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News for 30 November 2019

All the news for Saturday 30 November 2019

Pro League poses Indian management task to find right balance

The six-month long Hockey Pro League kicking off in January and ending just a month before Tokyo 2020, would make both the players and coaches walk a tightrope.

Uthra Ganesan

Chris Ciriello, India's analytical coach, felt the Indian team will need to rotate the players during the Pro League.   -  BISWARANJAN ROUT

In normal course, teams preparing for Olympics less than a year would only be focused on the big event. But with the six-month long Hockey Pro League kicking off in January and ending just a month before Tokyo 2020, it would be a tightrope walk for both players and coaches.

The Indian men missed the bus in the inaugural edition in 2019 but would be part of the Pro League next year and while the top-tier competition among the nine best teams in the world would give sufficient match practice, it would also stretch the resources before the Olympics. And the team management is aware of the delicate balance they need to manage.

“It is going to be difficult. We have four legs (eight matches) in a row. We will have to rotate a fair number of players. If you look at the squads in the last Pro League, they went through the whole range of 32 players they had. We really need to do that so that the guys get some good balance and hard games so that if you some players, which generally happens around an Olympic time, the next guys step in and fill the roles,” analytical coach Chris Ciriello told Sportstar.

The good thing, Ciriello said, was having examples of how different teams managed in the first season. “Obviously, back-to-back games are sort of more technical. You go and play one way and when you match up well or don’t know what the other team is going to do. But a lot of teams, coming into the last matches of the Pro League were fatigued and struggled, so it’s very important to manage players and their work load. We went to Australia in-between and we didn’t come off as sharp, we competed pretty well but you could see there was that extra step (in Australians) that intense competition drives you to take,” he admitted.

The fallout of all this has been high-intensity training that the players have been pushed to do in the ongoing camp in Bhubaneswar, the first since qualifying for Olympics and the only one before the team hits the road for the Pro League.

“Every line – strikers, defenders and goalkeepers – we are working on the specifics of the job and their individual skills. The focus is different because most camps lead into a tournament but this one is for a building stage. I’ve been plotting specific skills (for every individual) – 10, 20, 30 – and the drag-flicking set is at 60 skills.

“At the end of these three weeks, we will have about 100 measurements of specific skill-sets and we can carry it forward to the next camps, telling them what they are good at and what they need to work on. There has to be a lot of improvement but we are also looking at raising the levels. What we are looking at is getting them to a good level and then increase what they are really good at and work on what they are weak at,” he explained.

The big challenge, he agreed, was to ensure a balance between training and competition for the entire squad of 34. “There is still a lot of work to be done. FIH allows you to take 18 players for the Pro League, that leaves us with 14 back in training. The balance of who goes and who stays is important because you want to try and keep it as consistent as possible.

"The 14 at the camp have to train at an intense level. You don't want a team playing away and when you return, the ones here don’t train at the same level and struggle to fit in. It is important that the coaches and other staff work on the programme together and understand the big focus is on Olympics,” Ciriello said.


Mullan’s Green Army to make their mark on Olympic group in Tokyo

Katie Mullan shows off the Olympic ticket at Donnybrook earlier this month. Picture: Deryck Vincent

Irish skipper Katie Mullan says there are “definitely points to be had” from their Olympic group after they were confirmed last Saturday to play against the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, India and South Africa by the FIH.

As the draw is based on world rankings, the only doubt was over the inclusion of South Africa’s whose Olympic committee – SASCOC – had previously stated they would not be sending a side to Tokyo 2020.

Winning the African championship was enough for them to earn their Olympic invitation from the International Hockey Federation.

But a fourth placed finish at the FIH Series was below the threshold criteria set by SASCOC who previously withdrew both their men and women’s teams from the Rio Olympics in 2016 on the same basis.

This time, however, they have decided to make a U-turn and accept their ticket, primarily after serious pressure from South Africa’s gymnasts which forced the change. It makes Ireland’s shoot-out win over Canada earlier this month all the more significant.

Had the Green Army lost, they would have been the side to profit from a “lucky loser” spot until the SASCOC change of heart.

Mullan said it was something that her side was conscious of but know it was never something they could rely on.

“The week before, we did talk a little bit about permutations and heard about the South African things,” she told The Hook for an upcoming interview for the December edition of Hockey World News.

“But a lot of us are quite experienced now. It’s not the first Olympics where this has been a discussion; they had it for Rio and even before that. So we knew it was not something we could hold our breath over because these things change all the time. All we could control was our game and put everything to the side.

