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News for 30 May 2021

All the news for Sunday 30 May 2021

Trans-Tasman series 2021 - 30 May

2021 Test Matches NZL vs AUS (M)
Palmerston North (NZL)

27 May 2021     NZL v AUS   1 - 3
28 May 2021     NZL v AUS   0 - 3
30 May 2021     NZL v AUS   2 - 4
01 Jun 2021 19:30 (GMT +12)     NZL v AUS

2021 Test Matches NZL vs AUS (W)
Palmerston North (NZL)

27 May 2021     NZL v AUS   1 - 1
28 May 2021     NZL v AUS   2 - 2
30 May 2021     NZL v AUS   2 - 2
01 Jun 2021 17:30 (GMT +12)     NZL v AUS

FIH Match Centre

Three Kookaburra victories and a third draw in the women’s clash

It was daytime hockey for the first time in the Sentinel Homes Trans-Tasman series in Palmerston North this afternoon, but sadly for Vantage Black Sticks fans the series was still without a win for the home sides.

In the first-up women’s clash, a much improved effort from the Black Sticks in the second half gave the Manawatū crowd hope of a home side victory after two earlier draws but it wasn’t to be with a late Australian goal leaving the final score at 2-2.

Meanwhile the Kookaburras collected their third of the series 4-2 with probably their best performance in front of the sold out crowd of around 1800 at the new Massey University turf.

Vantage Black Sticks Men’s Head Coach Darren Smith said Australia was clearly the better team today.

“They dominated possession and we fed off scraps. We managed to get a couple of goals to put us back in the match but we let them score goals off our mistakes.”

The Kookaburras got off to a flier of a start with two goals in the first eight minutes. The first was an easy tap in from Trent Mitton who was left un-marked in front of goal after a strong Australian counter-attack. The second saw Jeremy Hayward get his drag flick penalty corner past his brother Leon for 2-0.

While Australia were down to nine players, Kane Russell clawed one back for the home side with a perfectly positioned penalty corner drag flick into the bottom left corner. But within a minute Australia had restored their two goal lead after Blake Govers converted a penalty stroke won by Lachlan Sharp.

And just before the half-time break, Oliver MacIntyre scored his first goal for his country with a cracking drag flick to leave the halftime score at 3-2 to the Kookaburras.

A nice Nathan Ephraums touch gave the Kookaburras a 4-2 lead in a dominant third quarter, and they retained that lead until the final whistle.

Kookaburras 4 (Trent Mitton 7 min, Jeremy Hayward 8 min, Blake Govers (penalty stroke) 20 min, Nathan Ephraums 36 min) Vantage Black Sticks 2 (Kane Russell 20 min, Oliver MacIntyre 26 min) Halftime: 3-2 Australia.

Northland defender Ella Gunson celebrates the Black Sticks’ second goal

Meanwhile in the women’s series, Tuesday night’s final test will be a winner takes all affair after another drawn match today.

The Hockeyroos rested the experienced and in-form trio of Edwina Bone, Jane Claxton and Stephanie Kershaw for today’s third match in the series.

But that didn’t hinder their start as they took an early lead with Maddy Fitzpatrick firing in a penalty corner into the top right corner.

Midway through the second spell Julia King equalised for the home side with a reverse shot from the top of the circle after a lovely through pass from captain Stacey Michelsen. Despite a few Black Sticks missed opportunities, the teams went into the halftime break all square at 1-1.

The biggest cheer of the day came in the third quarter when experienced defender Ella Gunson latched on to a rebound from an Olivia Merry penalty corner strike to give the home side a 2-1 lead.

With just two minutes to go, Rosie Malone grabbed the equaliser breaking the Black Sticks and home crowd’s hearts.

Vantage Black Sticks 2 (Julia King 23 min, Ella Gunson 41 min) Hockeyroos 2 (Maddy Fitzpatrick 7 min, Rosie Malone 58 min) Halftime: 1-1.

The fourth and final matches in the series are on Tuesday at 5.30pm for the women and 7.30pm for the men.

Official Blacksticks site

Kookaburras clinch series over improved Blacksticks

The Kookaburras have an unassailable lead in the Trans-Tasman Series after winning the third match 4-2 against New Zealand.

After convincing victories in the opening two games, the Kookaburras made a fast start in front of a packed house in Palmerston North, going 2-0 up inside eight minutes.

