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News for 16 April 2018

All the news for Monday 16 April 2013

Glut of draws at CWG signifies Pakistan’s fighting spirit

Anwar Zuberi

MARKED improvement was visible in Pakistan hockey team’s performance at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games which ended on Sunday. Though the team ended up seventh in the 10-nation contest, the noticeable point was that they didn’t lose any game.

Placed in pool ‘B’, world No.13 Pakistan drew all the four pool matches to better as well as mediocre outfits while their only victory came in the classification match for the 7th-8th position when they breezed past 11th ranked Canada 3-1.

Interestingly, in three of the total five matches they played on Gold Coast the greenshirts first conceded goals before making comeback to draw level.

With lack of international exposure and match temperament, Pakistan held 24th ranked Wales to a 1-1 draw in their opening game. Fullback Mubashir Ali scored the equaliser by converting a penalty corner in the 39th minute after Rupert Shipperley had forged his team ahead through a field goal in the 33rd minute.

Next came the clash between former world giants, India and Pakistan, which ended in a thrilling 2-2 stalemate thanks to goals from Irfan Junior (39th) and Mubashir Ali who scored on penalty corner in the last minute of the match. Earlier, Dilpreet Singh and Hamanpreet Singh had scored back-to-back goals for India in seven minutes. India are presently ranked sixth in the world.

The draw against India came as a refreshing change for Pakistan after the greenshirts suffered four successive defeats to the arch-rivals — 1-7 and 1-6 in the World Hockey League and 1-3 and 0-4 in the Dhaka Asia Cup last year.

The draw trend continued when Pakistan shared points with world No.7 England as the clash ended in a 2-2 draw. Arsalan Qadir (33rd) and Mubashir Ali (57th) slammed goals for Pakistan as Mark Gleghorine drew level (1-1) for England in 34th minute while Sam Ward consolidated the lead in the 51st. Both the England goals came off penalty corners.

Pakistan rounded off the league matches in the same fashion after being engaged in a 1-1 draw against one rank better Malaysia. Shafqat Rasool broke the ice in ninth minute while Ramadan Rosli slammed home the equaliser (39th).

Pakistan ended up fourth ahead of minnows Wales in pool ‘B’ as India topped with 10 points from three wins and a draw. They were followed by England and Malaysia.

Australia, meanwhile, emerged pool ‘A’ champions followed by New Zealand, Scotland, Canada and South Africa.

Arsalan Qadir (34th), Mubashir Ali (40th) and Irfan Jr (57th) struck a goal apiece for the greenshirts after Canada shocked by forging ahead in the 12th minute through James Kirkpatrick in the classification match.

It is pertinent to mention that Canada had crushed Pakistan 6-0 in the World Hockey League last year.

Overall, the greenshirts netted nine goals at the Commonwealth Games, including four off penalty corners by Mubashir while they conceded seven.

After taking a glance at Pakistan’s results one finds some positives including finding a dependable penalty corner striker in Mubashir and the spirit of fightback till the last minute after conceding lead.

Though it’s hard for a Pakistan hockey fan to swallow the bitter pills of drawing against the likes of Wales and Malaysia, one at the same time has to keep in mind the ground reality that our hockey is in the formative stage and will take some time and international exposure to regain the pride.

The greenshirts had undergone a couple of strenuous training sessions under the Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans who took over the reins last month.

Three more major international events — Champions Trophy, Asian Games and World Cup — await Pakistan during the next eight months.

The 37th and last edition of the Champions Trophy takes place at Breda, Holland, from June 23 to July 1 where six teams will be up against each other in one of the toughest events of the FIH calendar. The teams include Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Holland, Pakistan and India.

The FIH has awarded special entry to Pakistan in the last Champions Trophy. Pakistan, the three-time former champions, had founded the event some four decades ago at Lahore, The last time greenshirts reached the Champions Trophy podium was at Bhubaneswar, India, in 2014.

The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is attaching great importance to the 18th Asian Games being held in Jakarta from Aug 18 to Sept 2 as the winning team will earn direct ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Pakistan, the former four-time World Cup winners, who failed to qualify for the last men’s hockey World Cup held at The Hague, will try to make their presence felt in the 2018 edition being staged in the Indian city of Bhubaneswar from Nov 28 to Dec 16.