“The only matches going on that weekend for us were Ireland versus Canada Saturday and Ireland versus Canada, Sunday. That environment and mindset is what stood to us in London [in 2018], being in that wee bubble, being solely focused on what we had to do. That is a characteristic of our team.”

The other group features Argentina, Australia, Graham Shaw’s New Zealand, Spain, China and hosts Japan.

And so, while Ireland are in with all of the medalists from Rio, they can still look at the opposition with some degree of confidence with the top four side set to advance to the quarter-finals.

The South Africans are the lowest-ranked side at 16; had they not been there, hosts Japan – 14th – would have been in Ireland’s group.

The Green Army have never lost to India in a world ranking match, overcoming that challenge twice at the 2018 World Cup. They drew with Germany and pushed England – who make up the vast majority of the GB squad – all the way at this summer’s European Championships. As such, all will be viable targets for points.

And Mullan also says facing the Dutch is a double-positive.

“It’s good to be in the same group as Holland. Not only do you not meet them in a crossover but, also, playing against them is a big game which gets you playing at that pace, thinking as fast as you possibly can on the ball. In a tournament environment, it’s good to get games like that in the group stages.

“We’ve come close to England in a couple of tournaments recently; they definitely improved a lot for their qualifier, settling into the way of Mark Hager, and will be strong come the Olympics. They definitely do take us seriously and show us a level of respect.

“Similarly, Germany, we know them extremely well and played them a lot. They are progressing well but they have had a few battles against us in the last couple of years and will be well aware of us.

“There’s definitely points to be had in the group. You will have noticed when our girls have been interview in the past few weeks and before, we by no means don’t just want to qualify. We fully believe we can do something there.”

Initial preparations began this week with VO2 max testing for the squad. Sean Dancer’s side assembles for a warm-weather training camp in South Africa in January and a subsequent March trip to Malaysia for humidity-training.

The Hook

The rising popularity of women’s hockey

By The Hockey Paper

Just last month, the biggest ever crowd at an Irish women’s international sporting event was recorded, as the Green Machine qualified for Tokyo. A crowd of 6,086 watched the first leg of the playoff against Canada, a record that was then broken for game two as 6,137 attended the deciding match.

For Ireland this is a very big deal indeed. This is a country where hockey is often considered a lesser game, and where clubs and the international team have to contend with the hugely popular Gaelic games of football and camogie. The very fact that the Irish team could attract such a huge crowd just shows how the women’s game is growing in popularity.

Unfortunately, even with such rising popularity in hockey, we’re seeing very little coverage of women’s sports in the media. Rather than helping as it should, the mainstream media, when they opt to ignore major female sporting events, is hindering the promotion and, as a result, the development of women’s sports in general.

Thankfully, hockey is proving to be a little different. We’re starting to see growing crowds at matches and the demand for the sport on TV is proving too hard for major broadcasters to ignore. And although we have women’s football to compete with, the general attitude towards women playing sports professionally and at a very high amateur level, can only have a positive impact on the game as a whole.

Young girls come to see the matches and see their favourite players on the field. They see the GB team winning Olympic gold in Rio and think to themselves ‘I can do that.’ In fact, there’s no doubt that the success of the women’s team in the Olympics has sparked a new interest among the younger generation.

As other sports such as cricket and football continue to lose young players at grass roots level, field hockey is gaining in popularity. According to governing body England Hockey, club size has increased by as much as 54%. That is despite the fact that junior participation in the sport has actually been on the decline in the last few years.

The fact is that, like football, women’s hockey is starting to attract casual fans. People who don’t play the game are becoming more interested in the sport and that, in turn, has led to a higher profile and better visibility for women’s hockey. The sport is on the crest of a wave right now and a good showing in Tokyo could see it propelled into the spotlight even further. It certainly is a good time to be a hockey fan and an even better time to be a female hockey player.

The Hockey Paper

Ireland hockey debacle leave negatives for umpire community

Video Umpire expert Andy Mair picks the bones out of the Canada v Ireland controversy

By The Hockey Paper

The Video Umpire in hockey has proved a success PIC: World Sport Pics

The national teams to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have now been decided, and apparently the ‘blame game’ has been all too often directed toward the umpires by those that feel hard done by. Some of these responses are more understandable than others. After all, we are human.

One that I can’t understand is the demand that the FIH should make comment on decisions made by the umpires, under the guise that it will show that lessons have been learned. The FIH does not make comment on umpiring decisions, in the same way that it doesn’t about decisions made by an individual player, chastising them for passing when they did, missing a simple trap or not making the run back to aid defence. These are matters that individual players know within themselves, and are likely to be discussed in coaching environments to aid improvement of team and player. So it is within the umpiring environment, where the umpire manager would discuss such matters with the umpires.

