Monday, June 30, 2014

Belarus eves win 2nd Women’s Hockey World League Round 1 Tourney

Belarus eves have won the second Women’s Hockey World League Round 1 Tournament, which concluded in Siauliai, Lithuania. The 19th ranked Belarus girls proved their supremacy in no uncertain terms, winning all their three league games in a four-team event.

Belarus clobbered 34th ranked hosts Lithuania 7-2 in their third and final league game – they had earlier edged 24th ranked Ukraine 3-2 and humbled 27th ranked Poland 4-1 in their first two games. Yuliya Mikheichyk was the star of Belarus – slamming six goals to emerge as the top goal-scorer of the tournament including a fine hat-trick against Poland.

Ukraine finished second in the standings, pipping Lithuania 2-1 and putting it across Poland 1-0. Lithuania defeated Poland, who finished winless settling for a bottom-place finish.

Belarus, thus join Malaysia in the Women’s Hockey World League Round 2 stage after the latter made the cut winning the first Women’s Hockey World League Round 1 Tourney at Singapore.

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Knee injury forces star England midfielder Ashleigh Ball out of Commonwealth Games

England women’s hockey star Ashleigh Ball will miss the upcoming Commonwealth Games owing to a knee injury she sustained during the recent World Cup 11/12 place classification against Belgium. The ace midfielder suffered knee ligament damage and is expected to be out of action for nine months.
The 28-year-old, who made her senior international debut in 2008 and played more than 50 internationals, will undergo a knee reconstruction surgery on a torn ACL over the next few weeks.
It may be recalled that the 2014 World Cup was a hugely disappointing campaign for the 4th ranked English side, which just about avoided the wooden spoon.
Ball was a member of the national side which picked up a bronze each at the 2012 London Olympics, 2010 World Cup and 2010 Commonwealth Games respectively.
She will also miss the Investec London Cup which kicks off at the Lee Valley Stadium in the Olympic Park from July 9 and runs till June 13.
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Ireland men sweep two Test hockey series against Wales

The Ireland men’s hockey team swept two Test hockey series against Wales, winning the second and final contest 2-0. The Green Machine failed to breach the Wales citadel in the first half, but soon turned things around in the second half as Shane O’Donoghue whipped home a penalty corner in the 44th minute.
The Irish made the scoreline 2-0 close to the final hooter when Alan Sothern made the most of a short corner.
Earlier, Ireland won the opening Test 3-1 with Michael Watt, David Carson and Shane O Donoghue being the goal-scorers.
The Ireland’s men’s team – ranked 15th in the world - will feature in a two Test series against England on July 4 and 5 respectively. 

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Jamie Dwyer’s Commonwealth Games axing should have been handled better

The omission of celebrated striker Jamie Dwyer from the Australian men’s hockey team for the upcoming Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow, Scotland next month, has taken many in hockey circles by surprise, including Kookaburras captain Mark Knowles.
The 35-year-old forward has been contemplating about his international future for some time now, without setting any specific time-frame for the same. Hockey Australia obviously want to groom youngsters with an eye on the 2016 Rio Olympics. One cannot fault Hockey Australia for looking at the ‘future’, but for somebody of the stature of Dwyer, who has achieved so much for the country – deserves to go out on a ‘high’.
Apparently, if the Australian media reports are anything to go by, Dwyer is cut up with his Commonwealth Games axing and now intends to go on a vacation and get his batteries recharged.
Dwyer, who equalled Jay Stacy’s record of 321 caps – the most by an Australian – during the 2014 World Cup final against the Netherlands which they won 6-1, did not leave anybody in doubt performance-wise as he looked good in The Hague like most of his team-mates and even scored once in the final against the Dutch.
The fact that Dwyer gone on record about him being among the ‘sixteen best hockey players in Australia’ and that he came to know about his omission through an e-mail makes its amply clear that he hasn’t liked the Commonwealth Games axing at all. Probably, Hockey Australia having a talk with him about his exclusion for the Commonwealth Games would have been the ‘right’ way to go about things.
One is not trying to suggest that Dwyer should be handed ‘special’ treatment, but clearly a star player like Dwyer deserves to be intimated in a much better way than just an e-mail, especially since he is at the fag end of his career, when even being dropped for a match or tournament can trigger murmurs about whether it is curtains for a player.
The point is simple: Hockey Australia could have told him that they are resting him for the Commonwealth Games as they need to try out youngsters keeping in mind the 2016 Rio Olympics. One can’t help but feel that Hockey Australia could have handled this issue (not including Dwyer for the Commonwealth Games) better and not leave the vastly experienced striker with a bad taste in his mouth. It is learnt that Hockey Australia had merely released a statement about the Commonwealth Games team announcement sans any mention about Dwyer – something which hasn’t gone down well with many in Australia.
There is no doubt that age is catching up with Dwyer and one knows for sure that he is keen to spend more time with his family, but the forward must have still not ruled out his chances of playing in the 2016 Olympics. If at all, the selectors or the coaches do not want him in the Rio-Olympics-bound squad, they should tell him upfront and at least allow him play in one international which can be his farewell game. A player of Dwyer’s credentials definitely deserves better.
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Australian midfielder Liam De Young calls it quits

Australian hockey continues to be gripped by retirements. First, Kookaburras head coach Ric Charlesworth fast-forwarded his retirement plans (he was to retire after the 2014 Commonwealth Games), and chose to stand down after shepherding the national side to World Cup glory in the Hague, Netherlands. Seasoned midfielder Rob Hammond subsequently called it a day. Now comes the turn of another Aussie player Liam De Young to call time on his international career.
Young, who is one among only four Australians to play more than 300 internationals (others being Brent Livermore, Jay Stacy and Jamie Dwyer), probably took the decision to zip into the sunset on a ‘high’ – the 2014 World Cup glory. Young was also part of the 2010 World Cup-winning team in New Delhi and featured in four World Cups in all.
The 32-year-old star midfielder, who made 312 international appearances, won three Olympic medals, three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist and was also a member of the Australian Champions Trophy winning team on four occasions.
Young made his senior international debut against Belgium in October 2001 under then coach Barry Dancer – a game Australia won 3-1.

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