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News for 21 September 2020

All the news for Monday 21 September 2020

Re-start of the FIH Hockey Pro League – Interview with Dr. Batra, FIH President

Dr. Batra, after a six-month break due to the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the FIH Hockey Pro League is finally restarting. What are your personal feelings?

Dr. Batra: Personally, I’m so happy that international hockey is resuming.

Like all hockey fans, for sure, I’ve been missing it tremendously!

You see, the FIH Hockey Pro League brings you ‘hockey at its best’. So, it’s been a huge loss and I can’t wait for the first matches between the men’s and women’s teams of Germany and Belgium to start. Thrilling matches ahead of us.

Beyond your personal feelings, how important is it for hockey that this competition is back?

Dr. Batra: The FIH Hockey Pro League is a key promotion driver for our sport and therefore it is essential to have it back.

It gives fans the opportunity to watch fantastic hockey on a very regular basis, either at the stadium -when it’s possible – or through our broadcast partners or on the Watch.Hockey app.

It enables teams to play very competitive matches regularly as well. It also gives global exposure to our commercial partners. So, definitely, it’s really important that the Pro League is re-starting.

You’ve mentioned the Watch.Hockey app, which has just been launched. Do you have any comment on it?

Dr. Batra: I invite everyone among the worldwide hockey community to download Watch.Hockey. This app provides the new digital “home of hockey” and enables everyone to watch matches – live or delayed – as well as highlights. It also helps everyone keep abreast of the latest news from across the hockey world. It truly is the one-stop app for all hockey fans and players.

To conclude, what is your message to the global hockey community?

Dr. Batra: I wish the teams, the athletes, the officials, to make the most of being back on the field of play.

I wish the fans an enjoyable experience of watching hockey, either at the stadium, if the health measures allow it, or on TV or on Watch.Hockey.

I wish the Continental Federations, the National Associations and the clubs, to continue their great work in resuming hockey, while respecting the necessary measures implemented to protect everyone’s health.

My special thanks go to the FIH CEO and his entire team at the FIH office who has been working tirelessly during this difficult period to keep the FIH flag flying.

And above all, especially in these very challenging times, I wish everyone good health. Let’s enjoy hockey and most importantly please do not forget to download the Watch.Hockey App!

#FIHProLeague #HockeyInvites #WatchHockey

Official FIH Pro League Site

As FIH Pro League starts, hockey to have first brush with Covid protocols

The sport is gearing up for the restart of its flagship the FIH Pro League at the Düsseldorfer HC ground in Dusseldorf, Germany from September 22.

B Shrikant

The bio-secure bubble is the new normal for sports and field hockey will have its first brush with it and other Covid-19 protocols in the last few days. The sport is gearing up for the restart of its flagship the FIH Pro League at the Düsseldorfer HC ground in Dusseldorf, Germany from September 22.

Though it will be a mini-bubble for just over a week during which four matches, two each involving the men and women’s teams of Germany and Belgium will be played, it will be closely watched by the international hockey community as its success could clear the path for more international competitions and bilateral tours in the buildup to the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics next year.

International hockey will return to action after a six-month hiatus because of the Covid-19 pandemic behind closed doors at Düsseldorf when hosts Germany women take on Belgium in a FIH Pro League match on September 22 (Tuesday).

The men’s competition will start a couple of hours later with Germany men taking on Belgium men. Both the men’s and women’s teams will play the return matches at the same venue the next day, thus completing the Pro League engagements for this month.

The action will resume after a months break on October 27 with the Netherlands men and women taking on Great Britain at the Wagener Hockey Stadium at Amstelveen and will continue till November 15. Matches will resume again on January 24 and continue till the finals in June 2021. The Indian team will get into action in April 2021.

For the first two matches on September 22 at Dusseldorf, the Deutscher Hockey-Bund (Germany Hockey Federation) has made elaborate arrangements taking into account protocols set by the FIH and local government authorities.

“We fully implement the hygiene concept drawn up with the International Hockey Federation and the responsible authorities in Düsseldorf. This includes the secure bubble as well as distance and hygiene rules for all people present who are not part of the bubble,” informed Christoph Plass, Media Officer, German Hockey Federation, in an email interaction.

“They will follow the hygiene concept that the team doctors have developed based on the concept of the international federation,” he informed.

Accordingly, the four teams (two men and two women) will be staying in two different hotels, where they will have their own locked area and will have no contact to other hotel guests.

The players will tested as per local government rules before joining the bio-bubble and will be again tested as per local government protocol in Dusseldorf.

“All participants of the bubble have to show a negative corona test within 48 hours before the first game. This is a fixed rule of the hygiene concept,” Plass added.

Considering that these will be the first matches since the suspension of the Pro League in March, the entire hockey fraternity will keenly following the activities of the German hockey federation.

“All are aware of their responsibility. International competitions under the new Covid-19 guidelines have already taken place in Düsseldorf (e.g. beach volleyball tournament), so we will use the expertise,” said Plass.

While it will be a new experience for the people organising the matches, the German players will also be a bit under-prepared as they have not practiced together since January.

“There have not had any training camps. The players came together for training only a few days before the two games for the first time since January,” said Plass.

However, the players have been following the programmes set by the coaching staff during the lockdown and therefore were in peak fitness when they assembled for their training sessions, according to Shane McLeod, chief coach of the Belgium men’s team, ranked No 1 in the World.