Every umpire at the recent matches was desperate to make the right decisions. There were no conspiracies or continental bias running through the minds of the umpires; stop throwing around those ridiculous accusations. I can already hear the calls of “here we go, an umpire defending umpires”. No, I’m a hockey fan that doesn’t want that type of gutter press criticism creeping in from other sports.

How many of those that have ‘pointed the finger’ at umpires has experienced the kind of situation that they are critiquing? I have more than 100 ‘caps’ as a video umpire on the international stage, along with a large number of Euro Hockey League matches, and am still haunted by decisions that I either know for sure or am not totally convinced that I got right. We know that there are consequences for our decisions and actions. We do not need ‘armchair experts’ to tell us. This is not a video game where we can reset and make changes to attain the next level. This is sport in real life, where we have to deal with our mistakes and hopefully learn from them.

Jonny Bell’s and David Harte’s Olympic dream was shattered PIC: World Sport Pics

I’ve been asked what I think about the referral in the last seconds of the Canada v Ireland men’s qualifier. Would I have given a different decision? From the comfort of my ‘armchair’, yes I would. And I’m not going to hide behind the statement that the VU has different camera angles to call upon, as I don’t think that holds water in this case. But, I have a completely different experience than the umpire called upon to make that decision. This does not mean that I am definitely correct however, just that I may have more of a chance to arrive at the best decision because my processes have been established by making mistakes of my own over time.

A few issues ago I wrote about some of the factors that can influence the operation of the video umpire process, flagging up concerns about how the technology is employed and that it all seems to be going backwards rather than realising its considerable potential. The current process for appointing umpires was initiated by a change to facilitate the Pro League and Olympic qualifier schedule.

The FIH made a decision to move away from the ‘specialist’ panel of VUs, of which I was one, preferring to go back to the way it was previously with the appointed umpires taking turns to go into the box or act as the reserve (when numbers allow). This in itself may not be a major problem as we all have had to start somewhere. But when this is combined with inconsistent camera angles, and not using the Hawkeye technology (because of the lack of finance) to aid the VU, the likelihood for success diminishes hugely. Or in other words, has been an accident waiting to happen.

This leads me on to the criticism that a VU only had one or two matches experience before having to make decisions at an Olympic Qualifier. Yes, that may well be true. But what are the options? A team of three was appointed to cover the six appointments – made up of two on pitch and one VU (with the VU also acting as the reserve) for the two matches. If you don’t want this scenario, what are the options? Not to appoint umpires with little/no VU experience? How do they then gain that experience, particularly as video is only made available at relatively few tournaments?

This is not the only aspect of umpiring that is suffering for the current demands of the Pro League regime. Does the development of umpiring still rank as highly for the FIH as it once did, or are the umpires just appointed to ‘service’ the matches and take the blame when things don’t quite work out? I will leave it for others to discuss the pros and cons of the Pro League, but from this armchair all that I can see currently are cons for the umpiring community.

Can I close by reminding you of the decision made by the umpires at the Men’s Euro Nations Final match between Belgium and Germany a few months ago, when the query was whether the scored PC had been stopped with a hand rather than the stick. A combination of fabulous camera work and direction, along with clear headed VU process, resulted in a game changing and correct decision. It can work!

The full coverage can only be read in our latest edition, check out our Black Friday deals available via print or digital subscription

In our latest, 32-page issue we feature:

    Ollie Pope, from talented hockey player to England test cricketer
    How 3G pitches are threatening yet another grass roots clubs
    An incisive piece from our umpiring expert on the Canada-Ireland controversy
    Rhys Smith’s fantastic new Inner City Hockey initiative
    A full analysis of the recent Olympic qualifiers
    We profile possibly the youngest hockey chairman – aged just 21!
    Why club’s have a responsibility over concussion protocols
    The best junior, grass roots, tips, history and Masters coverage – and MORE!

The Hockey Paper

PREVIEWS: Men's Hockey League

With just two wins from their last five games, reigning champions Hampstead & Westminster head to second-placed Wimbledon looking for a victory to maintain their play-off hopes in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.

They had to settle for a draw in an eight-goal thriller with rivals Holcombe last weekend, and will need to be on top form if they are to beat a Wimbledon side who beat them 3-1 last month.

“The last match was a very close game on a good English wintery evening, and I expect it to be quite similar,” said Hampstead & Westminster player and Director of Hockey Richard Smith.

“They scored one final goal against us at the end when our ‘keeper was off - and yes, I expect it to be quite similar!

“In general we are in a good place at the moment, we have a good strong squad of over 20 players that we are drawing from and hopefully one or two experienced injured players will be back available for the weekend.”