This time the FIH has raised the number of World Cup teams from 12 to 16 and are drawn in four groups which are as follows.

Pool ‘A’: Argentina, New Zealand, Spain, France
Pool ‘B’: Australia, England, Ireland, China
Pool ‘C’: Belgium, India, Canada, South Africa
Pool ‘D’: Netherlands, Germany, Malaysia, Pakistan.


England’s penalty corners were below par, says women’s coach Danny Kerry

By Rod Gilmour

Danny Kerry

Danny Kerry was plotting Great Britain’s path towards Tokyo 2020 on a spreadsheet in his hotel room just hours after their Rio 2016 gold.

A heart attack last summer then forced a different outlook for the Olympic-winning coach. Following bronze against India on Saturday, Kerry was out on “the world’s longest bike ride” down the Gold Coast the morning after.

Yet his day of “head space” on a hire bike was primarily to overcome the less-than-ideal build up to England women’s Commonwealth campaign, which ended with a podium finish for a GB or England women’s team for a 10th successive year at a global tournament. There are, however, pressing concerns over England’s corner routines ahead of the Vitality women’s World Cup.

He told THP: “We had a difficult run-in to this with concussions and broken bones, so having to tell people you are no longer going was a stressful time.”

Coupled with this, England endured injuries to captain Alex Danson and Sarah Haycroft with ankle complications before their first match.

There was concern over whether they would even return home before, admitted Kerry, judgement calls were made for the pair to stay with the squad.

“That created added anxiety and pressure within the group, along with four matches in five days, which was an enormous workload for the coaches,” added Kerry.

Asked for his overall assessment on England’s performance, he said: “We played okay, very well in the semi-final and we had to make sure we had to regroup [for India].”

Kerry added that he was “delighted” with the performance against eventual champions New Zealand in the semi-final given the relative inexperience in the squad.

He said: “We were nervy and edgy against India before we cut loose. I was really pleased with the second-half performance.”

Ahead of a World Cup which will see Argentina and the Netherlands return to the global stage, England will have to figure out a significant problem area: the penalty corner.

Before Hollie Pearne-Webb scored the short corner opener against India in the bronze medal match, England hadn’t scored in three games and 25 attempts when presented with corner chances.

In all, England recorded four penalty corner goals in 45 attempts – excluding three penalty stroke misses during the Malaysia game – a statistic which Kerry highlighted as “way below where we need them to be”.

He added: “We put a lot of time back in at Bisham with lots of discussion. But they are just not firing and it’s our job to solve it.”

The Hockey Paper

Glenanne Win Irish Men's EY Hockey League

Shane O’Donoghue’s hat trick propelled Glenanne to a first EY Hockey League crown and their first national title since 2010 as they came back from 2-0 down at Lisnagarvey to win 4-2 and move out of range of all the chasers.

Their party, though, looked to be put on hold as Daniel Nelson and Andy Williamson gave Garvey an early lead. O’Donoghue’s penalty stroke got Glenanne on the board before half-time and then levelled the game in the third quarter.

Two goals in a six-minute spell in the final quarter broke the game in Glenanne’s favour with Shannon Boucher finishing off a classic counter-attack before O’Donoghue flicked into the top corner to make the game safe.

The result put them 10 points clear of second placed Three Rock Rovers who have three games left to play, meaning no side is in a  position to catch them.

It completes a dominant campaign in which the Glens won 13 of their 16 games played so far, going unbeaten to date, winning numerous games from behind and they will take up a European berth as a result.

Elsewhere, Cookstown made a big move at the bottom of the table as they struck twice in the first half against Cork C of I to win 2-1 on Sunday. It moves them two points clear of Railway Union who, themselves, missed out on a win against Annadale in the dying moments, Oliver Flack scoring an equaliser at the death for a 3-3 result.

Three Rock Rovers moved back up to second as they came from 2-0 down in the final quarter to beat Pembroke 3-2 with Luke Madeley scoring two penalty corners and Harry Morris striking the winner.