“We were able to do a lot of technical stuff, when we could have training sessions, their technical levels were very high. I would even dare say, for a lot of the players, they made some gains during their time because we were able to focus quite individually on each of the athletes. So, there were positives. The big negative was not playing together so we have had to rebuild our game a little bit but it has given us an opportunity to add more things to their game so our overall game gets better,” McLeod told the FIH’s official website.

With the players getting into action after a long time, both the German men and their Belgium counterparts will try their junior players as they build up their squad for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“I think one of the groups within our squad that has made the most progress over the past couple of years has been the young guys.Those guys, we are going to try to give them experience in the first part of the Pro League and give them back for investing in our team and I will be really interested to see where they get to by the time Tokyo [2020 Olympic Games] arrives,” said McLeod.

The German men’s team will also be thirsting for revenge as they were thrashed 8-0 by the reigning European champions when the two teams had met at home in the Pro League in 2019. Germany has made a solid start against Spain in the second edition of the Pro League, but that was before the league was suspended.

Kais Al Saadi, the head coach of the German men’s team said though his team, which had a week-long camp, was not in ideal preparation, he was sure it will give its best against the World No 1.

“Pro League has been very good for us in 2020. We were looking forward to the games. Our start in Valencia [against Spain] was okay. Motivational concerns, I don’t have, but, of course, the team is far from being on-point and sharp and ready. But we will learn a lot and compensate with excitement and motivation,” said Al Saadi.

Hindustan Times

Michi gets up to speed

Photo credit: World Sports Pics/Frank Uijlenbroek

Michelle or Michi Meister is a hugely experienced top class umpire, with two World Cups (2014 and 2018), three Indoor World Cups (2011, 2015 and 2018) and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games already on her umpiring CV. She is on the umpires roster for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Meister made umpiring history in 2018 when she became the first female umpire, alongside Belgium’s Laurine Delforge, to umpire in the men’s EuroHockey League.

Prior to becoming an umpire, Meister played hockey in Germany for 20 years, and since she stepped into an umpiring role, she has taken charge of more than 300 club matches in the German national league and has 91 senior international matches to her name.

In 2018, Meister was voted FIH Female Umpire of the Year.

How important for you as an umpire is a return to international hockey ahead of next year's Olympic Games?

Michelle Meister: For us umpires it is as important as for the players and coaches to return to international hockey ahead of next year’s Olympic Games. It is important for us to get match practice, to get the feeling for the game. We need to get used to the speed and the tactics of top class teams. We need to know the abilities of individual players.

What have you been doing to ensure you are physically and mentally prepared for Pro League hockey?

Michelle Meister: During lockdown and the past few months, it was only possible to keep your fitness by training on your own mostly, which is hard and boring. But it had to be done because it is absolutely necessary that we are fit when Pro League starts again. By watching matches and talking to colleagues, we could keep our minds focused and we shared experiences and expectations but nothing actually compared to the feeling of being part of the game and supporting the players to show their best performance.

As umpires, what excites you about the FIH Pro League competition?

Michelle Meister: FIH Hockey Pro League to me is a fantastic way of bringing world class hockey together to show the world how exciting and spectacular our sport is. I am really looking forward to restarting the Pro League and I am sure you are too.


Official FIH Pro League Site

Africa Hockey Qualifier postponed

by Helge Schütz

Maggy Mengo in action for Namibia. File photo

THE Africa Indoor Hockey Qualifier which was supposed to take place in Balitto, South Africa this coming weekend has been postponed till a date still to be determined.

The president of the Namibia Hockey Association, Marc Nel, on Sunday confirmed the news.

"It is correct that the qualifier, the Indoor Africa Cup, has been put off for 25 to 27 September and postponed to a date to be determined by all participants. This was officially communicated as such by the Africa Hockey Federation,” he said.

The Indoor Africa Cup serves as a qualifier for the 2021 Indoor World Cup, which is due to take place in Liege, Belgium from 3-7 February 2021, but according to Nel it's quite likely that it will also be postponed.

"The FIH (international hockey federation) will decide in the coming week what the status is regarding the Indoor World Cup. The expectation is that this would be postponed to 2022,” he said.

“The Africa Hockey Federation has informed us that FIH will make an announcement on 24 September regarding the Indoor World Cup. It all depends on the decision of the FIH. They will then inform us when the qualifier will take place and when the Indoor World Cup will be played,” he added.

The Namibian

Kyle Marshall switches from England back to Ireland hockey

Beeston’s Kyle Marshall has switched allegiances back to Ireland after briefly playing for England.

Marshall, 22, was the latest Ulster-born athlete to harbour ambition of playing for Great Britain following a string of high-calibre players making the move in recent years, which involved a three-year exclusion period with no international hockey.

But as Marshall has yet to play senior England or GB hockey, he has been tempted back to try out for the Irish national team.

Marshall did play for England at last year’s European Junior Championships in Valencia.

The full back finished with a first piece of silverware as England lost 5-3 in the final to Germany. Marshall also played for Ireland in the same event in 2017.

Ireland coach Mark Tumilty told the Belfast Telegraph: “I always felt he had the ability to be a senior international hockey player and I am delighted that he has taken the opportunity to play for Ireland. He is certainly a great addition to squad.”

Former Banbridge star Marshall, who played in the 3-3 draw at Wimbledon on Sunday, is highly rated, with David Ames telling THP while still an English player: “He looks a very good player He’s a good talent and one to look out for.”