Elsewhere leaders Surbiton will be aiming to make it eleven straight wins when they go to Holcombe on Sunday, while Old Georgians go to bottom of the table Reading and could move above Wimbledon into second spot.

And in the top flight’s other matches Beeston host Brooklands MU, while East Grinstead travel to Devon to play the University of Exeter.

Sevenoaks could go top of the Division One South table – at least for 24 hours – if they can beat Oxford Hawks on Saturday.

Elsewhere current leaders Oxted have a home game against Canterbury, while Southgate are also in reach of the top and host Team Bath Buccaneers.

Meanwhile in Division One North the University of Durham will be looking to extend their lead with a trip to Sheffield Hallam.

Second-placed Cardiff & Met go to Loughborough Students on Saturday, while third-placed Bowdon could leapfrog their Welsh rivals if they can beat the University of Nottingham.


Men’s Hockey League (Sat, 30 November 2019):

Premier Division
Wimbledon v Hampstead & Westminster 17:30
Reading v Old Georgians 18:30

Division 1 North
Loughborough Students v Cardiff & Met 16:00

Division 1 South
Oxford Hawks v Sevenoaks 16:30

Conference East
St Albans v London Edwardians 15:00
Wapping v Chichester 18:00

Conference North
Wakefield v Preston 16:30

Conference West
Univ of Bristol v Harborne 17:00

Men’s Hockey League (Sun, 1 December 2019)

Premier Division
Beeston v Brooklands MU 14:00
Holcombe v Surbiton 14:00
Univ of Exeter v East Grinstead 14:00

Division 1 North
Sheffield Hallam v Univ of Durham 12:45
City of Peterborough v Olton & West Warwicks 14:00
Univ of Birmingham v Leeds 14:15
Bowdon v Univ of Nottingham 14:30

Division 1 South
Brighton & Hove v Fareham 13:00
Oxted v Canterbury 14:00
Havant v Teddington 14:00
Southgate v Team Bath Buccaneers 14:30

Conference East
Cambridge City v Bromley & Beckenham 13:30
Bedford v Spencer 14:00
Old Loughtonians v Harleston Magpies 14:00

Conference North
Lichfield v Doncaster 13:00
Belper v Timperley 14:00
Alderley Edge v Barford Tigers 14:00
Didsbury Northern v Deeside Ramblers 14:30

Conference West
Univ of Exeter 2s v Ashmoor 12:00
Richmond v Khalsa Leamington 13:30
Cardiff University v Isca 14:30
Old Cranleighans v Cheltenham 14:30

England Hockey Board Media release

PREVIEWS: Investec Women's Hockey League

Injury-hit University of Birmingham face a tough double header weekend with matches against unbeaten leaders Surbiton and third-placed East Grinstead in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division.

Currently second bottom, the University of Birmingham head to Surbiton on Saturday before hosting East Grinstead in the West Midlands on Sunday.

Phil Gooderham, the University of Birmingham’s Head Coach, said: “Three players have suffered concussions over the past six weeks, and we have a couple of knee injuries too.

“However this means we can bring even more players through to experience hockey at the top level, including a 16 year old who joined the club this year.

“A successful weekend would be to have no more injuries! Then if we can get some points on the road against Surbiton and some against another of the league’s form sides on Sunday, we will be happy.”

Before East Grinstead head to the University of Birmingham on Sunday, they have a tough clash with Clifton Robinsons the day before with third spot in the table potentially at stake.

Second-placed Hampstead & Westminster also host Loughborough Students that day, while Bowdon Hightown have a home game against Beeston and Buckingham go to Holcombe.

The top two face off in the Investec Division One North, with current leaders Swansea City travelling to Leicester City.

Although Leicester are two points behind, they have two games in hand and have only lost once so far this season.

Elsewhere the University of Durham go to Ben Rhydding as they bid to keep pace with the top two, while Swansea are also in action on Sunday with a trip to bottom of the table Belper.

Leaders Wimbledon are at home against Trojans in the Investec Division One South and will want to make it nine league wins in a row.

Reading are second and host Isca, while Harleston Magpies could leapfrog them if they can beat visitors Slough on Saturday.


