Welcome to the Fieldhockey.com Archives

Daily Hockey news updated @ 10:00 GMT

News for 22 February 2020

All the news for Saturday 22 February 2020

2020 FIH Pro League (Men) - 22 February

21 Feb 2020    IND v AUS (RR)     3 - 4
22 Feb 2020 19:00 (GMT +5:30)     IND v AUS (RR)     Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar

Live streaming and full game replay on https://fih.live (May be Geo blocked if there is TV coverage)

Pool Standings

Rank Team Played Wins SO Win Draws SO Loss Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Belgium 6 4 1 0 0 1 19 11 8 14
2 Netherlands 6 2 2 0 1 1 17 17 0 11
3 Australia 5 2 1 0 1 1 17 14 3 9
4 India 5 2 1 0 0 2 15 13 2 8
5 Spain 8 2 0 0 1 5 19 27 -8 7
6 Germany 2 1 1 0 0 0 7 3 4 5
7 Argentina 4 1 0 0 2 1 12 9 3 5
8 Great Britain 4 1 0 0 2 1 9 10 -1 5
9 New Zealand 6 1 1 0 0 4 8 19 -11 5

FIH Match Centre

Kookaburras claim thrilling victory against India in Bhubaneswar

Australia’s men have moved up to third place in the FIH Hockey Pro League thanks to a thrilling 4-3 victory over hosts India at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday (21 February).

The Kookaburras were at their imperious best in the first, second, and third quarters, dominating the home favourites to open up a 4-1 lead thanks to goals from Dylan Wotherspoon, Tom Wickham, Lachlan Sharp and Jacob Anderson. However, India produced a spirited performance in the final quarter, with Raj Kumar Pal adding to his third quarter penalty corner with a stunning field goal to make it 4-2 before Rupinder Singh’s superb penalty corner drag-flick pulled India to within one goal going into the final eight minutes. Rupinder had a glorious chance to level the scores with a last minute penalty corner, but his effort sailed wide of the mark, giving Australia all three points.

Australia's Lachlan Sharp, who was named Player of the Match, said that he was “definitely disappointed” with the final quarter, but was pleased with the overall performance and was quick to comment about the strength and depth of the Kookaburras squad. “It [the fourth quarter] was not what we wanted, but to have a good defence in the end and hold them out, it was a good win. We have a squad of 27 who can step up on their day and play their role. I think we showed that tonight. The Kalinga Stadium is always a great place to play, we love the support of the Indian crowd, so thank you for that."

India captain Manpreet Singh also gave his thoughts regarding today's performance: "I think we are quite disappointed because we didn't start well, conceding three goals. In the fourth quarter we came back and actually played our game, and because of that we scored two goals. I think we didn't create many chances in the first three quarters but in the last quarter we did, so we need to come back [strong] for tomorrow's match."

More information on this match can be found on our live reporting page by clicking here.

The two teams meet again in the Kalinga Stadium on Saturday (22 February), with Australia knowing that another victory would see them climb above the Netherlands and into second in the standings. To see the complete match schedule, click here.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on the FIH Hockey Pro League via the event website and through FIH social media channels - Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  

FIH Hockey Pro League 

Friday 21 February 2020 – Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar (IND)

Men’s result: India 3 Australia 4 (Match 1 of 2)
Player of the Match: Lachlan Sharp (AUS)
Umpires: Coen van Bunge (NED), Simon Taylor (NZL) & Rawi Anbananthan (MAS - video)

Upcoming fixture - Saturday 22 February 2020

Bhubaneswar (IND) – Men: India v Australia (Match 2 of 2)
Time: 1900 (GMT/UTC +5.30)


Official FIH Pro League Site

Slick Kookaburras hold off fast finishing India

Four sublimely worked goals have given the Kookaburras a narrow 4-3 win over India in a frenetic FIH Pro League match at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar tonight.

Up 2-0 at half time courtesy of Dylan Wotherspoon and Tom Wickham, two third quarter goals in quick succession from Lachlan Sharp and Jacob Anderson proved enough to maintain the Kookaburras’ impressive record in the subcontinent and hold off an Indian side that stormed home in the final 15 minutes.

Against an India side who had taken the scalp of the Netherlands and Belgium in the past month, it took just six minutes for the Kookaburras to silence the home crowd when they produced a clinical counter attack to open the scoring.

Aran Zalewski fed the ball to Sharp on the left side of the attacking circle, who in turn sent a first time pass across to Wotherspoon who was perfectly positioned to tuck the ball past Indian goalkeeper Krishan Pathak.

The lead was doubled in the 18th minute following another quality build. This time Sharp laid the ball off to Eddie Ockenden whose perfectly weighted direct pass saw Wickham calmly help the ball on as he slotted it through the legs of the oncoming Pathak to make it 2-0.

Staunch defending at the other end ensured the Kookaburras held onto their two goal buffer at the main interval.

Corey Weyer forced a save from Pathak before tight marking from Birendra Lakra prevented Wotherspoon from scoring his second as the Kookaburras looked to ram home their advantage, but it was India who struck next.

Despite some desperate defending from Jake Harvie to keep out two Indian penalty corner attempts, at the third time of asking Rupinder Singh thundered his drag flick into the chest of Kookaburras goalkeeper Andrew Charter, the rebound bobbling up for Raj Kumar Pal who bounced it to himself before sending a reverse stick shot into the back of the net.

However, the Kookaburras reaffirmed their ascendency as they struck twice in as many minutes.

Wotherspoon took the ball into the circle for Sharp who had enough space to turn his effort in past an Indian defender and goalkeeper, before Anderson made it 4-1 as Daniel Beale’s presence created just enough of a distraction for the young striker’s shot to go through unaided.

But just as the Kookaburras looked home and hosed, Raj produced a pinpoint long range shot inside the first 30 seconds of the last quarter to make it 4-2 to give the home side a lifeline.

Then when an unstoppable Rupinder Singh drag flick made it 4-3 with eight minutes remaining, suddenly it was game on and India were sensing a remarkable comeback.

In a tense finish, India sacrificed their keeper for the final 2 minutes in search of an equaliser, but the Kookaburras held firm to take a psychological edge into tomorrow night’s second match.