The Hockey Paper

Cup kingpins Garvey leave it late to deny UCD fairytale win

Andy Williamson celebrates his winning goal. Pic: Adrian Boehm

In the end, logic prevailed as the all-time record Irish Senior Cup winners Lisnagarvey prevailed against the first-time finalists UCD but, boy, did they get one hell of a scare.

Enter the Comber Road clubhouse and the walls are adorned with gold-leaf boards hailing the “magnificent seven” and pictures of incredible feats. Unbeaten since May 2019 and 6-0 winners the last time the two clubs met, surely the fairytale was set to be crushed with minimum of fuss, especially when they were one up inside 75 seconds.

But, with 12 minutes to go and a man down, Garvey were behind 2-1 with clean openings tough to come by; Jonny Bell admitted afterwards there was rising dread that “this was slipping away”.

Bizarrely, Andy Edgar’s yellow card – for a hard shoulder on the elusive Conor Empey – was the catalyst. Soon after, Max Maguire’s booted clearance was caught by Ben Nelson and he swooped to flick in his second of the game.

Andy Williamson then finished off the winner from Daniel Nelson’s cross, flicking in from a few yards. Williamson had been muttering under his breath at halfway as Edgar departed for the naughty chair, waiting to return to the pitch, but was soon gleefully fist-pumping.

He joked afterwards to the Belfast Telegraph’s John Flack the goal may earn him an extra “spud or two at Sunday dinner”; his girlfriend Katie’s father Ivan Morris has nine Irish Senior Cups to his name.

There was still time for more required heroics, James Milliken producing a remarkable save from Guy Sarratt’s drag-flick in the closing two minutes to tip the ball onto the post to safety.  

Such drama seemed a world away when Garvey took that early lead, Bell stepping forward to feed Troy Chambers on the baseline, keeping it in play and finding poacher-supreme Ben Nelson to flick in.

But there was no capitulation; UCD replied immediately with Andrew Meates at the back post to flip home from a right-wing cross with three minutes on the clock

And, with Empey ghosting past players in midfield, UCD were good value when they took the lead before half-time. It was a scramble as Meates chip looped high, Guy Sarratt’s attempted slam-dunk bounced off the post and was eventually bundled in, Sam Byrne getting the official credit.

After the big break, the students sat deeper and deeper as Garvey ground away but without overly threatening, their biggest chances of the third quarter falling to defenders Johnny Lynch and Bell.

They kept at it and eventually got their reward, ending a relative drought going back 15 years.

Bell missed that last win; in the wider squad of 18 but not in the matchday panel, he decided to play underage international cricket instead, foregoing a medal.

This time, it was meant to be his wedding weekend but that was put on hold for six months, thrilled to be part of a different kind of celebration.

“They came out with amazing energy which we struggled to match and we weren’t good enough in the first half but what character to come back, for those young lads to take the game by the scruff of the neck and score two goals in that last quarter and then defend resolutely.”  

Lisnagarvey captain James Corry. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Coach Erroll Lutton was the man to lift the trophy as Garvey captain in 2005 and he was happy to pass on the mantle to James Corry: “We knew it was coming around three or four months ago and gave us a chance for some recognition for all the work we put in for the year. It has been 15 years since we won it  so I am glad someone else has that to their name.

“It was a proper cup final. UCD, a young team with a lot of representative players at Under-18 and 21, and some now in the senior setup, played their part and it could have gone either way.  

“As the home team, perhaps we looked a little nervous but eventually dug it out. We got that brilliant start but they fought back immediately and played very well. It was fine details – we know Guy [Sarratt] is good off the top but our penalty corner team did so well and Milk [James Milliken] tipping it off the post, there was not much in it.

“Maybe not as much quality as both teams would like but that’s regularly the way – you don’t get the quality but you do get the drama, getting down to the last quarter 2-1 behind.”

For UCD boss Michael Styles, he could not have asked for more: “very proud of my team and our players. Tactically, they performed as we wanted to but ran out of gas at the end.  

“With Garvey, you have to fight all the way to the end; a few lads played full 70 minutes and that showed in the last quarter. First half, I thought we were the better side and controlled it really well but not enough in the tank.

“It was a big performance and they can be proud of what they have done with the club. Hopefully this isn’t the end of UCD in national finals and we will see them in a few more!”

Men’s Irish Senior Cup final  

Lisnagarvey 3 (B Nelson 2, A Williamson) UCD 2 (A Meates, S Byrne)

Lisnagarvey: J Milliken, J Lorimer, J Lynch, J Bell, M McNellis, J Corry, B Nelson, C Chambers, A Edgar, T Chambers, D Nelson  

Subs: A Williamson, H Morris,  M Aughey, M Morris, M Milliken,  P Hunter,  J Rithchie  

UCD: M Maguire, A Flynn, C Empey, A Meates, D Nolan, M Samuel, E Ramsay, G Sarratt, Z Agnew, J Guilfoyle, S Byrne  

Subs: J Pullen,  A Keane,  A Tutty, P Lynch, C Murphy, S Wells  

Umipres: R Argent, I Strange

The Hook

Irish Junior Cup, Women’s, Match Report. Old Alex V Pembroke

“It means so much to us,” said Pembroke Wanderers Co-Captain Anouk De Joung as the team took home the Women’s Irish Junior Cup for the 2019/20 season today in Belfield. “We’ve been working super hard and it just feels amazing to finally win it. The team has done everything we could, we’ve been training so hard after the long break, they’re so fit, so eager, so disciplined.  I think we deserve it.”

