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News for 11 September 2020

All the news for Friday 11 September 2020

Janne is raring to get back on the pitch

Janne Müller-Wieland has been a stalwart member of the German defence since 2008, earning 309 senior caps in that time. She brings to every match an attitude of commitment, strength, vision and fair-mindedness. The German captain, if anything, is getting better with every tournament. Enjoying her sport but achieving a good work/life balance – Müller-Wieland is an entrepreneur and business woman – has allowed her to gain a clear perspective on the game.

With both the German domestic league [the Bundesliga] and the FIH Hockey Pro League re-starting, Muller-Wieland and her team will be looking to build on the style and capability shown by the team in recent years. In the inaugural FIH Pro League, Germany finished in third position, and will be hoping to secure a top three finish again this season.

Do you feel as if you are physically and mentally prepared for the Pro League season to begin again?

Janne Müller-Wieland: We are ready to play again, physically and mentally. The Bundesliga started again, so yes, can’t wait for our first Pro league game.

Has the past few months and the Covid-19 situation changed your perspective on being a national team player in any way?

Janne Müller-Wieland: I think sometimes, when you are on tour with hockey, you tend to take things for granted a little bit. And this time at home and away from hockey has made us really appreciate again how lucky we are and look forward to anything we can do with the team again.

How do you feel at the prospect of playing international sport again?

Janne Müller-Wieland: We are just really looking forward to Pro League again, kicking off in Europe. Hopefully as many games as possible can go ahead and, of course, I am looking forward to watching some good games too.

How do you and your teammates feel about playing hockey under strict health/hygiene guidelines and the challenges that will pose?

Janne Müller-Wieland: I think it is really good that we have those guidelines and hygiene standards in place because that enables us to focus on the hockey and not worry.


Official FIH Pro League Site

Reconnecting is Reckinger’s main aim

Xavier Reckinger is Head Coach to the German national women’s team. Under his leadership, Die Danas won silver at the 2019 European Championships in Belgium and finished third in the inaugural FIH Hockey Pro League season.

Reckinger himself enjoyed a long international playing career, representing Belgium 328 times, including two Olympic Games (Beijing 2008 and London 2012) and two World Cups (2002 and 2014).

Now signed up to lead the German women's team up to and including Paris 2024, Reckinger is determined to build on the teamwork and compact playing style that have become the hallmark of the German team under his leadership.

Are you satisfied with the amount and quality of preparation time you have had with your team ahead of the first FIH Hockey Pro League fixture?

Xavier Reckinger: So the team preparation was pretty much non-existent. Everyone trained in their own province and prepared individually and over the past five, six months, everyone tried to do the best they could under the circumstances. They did what was allowed. Everyone trained the same way and I am pretty proud of the way they trained. We haven’t been together for over six months now so let’s just say the [team] preparation was non-existent and it will be interesting to see how quickly we get back to our level and get the connections again as a team.

How excited, motivated and ready do you feel the players are for a return to Pro League action?

Xavier Reckinger: Excitement and motivation will not be the issue. The [Bundesliga] league has started so the players are happy to play some hockey and have some competitiveness again. Whether we are ready is another aspect. The question is whether we are ‘hockey fit’ enough. Thankfully the league has already started so we will be prepared in the best possible way under these circumstances. It will be great to come together again, play some games, yes, I am really looking forward to that.

Are you able to draw any positives from the break from action of the past seven months?

Xavier Reckinger: I think positives are quite hard to grasp at the moment. Looking back at the period, there have been a lot of economic issues, a lot of social issues, people have had different problems. Thankfully, we were not hit too hard by it. Everyone is healthy and fit. I guess everything slowed down a little bit. At the beginning, it was surprising how everything fell away but that gave time for us to focus on other things, maybe do some studies or some specialisations for work, so everyone had the opportunity to focus on other things. As a coach, it gave me the opportunity to analyse from a distance where we were. I think that is the only positives to take away from it.  

What will you be looking for from your players if they are to win this opening game of the season?