Investec Women’s Hockey League (Sat, 30 November 2019):

Investec Premier Division
Surbiton v Univ of Birmingham 12:00
Clifton Robinsons v East Grinstead 13:00
Hampstead & Westminster v Loughborough Students 13:30
Bowdon Hightown v Beeston 13:45
Holcombe v Buckingham 16:30

Investec Division 1 North
Brooklands-Poynton v Olton & West Warwicks 11:45
Ben Rhydding v Univ of Durham 13:30
Belper v Stourport 13:30
Leicester City v Swansea 14:00
Leeds v Gloucester City 14:00

Investec Division 1 South
St Albans v Canterbury 13:00
Reading v Isca 13:30
Harleston Magpies v Slough 13:30
Cambridge City v Sevenoaks 14:30
Wimbledon v Trojans 15:15

Investec Conference East
Ipswich v Bromley & Beckenham 12:00
Horsham v Bedford 14:00
Canterbury 2s v Broxbourne 14:00
Wimbledon 2s v Barnes 14:00
Southgate v Chelmsford 14:00

Investec Conference West
Exe v Oxford University 12:30
Cheltenham v Clifton Robinsons 2s 12:30
Univ of Bristol v Oxford Hawks 13:15
Basingstoke v Team Bath Buccaneers 14:00
Surbiton 2s v Univ of Birmingham 2s 14:00

Investec Conference North
Fylde v Beeston 2s 11:30
Doncaster v Cannock 12:00
Sutton Coldfield v Alderley Edge 12:30
Wakefield v Pendle Forest 14:00
Timperley v Univ of Nottingham 17:30

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Sun, 1 December 2019)

Investec Premier Division
Univ of Birmingham v East Grinstead 12:30

Investec Division 1 North
Belper v Swansea 14:30 (at Trent College)

England Hockey Board Media release

‘Collaboration with clubs key for England Hockey vision’

By The Hockey Paper

England Hockey will work with clubs on a “collective journey” before implementing any changes to the domestic set up, says new chief executive Nick Pink.

Great Britain’s hockey teams both qualified for Tokyo 2020 in the play-offs leaving Pink time to bed in at Bisham Abbey rather than the national governing body face a potential funding crisis ahead of the next cycle.

GB Hockey received £17.1 million for the Tokyo cycle, while that figure will be cut if the men’s and women’s teams fail to perform in Japan.

The consensus among some elite clubs is the need for a closer club connection with their international players, a scenario which will likely happen should a funding shortfall occur.

Pink has spoken to several chairs and club officials to get an understanding on the club landscape and understands the current predicament.

“If we start to shape what the future starts to look at you have to take people with us. It has to be a collective journey,” he told The Hockey Paper in his first newspaper interview.

“What does success look like? Clubs still being able to attract the best players through their system, growing their brand and identity is important.

“At the moment it’s through the central programme but there is lots of learning we can take from this cycle and understand what do we need and how we can still work together.”

Pink moved from the same role at England Golf earlier this month and, as a long-time hockey player, is keen to get out to clubs to get a grip on the domestic scene.

The full interview can be read in our latest edition, only available via print or digital subscription

In our latest, 32-page issue we feature:

    Ollie Pope, from talented hockey player to England test cricketer
    How 3G pitches are threatening yet another grass roots clubs
    An incisive piece from our umpiring expert on the Canada-Ireland controversy
    Rhys Smith’s fantastic new Inner City Hockey initiative
    A full analysis of the recent Olympic qualifiers
    We profile possibly the youngest hockey chairman – aged just 21!
    Why club’s have a responsibility over concussion protocols
    The best junior, grass roots, tips, history and Masters coverage – and MORE!

The Hockey Paper

Town old boys take on the blues as late November serves up cracking weekend of action

Monkstown’s Davy Carson. Pic: Deryck Vincent

With Christmas rapidly closing in, it is a huge weekend with the last round of the men’s EYHL and EYHL2 of 2019, the fifth round of the women’s EYHL as well as lots of Leinster league and Irish Junior Cup action on the agenda.

UCD against Monkstown is the big tie on the men’s schedule. The students’ game with Annadale last weekend was postponed due to a mumps outbreak with that fixture now pencilled in for December 14.

For this weekend’s tie, UCD could feature a wealth of former Town men like Max Maguire, Matteo Romoli, David Nolan, Jazze Henry, Sam Byrne, Ziggy Agnew and top-scorer Guy Sarratt as well as coach Michael Styles.

Monkstown, with Stephen Cole back directing things in midfield, have produced some lovely counter-attacking stuff this term with Davy Carson in great form. It has seen them rise to second in the table but they will have their work cut out.

Lisnagarvey will aim to complete a magnificent as they travel to Glenanne safe in the knowledge they will be the Christmas number one.

It has been a breath-taking show to date with 35 league goals while the stats are bolstered to 83 in just 11 games when the Irish Senior Cup and Kirk Cup are factored in.

They go to St Andrew’s as red-hot favourites against a side who have been a bit hit and miss this season and who missed the services of Shannon Boucher and Clive Kennedy in their defeat to Three Rock.