Tomorrow’s second match can be seen LIVE on Kayo and Fox Sports Channel 503. There will also be LIVE Twitter coverage on the official Kookaburras Twitter account.

Match Details
India 3 (Kumar Pal 36’/47’, R.Singh 52’)
Kookaburras 4 (Wotherspoon 6’, Wickham 18’, Sharp 41’, Anderson 42’)
@ Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar

Kookaburras: 1.Lachlan Sharp, 3.Corey Weyer, 4.Jake Harvie, 5.Tom Wickham, 6.Matthew Dawson, 9.Jacob Anderson, 10.Josh Beltz, 11.Eddie Ockenden, 12.Jake Whetton, 16.Tim Howard, 17.Aran Zalewski (c), 18.Kurt Lovett, 23.Daniel Beale, 25.Trent Mitton, 26.Dylan Wotherspoon, 30.Andrew Charter (gk), 32.Jeremy Hayward
Unused Substitute: 24.Tyler Lovell (gk)

India: 2.Dilpreet Singh, 3.Rupinder Singh, 6.Surender Kumar, 7.Manpreet Singh (c), 8.Hardik Singh, 10.Simranjeet Singh, 12.Krishan Pathak (gk), 13.Harmanpreet Singh, 14.Lalit Upadhyay, 23.Gurinder Singh, 24.Sunil Sowmarpet, 26.Birendra Lakra, 27.Akashdeep Singh, 30.Amit Rohidas, 32.Vivek Prasad, 69.Raj Kumar Pal, 71.Gursahibjit Singh
Unused substitute: 16.Sreejesh Parattu (gk)

Kookaburras v India – FIH Pro League 2020 Match Details
Match 2 – Saturday 22 February 2020
Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar
Start Time: 7:00pm local (12:30am AEDT Sunday 23 February)

Hockey Australia media release

Overawed by Australia's pace, intensity and skill, India's fourth quarter resurgence falls short

Sundeep Misra

India players celebrate a goal against Australia on Friday. Image courtesy: Hockey India

Kept at bay by Australia’s pace, drive, intensity and skill, India at the end of the third quarter faced a 1-4 deficit. The hosts had a match to save, dignity to be restored. Two goals cut the deficit to 3-4 at the start of the 4th quarter and with 35 seconds to go, India flicked a golden opportunity, their 5th PC, wide off the mark as a shoot-out and a possible ‘Houdini style’ victory slipped through. Australia won 4-3, undefeated against India now in nine consecutive matches. India’s last win came in 2016 in a Test in Australia when India won 3-2.

At the start of the FIH Pro League match, Indian coach Graham Reid, well-versed with Aussie methods (Reid was the 2016 Rio Olympics Australian coach), said the Indians would try to ‘create and convert.’ But, after the initial thrust in the first couple of minutes, the half-line surprisingly disintegrated. It was there but the structure so vital when you have players like Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad and Hardik Singh went off the grid. Vivek was seen on the left or right extreme and with Australia pressing, Manpreet was pushed back into defence. There were early signs when Rupinder Pal Singh sent a high ball deep into the Australian defence. Dilpreet Singh’s trap and push into the Aussie striking circle was well defended.

Five minutes later came the error from Rupinder and the ball was picked up by Australian captain Aran Zalewski, who tore through the middle, squared and saw the ball dispatched into the centre for Dylan Wotherspoon to give Australia the lead. It was one-touch hockey and the Indian defence appeared flatfooted at the first instance of brilliant offensive hockey.

In fact, it was the Aussie captain Zalewski who marshalled the midfield with some wonderful runs. India gave a lot of space in the middle and even the man-to-man marking, so good against the Dutch and the Belgians, was lacklustre. For almost every ball that India had, Australia pushed three players, effectively cutting away the angles and forcing mistakes from the Indians. The tactic of shutting down Manpreet and Vivek also paid off in the first two quarters; two of India’s creative players couldn’t work the mid-centre and the corners. Effectively, the gap in the Indian midfield was exploited by Australia. Even though the circle entries were four each for India and Australia after the first quarter, Australia were the sharper of the two.

At the back, Australia played a tight defence. They didn’t hurry but waited for India to make mistakes and the counter-attacks were fast and brutal. Jake Whetton, Matt Dawson, Lachlan Sharp (man-of-the-match), Kurt Lovett used space brilliantly while not giving any breathing space to the Indian defence. The one-touch hockey caught India off guard. For a moment, India tried to increase the pace. Even that didn’t work as Australia rotated the ball.

Three minutes into the second quarter came goal number two when Eddie Ockenden, with a burst of speed, gave the ball to Tom Wickham, who made it 2-0. At this point, India could have cut the pace, held the ball and given the team some air to breathe. The defence was panicking as Surender Kumar, Birendra Lakra, Rupinder Pal and even Harmanpreet Singh were being pushed off the ball and into corners. At the end of the second quarter, Australia had 10 circle entries to India’s eight. But the Aussies were precise and accurate.

After the break, it was clear India needed to wake up and find another gear. Even if they were not being outplayed, they were clearly not in the match. What was still worrying was the amount of space afforded to Australia. At the start of the third quarter, Jacob Anderson slipped when he had acres of space in front — a classic example of India not marking and getting huddled up in a corner.

A show of intent came in the 34th minute when India earned the first of the three penalty corners in the matter of a few minutes. Jake Harvie was brilliant as the runner as he neutralised the first two PCs. Rupinder Pal Singh’s flick off the third went straight to Andrew Charters left glove but the ball instead of dropping dead, rebounded. An alert Raj Kumar Pal picked the rebound, it bounced once and then Pal showing some cool nerves swatted it past Charter to open India’s account in the match. It was Pal’s first international goal as a senior India player.

Minutes, later, Australia swarmed into India’s circle again. Surender made a goal-line save and then Krishan Pathak saved Australia’s first PC. But the counters continued as Sharp squeezed in the third goal past Pathak in the 41st minute. Hardly had the Indian defence recovered from Sharp’s goal that Harvie went in smoothly in the 42nd minute to put a through for Jacob Anderson whose shot towards goal slid in past Pathak. It was dreadful defending from India. In the space of two minutes, Australia led 4-1.