Old Alex played well throughout, not making it easy for the Pembroke side to take home the Cup. The first chance of the game came from Old Alex, narrowly avoiding getting themselves on the scoreboard as the ball hit the cross bar. Pembroke weren’t long creating an opportunity for themselves, with a penalty corner awarded in their favour moments later. However, Crampton saved well for Old Alex, and the rebound was pushed out with Old Alex immediately launching a challenge on Pembroke’s Pert at the opposite end of the pitch, who kept her cool to kick the ball out of danger.

The first goal of the game came when Rachael Scott fired a shot into the Old Alex circle to eventually find Tori Wensley who slipped it past a Crampton who had already dived to defend the goal. Old Alex pressed hard for the remainder of the quarter, with Joyce Leyden shooting the ball into Pembroke’s circle in the final 30seconds of the quarter. Unfortunately, the Alex player’s closest were too far out to make more of this opportunity and the ball rolled wide of the goal.

Some lovely interceptions from Robyn Heatherington and Elaine Thompson saw possession continue to switch back and forward in the opening minutes of the second quarter. A penalty corner for Old Alex was thwarted as the Pembroke defence prevented Ellen Hood from finding an Old Alex player with a clearer shot on the goal. Pembroke’s Fiona O’Donovan was immediately on the attack after this, getting right up to the Old Alex circle before Fiona Walshe managed to keep her out. Katie O’Byrne and Rachael O’Brien worked well together to challenge Old Alex again before being intercepted by Rachel Hinkson. Although it wasn’t long before Pembroke were in possession again, with Alex Purcell breaking into the Old Alex circle forcing them to defend.

A shot from Elaine Thompson later in the quarter looked promising for Pembroke however, went just wide of the goal keeping the score Old Alex 0 – 1 Pembroke Wanderers. Rachael Scott was on hand soon afterwards intercepting the ball from Old Alex, passing off to Emma Keilthy to enter the Old Alex circle. Keilthy skilfully moved around Ella Healy and pass back to Scott who managed to get the ball past Old Alex’s Nugent who had moved out of the goal to defend against Keilthy’s threat, increasing Pembroke’s lead. A penalty corner to Pembroke was the final play of the first half, with De Joung securing another goal to make it Old Alex 0 – 3 Pembroke Wanderers.

The second half was marked by a number of chances for Old Alex in particular with several penalty corners awarded in their favour. However, each time Louise Pert and the Pembroke defence forced them away from the goal. Old Alex continued to press throughout the second half, fighting the whole way to the end to get on the score board. A Green Card for Tori Wensley in the final quarter provided some hope, but ultimately Old Alex failed to capitalise on the opportunity of having an extra player on the pitch for the two minute period. Despite their efforts and the strong energy the brought to the match throughout, the final score remained Old Alex 0 – 3 Pembroke Wanderers.

“We were sharp we were on the ball and we got the job done,” said Co-Captain Fiona O’Donovan, “it’s a credit to Simon Kristian and the girls. We were ready for it and we are ready for the start of the season. It was great to do it under the unusual circumstances.”

Old Alex 0, Pembroke Wanderers 3 (T Wensley, R Scott, A De Joung).

Old Alex: C Nugent, L Noble, E Hood, A Maher, J Leyden, L Power, F Walshe, N Dockery, R Heatherington, A Heatherington, Y Rogers, M Power, G Dunlop, R Hinkson, S O’Mahony Gilsenan, E Healy, A Sadlier, C Crampton.

Pembroke Wanderers: L Pert, C Devane, C Byrne, A Purcell, L Johnson, F O’Donovan, S Daly, K McErlean, E Thompson, C Hill, N Douglas, E Keilthy, R O’Brien, T Wensley, A De Jong, R Scott, K O’Byrne, J Beatty, E Pasley, A Lynch.

Irish Hockey Association media release

ROUND-UP: English Men's Hockey League

A last gasp penalty corner from Nick Bandurak helped Holcombe snatch a dramatic victory over Old Georgians, winning 3-2 in their opening match of the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.

Holcombe were 2-0 ahead at half time thanks to goals from in-form Bandurak, before Ashley Jackson and Sam Ward struck for the Georgians to bring the game level midway through the second half.

However, Bandurak completed his hat-trick in the final seconds to help his side take victory with the last play of the match.

Elsewhere, reigning champions Surbiton kicked off their campaign in emphatic style with an 8-1 victory over Brooklands MU.

England and GB international Luke Taylor stole the show, scoring five penalty corners, while other goals came from Ben Boon, Arjan Drayton Chana and Rob Farrington. Peter Flanagan scored Brooklands MU’s only goal.

The University of Exeter played last season’s runners-up Hampstead & Westminster in an action-packed game which saw the visitors come away 5-3 victors.

Sam French and Charlie Taylor traded early goals to make it 1-1, but Hampstead & Westminster took the lead with Hywel Jones scoring on 21 minutes. Matt Guise Brown added goals on 25 and 32 minutes, while James Oates’ 29th minute strike gave then a 5-1 advantage.