Xavier Reckinger: For me, I will be looking to see how quickly we can get back to the level before the Corona break came. We were on a very positive way forward and things were moving well. Then the break came and I think we dealt quite well with it. But, having not been together for six months, it will be interesting to see how we get back to our old levels and get the connections again. I think that will be the main aspects. Hopefully that will get us a win but at this stage, not having been together, there are so many questions, it’s hard to say. We have got to have commitment, be fit, be smart, win penalty corners – all the cliched things that will get us a win. Everyone has had different preparations so it is difficult to say where everyone is at the moment in world hockey. Belgium is a team that is rebuilding, they missed out on Olympic qualifications, which means we don’t know much about them either.

Can you sum up the importance of the next few months when it comes to preparing for the EuroHockey Championships and the Olympic Games

Xavier Reckinger: We, at the moment, are not looking so long in advance. We are trying, when we come together, to become better. We have to see what the future brings and hopefully it will be very bright for us. I am confident that it can be and every day is important for that. Since you can’t plan too far ahead anyway, it makes you focus even more on the things that you do in the short term and that makes you stronger as well. Definitely the next few months are important heading towards the Olympics and European Championships but we are just looking forward to the next two or three weeks and then we reschedule that every week to make sure we have the best possible preparation.


Official FIH Pro League Site

Teun de Nooijer: Golden goals, second chances & the FIH Hockey Pro League

Photo credit: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

In Part 2 of our wide-ranging interview with one of hockey’s most revered players, Netherlands legend Teun de Nooijer talks about his memories of scoring the golden goal at the Utrecht 1998 Hockey World Cup in front of 15,000 home fans, and how the Oranje bounced back from the brink of elimination at Sydney 2000 before claiming a second successive Olympic gold medal.

De Nooijer – a three-time FIH Player of the Year who played a world record 453 international matches, scoring 219 goals – also discusses his co-trainer role with the Germany women’s national side, stating his great excitement about the team’s upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League matches against Belgium, which will be played in Dusseldorf later this month.

To see Part 1 of the interview, click here.

To score the golden goal in the final of the 1998 Hockey world Cup, which was played on home soil, must have been an incredible moment for you, especially as you were still only 22.

Teun de Nooijer: “I was still the youngest on the team. Actually, two years later at [the] Sydney 2000 [Olympic Games] I was still the youngest on the team. We had a pretty experienced team there. The final in [Utrecht] was crazy, but the whole tournament was crazy. In the group phase we faced Germany and lost 5-1. That was pretty hard on home soil to lose like that. But in the semi-final we faced the Aussies, and we won 6-2, which was another crazy, bizarre game.

“In the final, it was 15 minutes from the end and we were 2-0 down, and we turned it around to force extra-time. Just two minutes from the end [of extra time], we got a corner and the rebound went in. You can see it on the television footage, I sprint away after the goal to the fans and then in one moment, because it [golden goal extra-time] was pretty new back then, the game ended. First, I was enjoying that we were leading 3-2 with two minutes still to play, but then I realised it was finished! I fell on the ground and the whole team was on top of me, and the staff! It was a bizarre moment.”

Your journey to winning your second Olympic gold, at Sydney 2000, was far from straightforward. Can you tell us about that?

Teun de Nooijer: “When I look back at that tournament, I think we had an unbelievably good team, and an unbelievably experienced team. At 24, I was the youngest on the team. There is no team now where that is the case, I think. We really, really struggled. We started okay, but were a little bit unlucky as well because we scored a goal against Malaysia that hit the back-bar and came out, but the [umpire] thought it was against the bar. It was disallowed, and we had a 0-0 because of that. We dropped a lot of points, and then in the end, I think we needed a win against Pakistan. We actually played pretty well, creating a lot of chances but just didn’t score. Pakistan did, so we lost that game.

“After that, Germany needed to play GB [Great Britain]. Germany had a great team, so we all thought that we were out of the tournament, no semi-final place for us. Germany will win this game; it was a big chance for them to go through. But it just fell our way. GB won, with Callum Giles, the penalty corner specialist, having a chance five minutes from the end and he scored to make it 2-1. We were all in our little houses watching the game. Players from the team were already preparing to go out, because we were not having a semi-final, so we were going to go into town and have a beer! But then it just turned around. It was crazy.”

Did you think it was a second chance for you to go on and win the gold medal?