Off a midfield turnover, Blake Govers produced a clever jink to an overlapping Jake Harvie and he found an unmarked Trent Mitton at the far post who guided the ball home.

A minute later Jeremy Hayward had his second goal in as many games with another powerful drag flick that slammed into the backboard.

New Zealand had their first half chance with four minutes to go in the first quarter before Blacksticks goalkeeper Leon Hayward was the only thing standing in the way of Lachlan Sharp making it 3-0.

Blacksticks drag flick specialist Kane Russell pegged a goal back for the hosts in the 20th minute but the Kookaburras had to wait less than 60 seconds to restore their two goal lead when Sharp won a penalty stroke that Govers duly converted.

The Blacksticks were afforded some respite when Sharp received a yellow card and 5 minute sit down for foiling a counter attack and the Kookaburras were then reduced to nine players when Tom Wickham also saw yellow.

Oliver MacIntyre took advantage as he again struck from a penalty corner to leave the contest delicately poised 3-2 at half time.

Six minutes into the third quarter young Victorian Nathan Ephraums scored his second Kookaburras goal and his second of the series with a classy behind the back deflection after Jeremy Hayward drilled a ball in after a penalty corner injection.

Hayward went low and left again with a penalty corner to start the last quarter but he could not convert as neither side was able to add anything further to the scoreline.

The fourth and final game of the series is on Tuesday.

Match Details
Kookaburras 4 (Mitton 7’, Hayward 8’, Govers 20’, Ephraums 36’)
New Zealand 2 (Russell 20’, MacIntyre 26’)
@ Massey University Turf

Kookaburras: 1.Lachlan Sharp, 4.Jake Harvie, 5.Tom Wickham, 6.Matthew Dawson, 7.Nathan Ephraums, 10.Josh Beltz, 11.Eddie Ockenden (c), 12.Jake Whetton, 13.Blake Govers, 14.Dylan Martin, 16.Tim Howard, 22.Flynn Ogilvie, 23.Daniel Beale, 25.Trent Mitton, 30.Andrew Charter (gk), 32.Jeremy Hayward
Unused Substitutes: 9.Jacob Anderson, 24.Tyler Lovell (gk)

New Zealand: 2.Oliver MacIntyre, 3.David Brydon, 4.Dane Lett, 10.Steve Edwards, 11.Jake Smith, 12.Sam Lane, 14.Jared Panchia, 21.Kane Russell, 22.Blair Tarrant (c), 23.Dylan Thomas, 24.Sean Findlay, 25.Shea McAleese, 28.Dominic Newman, 29.Hugo Inglis, 30.George Muir, 32.Nick Wilson, 34.Leon Hayward (gk)
Unused Substitutes: 15.George Enersen (gk)

Hockey Australia media release

Hockeyroos and Blacksticks play out third straight draw

The Hockeyroos and New Zealand still cannot be separated after Match 3 of the Trans-Tasman Series finished 2-2 to make it a third straight draw between the teams.

Unlike the first two games, the Hockeyroos started the stronger and were rewarded when Madison Fitzpatrick struck a well timed drag flick in the 7th minute that found its way past Blacksticks goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon.

At the other end Hockeyroos goalkeeper Ashlee Wells did well to prevent the Blacksticks from drawing level with a fine save from a penalty corner two minutes before quarter time.

Rosie Malone and Renee Taylor then forced consecutive saves from O’Hanlon as the Hockeyroos looked to extend their lead.

In the 23rd minute the Blacksticks were level when captain Stacey Michelson threaded a stellar 50 metre hit pass that split the Hockeyroos defence and allowed Julia King to score on the reverse.

The Hockeyroos were almost caught out again when Olivia Merry found herself the beneficiary of another long ball but Olivia Shannon could not guide the ensuing pass into the open goal.

The teams exchanged penalty corners at the start of the third quarter before the Blacksticks enjoyed a period of ascendancy and went in front.

Rachael Lynch, who replaced Wells at half time, kept out Merry’s low drive but Ella Gunson was the first to react from the rebound and knocked the ball into the backboard to make it 2-1 to the hosts.

The Hockeyroos upped the tempo in the last quarter but their cause was not helped when Mariah Williams received a yellow card leaving the Australians with one player less for five minutes.

Lynch palmed away a Hope Ralph shot as the Blacksticks looked to land the killer blow with three minutes left.

