. Without the help of her teammates, especially the defenders, who seldom get recognized van Vlijmen explained, the achievement would not have been possible.

While the Crimson women eventually learned that they did not earn a bid into the NCAA tournament after the selection of teams on Sunday evening, both van Vlijmen and Tarrant had time to reflect on the season.

“Our team has definitely taken big strides this season,” Tarrant said. “With nearly a whole new backline coming in as we got six new freshmen, it was always going to take a bit of time to gel as a new team. Luckily, we managed to do that pretty early on, and we have definitely seen our freshman grow in confidence throughout the season. I think what has been most rewarding to see is the variety of people who have stepped up to take responsibility for the team.”

And in her final season with the team, van Vlijmen is optimistic about the future of the team.

“Overall, I think we’ve shown that this program can compete at the top now,” van Vlijmen said. “We played some games incredibly well, and some games not as well, so I think a huge area where we can grow in as a team is finding consistency and utilizing our talent.”

The Harvard Crimson

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