Teun de Nooijer: “Totally. We totally felt it was our second chance, and we had a long team talk about that and really said to each other: this is it. Now we have a second chance, and we are going to grab this, one way or the other. Everything that had happened doesn’t matter anymore. We are here now, and we are going to grab this chance, and that is what we really did well.”

You are back working with international hockey players again. Can you tell us about your latest role?

Teun de Nooijer: “At the moment I am one of the co-trainers with the Germany ladies team. The first games are coming up now, actually, the [FIH Hockey] Pro League games will be in September, in Düsseldorf against Belgium, so we are really looking forward to that. Like everyone, I’m looking forward to having games again, to play hockey again, come together again and to go forward again together in a good direction. I think everybody has been missing hockey at the top level. I watched some Champions League [football] in recent weeks. It was nice of course, but you miss the spectators and the full crowds. Hopefully it is coming back soon, and a vaccine for COVID [will be found]. Let’s hope everything works out and that the hockey world is able to come together again.”

Official FIH Pro League Site

On this day: India retains hockey bronze in Munich Olympics

With just a minute left for the final whistle, Mukhbain converted a short corner as India retained its bronze title by defeating Holland 2-1 in 1972 Munich Olympics.

Sundar Rajan K

England's Keith Sinclair falls during a tackle with Harbinder Singh in India's preliminary Group B match of 1972 Munich Olympics.   -  The Hindu Archives

India retained its bronze title by defeating Holland by 2-1. The match winner was scored by Mukhbain who converted a short corner with just a minute left for the final whistle.

India's forward line-up showed a change. Kulwant had been dropped and Govinda from outside left played at centra and Harcharan Singh got his well deserved chance to play at the left wing. Harbinder was retained. He made several beautiful moves but continued to lose possession of the ball when fiercely tackled and was slow too. But it should be said that this was his best match.

Charles, who had replaced Manuel at the goal in the seccnd session of India's match against Pakistan two days ago, continued in his position. Holland obtained a short corner award, the justification of which all did not see eye to eye. Ajitpal's clearance when a Dutch forward tackled him did not look dangerous at all. The short corner was saved at the expense of a long corner which, however, obtained Holland its first goal. Kruize scored with a good drive.

India was not demoralised at all. Ashok Kumar's progress was being checked time and again with neat interceptions by Dutch defenders but he managed to meet a pass from Harbinder after the latter had beautifully worked his way up and unleashed a shot which was saved by the Dutch goalkeeper. Govinda picked a pass from the midfleld and by sheer speed got past two defenders and after drawing the goalkeeper out of his charge pushed the ball into the net.

Harbinder continued to delight with his artistry and he nearly scored again only to find goalkeeper coming out of the charge and tackling him out. Govinda appeared to be going through for a clear goal when the half-time whistle went.

After resumption Holland forced a long corner. Plet Weemers feigned to meet the ball but ran over it and allowed Frans Spits to take aim. This tactics nearly paid. Spits' shot missed the post by inches after the entire Indian defence had been beaten. This nettled the Indian attack. A series of moves bore promise, but the efforts went awry in the end. More short comers followed without any result. The match was heading for extra-time, but Mukhbain's goal sealed the fate of Holland, for almost after the bully off came the final whistle.

The final standings of hockey tournament:

1. West Germany, 2. Pakistan, 3. India, 4. Holland, 5. Australia, 6. Britain, 7. Spain, 8. Malaysia, 9. New Zealand. 10. Belgium, 11. Poland, 12. France, I3. Kenya, 14. Argentina, 15. Uganda and 16. Mexico.

Top scorers: (1) Thies Kruize (Holland) 18; (2) Michael Kraus (West Garmany) 10; (S) Mukhbain Singh (India) 9; (4) Ronald Riley (Australia); (5) Gregg Dayman (N. Zealand) 7; (6) Abdur Rashid (Pakistan), Barry Maister (N. Zealand) and Erryk Grotowsky (Polarid) 6 each.

(This article was first published in The Hindu on Sept. 10, 1972)


40 years on, Batch recalls Olympic boycott

In March, athletes around the world were disappointed to hear the news that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics would be postponed for a year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Plans were reshuffled, retirements postponed, and competitors across all sports prepared themselves for another year of training.

Yet for Kookaburras Head Coach Colin Batch, this is surprisingly not the first time that an Olympic campaign has been abruptly put on hold.