Jonny McKee and John Jermyn both scored hat tricks as Banbridge and Cork C of I played out a cracking 4-4 draw on Saturday afternoon. It was C of I’s fifth successive draw and sees them move a step closer to formal safety.

EY Hockey League: Banbridge 4 (J McKee 3, A Tinney) Cork C of I 4 (J Jermyn 3, J Dale); Lisnagarvey 2 (D Nelson, A Williamson) Glenanne 4 (S O’Donoghue 3, S Boucher); Railway Union 3 (M English, A Rooney, S McKeever) Annadale 3 (O Flack 2, P Caruth); Three Rock Rovers 3 (L Madeley 2, H Morris) Pembroke Wanderers 2 (R Sweetnam, J Ryan)

EY Hockey League: Cookstown 2 (S Smyth, M Kerr) Cork C of I 0

Day 16 extended reports

Lisnagarvey 2 (D Nelson, A Williamson) Glenanne 4 (S O’Donoghue 3, S Boucher)

Glenanne produced an immaculate comeback from 2-0 down to beat Lisnagarvey at Comber Road to get the win they needed against their nearest rivals, claiming the EY Hockey League and a spot in Europe into the bargain.

Garvey went in front with the Nelson brothers combining, Matthew setting up Daniel to score with a fine backhand effort. Andy Williamson doubled up with a corner shot as it looked like Garvey would put the brakes on a title celebration.

But Glenanne have come back numerous times this term from losing positions to grab wins and they got a lifeline before the break via a Shane O’Donoghue penalty stroke.

And they produced the goods in the second half with O’Donoghue rebounding for his and Glenanne’s second goal. And the game-breaker came early in the fourth quarter from a quick counter-attack which Shannon Boucher finished off.

Six minutes later, O’Donoghue made extra sure with a flick into the roof of the net and they had the EYHL title secured for the first time.

The EY Hockey League trophy and medals will formally be presented to Glenanne at their final home game of the season.

Three Rock Rovers 3 (L Madeley 2, H Morris) Pembroke Wanderers 2 (R Sweetnam, J Ryan)

Three Rock Rovers came from 2-0 down in the final quarter to beat Pembroke 3-2 at Grange Road, lifting Rovers back into second place.

Richard Sweetnam got the opening goal after Alan Sothern cleverly worked a free from outside the circle before slipping a pass to the far post for the final touch.

Jack Ryan doubled the lead in the third quarter when Pembroke drove into the circle and he slotted home from the left of goal.

Rovers, though, won plenty of corners throughout the game and they eventually made a couple stick with Luke Madeley dragging in twice in the final quarter to bring the game level – making it five in two games against Pembroke this week.

And the game was won by a piece of class from Harry Morris, rounding on a reverse-stick shot coming across his body, slamming home first time. Pembroke remain in fifth place as a result, two points off Monkstown in the fourth and final playoff place.

Railway Union 3 (M English, A Rooney, S McKeever) Annadale 3 (O Flack 2, P Caruth)

Oliver Flack’s goal in the closing minutes denied Railway Union victory but the point could nonetheless be an important one in their bid to avoid the drop as they moved off the bottom overnight for the first time since early October.

Mark English raced through to fire Railway into an early lead only for Peter Caruth to level the tie soon after from a penalty stroke. Flack then scored his second before the end of the first quarter from a corner for a 2-1 advantage.

Railway battled back, winning a couple of corners, and they went level in the second half when Aran Rooney got a sliding touch onto a diagonal ball into the circle.

Kenny Carroll put the Dubliners in front at the end of the third quarter from a switch move. But they could not hold on to the narrow lead and were eventually caught late on when Caruth burst into the circle to win a corner which Flack netted.

Banbridge 4 (J McKee 3, A Tinney) Cork C of I 4 (J Jermyn 3, J Dale)

A hat trick each from Jonny McKee and John Jermyn led to a 4-4 draw between Banbridge and Cork C of I, the fifth draw in succession for the latter side.

Jermyn got off the mark in the early stages from a corner but also missed a stroke as the sides went tit for tat, going 1-1 and 2-2 before Bann built a 3-2 half-time lead. Bann went 4-2 up in the second half befor a Jermyn stroke and Julian Dale levelled the game at 4-4.