But the Hockeyroos again showed grit to equalise late on. Captain for the day Brooke Peris opened up the field with a quality turn allowing Renee Taylor to unload a powerful shot.

O’Hanlon parried it away but Malone was alert to it and showed great desperation to sharply knock the ball home.

Both teams now have it all to play for in the final match of the series on Tuesday.

Match Details
Hockeyroos 2 (M.Fitzpatrick 7’, Malone 58’)
New Zealand 2 (King 23’, Gunson 41’)
@ Massey University Turf

Hockeyroos: 1.Sophie Taylor, 2.Rosie Malone, 3.Brooke Peris (c), 4.Amy Lawton, 5.Ashlee Wells (gk), 6.Penny Squibb, 8.Georgia Wilson, 10.Maddy Fitzpatrick, 12.Greta Hayes, 15.Kaitlin Nobbs, 20.Karri Somerville, 21.Renee Taylor, 22.Kate Jenner, 24.Mariah Williams, 26.Emily Chalker, 27.Rachael Lynch (gk), 31.Laura Barden, 32.Savannah Fitzpatrick

New Zealand: 1.Tarryn Davey, 2.Olivia Shannon, 4.Olivia Merry, 7.Kayla Whitelock, 12.Ella Gunson, 13.Samantha Charlton, 15.Grace O’Hanlon (gk), 16.Liz Thompson, 17.Steph Dickins, 20.Megan Hull, 22.Katie Doar, 24.Rose Keddell, 25.Kelsey Smith, 27.Holly Pearson, 31.Stacey Michelsen (c), 33.Julia King, 34.Hope Ralph
Unused Substitutes: 42.Georgia Barnett (gk)

Hockey Australia media release

Black Sticks men out to avoid whitewash after Australia Kookaburras too good in game three

Australia's Trent Mitton scores the first of their four goals in the third test in Palmerston North. JOHN COWPLAND/Photosport

Two penalty corner goals weren’t enough for the Black Sticks men as they were outplayed by Australia’s Kookaburras for a third straight trans-Tasman hockey match in Palmerston North on Sunday.

After 3-1 and 3-0 victories in the opening two contests, Australia’s men won 4-2 and will eye a clean sweep in the tour finale on Tuesday.

Under captain Blair Tarrant who returned from an eye injury suffered when taking a ball to the face in game one, New Zealand were right in the contest at 3-2 down at halftime after goals from Kane Russell and Oliver MacIntyre.

But the Kookaburras dominated the second half and chances were rare for the hosts, as Nathan Ephraums’ deft reverse deflection sealed the two-goal margin in the 37th minute.

A Dominic Newman shot from close range in the 56th minute – well saved by a diving Andrew Charter – was as close as the Black Sticks got to bridging the gap.

Tarrant told Sky TV: “We were really trying to show some intent out there, with and without the ball, and we probably rushed it at times and that showed in our basic skills.”

Black Sticks player Kane Russell gets the plaudits for his opening goal. JOHN COWPLAND/Photosport

The difference between world No 2 and world No 8 was again apparent early as the visitors quickly went 2-0 up.

Trent Mitton opened the scoring in the seventh minute from some slick passing on counter-attack, then Jeremy Hayward doubled the lead soon after.

His penalty corner shot was too powerful for brother Leon in goal for New Zealand.

The Black Sticks’ set piece was strong, too, and Russell opened their account at their second attempt in the 20th minute.

Black Sticks player Jared Panchia is in a tricky spot against the Kookaburras. JOHN COWPLAND/Photosport

Australia’s Blake Govers converted a penalty stroke soon after to restore the margin, then New Zealand fought back again.

Wellington’s MacIntyre, who made his debut in game one, slotted his first goal in black with a pinpoint drag flick in the 26th minute as the Kookaburras were down to nine men with Lachlan Sharp and Tom Wickham both yellow carded.

But with Australia restored to 11 men the second half firmly swung back the visitors’ way as they took control, and the final margin may have flattered the home side.


Kookaburras 4 (Trent Mitton, Jeremy Hayward, Blake Govers, Nathan Ephraums) Black Sticks men 2 (Kane Russell, Oliver MacIntyre). HT: 3-2.


Hockeyroos strike late to make it three draws from three against Black Sticks women

Aaron Goile

Rosie Malone scored the late equaliser for Australia in the third test against New Zealand on Sunday. John Cowpland/Photosport

An understrength Hockeyroos have struck late to claim a 2-2 draw in the third test against the Black Sticks women, ensuring the trans-Tasman series will be a winner-takes-all affair in the fourth and final test.