Three Rock face YMCA for a fourth time this season with the Grange Road hosts winning in three cup ties previously. The Y feature a half-dozen players who came up through the Rovers’ youth ranks with Sam Ryder likely to line out against his younger brother Ben for family bragging rights.

After a slow start to the season, Banbridge will be favourites against Annadale which could potentially see them into the top four by the end of Saturday’s play.

Ninth-placed Pembroke are another side looking to shake off the shackles but they meet a Corinthian outfit who have proven hard to beat.

Three Rock Rovers meet YMCA for the fourth time this season. Pic: Adrian Boehm

EYHL Division 2 reaches the halfway stage, too, on Saturday. Cork C of I have the only perfect record and host currently winless Avoca at Garryduff; Inst and Railway are both on five points, making their meeting at Shaw’s Bridge in Pool A a vital one.

Pool B will be moving day – Cork Harlequins and Cookstown are both on six points and face off at Farmers’ Cross; Clontarf go to Kilkeel with the two chasers on three points from two games.

It leaves two games in Leinster Division One. Eighth plays seventh at Griffeen Valley Park where Weston host Dublin North while mid-table Portrane will be favourites when they go to ninth place Bray.

In midweek, Railway trailed three times against Rathgar but eventually won 4-3 to make it seven wins from seven. Andy Malcolm’s identikit corners made it 1-0 and 2-1 with Fergal Keaveney’s corner breakdown goal and a Daithi Medcalf finish tied it at half-time.

A couple of good Matt Breton saves kept it that way until the start of the fourth quarter when a Davíd Meade deflection at the back post from a Ben Epstein pass made it 3-2 to Gar.

The lead didn’t last long as Railway equalised five minutes later following a good counter attack, finished by Jeremy McKeever. And they struck the killer blow with four minutes remaining when Michael MacKenzie worked the ball to the back post for a David Sheil tap in.

On the women’s side, all the matches have the potential to be close-run things. 2018 Champions Trophy winners UCD host 2019 winners Pegasus in a potential humdinger.

Pegasus will be without Michelle Harvey who suffered an ankle ligament injury last weekend which has her foot in a protective boot, matching one her twin sister Kerry is also sporting at the moment.

Draw-masters Muckross and Cork Harlequins are both gunning for a first win of the season following three and two ties, respectively.

The Donnybrook hosts have seen a number of players move to the US for college hockey in the last few years but they have seen that flow reversed with the arrival of former William & Mary College’s Estelle Hughes.

Top plays bottom with Pembroke hosting Belfast Harelquins at Serpentine Avenue. The former have been flying high with Orla Macken joining attacks from midfield to great effect while their clever, aggressive press paying dividends against Cork Quins last weekend.

Aisling Naughton’s pace gives them a great lead to work off while, Eanna Horan, Sinead Loughran and Leah McGuire give them bags of experience. Beth Barr was reported as a doubt for Belfast for this tie.

Pegasus’s Ruth Maguire. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Old Alex are another side on nine points but could be overhauled by fourth placed Loreto; Railway Union and Catholic Institute are both on four points, making theirs an interesting proposition.

It makes for plenty of fascinating showdowns with plenty of scope for a shake-up in the standings.

In Leinster Division One, it has been another significant week. Monkstown came back from 2-1 down at half-time to beat Trinity 4-2 on Monday in a tie that was threatened at times by fog.

Kate Orr and Annie Lord were on the mark for the students but replies from Chloe Watkins, Sarah Greene – her first for Monkstown – Claire O’Reilly and a beautiful behind-the-back deflection from Sophie Moore.

On Wednesday, Trinity shared a 1-1 draw by Glenanne. Kate O’Connor’s penalty corner shot just about made it in for a Glens lead.

Amy Buttimer nicked the draw from a last second corner from a rebound which the Glens felt hit a foot in the initial phase of play but it stood.

North Kildare got their first point of the season with a 1-1 draw against Clontarf. Lucy Small put the Kilcock side in front in the opening 10 minutes before Becky McMullen equalised in the second quarter from a Ciara Byrne assist.

The results strengthened Corinthian’s lead at the top. They are five points clear with a game in hand on Trinity on 21 points while no other side has reached double figures to date. The reds face Clontarf at home on Saturday.

The Kildare derby sees Naas host North Kildare; Avoca host third-placed Genesis and Monkstown take on Rathgar.