The University of Exeter pulled one back on 50 minutes through a Duncan Scott penalty stroke, and Max Sydenham made it 5-3 on 56 minutes, but there was to be no comeback.

Wimbledon and Beeston played out another thriller, with Chris Proctor scoring a late penalty corner to secure Beeston a point away from home.

The game was level at half time at 1-1 with debutant Rory Patterson’s 14th minute field goal being cancelled out by a penalty corner strike from Adam Dixon five minutes later.

Sam Apoola gave Beeston the lead on 41 minutes, but Ian Sloan levelled the game on 52 minutes. Patterson’s second goal edged Wimbledon back in front, but Proctor’s late goal ensured a share of the spoils.

East Grinstead played Premier Division newcomers Oxted, and ran out 2-1 winners thanks to goals from Luke Emmett and Louis Gittens, while Tim Guise-Brown scored for Oxted.


Men’s Hockey League (Sun, 20 September 2020):

Premier Division: East Grinstead 2, Oxted 1; Holcombe 3, Old Georgians 2; Surbiton 8, Brooklands Manchester University 1; University of Exeter 3, Hampstead & Westminster 5; Wimbledon 3, Beeston 3.

England Hockey Board Media release

Surbiton’s double-act off to winning start in England

England’s double champions Surbiton got off to a winning start with both their women and men’s teams producing impressive opening day wins in their national league.

Two goals from GB under-23’s Lottie Ross helped the women to a 3-0 victory over Buckingham. Crowned champions for the seventh consecutive time last season, Surbiton took the lead through Eloise Stenner from a penalty corner in the 33rd minute.

Ross, making her return to Surbiton after a stint with Beeston and the University of Nottingham, bagged her first goal 11 minutes later and sealed victory with just a minute left on the clock.

Elsewhere, two promoted clubs clashed as Division One South champions Wimbledon showed their firepower with a 4-0 defeat of Swansea.

Last season’s runners-up East Grinstead have made comparatively few changes to their squad over the summer, and it was familiar faces Tess Howard and Sophie Bray who scored their goals as they beat Clifton Robinsons 2-1 away from home.

Finishing just two points behind East Grinstead last season, Hampstead & Westminster were 2-0 winners at Beeston with second half goals from Holly Hunt and Lucy Hyams steering them to victory.

Holcombe hosted Loughborough Students in the day’s final game and it was a closely-fought match with Izzy Petter’s 14th minute field proving enough to give the Students victory.

In the men’s competition, reigning champions Surbiton kicked off their campaign in emphatic style with an 8-1 victory over Brooklands MU.

England and GB international Luke Taylor stole the show, scoring five penalty corners, while other goals came from Ben Boon, Arjan Drayton Chana and Rob Farrington. Peter Flanagan scored Brooklands MU’s only goal.

The University of Exeter played last season’s runners-up Hampstead & Westminster in an action-packed game which saw the visitors come away 5-3 victors.

Sam French and Charlie Taylor traded early goals to make it 1-1, but Hampstead & Westminster took the lead with Hywel Jones scoring on 21 minutes. Matt Guise Brown added goals on 25 and 32 minutes, while James Oates’ 29th minute strike gave then a 5-1 advantage.

The University of Exeter pulled one back on 50 minutes through a Duncan Scott penalty stroke, and Max Sydenham made it 5-3 on 56 minutes, but there was to be no comeback.

Euro Hockey League media release

Perlis advance to Razak Cup quarter-finals

By Jugjet Singh

Pic courtesy of Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC)

PERLIS reached the quarter-finals of the men's Razak Cup following a 3-2 win over Penang in a Group A match in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

Perlis, who drew against defending champions Melaka in the opening match, topped the three-team group with four points.

National player Najmi Farizal gave Perlis the lead off a second-minute penalty corner while Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (43rd) and Mughni Kamal (49th) scored the other two.

Penang netted through Amirul Hamizan (10th) and Hafiizhuddin Zaidi (26th).

Perlis reached the quarter-finals of the men’s Razak Cup following a 3-2 win over Penang in a Group A match in Bukit Jalil yesterday. - Pic courtesy of Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC)

In Group D, Kuala Lumpur are likely to top the pool and advance to the quarter-finals. Negri Sembilan, Pahang and Kedah are the teams in contention to join KL in the last eight.

Negri take on Pahang today.

"We started our campaign by beating Kedah (2-1) but drew 0-0 with KL. We need at least a draw against Pahang to move into the quarter-finals," said Negri team manager S. Chandran.

RESULTS — Men, Group A: Penang 2 Perlis 3; Group B: Perak 2 Sabah 0.

Women, Group B: Pahang 1 Kuala Lumpur 2, Sarawak 0 Malacca 3; Group C: Armed Forces 2 Negri 2.

New Straits Times

Current Kookaburras recall Sydney 2000 memories

Tom Craig - 5 years of age during the 2000 Olympics

Most of them were in primary school at the time but some of the current Kookaburras crop have recalled what they could remember 20 years on from the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

As part of the 20 year anniversary of #Sydney2000 the Australian Olympic Committee have created a social media campaign to celebrate the Games.

#MySydney2000 is about people sharing their personal memories of Sydney 2000.

Follow @AUSOlympicTeam and the #MySydney2000 hashtag to celebrate other people’s memories throughout the Sydney 2000 anniversary.