Maybe, it was Reid’s pep talk that lifted spirits or the Indians decided it was time for a rear-guard action, whatever it was, India’s intensity doubled and then quadrupled. Leading by a healthy margin of 4-1, Australia probably took it a bit easy and India utilised the spaces. Akashdeep Singh showed some wonderful skill, cutting to the right and giving it to Raj Kumar Pal, on the right of the striking circle. Faced with three defenders in front, Pal took a calculated gamble and went for the right corner. Charter, surprised by the shot, was late as the ball hit the bottom of the right post and went into goal. It was 2-4.

India pressed high. Vivek was creating now and one of his passes found Akashdeep, whose hit zipped past the Australian goal. India pushed as Australia fell back. PR Sreejesh made a save at the other end while Australia couldn’t convert off their 2nd PC. India hit back from the midfield and this time Hardik floated down the right flank and earned India’s 4th PC. Rupinder flicked the ball between Sharp and Charter as the scores got cut to 3-4. Eight minutes remained in the game.

Australia furiously back-pedalled as India hovered around their striking circle. India pulled out Sreejesh with a minute and a half left. And, in a final push they rotated the ball to earn their 5th PC to the roar of the fans. 35 seconds remained on the clock. Rupinder’s flick went wide. Australia heaved a sigh of relief and picked up three points moving into third spot with nine points from five matches. India are now in 4th spot with eight points from five games.

After the match, Indian captain Manpreet said the team didn’t start well ‘but in the fourth quarter, we played our game.’ Former Indian coach V Bhaskaran said there was a lot of intensity from the Australian team. “I think Zalewski was the hero in the first three quarters as he rotated extremely well and handled the midfield brilliantly.” Bhaskaran also said, “Australia didn’t allow India to hold onto the ball for long, but the defence should have played cautiously.” Speaking about the second match on Saturday, the former India captain and coach said: “India haves to close down the Aussies quickly and they need the midfield to fire.”

Even if India’s performance against Australia was a little cagier, especially the forwards, the second game promises more dynamism, the kind that was witnessed in Friday’s fourth quarter.


Gallant India fights back before going down

s2h team

Photo: Lalit Upadhyay missing a chance to score early in the match. Photo by s2h photographer Shamim Qureshy

Despite being three goals in arrears till third quarter, India bounced back valiantly to score a double to narrow the gap to 3-4 but fell short of a goal to force a fitting draw in the first match against Australia in the FIH Pro-League today at Bhubanewsar. A shoddy first 20 minutes of display led to India's defeat on its home soils but the last quarter somehow came as a relief against expected rout. Heartening feature of course is the brace that rookie forward Raj Kumar Pal struck, which definitely offers multiple choice for Men's coach Graham Reid in his forwardline repertoire.

Australia took quick lead when in the sixth minute Aran Zeleswski split the Indian midfield before passing an angled push inside circle. A forward swept towards the circle from the right which Dylan Wootherspoon deflected in with a perfect touch which caught the Indian goalie off guard (1-0). Three minutes into second quarter, the dominating visitors enlarged the lead. Fed by veteran Eddie Ockendon's peach of a cross, Tom Wickham got the ball between the legs of already out of place Indian goalie PR Sreejesh (2-0). The easy with which the goal struck would have made any team nervous, so also the home side.

However, speedying Lalit Upadhyay earned a penalty corner in the third quarter of which Rupinde Pal struck at goal, but goalie blocked. From close range, Raj Kumar Pal bounced on to the short rebound (1-2). It was a stylish backhand, a difficult proposition to score. Half chance converted.

Thereafter, the Indians were made to sweat a lot, with the visitors dominating the exchanges and field attacks. It was fitting that they struck twice in the space of two minutes in the last phase of the third quarter.

A poor trap inside the circle led to 1-3 scoreline and within a minute PR Sreejesh was found wanting, as ball went below his arm as he was trying to stop a hard push coming from left side of the attacking side. It left the Indians and well as the stands, high and dry. Lalchan Sharp, who was later declared as the Best Player of the Match, posted a gem of goal in the 41st minute and saw within a minute then on his colleague Jacob Anderson adding another one. With 18 minute left, the crowd would have certainly expected a rout. But thankfully it was not to be.

Indians were better organized and purposeful in their moves in the last quarter. Within seconds from the start, rookie Raj Pal posted his second goal (2-4). A forehand shot from top edge of the circle went past the stretched legs of Australian goalie.

Moments later, Akashdeep Singh got the same kind of ball his younger peer got, but hit the ball narrowly that ended up at side net.

Five minutes later, Rupinder Pal Singh fructified the team's fifth penalty corner to give the match a semblance of fight. Good ball control and stick work of Hardkik Singh got this penalty corner. Australians thereafter had to sweat more to keep their citadel intact. In the last moments, it was Indian wall PR Sreejesh who stood, actually fell and lying on the turf, between another Australian goal and India.

It was fifth match for India in their first Pro-League season.

India-Aus will square up tomorrow at 19 hours again


India goes down fighting to defending champion

India came back from 1-4 down to threaten a penalty shootout against Pro League champion Australia but lost 3-4 in the first leg on Friday at the Kalinga Stadium.

Australia dominated the first three quarters but were pegged back by the Indians in the final quarter.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Indian men's hockey team scored two goals in the final quarter after being 1-4 down, but lost 3-4 to Australia in the first match of the FIH Pro League tie at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

Australia dominated the first three quarters and was comfortably ahead after goals from Dylan Wotherspoon (6'), Tom Wickham (18'), Lachlan Sharp (41') and Jacob Anderson (42'). Raj Kumar Pal's pulled one back for the host in the 36th minute and breathed life into the game with a second goal in the 41st minute.

Rupinder Pal Singh scored from a penalty corner in the 52nd minute as the Kookaburras endured several nervous moments in the final minutes to see out the game.

India will face Australia in the second leg of the tie on Saturday, beginning at 7 pm (IST).

India conceded an early goal in the 6th minute in the first match of the FIH Pro League against Australia on Friday. A stray pass from Rupinder Pal Singh from behind was latched on to by Aussie skipper Aran Zalewski who got the ball to Lachlan Sharp who crossed it to Dylan Wotherspoon who deflected it into the back of the net.