Sunday: Cookstown 2 (S Smyth, M Kerr) Cork C of I 1 (S Wolfe)

Cookstown responded to Railway Union’s point with just their second win of the campaign, moving back off the bottom and into ninth place in the division.

Stu Smyth’s super strike put them 1-0 up in the first quarter before Michael Kerr’s deft touch made it two at half-time. Simon Wolfe pulled one back for C of I but they could not forge an equaliser and Cookstown gave their hopes of avoiding the bottom rung and automatic relegation a big boost.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Womens EY Hockey League Weekend Round Up

UCD moved another big step closer to retaining the women’s EY Hockey League as their 5-0 win over Hermes-Monkstown in tandem with Cork Harlequins draw against Railway Union leaves nine points between the sides.

For the students, it was not quite as simple as the scoreline suggested as they were held scoreless at the Merrion Fleet Arena for the first half but two goals in quick succession from Deirdre Duke broke the game open. Katie Mullan added another two along with Emma Russell’s goal.

The title would have been theirs today but for an incredible Rachel Hobbs inspired comeback that saw Cork Harlequins draw 2-2 at Railway Union.

Kate McKenna and Kate Lloyd had given Railway the perfect start, 2-0 up inside the first quarter at a rain-swept Park Avenue. It remained that way until the closing 10 minutes when Hobbs drove into the circle and scored a spectacular goal. A minute later, she was on hand to score a corner and give a chance of victory but it remained level.

Pegasus moved within a point of formally securing their place in the EY Champions Trophy with a 3-0 win over Ards, Hannah Grieve opening the scoring in the 11th minute. Rachael Murdock and Taite Doherty made the game safe in the second half.

Belfast Harlequins are now safe thanks to their 2-1 win over Pembroke. They came from a goal down to do so, counter-acting Hayley O’Donnell’s goal with Laura Johnston and Abi Edwards on the mark.

Loreto remain in the hunt for a Champions Trophy spot thanks to their 4-0 win over Trinity with Sarah Clarke, Nicci Daly, Mia Jennings and Sarah Torrans all scoring.

They are five points off the top four but with a game in hand. Trinity remain in the relegation playoff place facing into a huge game against Hermes-Monkstown next weekend.

EY Hockey League (Sunday): Ards 0 Pegasus 3 (H Grieve, R Murdock, T Doherty); Loreto 4 (S Clarke, N Daly, M Jennings, S Torrans) Trinity 0; Hermes-Monkstown 0 UCD 5 (D Duke 2, K Mullan 2, E Russell); Pembroke Wanderers 1 (H O’Donnell) Belfast Harlequins 2 (L Johnston, A Edwards); Railway Union 2 (K McKenna, K Lloyd) Cork Harlequins 2 (R Hobbs 2)

Day 16 extended reports

Hermes-Monkstown 0 UCD 5 (D Duke 2, K Mullan 2, E Russell)

Five second half goals moved UCD to the brink of the women’s EY Hockey League title for a second successive season, eventually breaking down the bottom side’s defences.

It took until the third quarter before Deirdre Duke got the breakthrough. Within two minutes, the UCD captain had another when she profited from Bethany Barr’s turnover. Duke turned creator for the third goal in the closing quarter when she sent the ball across the D for Katie Mullan to turn in.

Liz Murphy made some brilliant saves to keep the score down during this phase but she could not deny Emma Russell in one series of attacks. Mullan completed the win from a corner.

It now means UCD need just a point from their closing two league games if they are to retain the EYHL crown. Hermes-Monkstown remain four points off ninth placed Trinity who they meet next week.

Railway Union 2 (K McKenna, K Lloyd) Cork Harlequins 2 (R Hobbs 2)

Rachel Hobbs pair of late goals saw Cork Harlequins just about keep the EY Hockey League title chase going as she salvaged a 2-2 draw at Railway Union that leaves Quins nine points behind UCD with three games remaining.

At a rain-swept Park Avenue, Railway were at full strength and were first out of the blocks when Kate McKenna deflected the ball into the net from a corner.  Soon afterwards, the impressive Zara Delany went on a looping run and fed the ball to Kate Lloyd who drove the ball off her reverse into the corner of the net to put Railway 2-0 up in the first quarter.