Saturday 30th November 2019


EYHL Division 1: Banbridge v Annadale, Havelock Park, 2.45pm; Corinthian v Pembroke, Whitechurch Park, 2.30pm; Glenanne v Lisnagarvey, St. Andrews, 4.30pm; Three Rock Rovers v YMCA, Grange Road, 3pm; UCD v Monkstown, Belfield, 1pm

EYHL Division 2

Pool A: Cork C of I v Avoca, Garryduff, 2.30pm; Instonians v Railway Union, Shaw’s Bridge, 2pm

Pool B: Cork Harlequins v Cookstown, Farmers’ Cross, 1.10pm; Kilkeel v Clontarf, Kilkeel HS, 2.30pm

Leinster Division 1

Tuesday: Rathgar 3 (A Malcolm 2, D Meade) Railway Union 4 (F Keaveney, D Medcalf, J McKeever, D Sheil)

Saturday: Bray v Portrane, Temple Carrig, 1pm; Weston v Dublin North, Griffeen Valley Park, 12.45pm

Irish Junior Cup – Round 2: Banbridge v Lisnagarvey, Havelock Park, 4pm; Bangor v North Down, Bangor Aurora, 2.30pm; Clontarf v South Antrim, Mount Temple, 12.30pm; Corinthian v Annadale, Whitechurch Park, 4pm; Instonians v Pembroke, Shaw’s Bridge Sports Complex, 4pm; Railway Union v NICS, Park Avenue, 4pm; UCD v Bandon, Belfield, 11.15am; YMCA v Three Rock Rovers, Wesley College, 3pm

Irish Hockey Challenge: Midleton v Galway, Midleton College, 3.15pm ; Clontarf v Nth Kildare Div 1 27-11-19


EYHL Division 1: Muckross v Cork Harlequins, Muckross Park, 3.15pm; Old Alexandra v Loreto, Alexandra College, 2.30pm; Pembroke v Belfast Harlequins, Serpentine Avenue, 2.30pm; Railway Union v Catholic Institute, Park Avenue, 2.15pm; UCD v Pegasus, Belfield, 2.50pm

Leinster Division 1

Monday: Trinity 2 (K Orr, A Lord) Monkstown 4 (C Watkins, S Moore, C O’Reilly, S Greene)

Wednesday: Clontarf 1 (B McMullen) North Kildare 1 (L Small); Glenanne 1 (K O’Connor) Trinity 1 (A Buttimer)

Saturday: Avoca v Genesis, Sion Hill, 2.30pm; Corinthian v Clontarf, Whitechurch Park, 12.45pm; Monkstown v Rathgar, ALD Merrion Fleet Arena, 2.15pm; Naas v North Kildare, Caragh Road, 12.30pm

Irish Junior Cup

Wednesday: Muckross 2 (S Sparling, S Barnwell) Corinthian 3  (C Vincent, I Maleady, S Maleady)

Saturday: UCC v Bandon, The Mardyke, 10am; Railway Union v Cork Harlequins, Park Avenue, 12.15pm; Ulster Elks v Pembroke, UUJ, 1pm; Trinity v Old Alex, Santry Avenue, 1.45pm; Loreto v Ashton, Beaufort, 3pm; UCD v Monkstown, Belfield, 4.20pm; North Down v Pegasus, Comber LC

Munster Senior Cup – 1st Round: Limerick v UCC, Villiers, 1pm

Sunday 1st December 2019


Mills Cup – Round 3: Glenanne v UCD, St Andrew’s, 2pm


Leinster Division 1: Genesis v Glenanne, St Raphaela’s, 3.30pm

The Hook

Scotland's  Super Series falls victim to the weather

Despite best efforts Super Series will not go ahead this weekend due to the pitch being frozen at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.

With weather forecasts suggesting temperatures will drop even further over the coming days, no Super Series or Development Series matches will be played this weekend. Plans are already in place for rescheduling the Super Series weekend to early June.

The Scottish Hockey Awards 2019 will go ahead as planned at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre on Saturday night. For a great night celebrating success in hockey, tickets are available HERE

Andy Tennant, Head of Performance for Scottish Hockey, said, “It’s really disappointing that we can’t play Super Series and the Development Series this weekend, and I know there was a lot of excitement for the matches, especially after the fantastic Academy Series last weekend. We have worked really hard to try and keep the matches on, but sadly the pitch is currently frozen and unplayable – and the safety of our athletes is our top priority.

“I’d like to thank everyone who did their best to get the weekend on – a lot of effort has gone in from staff and coaches to get teams ready for the weekend. However, the inter-city best v best concept is now clearly established, and we look forward to building on that in 2020.”