Australia made it 2-0 in the 18th minute off a devastating counter attack initiated by Lachlan Sharp. The full back ran along the left flank and sliced open the Indian defence with a pass to Eddie Ockenden who moved it to Tom Wickham who poked the ball past P.R. Sreejesh.

The host was unable to shake off its sluggishness in the second half as Australia quickly turned around for another dangerous counterattack which India scrambled to clear. India won a penalty corner in the 35th minute but Rupinder Pal hit it straight at first runner Jake Harvey.

India won two more penalty corners and in the 36th minute Raj Kumar Pal found the back of the net after pouncing on a save from goalkeeper Tyler Lovell. Lachlan Sharp (41') and Jacob Anderson (42') scored two in two minutes as India was left chasing shadows.

Raj Kumar Pal reduced the arrears in the first seconds of the fourth quarter as he unleashed a thunderbolt from the edge of the circle to beat Lovell.  India pressed on the accelerator as it harried the Australian defence with quick passes in the final fourth often leading to a stray pass from the visitor.

On one such instance in the 52nd minute when India won the penalty corner which Rupinder Pal thumped into the bottom corner to make it 4-3. India pulled out Sreejesh for an outfield player in the final two minutes looking for an equaliser and won a penalty corner in the 60th minute. However, Rupinder Pal blazed his dragflick wide as Australia saw out the final minute to win the match.


Losing the chase

India fight back from 1-4 but lose 3-4 to Australia

India captain Manpreet Singh is chased by Australia’s Jacob Whetton during their match on Friday. HI

India fought hard before losing 3-4 to defending champions Australia in their first match of the two-leg FIH Pro League encounter here today. After beginning their debut Pro League campaign with three favourable results, India came into the match after a 2-3 loss to the reigning world champions Belgium. And the hosts were made to toil hard by world No. 2 Australia before eventually losing the match in a close encounter.

Dylan Wotherspoon (6th minute), Tom Wickham (18th), Lachlan Sharp (41st) and Jacob Anderson (42nd) scored four field goals for the winners. India’s goals came from the sticks of Raj Kumar Pal (36th, 47th) and Rupinder Pal Singh (52nd).

By virtue of this win, Australia moved up to the third position in the standings with nine points from five games, while India are a rung behind with eight points from as many matches.

Poor start, fighting finish

The Kookaburras were at their imperious best in the first, second and third quarters, dominating the home favourites to open up a 4-1 lead. However, India produced a spirited performance in the final quarter. Pal, who had volleyed in a rebound from Rupinder’s drag-flick to open the scoring for India, scored a stunning field goal to cut the deficit. Rupinder’s superb drag-flick pulled India to within one goal going into the final eight minutes. Rupinder had a glorious chance to level the scores with a last-minute penalty corner, but his effort sailed wide.

“I think we are quite disappointed because we didn’t start well, conceding three goals,” India captain Manpreet Singh said. “In the fourth quarter, we came back and actually played our game, and because of that we scored two goals. I think we didn’t create many chances in the first three quarters but in the last quarter we did, so we need to come back (strong) for tomorrow’s match.”

Sharp, who was named the Player of the Match, said he was “disappointed” with the final quarter. “It (the fourth quarter) was not what we wanted, but to have a good defence in the end and hold them out, it was a good win,” Sharp said. “We have a squad of 27 who can step up on their day and play their role. I think we showed that tonight. The Kalinga Stadium is always a great place to play, we love the support of the Indian crowd, so thank you for that.”

India and Australia will play in the second match here today.

The Tribune

Test matches RSA v GER (M)
Wits, Johannesburg (RSA)

22 Feb 2020 15:00     RSA v GER
23 Feb 2020 15:00     RSA v GER
27 Feb 2020 17:00     RSA v GER
29 Feb 2020 11:00     RSA v GER

Live stream on ShoottSA facebook page

FIH Match Centre

Tokyo or bust: Hockeyroos could see severe funding cuts

Spain celebrate as Australia finish fourth at 2018 World Cup PIC: World Sport Pics

The Hockeyroos could face a massive shortfall in Olympic funding over the next four years if the team fails to perform at Tokyo 2020.

Fives months out from the Games, Olympic funding wrangles have been hot topic in sporting circles Down Under this week after The Australian‘s series of reports on the subject.

A host of sports’ future funding is in the firing line six months after Tokyo finishes. And the Hockeyroos have received top billing, with the programme set to be slashed by up to 60 per cent.

This effectively means that the Australian Institute of Sport deems the Hockeyroos having no chance of medalling at Paris 2024.

Australia’s coaching great Ric Charlesworth told the newspaper that he was “gobsmacked” by the decision.

Meanwhile Hockey Australia chief Matt Favier said: “We are really concerned about not only the risk of reduced funding that may play out for hockey, but for the entire sporting community.”

Favier told The Australian that it would be a “kick in the guts” if the cuts came to fruition.

Australia’s Olympic medal tally counts have dipped since 2004. Four years ago, Australia finished 10th with eight golds and 29 medals, which was its lowest Olympic tally in 28 years.

The Hockeyroos last won an Olympic medal 20 years ago thanks to Sydney gold.

Despite both national sides exiting at the last eight stage in Rio, the Kookaburras have reportedly been handed a funding increase on the road to Paris.

Subscribe to our print or digital edition for the bigger picture in 2020. Discounts with our partners and major savings on our digital product for global readers. Find out which subscription suits you best. Sign up now!

The Hockey Paper

Busy Aussies join the fray in Azlan Shah Cup

KUALA LUMPUR: Australia are busy competing in the on-going FIH Pro League but will still make time to feature in the six-nation Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from April 11-18.

The FIH Pro League, which started on Jan 18, ends on June 28.

Australia, who are ranked No. 2 in the world, will be gunning for their 11th title in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup against teams like world No. 10 Canada, Japan (15), South Korea (16) and Pakistan (17). Malaysia are ranked 11th.

Three-time champions Pakistan are making a return to the tournament after a lapse of four years.