Quins could not make any inroads into the deficit before the big break with Grace O’Flanagan making two strong saves. Both teams had chances to score in quarter three but the score remained 2-0 to the home side.

From an early corner Quins' Emma Barber swept wide. At the other end, Michelle Carey dispossessed Nicola Kerr in midfield, attacked the circle and laid off to Cecelia Joyce whose shot went just wide of the advancing Emma Buckley from the Cork goal.

The visitors upped the tempo in the final quarter, pinning Railway in their own half. O'Flanagan made a point blank save and a Julia O'Halloran deflection glanced just wide. 

Railway's resolute defence was broken when Rachel Hobbs drove into the circle and her early shot rocketed into the corner of the goal.

From the push back, Cliodhna Sargeant drove at the Railway defence and was rewarded with a corner which was scored by Hobbs.  In the closing eight minutes, Quins had the best chance to win it from a corner but to no avail.

Pembroke Wanderers 1 (H O’Donnell) Belfast Harlequins 2 (L Johnston, A Edwards)

Belfast Harlequins came from a goal behind to secure a win that assures them of their place in the women’s EY Hockey League for a third successive season, beating Pembroke 2-1.

Pembroke started well with Emily Beatty and Orla Macken going close and they went ahead via Hayley O’Donnell’s strike from a corner in the first quarter. Laura Johnston, however, jabbed in at close range with three minutes to go to half-time.

The hosts were unable to capitalise on a glut of second half chances and they were made to pay with Abi Edwards one of two Belfast Quins players bearing down on Iseult Cambay’s goal, scoring a great goal for 2-1.

Katie O’Byrne kept out a third off the line to keep Pembroke in the hunt and they almost had their leveller but Erika Hinkson chipped a reverse over the bar.

Loreto 4 (S Clarke, N Daly, M Jennings, S Torrans) Trinity 0

Loreto ran up a 4-0 win over Trinity to keep their outside chances of grabbing an EY Champions Trophy spot just about alive. Sarah Clarke put them in front inside the first seven minutes with a typically powerful hit from the top of the circle.

Hannah Matthews went close to a second to keep the game in the balance at half-time but the Beaufort club did move further ahead from a set piece when Nicci Daly picked up the pieces following a Carolyn Crampton stick-save.

And they finished with a flourish in the fourth quarter with Mia Jennings’ direct strike from play and a cracking effort from Sarah Torrans stretching the lead out to four by the final whistle.

Ards 0 Pegasus 3 (H Grieve, R Murdock, T Doherty)

Pegasus moved within a point of being assured an EY Champions Trophy place as they won their Ulster derby against Ards with a 3-0 win.

Hannah Grieve put them in front in the 11th minute when she deflected in Michelle Harvey’s shot. Rachael Murdock moved them two clear early in the second half and Taite Doherty’s goal made the game completely safe in the closing minutes.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Old Alexandra keep Hockey League promotion dream alive

Dublin side advance to second-round playoffs after winning all four games at Milltown

Mary Hannigan

Old Alexandra have a chance in two weeks’ time to earn promotion to next season’s Hockey League. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Old Alexandra are through to the second round of the Hockey League promotion play-offs after winning all four of their first-round games at Milltown over the weekend.

Both the Dublin side and Catholic institute had taken maximum points from their games on Saturday, making their meeting on Sunday morning key, Rachel Kelly getting the winner for Alexandra six minutes from time after being put through on goal by Rebecca Evans.

And it was Evans who got the only score in Alexandra’s final game against Queens, that win sealing them the tournament and giving them a chance in two weeks’ time to earn promotion to next season’s Hockey League. They will take on hosts UCC, Lurgan, Muckross and whoever prevails in the Connacht league.

Pegasus, meanwhile, all but sealed their place in the Champions Trophy with a 3-0 win away to Ards, one more point from their four remaining games all that is required to mathematically wrap it up.
Game in hand

Railway Union, though, let slip a two-goal lead in their draw with Cork Harlequins, leaving them with a little more work to do before they seal qualification.