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Second place in focus as hockey season ends


USIU's Clifford Ian (left) vies for the ball with Wazalendo's Stanley Chege during their men's hockey Premier League match at City Park Stadium, Nairobi on August 3, 2019. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kenya Police and Wazalendo have a date on Sunday as they clash for the second position in the men's Premier League as the 2019 Kenya Hockey Union season concludes at the City Park Stadium, Nairobi.

Interestingly, the two teams are separated by one point with Wazalendo having 33 points, while the law enforcers have 32 points from 17 matches played.

Ahead of Sunday’s clash, Wazalendo coach Fidhelis Kimanzi said the end result will count for nothing, saying for them it has always been development of players.

Kimanzi said if anything, it’s their opponents who would be under pressure, since they will be out to guard their second position.

“Definitely it will be an exciting match to look out for. However, we will take the clash like any other match as we target the three points. Last season, we finished fourth and based on current position, I think we have made a remarkable improvement and it’s something to proud of,” said the tactician.

Kenya Police coach Patrick Mugambi said they will be out for revenge after Wazalendo beat them 2-1 in the first leg.

“We are going for three points and failure to do that or play to a draw will be an advantage to our opponents and we are not ready to do that.

“We know Wazalendo are relatively young squad and we have to contain them in the middle department. Sadly, we lost two of our key strikers in Amos Barkibir and Calvin Kanu to Butali Sugar Warriors and we failed to recruit.

The performance this season is not what we had planned for, but we want to guard our second position that will see us qualify for the next year’s Africa Cup for Club Championship as we target to recruit heavily ahead of next season."

On Saturday, former champions Strathmore University play Parklands having already cement their stay in the top tier.

The side coached by Meshack Senge are third from bottom with 12 points from 17 matches, while the already-relegated Parklands are pegged bottom with seven points from the same number of matches played.

Senge acknowledged it has been a torrid season for his side, but remained hopefully of better seasons going forward.

Another Super League-bound team Sikh Union take on Western Jaguars away in Kakamega , before Sailors battle United States International University of Africa (USIU A) in another Premier League match.

In the women’s Premier League, Strathmore University Scorpions cross swords with Amira Sailors as the fight for third place finish takes centre stage.

At the same time, the fight for the golden stick in the men’s and women’s Premier League will be at play as Chris Wokila (Greesharks) and Festus Onyango (Strathmore) both on 11 goals go head- to -head.

Barkibir and George Mutira both of champions Butali Sugar Warriors and Johnstone Indiazi (Sailors) are tied second with eight goals each respectively.

In the women’s category, the evergreen Jackline Mwangi (Blazers) have eight goals followed closely by Gilly Okumu (Strathmore) with seven goals, while Alice Owiti (Lakers) is joint third with Barbara Simiyu of Blazers on six goals.

FIXTURES (All matches at City Park Stadium unless stated)


Strathmore University v Amira (12 noon)
Wazalendo Master v Mvita (2pm)
Mombasa Sports Club v Wolverines (Mombasa,3pm)
Western Jaguars v Sikh Union (Kakamega,3pm)
Nakuru v KCAU (Nakuru, 3pm)
Parklands v Strathmore University (4pm)
Sailors v USIU-A(6pm)


TUK v Mvita (9am)
Amira Sailors v Laker(11am)
Nakuru v Kenyatta University (Nakuru,1pm)
Kenya Police v Wazalendo (1pm)

Daily Nation

Eight more matches played in Pakistan's National Junior Hockey

LAHORE - Eight more matches were decided in the 36th National Junior Hockey Championship here at the National Hockey Stadium on Friday.

In the first match of the day, SSGC outscored Islamabad 4–1. From the winning side, Rizwan Ali struck twice while Abdul Manan and M Mozzam hit one goal each. From the losing side, Isa Khan scored one. In the second match of the day, KPK (A) routed AJK 8–2. From KPK, Amir Farooq hammered a hat-trick while Usman and Ahsan banged in a brace and Jibran one.

In the third match of the day, Punjab (A) defeated KPK (B) 2-0. Form Punjab (A), M Usman and Hannan Shahid hit one goal each. In the fourth match, MPCL outlasted Punjab (C) 6-1. From MPCL, Arbaz Ahmad struck twice while Muhammad Anees, Abdul Rehman, Waqar Ali and Arbaz scored one each. From Punjab (C), Rana Waleed struck one.

In the fifth match, Army (A) outpaced Balochistan 6-0. From Army (A), Usman Jaffer and M Usman bandaged in a brace while Shahid Ali and M Umer netted one each. In the sixth match, Wapda thrashed Gilgit 17-0, in the seventh match Port Qasim outclassed Sindh (A) 10-0 and in the eighth and last match of the day, Customs thumped Sindh (B) 6–1.

The Nation

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