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said India and New Zealand were also invited for the tournament but they turned it down due to a tight training schedule for the FIH Pro League as well as their preparations for Tokyo Olympics in July.

“We are happy to have former world champions and Olympics champions Australia in the tournament.

“We are expecting an interesting and competitive tournament,” said Ahmad Faizal.

The Star of Malaysia

Thank you, Kumar, for your blood, sweat and tears

By Jugjet Singh

S. Kumar wiping away his tears during a press conference to announce his retirement from international hockey on Feb 20, 2020. Pic by OWEE AH CHUN

KUALA LUMPUR: After giving his “sweat and blood” for 20 years, S. Kumar yesterday shed tears when announcing his retirement from international hockey.

Kumar, who was emotional at yesterday’s press conference in Kuala Lumpur, was the nation’s longest serving goalkeeper, featuring in 321 international matches since 1999.

The Tampin-born Kumar, whose legacy will be hard to emulate by others, will now help the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) in nurturing goalkeepers.

MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal said yesterday: “We finally have to part ways with Kumar as an international player. But he will still be involved with hockey.”

Subahan said Kumar will coach the national juniors alongside Nasihin Nubli and Roslan Jamaluddin.

Kumar used to be the third choice national goalkeeper behind Nasihin and Roslan in the early days, before becoming Malaysia’s first choice.

His move into coaching will begin by attending a level two course held during the Azlan Shah Cup in April.

Kumar has faced many adversities, heartbreaks and bounced back in his storied career. His father and three-year-old son passed away while he was playing in tournaments overseas, and he also served a ban for a doping violation.

But at 40, age has caught up with Kumar, and foiling his dream of playing in the Olympics.

“I had wanted to retire many times before especially after losing my son during the Antwerp Olympic Qualifier, but I kept on training and playing because the nation needed me,” he said.

“But after two failures... in the Asian Games and the London Olympic qualifier, I decided to call it a day with a heavy heart.

“I will go into coaching and hopefully in the near future, take a Malaysian team to the Olympics, a dream which I failed to realise in my 20-year career.”

Kumar actually started as a football goalkeeper in 1994 at Tunku Besar Secondary School in Tampin, Negri Sembilan, but was “ordered” to attend hockey training by the late S. Sivapathasundram, a former teacher and coach.

Sivapathasundram saw a lanky and agile lad keeping goal in a football match and he later asked him to pad-up and stand between the hockey posts, and the rest is history.

“I have played in two World Cups as well as won two silver medals at the Asian Games, but the Olympics eluded me in a funny way.

“Not playing in the Olympics is my biggest regret, as it's every player’s dream to reach that pinnacle,” he said.

One of Kumar’s most memorable achievements was being named as the Best Goalkeeper in the World League Round Three in London after he helped Malaysia finish fourth and qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

“There are at least four young goalkeepers who have the ability but have not yet realised their true potential. I hope to bring out the best in them,” Kumar.

Thank you for the memories, and your blood, sweat and tears for Malaysian hockey, Kumar.

New Straits Times

Kumar leaves some big shoes behind


In with a chance: Adrian Andy Albert is one of the goalkeepers in the running to replace S. Kumar.

KUALA LUMPUR: There will be big shoes to fill for whoever replaces S. Kumar, who retired on Thursday after serving the national team for 21 years.

There are four goalkeepers in the national hockey team and the question now is which one of them will be best to replace Kumar, who is regarded as one of the best in the world.

The four goalkeepers are Mohd Hairi Abdul Rahman, Mohd Hafizuddin Othman, Mohd Zaimi Mat Deris and Adrian Andy Albert.

Mohd Hairi from Johor probably knows Kumar best as both of them are playing for Tenaga Nasional in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

The 30-year-old Hairi, who has represented Malaysia 60 times since the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh in 2016, said taking Kumar’s place would be very tough.

“Kumar is a great keeper who has been instrumental in tournaments and always played to his true form. Even at 40, he was still making excellent saves in matches.

“He has won many awards as the best goalkeeper and it will be a real challenge for any of us to play like him,” said Hairi, who was a reserve to Kumar in the World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India in 2018.

“I have learnt a lot from him as he is always ready to share his experience with the other goalkeepers.

The 23-year-old Mohd Zaimi also praised Kumar for being able to read his opponents well in the semi-circle.

“I have high respect for him. He has vast experience in goalkeeping and I hope he will be able to give me a few tips to be a good keeper like him.

“But it is going to be a challenge to other keepers. I have to work really hard in training and also need lady luck to be able to play like Kumar,” said the Maybank goalkeeper, who was in superb form in the semi-finals match against Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in the MHL on Wednesday.

Zaimi, from Kuala Terengganu, made some fine saves in the match before the varsity team won 2-1 to qualify for final.

Adrian, meanwhile, is a 22-year-old from Sabah and is already knocking on the doors of the national team. In the league, he is a reserve to Irishman David Harte in UniKL. Hafizuddin, the Terengganu goalkeeper, is also good but is know to be prone to injuries.

National chief coach Roelant Oltmans is expected to call up players for national training in preparation for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from April 11-18 next week.

The Star of Malaysia

Alex Danson-Bennett: Olympic champion explains retirement

Olympic champion Alex Danson-Bennett says deciding to retire was "easy" once she realised she couldn't be "100% in".

The 34-year-old has daily headaches after being concussed when hitting her head on a wall - but the injury is "not the only factor" in her retirement.

She briefly made a comeback in January in a bid to play at the 2020 Olympics.

But the former Great Britain captain told BBC Sport: "My situation means I can't be 100% in, so I can't be in at all - I'm all in or all out."

"I want to be able to choose to spend time with family and friends... and hockey won't dictate that.

"It's the first time in my life without the routine of wanting to be better and always striving to make the right decisions.

"I plan to relax, see family, say 'yes' to invites and weddings."

The former striker, who will now focus on running her hockey academy, was on holiday in 2018 when she laughed at a joke by her now husband Alex, threw her head back to laugh and hit it against a concrete wall.

The impact gave Danson-Bennett, who also captained England, what she describes as a mild traumatic brain injury and she ultimately decided the "risk is too high" to continue a comeback in the game.