Just as it looked like New Zealand had taken an unassailable lead in the series on Sunday, Australia – who had rotated out four of their best performing players from the first two tests – found an equaliser with just over two minutes left.

The teams had drawn 1-1 on Thursday and 2-2 on Friday, and yet again the great rivals couldn’t be separated, after Rosie Malone's late goal broke the hearts of the hosts, and the sold-out crowd at the Massey University turf in Palmerston North.

Having gone behind for the first time in the game late in the third quarter, the Aussies suffered a setback early in the final stanza when striker Mariah Williams was yellow carded for backchat.

However, the visitors didn’t concede during the five-minute period with 10 players, and once back to their full complement, managed to keep themselves in the hunt, before a mistake from Black Sticks defender Elizabeth Thompson proved crucial, gifting Renee Taylor a shot at goal, and while goalkeeper Grace O'Hanlon saved, Malone was there to slot home the rebound.

Australia had started the contest in dominant fashion, dominating possession and field position in the early stages, and opened the scoring in the seventh minute, converting from their second penalty corner opportunity, with Madison Fitzpatrick launching an impressive shot just past Olivia Merry’s attempted block and into the top right of the goal.

The Black Sticks won a soft penalty corner in the 13th minute and they went close via captain Stacey Michelsen on the rebound, but she tapped just wide, and Australia took their 1-0 lead to the first break.

But the second quarter saw things swing wildly, with the home side smartly getting themselves right back into the contest, with Olivia Shannon an ever-present threat down the left side.

After O'Hanlon made two good saves in two seconds, the Black Sticks then found their equaliser in the 23rd minute, when Michelsen showed nice vision to send a superb long pass up to Julia King, who, one-on-one with goalkeeper Ashlee Wells, held her nerve and produced a fine reverse finish.

Kelsey Smith gets in the way of Kate Jenner as the Black Sticks and Hockeyroos played out yet another draw in Palmerston North. Dave Rowland/Getty Images

Just three minutes later the home side then had a golden opportunity to take the lead, but Shannon sent her attempt just wide from right in front, and the Hockeyroos breathed a big sigh of relief in going to halftime 1-1.

After a second quarter with no penalty corners, Australia then won one in the first minute of the third stanza, and again five minutes later, but the Black Sticks snuffed both out.

The hosts remained camped in their half for an extended period but around halfway through the quarter they managed to turn the tide, winning a trio of penalty corners to put the Hockeyroos under pressure once more.

After a messy scramble in the circle off the first turned unprofitable, the second soon after was kept out but knocked away for another penalty corner, and it proved third time lucky for New Zealand, with Merry’s shot saved by Wells, before Ella Gunson pounced on the rebound and slotted it underneath Wells as she was getting back to her feet.

It was just an 11th goal in a 223rd appearance in the black dress for the defender, and looked increasingly like a matchwinner, only for the late drama to change all that.

The teams meet in the fourth and final match of the series at the same venue at 5.30pm on Tuesday.


Black Sticks 2 (Julia King, Ella Gunson) Hockeyroos 2 (Madison Fitzpatrick, Rosie Malone).


Tokyo-bound Tomlinson joins elite 100 club

This afternoon in his home town of Palmerston North, umpire David Tomlinson will receive the ‘golden whistle’ for 100 tests. As he prepares for his first Olympics in Tokyo, he shares the highlights of his 99 matches and how he helps deliver exciting hockey.

Like a player on debut, David Tomlinson clearly remembers his first international behind the whistle.

It was 2007 in a series between the Black Sticks and Korea in Christchurch and funnily enough current Black Stick Nick Wilson, a pupil of Tomlinson’s at Palmerston North Boys’ High School, was also making his debut.

While he’d had a strong National Hockey League he thought that was his season over until the Korean series popped up and his 99-test career behind the whistle was underway.

“I was nervous and I didn’t know what to expect. It was a bit faster, a little more intense and there was a bit more passion and pride from both teams – but it seemed to go OK.”

Most importantly the approach he took to umpiring in that first test hasn’t changed to this day.

“We look at what makes exciting, attacking, flowing hockey and how can we contribute to that. That’s our job – keeping it safe and fair, but allowing the players to play the game.