Sitting down for an interview with respected hockey commentator Ashley Morrison, Batch looked back on the debut Olympics that weren’t to be for him.

After making his debut in October 1979, Batch was the youngest player selected in the Australian team for the 1980 Moscow Games at 22 years old.

The Kookaburras had a settled team and were coming off a silver medal at the previous Olympics in Montreal, and there was hope that the team would go one better.

“There was a lot of expectation after ’76, it was really a breakthrough tournament,” said Batch.

“I remember the fallout from the Olympics and the enthusiasm around hockey, particularly the national team.”

But as 1980 arrived, major developments were happening surrounding the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the idea of a US-led boycott of the Games began to take shape.

Many countries joined the boycott, however the Australian government left the decision up to the Australian Olympic Committee, who initially indicated that they would participate in the Games.

Individual athletes had the opportunity to decide for themselves if they would pull out or not, while the Kookaburras held a vote on the matter which came back in favour of going to the Games.

“It was a strange time, it really was. Having just got in the team I remember we were in Karachi in January 1980 and we were sitting there, and that’s when we first learned that Russia had invaded Afghanistan,” Batch recalls.

“Greg Browning, I remember a comment that he made about how this was going to be trouble for the Olympics – he was very correct.”

While the Kookaburras had agreed that they would participate, and with each player receiving their Olympic blazer ahead of the Games, it was a matter of days until pressure from the government caused a backflip on the decision.

Looking back on what could have been, Batch admits that not only would Australia have been among the teams to beat in 1980, but the boycott may have had an influence on the 1984 Los Angeles Games as well.

“The age and experience from ’76 would’ve carried through to ‘80, and I think then if you skipped forward to ’84 we had an outstanding team but maybe some of the guys that didn’t go in ’80 might’ve finished then,” explains Batch.

“Perhaps in hindsight the team needed some fresh blood for ’84.”

Fast-forward to today, where Batch’s debut Games as a Kookaburras coach have been affected much like his debut as a player albeit in much different circumstances.

Unlike 1980, there is hope that the 2020 Games will eventually be able to proceed safely after a year’s postponement.

Both the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos are in full preparation for Tokyo ahead of their new start date of July 23, 2021.

Batch’s experiences as a player and a coach have taught him to appreciate the Olympic experience and take nothing for granted.

“I was fortunate enough to go to two other Olympics as an athlete and four others as an assistant coach and head coach, so I feel very privileged to go through those and have the opportunity to do that,” Batch said.

“I’m really looking forward to Tokyo next year.”

View the interview on Youtube here

Hockey Australia media release

EH Champs Finals Insight: Sun 13 September

Uni Of Nottingham 3s 2019 EH Champs

The final day of the postponed EH Championships Finals will see 14 teams head into battle to contest the final seven finals on Sunday 13 September.

Though the event will be following Step 4 of the Return to Play guidelines (more info HERE), matches will be played behind closed doors at Nottingham Hockey Centre with no spectators allowed. However you will still be able to keep up with the action through our live stream on Facebook, social media updates using #EHChamps and live match info.

Women’s T2 Final – Guildford v Loughborough Students 2s (12:30)
The day’s showpiece match will see a repeat of last year’s Women’s T2 final as Guildford and Loughborough Students go head-to-head once again.

The team from Surrey will be hoping to exact revenge on Loughborough this time round having been beaten 3-1 in last year’s final. They head into the final looking in fine form too having thrashed Sheffield University Bankers 7-0 in the semi-final just a few days ago. That came after a 3-0 defeat over Wapping back in March for a team that has grown into the competition after needing a shootout to defeat Teddington in their first match.

Defending champions Loughborough also look to be in fine form, having dispatched Penzance 6-2 in their semi-final. They were made to work hard by the University of Birmingham in their quarter-final, overcoming them on a shootout, but having scored 15 goals in four games during the competition will be confident of claiming the trophy for a second straight year.