She also now plans to spend more time with her triathlete sister Claire, who was paralysed from her stomach down after colliding with a tractor when riding her bike in August last year.

"My priorities have changed. I'm married, I want to spend time with my sister as she had her horrendous injury and she'll be coming home soon, which will be amazing and I don't want to be pulled between two worlds," said Danson-Bennett.

"My family will come first," added the former forward, who played 306 times in total for England and Great Britain and won Olympic gold at Rio 2016.

BBC Sport

Railway unbeaten after day one in Porto

Railway Union came from 2-0 down in the last five minutes against Georgian outfit Ukimerioni Kutaisi to end day one of their EuroHockey Challenge I unbeaten.

They opened their tournament with a closely fought 2-1 win over Swedish side Partille SC. Despite winning seven corners to Partille’s two, Railway scored from just their first of these, Orla Fox opening the scoring in the first quarter.

The rest of the goals came in the second quarter, Partille equalising from a stroke after Railway’s captain Holly Jenkinson saved a corner with her body on the line.

The Irish side replied with their moment of the day, the winning goal on the half time whistle from a court length move involving Jenkinson playing it off the boards in the right corner and then working a great exchange with Kate McKenna and Kate Dillon with the latter finishing off.

The second half was a goalless affair but high in tension as Railway led by such a narrow margin. They won a series of corners but were unable to convert and it meant the game was in the balance until the end as both teams had goals disallowed for preceding fouls and Orla Fox saved off the line for Railway from a Partille corner.

Game two looked to be slipping out of their grasp against a Georgian side who won game one 6-0 against Portugal’s Viso.

Again, Railway created many goal scoring opportunities, winning eight corners to Kutaisi’s four but were unable to convert and they fell behind in the first quarter.

Kutaisi went further ahead in the third quarter, scoring on a counter attack after Kate Dillon’s goal scoring opportunity was snuffed out. Holly Jenkinson took a Kutaisi corner shot off the line to leave Railway two goals down going into the last 10 minute period.

Halfway through the last quarter, Cecelia Joyce reverse flicked a ball high into the Kutaisi goal to half the gap. Railway then successfully defended a Kutaisi corner and went in search of an equalising goal.

They were rewarded when they won a stroke in the last minute, which was successfully converted by Irish skipper Fox.

The draw gives Railway seven points from two games, level with Kutaisi with Partille – after a 4-1 win over Viso – in third place. The Irish side complete their group at 12.45pm against Viso on Saturday with a win assuring a place in the promotion pool.

Women’s EuroHockey Indoor Challenge I (all in Porto, Portugal)

Pool A: Railway Union 2 (O Fox, K Dillon) Partille 1 (N Carlsson); Railway Union 2 (C Joyce, O Fox) Kutaisi 2 (I Rehina, L Öztürk)

Standings: 1. Ukimerioni Kutaisi 7pts (+6) 2. Railway Union 7pts (+1) 3. Partille 6pts (+2) 4. Desportivo do Viso 0pts (-9)

Saturday: Railway Union v Grupo Desportivo do Viso (POR), 12.45pm; classification matches to be determined

The Hook

Wanderers scoop back-to-back indoor day one Euro wins

Emily Dark certainly made her mark on the opening day at the women`s EuroHockey Indoor Club Challenge 1 in Porto, the Tayside striker scored a hat-trick in each of the victories over Raca (Slovakia) and Akademik (Bulgaria).

The back-to-back victories propelled Wanderers to the top of the pool, three points ahead of Swansea (Wales), also they have already qualified for the promotion group with one game still to play.

Tomorrow Wanderers take on Swansea, a win here would be a real bonus in the later promotion pool.


A blast of lethal power play by Dundee Wanderers in the first half completely blew away Raca, the Taysiders finished 6-1 ahead… and it could have been more.

The catalyst was three goals from both Emily Dark and Vikki Bunce.

It took the Dundonians only three minutes to get their noses in front, Dark made a good steal from a Raca defender, moved into the circle and finished with a low shot.

However, the lead did not last the minute, Natalia Fondrkova netted at a penalty corner for the equaliser.

Undaunted Wanderers ignored the setback and Bunce restored their lead with a close range shot.

The Scots were in complete control and created several other scoring chances.

Just at the end of the first quarter Amy Snelle created the opening and her cross was swept into the empty net by Dark for 3-1.

The second quarter produced three more goals for the Taysiders, Bunce was first on target when, unmarked, she lifted the ball over the keeper from a narrow angle.

At their second penalty corner the ball came to Dark, she took her time and picked her spot in the roof of the net for the fourth… and her own hat-trick.

The captain Becky Ward entered the scoring ranks when she found the net in a crowded circle.

And that was 6-1 at the interval – and game won.

In comparison the second half saw the foot taken off the gas – Wanderers were not the same dominant force and Raca were able to make some inroads into the deficit.

Inside four minutes Fondkrova scored her second to bring the score back to 6-2.

However, any prospect of a revival was quickly stifled by an opportunist strike by Millie Skidmore to advance the score to 7-2.

Raca pulled another back through Terezia Surovicova.

With the last strike of the game Bunce toyed with the Raca defenders in their circle and casually found the net for her own hat-trick and a final tally of 8-3.


The first half was one of total frustration for the Taysiders, Wanderers totally dominated proceedings but missed four penalty corners, then against the run of play went a goal down to Ventsislava Bosolova.

But with two minutes to go in the half, the ball popped about in the circle and Vikki Bunce was on hand to find the net and level at 1-1.

Further chances came and went in the second half, and Wanderers` frustration continued.

Then in stepped Dark again with three goals in two minutes to propel the Taysiders into a comfortable 4-1 lead. The first came from the spot after an illegal stop on the line by a Bulgarian defender, which was followed by a calmly struck penalty corner conversion, and Dark completed her quick-fire hat-trick with an open play strike.