“It’s not about us. It’s not a power trip – we’re trying to do the best for you guys.”

Today he joins Simon Taylor, who was part of the umpiring group for Tomlinson’s debut series, in the third test in the Sentinel Homes Trans-Tasman Series between the Black Sticks and the Kookaburras, with wife Jackie as the match’s technical officer.

“To be able to get to 100 tests is certainly a rare occasion, and it’s pretty special to achieve it in front of friends and family and our local hockey community. It also doesn’t get better than New Zealand versus Australia.”

Tomlinson credits Stuart Ashby, the heart and soul of junior hockey in the central Hawke’s Bay, for first getting him to pick up the whistle and then Manawatu’s Dave Craven who became his main mentor.

Today he joins Taylor, Lyn Farrell and Kelly Hudson in the 100 ‘golden whistle’ club with both Gareth Greenfield and Amber Church on the cusp.

“It’s always been the people involved that’s kept me in it. And to see the others succeed gives you the confidence that what we’re doing down here is working on an international stage.”

Two of Tomlinson’s 99 test matches stand out, the first being the Champions Trophy final between Australia and India in London in 2016.

“It was a fantastic tournament, with an awesome crowd and the final ended up in a draw and went to a shootout. All the umpires there were going to the Olympics except me. I was bottom of the pack and just there to get experience, but they gave me a shot at it (the final).”

The other highlight is a World Cup quarterfinal between hosts India and the Netherlands – an amazing game to be part of especially the stunned silence from the jam-packed crowd at the end when the Netherlands won.

Another memorable experience was a last minute request to umpire an FIH Pro League match in Madrid between Spain and Argentina.

“I got an email on a Thursday, quickly checked with the boss, flew out Friday night, arrived in Spain on Saturday, umpired a game on Sunday and flew home on Monday. An amazing experience.”

With less than two months until Tokyo, Tomlinson is starting to get excited about his first Olympics, made even more special by the fact that wife Jackie is joining him as a technical official.

“It’s going to be quite a different hockey experience as well as a different Olympic experience, and to have Jackie as part of that is really exciting.”

Reflecting on 14 years of elite umpiring, he’s pleased many of the technical or pedantic rules have been removed such as no sticks above shoulders, and requiring the ball to be exactly on the spot for free hits.

“I feel that with those changes we’re now not nit-picking. We can let more advantage go.”

The Physical Education and Social Studies teacher at Palmerston North Boys’ High, is incredibly grateful for the school’s support to allow him to live out his umpiring dreams.

“We celebrate our boys and celebrate our staff. It’s all about seeing our whole community succeeding.”

His parents in Hastings and Jackie’s parents in Geraldine are also readily on call to look after daughters nine-year-old Emily and seven-year-old Sophie.

Today Ashby, the man who ignited Tomlinson’s love for umpiring, will make the golden whistle presentation, while Craven will be watching on alongside the umpire’s family and friends.

“It’s been a pretty cool journey so far and hopefully it’s not over yet. I’m loving what I’m doing and would love to keep going for as long as I can. But if it’s your last – just enjoy it.”

Hockey New Zealand Media release

2020-21 FIH Pro League (M) - 30 May
Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein-Antwerp

30 May 2021 16:30 (GMT +2)     BEL v NED (RR)   

Live streaming, live radio commentary and full game replay on the Watch Hockey App (Visuals may be Geo blocked if there is TV coverage)

Pool Standings

Rank Team Played Wins SO Win SO Loss Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points Percent
1 Belgium 13 9 2 1 1 40 22 18 32 82.1
2 Germany 10 5 2 0 3 26 23 3 19 63.3
3 India 8 3 3 0 2 22 17 5 15 62.5
4 Australia 8 3 1 3 1 27 20 7 14 58.3
5 Netherlands 11 4 2 2 3 28 29 -1 18 54.5
6 Great Britain 12 4 0 3 5 25 25 0 15 41.7
7 New Zealand 8 2 1 0 5 15 25 -10 8 33.3
8 Argentina 12 2 1 3 6 26 35 -9 11 30.6
9 Spain 12 2 1 1 8 23 36 -13 9 25.0

FIH Match Centre

2020-21 FIH Pro League (W) - 30 May
Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein-Antwerp

30 May 2021 14:00 (GMT +2)     BEL v NED (RR)

Live streaming, live radio commentary and full game replay on the Watch Hockey App (Visuals may be Geo blocked if there is TV coverage)