How they reached the final

    Guildford: R1) BYE; R2) East Grinstead W/O Guildford; R3) Guildford 3-3 Teddington (2/1 SO); QF) Guildford 3-0 Wapping; SF) Sheffield University Bankers 0-7 Guildford
    Loughborough Students: R1) BYE; R2) City of Peterborough 2-3 Loughborough Students; R3) University of Nottingham 0-2 Loughborough Students; QF) University of Birmingham 4-4 Loughborough Students (4-5 S/O); SF) Loughborough Students 6-2 Penzance

Last year’s winners
Loughborough Students (beat Guildford 3-1)

Women’s T3 Final – Oxted v Nottingham Trent University (15:00)
The final Adult Championship to be decided this year will be between defending Women’s T3 champions Oxted and local outfit Nottingham Trent University.

Having overcome Reading in a dramatic shootout last season, Oxted will be hoping the trophy heads back down to Surrey for the second time in as many years. They reached the final courtesy of a hard fought 2-1 win over Oxford. They certainly have a solid defence, conceding just once in the competition so far, and will be hoping this will come to the fore once again this weekend.

That will be put to the test though by a Nottingham Trent outfit who have scored goals for fun this year. They put 11 past Nuneaton in their opening game before scoring another nine against Burton later in the competition. They’ve also shown they can come through the toughest of games too, defeating University of Nottingham on a shootout during the quarter-final stages. With the game taking place on familiar territory, they’ll also be hoping to use that to their advantage this Sunday.

How they reached the final

    Oxted: R1) Oxted 5-0 Folkestone Optimist; R2) Old Cranleighans 0-1 Oxted; R3) Oxted W/O Richmond; QF) Oxted W/O Spencer; SF) Oxford 1-2 Oxted
    Nottingham Trent: R1) Nottingham Trent 11-0 Nuneaton; R2) Nottingham Trent 4-0 University of Birmingham; R3) Nottingham Trent 9-2 Burton; QF) Nottingham Trent 1-1 University of Nottingham (5-4 S/O); SF) Ashbourne 0-3 Nottingham Trent

Last year’s winners
Oxted (beat Reading 2-1 on shootout after 3-3 draw)

Oxted T3 Champions 2019 EH Champs

Women’s T4 Final – University of Nottingham 4s v City of Birmingham (10:00)
The opening game on the final day of EH Champs action this season will see University of Nottingham’s 4th XI hope to emulate what their 3rd XI did last year and claim the Women’s T4 final. However they will have to work hard to defeat a City of Birmingham side that have impressed in this year’s competition.

City of Birmingham have faced plenty of stern tests en route to the final but have overcome every single one of them and will hope to continue that run on Sunday. Catherine Dodson shone in their opening game, scoring a hat-trick in their 4-2 win over Loughborough Carillon, before a 3-1 victory over West Bridgford in the quarter-final. They then showed plenty of grit and determination to defeat Surrey Spartans on a shootout last weekend to reach the final.

However the University of Nottingham have looked imperious on their way to the final, scoring 12 times against Burton in their opening game before putting 11 past Leicester in their quarter-final. A 5-1 win over Burnt Ash (Bexley) followed last weekend – can they ensure the trophy will remain in Nottingham for another year?

How they reached the final

    University of Nottingham: R1) University of Nottingham 12-0 Burton; R2) Khalsa Leamintgon 2-4 University of Nottingham; QF) Leicester City 1-11 University of Nottingham; SF) Burnt Ash (Bexley) 1-5 University of Nottingham
    City of Birmingham: R1) City of Birmingham 4-2 Loughborough Carillon; R2) City of Birmingham W/O Lymm; QF) West Bridgford 1-3 City of Birmingham; SF) Surrey Spartans 3-3 City of Birmingham (5-6 S/O)

Last year’s winners
University of Nottingham 3s (beat Barford Tigers)

Women’s O45 T1 Final – St Albans v Redland (17:30)
Two teams looking to exact revenge after disappointment last year will meet in the final game of the weekend, the Women’s O45 T1 final.

St Albans were just pipped to the title by Sutton Coldfield in last year’s final and will be hoping to use the heartbreak from that to go one further this time round. They have been in imperious form so far throughout the competition, scoring 22 goals and conceding just once in five games. That included successive 6-0 wins over Amersham & Chalfont and Wycombe before they reached the final for a second straight year by beating Timperley.

Redland also have a point to prove after being knocked out in the semi-final stages by Sutton Coldfield last year. They also head into the competition with a very impressive defensive record, conceding just once this season so far, and will give everything they’ve got to take the trophy back to Bristol.