Rachel Hobbs scored twice in the final quarter for the League’s second-placed side after Kate McKenna and Katie Lloyd had given Railway a 2-0 first-quarter lead. They’re still in a comfortable enough position, five points clear of Loreto, but Loreto have a game in hand.

The relegation battle is unchanged after the bottom three all lost on Sunday, Monkstown going down 5-0 to UCD, Trinity losing 4-0 to Loreto and Pembroke Wanderers beaten 2-1 at home by Belfast Harlequins. Monkstown, five points adrift of Trinity, remain favourites for automatic relegation, but there’s just a point between Trinity and Pembroke – whoever finishes ninth going in to a relegation play-off.

Hockey League – Sunday:

Loreto 4 (S Clarke, N Daly, M Jennings, S Torrans), Trinity 0; Railway Union 2 (K McKenna, K Lloyd), Cork Harlequins 2 (R Hobbs 2); Ards 0, Pegasus 3 (H Grieve, R Murdock, T Doherty); Monkstown 0, UCD 5 (D Duke 2, K Mullan 2, E Russell); Pembroke Wanderers 1, Belfast Harlequins 2.

Hockey League - Provincial Play-offs (at Milltown), Saturday: Corinthian 0, Old Alexandra 1; Dungannon 0, Catholic Institute 2; Queens 4, Corinthian 4; Alexandra 4, Dungannon 0; Catholic Institute 2, Queens 0. Sunday: Dungannon 0, Corinthian 1; Catholic Institute 0, Alexandra 1; Queens 0, Dungannon 0; Corinthian 0, Catholic Institute 3; Alexandra 1, Queens 0.

The Irish Times

Glenanne Win Irish Junior Cup

Glenanne produced an excellent first half performance to win the men’s Irish Junior Cup for the third time, ending a 23-year wait to win back the trophy.

They built a 3-0 lead thanks to goals from Enda Tucker, David Keogh and Daryl Carey before Pembroke fought back with Scott Furlong netting twice but they were left to rue not making more from their series of 11 corners.

The Glens were up and running almost immediately with David Keogh bearing down on goal inside the first 30 seconds, drawing Simon Thornton into a good save. They also had three corners in the opening four minutes.

Pembroke took their time to find their form but showed some lovely touches on the break with Patrick Good, Geoff Garrett and Sam McElroy combining well while Cian Murphy’s shot hit a foot to start their run of corners.

James Murtagh was equal to Furlong’s first drag while Wesley Brownlow was shut down on the switch.

But just as they were finding their feet, Glenanne struck with Joe Brennan picking a lovely line of pass and Enda Tucker got the necessary redirection to open the scoring.

Another two Pembroke corners were closed out before another counter strike caught Pembroke cold as Thornton was deemed to have taken man rather than ball from a long ball. It led to a stroke that David Keogh slotted for 2-0.

Both sides had further corner chances in the last 20 seconds of the half but neither were converted.

Pembroke started the second half the brighter with Ben Schutte drawing another smart stop from Murtagh’s chest before Garrett fired into the side-netting.

They fell further behind in the 47th minute from a classy move, the pacy Adam Clayton getting down the left baseline who flipped the ball back into the path of Daryl Carey who just got enough on the ball to clear the line.

From there on, it was a case of Pembroke winning corners. They eventually converted from their ninth set piece with Furlong picking out the bottom corner with 10 minutes to go.

A minute later, Stu Ronan saved off the line at chest-height, his touch slicing the ball over the bar. Furlong had another go with three minutes left, this time walking forward while Glenanne reacted slowly to the injection, but shot wide.

He did get another into the corner in the last minute but it was too late to change the outcome.

Men’s Irish Junior Cup final
Glenanne 3 (E Tucker, D Keogh, D Carey)
Pembroke 2 (S Furlong 2)

Glenanne: J Murtagh, J Brennan, D Carey, A Clayton, P Fitzpatrick, H Fowler-Hudson, D Keogh, M McGuinness, J Rogan, S Ronan, P Byrne, J Stewart

Subs: A McLoughlin, C Murphy, E Tucker, G Gibney, K Crosbie, A Clayton, C O’Neill

Pembroke: S Thornton, R Flannery, A Giles, W Brownlow, T Hill, B Schutte, P Carley, S Furlong, C Murphy, M Cronin

Subs: G Garrett, P Good, S McElroy, R McDonald, P Priestly, P Conlon, H Watchorn

Umpires: J Butler, N Hermon

Irish Hockey Association media release

Golubev and Kazan emerge from big freeze against Rot-Weiss

©: Frank Uijlenbroek/world Sport Pics

When Dinamo Kazan beat Rot-Weiss Koln in the newly introduced ranking matches in Rotterdam, it was their first ever win in the Euro Hockey League outside of ROUND1.