Pool Standings

Rank Team Played Wins SO Win SO Loss Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points Percent
1 Netherlands 11 8 1 0 1 32 7 25 29 87.9
2 Argentina 10 5 2 0 3 24 15 9 19 63.3
3 New Zealand 8 4 0 2 2 19 14 5 14 58.3
4 Great Britain 12 5 2 1 3 24 14 10 20 55.6
5 Germany 8 4 0 1 3 12 11 1 13 54.2
6 Australia 6 1 1 1 2 6 9 -3 9 50.0
7 Belgium 11 3 1 2 5 19 22 -3 13 39.4
8 China 2 0 0 0 2 2 7 -5 0 0.0
9 United States 10 0 0 0 9 7 46 -39 0 0.0

USA v NED (26.01.2020) worth double points because of the match cancelled on 24.01.2020
AUS v GBR (01.02.2020) worth double points because of the match cancelled on 02.02.2020

FIH Match Centre

New champions Belgium and The Netherlands to wrap-up Hockey Pro League seasons

By Ali Iveson

Belgium's Alexander Hendrickx, left, is the leading men's scorer in this season's Hockey Pro League ©Getty Images

This season's Hockey Pro League champions will conclude their campaigns tomorrow when neighbours Belgium and The Netherlands face off in a men's and women's doubleheader.

Belgium - men's world champions - have already secured a maiden Hockey Pro League crown, while the Dutch women have retained their title, adding to the European and world honours they also hold.

With the season already extended due to the coronavirus pandemic and several matches not going to be played, points percentage is being used to determine the standings, and both hold unassailable leads in that department.

Following tomorrow's two matches in Antwerp, only four more Pro League contests are scheduled - two men's and two women's games between Australia and New Zealand.

The Belgian men have won nine of 13 games in regulation time and lost only one.

The Netherlands have secured back-to-back women's Hockey Pro League titles ©Getty Images

The Dutch have had a more low-key season, sitting fifth in the standings, but did share a 4-4 thriller with Belgium when the sides met in November.

Belgium won the ensuing shoot-out.

In the women's standings, the Dutch are more than 20 per cent clear at the top of the table and again have only lost once all season.

Belgium have struggled, winning only three of 11 matches.

Evade Goede is back from an arm injury and will be keen to demonstrate her fitness ahead of next month's European Championship, as well as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The women's match is due to be played first, followed by the men's.

Inside the Games

Belgium, Netherlands declared Champions

S2H Team

Belgium, the men’s World Cup and European champions have added the FIH Pro League title to their impressive array of accolades after it was learned that they were declared champions by the world body.

Table leaders by far, The Red Lions will take on The Netherlands – their adversaries in the 2018 World Cup final – in Atwerp on Sunday. Belgium were runners-up to Australia in the inaugural edition of the league in 2019.

The women’s match between the Red Panthers and The Netherlands will be staged at the same venue earlier in the day. The Dutch women are also runaway table leaders and will retain their title.

The FIH confirmed on Saturday that the 2020-21 FIH Pro League cannot be played out in entirety because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Percentage success instead of points has been the yardstick to determine standings in the league ravaged by the pandemic like the rest of the sporting world

After Sunday, the last remaining matches will be between the men’s and women’s teams of Australia and New Zealand on June 26 and 27 in Perth, Australia.

The trophy presentation, however, will have to wait till the concluding matches of the league.

“Of course, it really is a pity that it proves impossible to play all initially scheduled matches. However, approximately 2/3 of the matches will have been played, which frankly, in these extraordinary challenging circumstances due to the pandemic, is a remarkable achievement. This would not have been possible without the immense commitment and dedication of all participating National Associations and athletes. On behalf of FIH, I’d like to extend our sincerest thanks and appreciation to all of them. We look forward to the next edition which will start already in October,” said FIH CEO Thierry Weil.

Sunday’s matches at Antwerp’s Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein are likely to be exciting irrespective of the destination of the titles.

With the European Championships in Amstelveen, The Netherlands, around the corner, the Belgians and the Dutch will be fully focused on their preparation and even look beyond to July’s Tokyo Olympics.

The doubleheader between the two has been split with the first games having being played in November 2020. The men’s encounter was a humdinger that ended 4-4 before the Red Lions picked up a bonus point with a shootout win over the Oranje.