Now with the pressure off, Wanderers played out the final quarter with confidence, Jessica Ross added fifth to the tally while close to the end Nina Becker completed the scoring.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Jung Hyun out to stop UniKL run

By Jugjet Singh

(From left) THT coach K. Dharmaraj with his skipper Fitri Saari, competitions committee chairman Datuk Seri Anil Jeet Singh, tournament director K. Ananthavale, UniKL skipper Marhan Jalil and coach Arul Selvaraj. (PIC COURTESY TENAGA NASIONAL)

AGE has not slowed down penalty corner specialist Jang Jung Hyun. At 36, the South Korean, who plays for Terengganu Hockey Team (THT), is the leading scorer in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) with 23 goals.

And today, Jung Hyun will be on a mission to stop Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in the TNB Cup final at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Although Jung Hyun is the most feared player in the MHL, he has not scored against UniKL.

The Korean failed to find the net in the 3-2 (Charity Shield-cum-league match) and 2-0 (league) defeats to UniKL.

With two titles already in the bag, UniKL now aim to complete their season with a treble by winning the TNB Cup.

In the semi-finals, UniKL edged Maybank 2-1 thanks to Razie Rahim’s brace while Jung Hyun, who was top scorer last season with 22 goals, netted a hat-trick for THT in the 4-3 win over Tenaga Nasional.

“Jung Hyun has been scoring regularly for many seasons, and if we can stop him, then we will have an easier final,” said UniKL coach Arul Selvaraj yesterday.

Jung Hyun is aware that he will be marked during penalty corner set-pieces today.

“I have yet to score against UniKL this season, but I believe it will be different in the final. We will rise to the occasion,” said Jung Hyun.

Last season, UniKL were the league champions while THT won the Charity Shield and TNB Cup.

THT captain Fitri Saari said: “We need to give our full commitment as it is not easy to defend a title.”

In the women’s final (Vivian May Soars Cup), league champions HockAdemy will battle PKS UniTen.

In the league, HockAdemy recorded 1-0 and 3-2 wins over PKS.

UniTen skipper Raja Norsharina Shabuddin said: “We need to focus on the match.

“It is not an impossible mission to beat HockAdemy.”

HockAdemy have been accused of being an unregistered club, and the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) are expected to come up with a decision soon.


TODAY - TNB Cup final: UniKL v THT (8pm, Pitch I); Third-Fourth: Maybank v Tenaga (6pm, Pitch I);

Vivian May Soars Cup final: HockAdemy v PKS UniTen (6pm, Pitch II); Third-Fourth: Terengganu Ladies v Police Blue Warriors (4pm, Pitch II).

*matches at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

New Straits Times

Terengganu bank on Korean ace against UniKL’s clockwork


The main man: Terengganu’s Jang Jong-hyun (back) has scored 23 goals so far in the league.

KUALA LUMPUR: It will be the “magic stick” of Terengganu’s Jang Jong-hyun versus the 11 players of Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in the TNB Cup final at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.

The repeat of last year’s final, which saw the east coast side trumping the league champions 2-1 at the same stadium, will feature a contrast of styles.

Terengganu will again bank of South Korean defender Jang Jong-hyun, who has been menacing with his penalty corners having scored 23 goals in the league, including a hattrick in the team’s 4-3 semi-final win over Tenaga Nasional. He could be the one man who will make a difference in the final and UniKL will have to find a way to neutralise the 36-year-old.

UniKL coach Arul Selvaraj, however, has other ideas.

“There are 11 players on the pitch. The one player cannot decide. I am relying on 11 players while they are relying on one,” he said.

“I am, in fact, relying on 18 players. We know they have been relying on penalty corners. So, if we do not give them penalty corners, then there is no chance of them scoring goals.

“We are playing total hockey, where everyone has a role. We are confident,” he said.

Arul said he wanted his boys to “forget” hockey after their 2-1 victory over Maybank in the semi-final.

“The final is one-off. Whoever takes their chances well will take the Cup The final itself is a different ball game. We watched both the semi-finals, the opponents had more opportunities, but the other team prevailed. It shows that in the world of hockey, statistics do not matter.

“The opponents have their strong points, we have ours. So we want our players calm and relaxed and make use of the opportunities.

“After the last game, my message to them was to take the time to watch the second semi-final and then forget about hockey. They can spend time with girlfriends or loved ones. No hockey for them until we came to training yesterday.”

Meanwhile, Terengganu coach K. Dharmaraj said he had been involved in 15 finals, having won five of them.

For his 16th final, he has asserted that his team will enter as underdogs as they are facing a team that went unbeaten in the league.

The Star of Malaysia

We have to give our all in final, says Terengganu skipper

Hockey coach K.Darmaraj

KUALA LUMPUR: When a coach tells that his players can do better, he had better listen.

When Terengganu captain Fitri Saari heard coach K. Dharmaraj tell a press conference that some of his players had not shown their true form in the TNB Cup semi-final, he knew there was some truth to it.

He felt the team would have had an easy passage to the final if they had shown their true form instead of a hard-fought 4-3 win over Tenaga.

And Fitri believes his team will have to be there in body and soul for the TNB Cup final against Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) at the National Hockey Stadium today.

“I agree with what the coach said. Not all the players in the team gave their 100%, ” said the 26-year-old national vice-captain.

“I always demand those who cannot give their 100% to just play simple hockey during matches. If they were to do extra, it would only have affected us.

“For the final, I just want the boys to give their best. Winning or losing is secondary.”

Last year, Fitri led his team to the TNB Cup by beating UniKL 2-1 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil. Today will be a repeat of last year’s final, but Fitri said it will be different this time around.

Terengganu, who finished third in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) with 31 points, lost twice to the 2-4 and 0-2 in the league to the eventual champions. However, Fitri believes the final would be a balanced game.

“For me, to defend the title will be tough. We will try our best. My demand is that the players focus and concentrate. We cannot take it easy for one second.

“The game will be balanced in terms of possession and penalty corners. Whoever takes their opportunity, will win.”

UniKL captain Mohd Marhan Abd Jalil also said the final would not be an easy game as both teams want to end on a good note.

He wants to make the double into a triple by winning the TNB Cup. He has already led his side to the Charity Shield and League victory.

For me, to play in the final is not easy. I hope the players will increase their confidence. Preparation must be essential. After the game against Maybank, we focused on recovery and watched some matches to improve our game.

“I hope the players will be ready for the final. The final will be a new game. We will give our all to win our third trophy, ” said Marhan, who will play in his fifth TNB Cup final.