How they reached the final

    St Albans: R1) Amersham & Chalfont 0-6 St Albans; R2) Wycombe 0-6 St Albans; R3) Bishops Stortford 1-3 St Albans; QF) St Albans 4-0 Norwich City; SF) Timperley 0-3 St Albans
    Redland: R1) Redland W/O Sonning; R2) Wimborne Wayfarers 0-5 Redland; R3) Team Bath Buccaneers 0-2 Redland; QF) Solihull Blossomfield 1-2 Redland; SF) Redland W/O Cambridge City

Last year’s winners
Sutton Coldfield (beat St Albans 3-2)

St Albans Women's O45s T1 EH Champs 2019

Women’s O35s T2 Final – Bedford v Timperley (11:15)
Opening the action on Pitch 2 will be the Women’s O35s T2 final between Bedford and Timperley.

Bedford laid a statement of intent in the first game of the competition, scoring a remarkable 14 goals against St Ives, and have not looked back since. They’ve since put six past North Notts and four past Maidenhead but have also shown they have the attitude to grind results out too, overcoming Letchworth 4-3 before reaching the final with a narrow 2-1 win over Bishops Stortford.

Timperley also showed they mean business in their opening game with a thumping 11-1 defeat of Cronkbourne Bacchanalians before showing they also have the spirit to overcome tough opposition by beating Didsbury Northern 2-1. They then booked their place in the final last weekend by overcoming Taunton Vale and will be hoping to lift the trophy come Sunday lunchtime.

How they reached the final

    Bedford: R1) Bedford W/O Oxford; R2) Bedford 14-0 St Ives; R3) Letchworth 3-4 Bedford; R4) North Notts 0-6 Bedford; QF) Bedford 4-1 Maidenhead; SF) Bishops Stortford 1-2 Bedford
    Timperley: R1) BYE; R2) Timperley 11-1 Cronkbourne Bacchanalians; R3) Timperley 2-1 Didsbury Northern; R4) Timperley W/O Bowdon; QF) Newcastle W/O Timperley; SF) Timperley 4-1 Taunton Vale

Last year’s winners
Ipswich (beat St Albans 1-0)

Women’s O45 T2 Final – Bowdon v Bretforton (13:45)
Last season’s beaten finalists Bretforton will be hoping to lift the Women’s O45 T2 trophy come this Sunday afternoon. But they face a stern test in a Bowdon side boasting a perfect defensive record so far in the competition.

Having been beaten by Canterbury in the 2018/19 final, Bretforton have fought back in style throughout the rounds so far this year. They beat Stourport 6-0 in their opening game before defeating Sonning 6-2 in the semi-final last weekend, with a shootout victory over Clifton Robinsons and narrow 2-1 defeat of Kettering in between.

After being knocked out of the Women’s O45 T1 competition on penalties, Bowdon have not conceded a goal in their journey to the final and will be hoping to frustrate opposing strikers once more on Sunday. Victories over Sale and Kingston-upon-Hull saw them reach the semi-finals before reigning champions Canterbury were unable to fulfil the fixture, seeing the team from Greater Manchester reach the final two.

How they reached the final

    Bretforton: R1) Stourport 0-6 Bretforton; R2) Clifton Robinsons 3-3 Bretforton (2-3 S/O); QF) Kettering 1-2 Bretforton; SF) Sonning 2-6 Bretforton
    Bowdon: R1) Sale 0-1 Bowdon; R2) BYE; QF) Kingston-upon-Hull 0-2 Bowdon; SF) Bowdon W/O Canterbury

Last year’s winners
Canterbury (beat Bretforton 5-0)

Women’s O35s T3 Final – Yate v Barnes (16:15)
A new champion will be crowned in the Women’s O35s T3 competition with Yate and Barnes set to go into battle on Pitch 2 on Sunday afternoon.

Yate have already improved on how they fared last year, where they were knocked out in the third round by Andover, but will not be satisfied with just reaching the final this time out. They’ve more than earned their shot at the crown too having recorded impressive victories over Bristol Firebrands and Westberries Ladies while also showing grit and determination to overcome Sale 1-0 in a closely fought semi-final.