Fans voted it the best FIH Hockey Pro League match in 2020 but with a growing rivalry between the two countries, the Dutch will be keen to take some gloss off Belgium’s title besides gaining a huge psychological advantage before big events ahead.

The women’s encounter in November was a little different with the Dutch beating Belgium 4-0. However, Belgium are trying to raise the ante amid Euro preparations and are likely to take the battle to the Dutch camp.

The matches can be watched via television or digital streaming by the FIH broadcast partnerships as well as on the Watch.Hockey app in every country where the rights-holding broadcaster is not showing the matches live.

Following its well-received debut during the recent FIH Hockey Pro League matches between Great Britain and Germany in London, the FIH confirmed that live audio commentary of this Sunday’s Low Countries derby matches between Belgium and the Netherlands, men, and women, will be available via the Watch.Hockey app.

The women’s match is scheduled for 1730 IST. The men’s match will be played at 2000 IST.


2021 Test matches CZE v POL (W) - 30 May

Prague (CZE)

28 May 2021     CZE v POL     1 - 1
29 May 2021     CZE v POL     0 - 0

FIH Match Centre

2021 Test Matches BLR v UKR (W) - 30 May
Brest (BLR)

27 May 2021     BLR v UKR     2 - 0
29 May 2021     BLR v UKR     3 - 2
30 May 2021 11:30 (GMT+3)     BLR v UKR

FIH Match Centre

Reena Khokhar: “Mindfulness sessions helping us cope with pressure”.

Bengaluru: Indian teams undergoing training  in Bengaluru leave no stone unturned in their preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.  they are also learning how to manage mind in the run up days.  With less than 60 days remaining for the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Indian Women’s Hockey team are trying to stay calm and composure.  Reena Khokhar, said that the the pressure has certainly built up
“The pressure builds up when you think about the future. Hence, we are trying to stay in the present moment.”
 “We are just working hard because we have less than 60 days left. Everyone is focusing on doing things in a perfect way, and not taking any practice sessions casually. We don’t have much time left, so every one of us is also paying attention to small things such as diet, fitness, and even being cautious of injuries because at present these little things really matter the most.”The 28-year-old defender emphasised that the team has been benefiting a lot through the mindfulness classes taken by their Analytical coach Janneke Schopman. She said, “We attend these sessions twice a week and do all the types of breathing exercises.”

“I feel this has been helping us a lot to stay calm and be in the present moment during our training sessions. It creates a positive energy around the team, and it’s a very good exercise introduced by both Janneke and our Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne,” she added.

Speaking about the advantage of having senior players in the team, Reena said, “They have been playing a very important role, apart from the coaches and support staff. A few of our senior players have experience of playing in the Olympics. They know the environment, and they know what it takes to compete in an event like the Olympics. Hence, they are not letting us take any kind of extra pressure, they just want us to focus on our training and give our 100% on the field because that is what is going to count in the end.”

On being asked about how she is personally approaching the quadrennial event, the defender said, “The first thing that comes to mind is whether I will be in the team or not. And, obviously, this thought does play out in everyone’s mind. But, that’s not something I am really bothered about. I just want to keep working hard and keep doing what I have been doing without thinking too much.”


MHC plan to host JHL and Razak Cup

By Jugjet Singh

“The dates will not be set yet. We will wait for further announcements from the government before making a stand,” said MHC competitions committee chairman Datuk Sri Anil Jeet Singh. - NSTP File Pix

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee held an online meeting yesterday to set in motion plans to host the Junior Hockey League (JHL) and the Razak Cup this year.

"We will organise the JHL and the Razak Cup this year. However, we will not hold the National Under-14 and Under-16 competitions for the second straight year.

"We believe the Covid-19 situation will be brought under control by the end of the year.

"The dates will not be set yet. We will wait for further announcements from the government before making a stand," said MHC competitions committee chairman Datuk Sri Anil Jeet Singh.

Last year, the MHC hosted the Razak Cup but were forced to cancel the JHL as advised by the Health Ministry and Education Ministry.

The MHC are awaiting further details on the nationwide lockdown on June 1-14.

The JHL was set on March 25-April 19 before it was postponed due to the pandemic.

Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) are the reigning double champions.

Anil, also the Sabah HA president, said the state will field teams in the JHL this year.

"Our teams are currently training under Yahya Atan and Hasrul Jideh," he added.

New Straits Time

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