The Star of Malaysia

South hockey’s goal king approaches 400 landmark

By The Hockey Paper

Prabjot ‘Prabbie’ Hunjan is surely goal king of the south. He celebrates his 20th year in the South League next season and although England Hockey’s restructure will have something to say about the league’s future, we can say with some certainty that ‘Prabbie’ will still be fit and firing with the same passion from when his granddad gave him his first hockey stick 35 years ago.

Hunjan, 46, is closing in on 400 goals – closing in on 390 at the last count – with Ramgharia 1s in his South League career. He remembers the first goal he scored, against Staines, in 1996. “I haven’t looked back and the passion is still with me,” he says with relish.

There seems to be no let up, too. “You have to put in the hard work,” he adds. “I travel in from Wycombe to Southall every Wednesday and Thursday, regardless of whether two people turn up. I believe that as long as the knees keep going I will give it my best.”

Born and raised in a Kenyan village called Kericho, as a kid he gathered as many spare sticks and shoes as possible from friends to form a team. Back then, Kenya had international clout, with plenty of visiting sides.

He recalls watching Dutch legend Floris Jan Bovelander. “I was a skinny little boy but I was taken in by his calves and fitness levels and thought ‘wow, this is what hockey is all about’. He inspired me how to hit the ball cleanly, old school style, rather than slap it.”

‘Prabbie’ came over to England in 1994 and after being spotted by a coach, warmed the bench for a few seasons before he set about on his gallivanting career chasing down goals. His record season came in 2001/02 when he notched 38 goals, the same year that Calum Giles, the GB Olympian, scored over 50 goals.

“I was fortunate to play against him,” recalls Hunjan, who works in the pharmaceutical industry. “I was on the right wing and he was on the left and I managed to get past him with a dribble. It was a great motivational thing for me. At the same time, the calibre of player we played against it was amazing. But it was always a team effort, both past and present.”

Well into his Masters career, he has played over-40s hockey for the South and had applied for England over-45s with a potential place in the offing for the Masters World Cups in 2020. He admits the key to his longevity has been his reflex training using a golf ball and reacting to the movement, a technique he still employs today.

He trains up to four times per week, with personal training sessions, as well as indoor and outdoor sessions. He jokes: “When the hockey stops at weekends, my wife says ‘what am I doing, I need to be playing hockey’!”
After such scoring feats, he admits that he could have joined Staines while at university, where his career could have flourished in higher leagues.

“From a personal perspective it could have been that springboard to push my further ahead and be seen,” he says. “There were some brilliant players at the time for Indian Gymkhana and Barford Tigers. Now, there is a change and you can see some players coming through the under-14 system, they can see the skill set exists. Ultimately, it boils down to the individual and the ambition with the performance centres and against good calibre players.”

Hunjan senses that today’s young players haven’t been given the motivation to succeed. “From an Asian perspective, I think perhaps there is that mental block but if you are good enough then why not.” He hopes this will change. For now, there is no change to the South League goal charts. “It will get beaten I’m sure in a few years with all the drag flicking coming through,” he adds. “But hopefully I can keep them at bay for as long as I can.”

This feature first appeared in our print edition in October

The Hockey Paper would like to hear more club stories like this for our print features. Email us.

Subscribe to our print or digital edition for the bigger picture in 2020. Discounts with our partners and major savings on our digital product for global readers. Find out which subscription suits you best. Sign up now!

The Hockey Paper

Petition grows to keep hockey in Fife and 3G pitches away

The Hockey Paper is getting behind a campaign to stave off yet another 3G pitch being installed which will severely affect hockey provision.

Hockey players in Fife, Scotland are fearing the worst after news that two 3G pitches are to be installed at a school in St Andrews. Around 12 teams would be affected with Madras College Former Pupils HC looking to play at the new £50 million school.

A petition has since been launched to support plans for a 2G pitch to be constructed and has grown to over 1,000 signatures.

Plans had been in place for artificial pitches for both hockey and football. Madras club secretary Jade Milne had said “the blades of ‘grass’ on a 3G pitch are so long the ball doesn’t travel.”

It is clear that a lack of a 2G pitch would limit opportunities and impact the club.

Scottish Women in Sport said: “This is inequality of sport provision and sees football and rugby yet again favoured over hockey, a sport which has huge uptake from girls.”

St Andrews has three hockey clubs with 400 members and 60 or more pupils playing outside school hours. However the only hockey-suitable pitch was at St Andrews University Sports Centre.

Scottish Hockey has been forced to intervene over the lack of hockey provision in Fife.

A statement said: “We are proud to be a sport for life and would like to ensure we can expand this in all areas of the country but this decision will have a negative impact on our ability to do so within Fife.”

Local politicians have been pushing to revert the decision and address the shortfall in hockey in the area.

Subscribe to our print or digital edition for the bigger picture in 2020. Discounts with our partners and major savings on our digital product for global readers. Find out which subscription suits you best. Sign up now!

It’s a huge year for the sport – and our mission is for all juniors, grass roots, masters and general hockey lovers to read the game.

The Hockey Paper

Obituary: John Cockett

England and Great Britain Hockey are sad to learn of the passing of former international player John Cockett at the age of 92.

John played 37 times for England and 18 times for Great Britain between 1951 and 1958 as a half back. He was part of the GB squad who won a bronze medal at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki and was also part of the team that finished fourth during the 1956 Melbourne Games.

John gave a fascinating interview about his experience of the 1952 Olympics in 2020 which can be viewed here.

As well as playing international hockey, John was also a very talented cricketer, earning a double blue at Cambridge and playing Minor Counties cricket for a number of years after graduating.

On leaving university in 1951 John played hockey for Chelmsford and took up a role at Felsted School, teaching mathematics and coaching cricket and hockey until retirement in the late 1980s. He was also heavily involved the Oxford Schools Festival.

He continued to live in the village and maintained a keen interest in the school and its sports teams until his death. He is survived by his wife Heather to whom we send out condolences.

England Hockey Board Media release

Fieldhockey.com uses cookies to assist with navigating between pages. Please leave the site if you disagree with this policy.
Copyright remains with the credited source or author