Current Kookaburras memories of Sydney 2000

Daniel Beale (7 years of age during the 2000 Olympics)
“I remember watching the Olympics at home, but I was a lot more interested in playing sport than watching it. My two memories of Sydney were Cathy Freeman winning the 400 metres and Grant Hackett swimming in the 1500 metres. They’re the two events I vividly remember watching and thinking, ‘this is awesome’.”

Josh Beltz (5 years of age during the 2000 Olympics)
“The only thing I really remember were the mascots. Was Millie the echidna? I can remember those pretty fondly but that’s about it.”

Tom Craig (5 years of age during the 2000 Olympics - pictured above)
“I remember watching it on TV more than I can remember being there. I remember going to watch the Paralympics. I remember watching goalball and it blowing my mind – it is an incredible sport. I remember going to watch the wheelchair rugby and the athletics. Living in Sydney, it was such a buzz.”

Matt Dawson (6 years of age during the 2000 Olympics)
“I’m not sure if I went to watch any hockey. I can’t remember a whole lot which is a bit sad because of how exciting it was at the time. I just know it was an amazing time for sport in New South Wales and Australia.”

Johan Durst (9 years of age during the 2000 Olympics)
“We were living in Manly at the time and we went to some athletics and the indoor volleyball. We also went to have a look at the kayaking. I remember jumping on the train with the family and heading out to Sydney Olympic Park and getting out the station and seeing thousands of people all dressed up – it was great.”

Tyler Lovell (13 years of age during the 2000 Olympics)
“I remember Cathy Freeman winning and how devastating it was watching Jane Saville get disqualified in the walk. The other thing I remember was the Thorpedo (Ian Thorpe) domination of the pool.”

Eddie Ockenden (13 years of age during the 2000 Olympics)
“It was probably the first Olympics I got to watch that was in a good time zone where there was sport on all day. I also remember watching Roy & HG at night…and apart from all of the big Australian events that everyone watched, I remember watching the Hockeyroos win gold and the Kookaburras win bronze. I watched a lot of hockey which was really cool because back then there was no hockey on TV, so it was one of the only times you could watch it.”

Matt Swann (11 years of age during the 2000 Olympics)
“I think I was on school holidays so my sister and I literally just watched the entire Olympics. We pretty much woke up and sat in front of the TV all day for the entire two weeks. The most memorable moment that sticks in my mind was Cathy Freeman winning gold and also Ian Thorpe dominating in the pool.”

Aran Zalewski (9 years of age during the 2000 Olympics)
“We were living in Sydney when the Games were on so I remember going to quite a few of the hockey games. I remember it being really hot and eating heaps of Calippo ice blocks while I was watching. I can also remember Brent Livermore hitting the post in the semi final which the Kookaburras lost.”

Hockey Australia media release

Current Hockeyroos recall Sydney 2000 memories

Jocelyn Bartram - 7 years of age during the 2000 Olympics

One reportedly lost a tooth, another made an Aussie sign. A host of the current Hockeyroos have taken a trip down memory lane back to the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

As part of the 20 year anniversary of #Sydney2000 the Australian Olympic Committee have created a social media campaign to celebrate the Games.

#MySydney2000 is about people sharing their personal memories of Sydney 2000.

Follow @AUSOlympicTeam and the #MySydney2000 hashtag to celebrate other people’s memories throughout the Sydney 2000 anniversary.

Hockeyroos memories of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games

Laura Barden (6 years of age during the 2000 Olympics)
“My parents were there so I was being baby sat. Rumour has it that I lost my first tooth during Cathy Freeman’s race – that’s what mum tells me. I don’t remember the moment I lost my tooth but that’s what I hear happened.”

Jocelyn Bartram (7 years of age during the 2000 Olympics - pictured above)
“I have distinct memories of watching more of the Paralympics than the Olympics. I remember watching goalball and getting really excited and cheering and being told not to cheer too loudly because they need to hear the ball.”

Edwina Bone (12 years of age during the 2000 Olympics)
“Our family were in the UK because my dad was on a teacher exchange there. I remember waking up in the middle of the night to watch events and then be really tired for school the next day.”

Emily Chalker (8 years of age during the Sydney Olympics)
“The only memory I have is anger when my parents went to watch the hockey and didn’t take any of us kids! We went to the Paralympics and watched all kinds of events – those athletes and sports were incredible to watch.”

Rachael Lynch (14 years of age during the Sydney Olympics)
“I went to the Olympics and remember making a sign. I watched the Kookaburras semi final that they lost in penalty strokes. I remember it took ages to decide what to write on the sign…I think I ended up putting on it, ‘Aussies are here – watch out!’ We went to a lot of other sports and it was just the atmosphere that stuck out. I went with my family and it was this carnival style event. We all had our green and gold on and it was just great to be part of the event as a spectator. I went to the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpar and then Sydney was my second experience and I loved it.”

Karri McMahon (8 years of age during the Sydney Olympics)
“I remember watching Cathy Freeman’s race. We lived in Brisbane at the time and literally the whole family sat down all day every day and watched the whole Olympics. I also remember watching Thorpey and Hackett and a lot of the swimming.”

Georgie Morgan (7 years of age during the Sydney Olympics)
“I went with my family. I think the thing that sticks out was just the experience of being at Sydney Olympic Park. I had a photo from 2000 of me and my three sisters – mum had braided our hair and we had all of this Aussie gear on. Then we had a photo with the four us again at Rio 2016. It was awesome to go and watch a range of different sports.”