They had initially lost their KO16 tie against Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles 9-0 but bounced back to win 10-8 in an entertaining tie, scoring five field goals.

For Pavel Golubev, he said of the win: “It was very enjoyable and great for us to beat such a strong team. It was unexpected but we did what we can.

“We knew we didn’t have any more games so we could give all of our power to that game. But having two games is much better for us, to feel the tournament and the emotion of the EHL.”

The difficulty for Dinamo Kazan in the EHL KO16 – and Russian clubs in general – remains the nature of their season. ROUND1 usually comes at the back end of their club season with the playoffs this season taking place just a couple of weeks before.

Dinamo Elektrostal gave Uhlenhorst Mulheim a real scare in Barcelona with just a late Thilo Stralkowski goal salvaging the draw they needed to advance. Since then, though, Russian clubs have had precious little pitch time to get up to speed due to the long, cold winter.

“Before we came to Rotterdam, [Kazan] didn’t have any outdoor training sessions; all of it was indoors. The first outdoor session we had was on March 29 and then we played against Racing. It was very hard for us to reach the level against Racing from just training in a hall but we felt much better two days later.”

And Golubev is hopeful that a Russian team will soon make a breakthrough and reach the last eight of the competition. In combination with Dinamo Elektrostal's second place finish in the ROUND1 groups, this win will help assure them of two places in the EHL for next season.

“The EHL is a great trip for us, to get such good games, to play strong teams who we can learn a lot from. I am delighted to be a part of it.”

Euro Hockey League media release

MJHL: Anderson Thunderbolts zap Olak 4-1

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR:  Anderson Thunderbolts whipped Old La Sallians Association of Klang (Olak) 4-1 in Division One of the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday.

The win consolidated Anderson Thunderbolts quest to finish second in the League, while for Olak it was another nail in their coffin to relegation next season.

Olak have yet to win a single point after seven matches and have let in 39 goals and only scored four.

Anderson are currently second on the standings on 16 points after seven matches and travel to Likas to play Sabah Sports School Resilient next.

Yesterday, Olak scored first in the fifth minute off Hairi Amir but Arif Sabron equalsied for Anderson in the 24th minute and the other goals were scored by Fahmi Khalid (26th), Azrai Aizad (38th) and Syazwan Syafiq (59th).

"My players took it easy because at the back of their mind they were playing a team which had yet to win a match. That's how Olak scored the first goal," said Anderson coach Nizam Hashim.

But once they received the wake-up call, Anderson powered back into the match.

"We have two more matches to complete and I see the next one against Sabah a little troublesome. Not only that we have to travel to Likas (Sabah), but teams which have played there returned not too happy with the condition of the artificial pitch.

"We will have to get adjusted to the field conditions fast, as we need to win both our remaining matches to finish second, to achieve our best performance in the JHL to date," said Nizam.

The top spot has been booked by Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Thunderbolts who have 24 points after eight matches.

RESULTS: Division One -- Sabah SS Resilient 2 PJCC Tigers 3, SSTMI 1 SMKDBL UniKL 4, Anderson Thunderbolts 4 Old La Sallians Association of Klang 1, SSTMI Thunderbolts 8 Perlis Young Lions 0, Pahang SS Thunderbolts x Bukit Jalil SS Thunderbolts x.

Division Two: Group A: Datuk Taha 6 SSP-MSP 2, MSNT-PHT-SMKPM 0 MSSPP-PSHA Jnr 0; Group B: MSSP Stinger 3 TBSS Tampin 4, Johor Baru v Sains Batu Pahat (match abandoned, rain), SMGKR Boys 0 MSSPP-PSHA 7; Group C: KL Vipers 2 MSS Selangor 1.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

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