Barnes have also improved on their third round knockout from last year and made the final with a thumping 8-0 win over Woking last weekend. That followed on from a 7-0 defeat of Amersham & Chalfont in the third round and they will be hoping that imperious form leads them to lift the trophy.

How they reached the final

    Yate: R1) Oxford 2-3 Yate; R2) Yate 4-0 Bristol Firebrands; R3) Westberries Ladies 2-6 Yate; QF) Telford & Wrekin W/O Yate; SF) Yate 1-0 Sale
    Barnes: R1) Barnes W/O Holcombe; R2) Barnes W/O Brighton & Hove; R3) Barnes 7-0 Amesham & Chalfont; QF) Barnes W/O Bury St Edmunds; SF) Woking 0-8 Barnes

Last year’s winners
Epsom (beat Oxford Hawks 5-0)

September 13 schedule:
10:00 – Women’s T4 Final (available on Facebook live stream)
11:15 – Women’s O35s T2 Final
12:30 – Women’s T2 Final (available on Facebook live stream)
13:45 – Women’s O45s T2 Final
15:00 – Women’s T3 Final (available on Facebook live stream)
16:15 – Women’s O35s T3 Final
17:30 – Women’s O45s T1 Final (available on Facebook live stream)

To see all the fixtures and results in the 2019/20 EH Championships, click HERE.

England Hockey Board Media release

What hockey can learn from cricket’s protection

By Angus Porter

Bedford players wear their new masks last season PIC: KATRINA HARRIS

Cricket and hockey are sports in which a hard ball can travel on an unpredictable path, at speeds in excess of 80mph. So whilst fatalities are thankfully rare, we should not be surprised when serious injuries occur in either sport.

Ten years ago, the wearing of helmets by cricket batters and close fielders was optional in adult cricket, and many older male players regarded batting in a helmet as a sign of weakness (although, strangely, they wouldn’t dream of batting without a box).

Furthermore, although there was a British Standard in place for cricket helmets, it wasn’t fit for purpose, and wearing a helmet would not guarantee the protection you’d expect. Several professional cricketers suffered career-ending injuries from balls squeezing between the helmet grille and peak, or as a result of the grille collapsing under impact.

Cooperation between the England and Wales Cricket Board, the PCA, the MCC (still cricket’s lawmakers) and equipment manufacturers led to significant advances in three areas where we developed and implemented a new British standard for cricket helmets (subsequently adopted internationally), which significantly reduced the risk of facial injuries.

Key changes were that grilles are now stronger (often made from titanium alloy), and the gap between grille and peak is now generally fixed rather than adjustable. Note, though, that further evolution of the standard is now needed, following the death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes, which has led to further developments in neck protection.

We then went on to make the wearing of helmets conforming to this new standard mandatory in professional cricket in England, when batting or fielding close to the wicket. This was unpopular with some players at the time, but there are few complaints these days. Even the Aussies have belatedly followed suit.

Finally, the laws of cricket were reviewed, and some significant changes made. For example, accidental full pitched bowling above waist height (colloquially allowed as a “beamer”) results in a warning after the first occurrence, with the bowler being removed from the attack for the duration of the innings for a second offence.

So, what can we learn which might be relevant for hockey?

1. Can we ensure that safety equipment is fit for purpose? Perhaps the British standard for cricket helmets, or the US standard for baseball catchers’ face guards, could be the start point for a meaningful hockey standard.

2. Should we make the wearing of face masks mandatory for defenders at penalty corners at all levels of the game, and challenge the logic behind the restrictions on wearing face protection at other times? I haven’t found any examples of the eye protection worn by junior players in the USA causing injury to others, so am unclear as to why this avenue has not been pursued further by the FIH, given its duty of care to participants in its sport.

3. What changes to the rules of hockey and/or guidance to umpires should we consider? For example:

· Should we outlaw lifted shots through a crowded D? Watch any group of young players practicing, and you will see them trying to “roof it”. Shouldn’t we be encouraging them to master the skill of shooting at backboard height instead?

· Should we penalise players who lift the ball in an uncontrolled way in open play, issuing a warning the first time, and carding them for subsequent offences?

It’s not my intention to present these thoughts as anything other than a contribution to a debate. But it’s a debate I’d say is long overdue.

Angus Porter was Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) chief executive from 2010-2016

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