Hockey Australia media release

Award of Merit - John Sanders

John Sanders can be credited for much of Australian hockey’s historical data and the creation of accurate historical records, especially of all Australian women’s and men’s international matches going back to the early 1900’s.

Equipped with the necessary skills required, John has worked on this enormous project together with current Chair of the Hall of Fame Committee, Richard Aggiss since 2008. No one from Hockey Australia commissioned John to undertake this task – it was purely voluntary and a labour of love.

In the beginning it was researching every newspaper in libraries and through the Trove, old Hockey Circles, and contacting friends in hockey across Australia and Richard’s network of friends across the world in the search for results and goal scorers.

John established the system of keeping the records and over the 11 years this system has been modified and updated to include the extra data that has come to light. This research included hundreds of hours in the WA State Library and on Trove, looking through old newspaper articles from across Australia, often getting snippets of information at a time. This type of research requires persistence and dedication over many years.

These records, which have been available on the Hockey Australia webpage, include match results and goal scorers, player names including married name where known and an official HA player number is allocated to each Australian player. As most of the official records from AHA and AWHA have been destroyed or lost over the years much of this detail of who played in each match is still unknown.

John in his own quirky way has sourced much information by speaking with Hockeyroos and Kookaburra players and sometimes their parents who have all contributed information from family scrap books or anecdotal evidence of who played and when. John is often referred to as “the Historian”. He has established his own Hockey History page on the internet and regularly reports on interesting facets of the Australian teams backed up with statistical data.

In recent years Hockey Australia have often asked John to prepare detailed information on a player’s hockey career, especially for milestone matches or obituaries for past Olympians or champions of our sport. When Jamie Dwyer retired in 2016, ending his illustrious career, John was able to provide all the detail and information on Jamie’s career, much of it used by news outlets across Australia and in this instance across the hockey world. This would not have been possible without John’s work over the past 11 years.

John has been co-opted onto the Hockey Australia Hall of Champions committee with the purpose of providing the committee with details on players being considered for Induction into the Hall of Fame. He is then asked to write biographies that provide the details of a player’s career that support the recommendations to the HA Board. This service is invaluable and John’s work has provided detail on players that until the hockey history project was either unknown or sketchy at best. It is now also common to hear TV commentators and hockey experts using statistical information sourced from the Australian Hockey Records.

What he said…

“I am thrilled to receive this honour! I enjoyed being part of the Hockey Australia History Project.” John Sanders

From those in the know…

“John Sanders’ contribution to hockey cannot be denied and his legacy of years of work will live on long after he has passed on.” Richard Aggiss (Chair, Hockey Australia Awards Committee)

Hockey Australia media release

The Balbir the Hockey World forgot

“He comes to the ground on a bicycle but after the match always returns on the shoulders of the fans”. This is how a committed fan of hockey described the saga of Balbir Singh of Railways who celebrates his  75th birthday today. A multi-sport genius, Balbir Singh  (Western Railway), who sparkled for India and who now lives in the States, was not even honoured with the Arjuna award. Its strange. Its a pity. Its a grave injustice to a great player of our times. Senior journalist Nandakumar Marar spoke to select former players who watched him play from close quarters to bring the genius’ feat to the GenNext.

Balbir Singh Railways carried on by crowd after a match, a usual sight in his times

This is second in the s2h’s UNSUNG HEROES Series. The first one dealt coach Narender Gautam

Player-Coach Joaquim  Carvalho

Mumbai fans of ‘Railways Balbir Singh’ are many, including three special people. Joaquim Carvalho and M M Somaya, established internationals who later took up coaching assignments with national squad, played against the dynamic Western Railway centre-forward and local rivalry turned into respect and friendship. India women team captain, Eliza Nelson, saw Balbir from close as a colleague and wondered at the contrast between his fearsome persona on the hockey pitch and humble soul away from the goalmouth.


Joaquim Carvalho: “Everyone wanted to be a Balbir, in those days when we were young. If anyone dribbled, the youngster would be asked whether he imagined himself to be a Balbir Singh? I remember going to watch a tournament, in younger days, and told that Western Railway was playing. The ground was packed and we found a place near the fence to watch him in action. I never knew that later on, I would be marking him in Mahindra & Mahindra vs Western Railway games. We were lucky to watch him play.

I remember three goals during a Senior Nationals at Cuttack, one each in the quarterfinal, semi-final and final. Each goal was scored in identical style and against three Indian goalkeepers in match after match. He beat Olympio Fernandes, Allan Schoefield, Arvind Chhabra. Balbir went through like a bullet, created space and hammered the ball in.

Balbir Singh ranks high up there with the best centre-forwards I played against… Hassan Sardar, Roderick Bowmann, Terry Walsh, Stefan Blocher. Balbir stands right on top, because if you gave him one split second, he would zoom off like a bullet, followed by a try at goal or score a goal. Once in motion, it was difficult to catch him, with his superb physique and body weight, speed and strength… qualities needed in a centre-forward. Besides scoring stunning goals, he also took short corners. Forwards like Bowmann scoring from corners was talked about, here we had our own centre-forward as versatile. Balbir liked to be with the Mumbai boys, most of his hockey was played here and we got along well.”

Olympic captain MM Somaya

M M Somaya: “Right from a young age, I have watched hockey and played at a competitive level when Balbir Singh was probably beyond his prime. Even then, he was the best centre-forward I had seen. One can only imagine the quality in him in his best years. I rate him as the best centre-forward in my list. Physically he was a massive guy and because of his speed, he was different. He had a rhythm when running that gave him a natural advantage. Balbir was a sprinter in athletics, I have seen photos of him taking part in the javelin throw also. The pace and power in him was phenomenal. He used to cut the last opponent in the D on the run, slam the ball with a wrong-footed shot. I can never forget one match, one shot. We were in the Junior Nationals team and played against Western Railway for a short while. My goalkeeper was beaten by Balbir, then very fit, who took a shot at target. I rushed to cover the goalline and can never forget the ball almost brushing my ears and flying past into the net. He was such a good finisher, words cannot explain. Competing in hockey, football and athletics made him an unique package. There is a note circulating on social media, about him being named among probables for Merdeka Cup Football Tournament. I have never seen him play football, but if called for the national camp meant he was of that level. Athletics for Western Railway he is known face in track and field. A rare combination in Indian sport

Padam Shri Eliza Nelson, Asian Games gold medlist

Padma Shiri Eliza Nelson: “I first saw Balbir Singh, later to become my colleague in Western Railway, at the Murugappa Cup Hockey Tournament in Chennai. A robust player on the field, he was carrying an injury but with all the strapping and bandages, the hockey from him was mesmerising, A treat for any spectator and the reason for his popularity among fans of the sport. Later on I joined WR in 1977, where Balbir worked as Sports Inspector. He was totally a different person, compared to the hockey field. Humble, quiet and down-to-earth, he kept away from office politics. On the field, he was a terror for defences and one of the best Indian hockey has produced. Speed in the forwardline, power to shoot once in the D were amazing qualities of his game. Balbir was towards the end of his career when I got to watch and admire him, one can only imagine what he must have been during his prime. I think he is one of the rare players to have played in 40-plus Senior National Championships, which is a great achievement in any sportsperson”.

Meeting president of India

“I remember stories of his fame spreading internationally, it is said that when Balbir was not chosen to represent India after 1968, foreign nations questioned his absence and stated No Balbir, No India. He was a deserving case for the Padma Bhushan award by the national government for contribution to making Indian hockey successful, via crucial goals at the Olympic Games bronze medal match and the Asian Games gold medal game. Fans coming for hockey came to watch him, Balbir repaid their faith at every level of competition. Wishing him the very best of health and happiness.”

Photos: 2nd and 3rd from top courtesy Balbir Singh; others by K. Arumugam


Winning Streak Extended to 47 Games as UNC Opens Season With Win Over Wake Forest

By Avery Trendel

Photo via UNC Athletics

After back-to-back undefeated seasons capped off with national championships, the UNC field hockey team stayed true to form in its 2020 season opener on Sunday, defeating the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in Chapel Hill by a score of 3-1.

Cassie Sumfest, Erin Matson and Meredith Sholder each scored for the Tar Heels (1-0), who racked up 18 shots on the day while holding Wake Forest (0-1) to just seven.

Sumfest–who missed all of last season with a torn ACL–got on the board midway through the second quarter to put UNC ahead 1-0, but the Demon Deacons responded shortly after with a goal from Nat Friedman.

The Tar Heels still managed to take the lead into halftime thanks to a successful penalty corner attempt by Erin Matson, the top scorer in the country last season.

From there, UNC extended its lead in the third quarter when Matson found Sholder–who slipped the ball past the goalkeeper.

Like Sumfest, Sholder also missed the entirety of last season with an injury.

“I was really pleased for Cassie and Meredith, not just to be out there again but to both score,” head coach Karen Shelton said afterwards. “There’s room for improvement, but today was a good start. It’s never easy to go play at Wake Forest – they’re always a tough opponent, and especially at their place.”

Up Next:

UNC’s next game comes on Oct. 2, when the Tar Heels travel to take on Louisville in their first road game of the young season.


Johannesburg's Hoërskool Linden’s new hockey Astro ready to play

Reuven Blignault

Hoerskool Linden newly constructed AstroTurf is watered and ready for action. Photo: Supplied

Hoërskool Linden is proud to announce the completion of their brand new, state-of-the-art sport AstroTurf.

The school commenced with the construction of the highly anticipated artificial turf hockey project in November last year and the mammoth task was undertaken by Sporturf South Africa.

Hoerskool Linden’s management team and representatives from Sporturf South Africa shake hands at the handover of the school’s newly constructed AstroTurf. Photo: Supplied

Hoërskool Linden’s management would also like to thank Johan Louw and the rest of the Sporturf team as well as Philip Booyens of the SCIP Engineering Group for going beyond the normal call of duty to facilitate the successful completion on this massive flagship project for the school during these extraordinary times.

“Considering the abnormal events of the Covid-19 lockdown, our hockey project is progressed well and we are proud to hand over its completion to Hoërskool Linden,” said Booyens. The new hockey Astro will name Hoërskool Linden as the only Afrikaans school in the Johannesburg north area with this kind of facility.

Harry Gardener, a member of the school’s governing body responsible for sport, added that the school will be focusing more and more on sport as part of a balanced education and the Astro forms an integral part of its future vision.

Another exciting feature of the new AstroTurf is that the facility will allow for greater community participation as it will be made available for tournaments and training for other schools and clubs in the area.

Northcliff and Melville Times

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