Sunday, May 14, 2017

JHL: Its Pahang v SSTMI for TNB Cup

PAHANG (MSP) Thunderbolts will play Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Thunderbolts in the Division One TNB Cup final on Sunday at the Tun Razak Stadium.
  Yesterday in the semi-finals, MSP Thunderbolts were held to a 3-3 draw by Anderson Thunderbolts before winning the shoot-out 4-2.
  In the second semi-finals SSTMI beat Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) Thunderbolts 3-0 with goals from Ariff Syafie (13th, 53rd) and Shello Silverius (49th).
  Pahang led 3-1 with a brace from Noor Firdaus (5th, 32nd minutes) and Idris Samad’s sixth minute penalty corner conversion before defensive blunders allowed and disciplined Anderson’s forwards to move in, the third and fourth quarters.
  Anderson, who showed League champions Petaling Jaya City Council Tigers the exit in last week’s quarter-finals, replied through Aliff Ikhemal (30th) and Akram Hakkam (38th, 51st minutes) to force the match into shootout.
  Pahang coach Sufian Mohamed said they have achieved their blueprint target since setting up the academy in 2014.
  "The bluprint for the academy in Pahang was to win our first JHL title this year and we are just one step away from achieving it. We have played SSTMI in the League and are familiar with them and have one week to get ready for the big day next Sunday," said Sufian.
 As for Anderson, coach Nizam Hashim said his players paid the price for their first quarter folly.
  "My players took it easy in the first quarter and paid the price. We were reduced to playing catching up for the remaining period," said Nizam.
  RESULTS -- Men's semi-finals: Anderson Thunderbolts 3 MSP Thunderbolts 3 (MSP win shoot-out 4-2), BJSS Thunderbolts 0 SSTMI Thunderbolts 3.
  Women's semi-finals: SSTMI 4 MSN Kedah 2, USM 1 KLSS-Wipers 3.
 Men's Final: May 21 -- MSP Thunderbolts v SSTMI Thunderbolts (Tun Razak, 8.35pm).
 Women's Final: KLSS-Wipers v SSTMI (Tun Razak, 6pm).

Friday, May 12, 2017

JHL: It's a Thunderbolts party...

THE Junior Hockey League Division One TNB Cup semi-finals will be an-all Thunderbolts affair Sunday.
  For Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), Anderson, MSP-Pahang and Tunku Mahkota Ismail SportS Schol (SSTMI) scored convincing wins in the quarter-finals yesterday.
  Anderson will meet MS Pahang, while SSTMI will play BJSS in the semi-finals.
 Both the Division Two teams SSMS Resilient and Johor Juniors were hammered by Division One outfits BJSS (6-2) and SSTMI (5-0) respectively.
   League champions PJCC Tigers fell to Anderson 3-2, with Nur Asyraf Ishak (20th, 42nd) their live-wire.
  However, Anderson pulled through with goals from Najme Hayazi (fourth), 45 18 Aiman Shahmi (45th) and Aliff Ikhemal (51st).
  "I see our match against BJSS the toughest of the two semis, as whenever they play us, they somehow manage to bring out their very best," said SSTMI coach Wan Roslan Rahman.
  Last season, BJSS beat SSTMI 4-3 for the TNB Cup, and this year in the League BJSS held SSTMI 2-2 before winning 6-5 in shoot-out.
  "Even though we are Thunderbolts 'brothers' we aim to give our very best to play in the final and win one title this season. Our biggest problem is travelling, for we played in Bandar Penawar today (Friday) and travelled after the match to Kuala Lumpur for the Sunday semis. I hope the boys recovery is fast, as BJSS are not an easy team to handle," said Wan Roslan.
  RESULTS -- Division One Quarter-finals: PJCC Tigers 2 Anderson Thunderbolts 3, MSP-Thunderbolts 3 SSTMI Juniors 1, SSTMI Thunderbolts 5 Johor Juniors 0, BJSS Thunderbolts 6 SSMS Resilient 2.
  SUNDAY -- Men's semi-finals: Anderson Thunderbolts v MSP Thunderbolts (Tun Razak, 6pm), BJSS Thunderbolts v SSTMI Thunderbolts (Tun Razak. 8.30pm).
  Women's semi-finals: SSTMI v MSN Kedah (KLHA, 4pm), USM v KLSS-Wipers (KLHA, 6pm).

Thursday, May 11, 2017

ITS Only RM100...


By S.S. Dhaliwal

A fund raising event has been planned this Saturday, May 13 at the Sungai Ujong Club, initiated by The Malay Mail as part of their CSR effort.

Micheal Yan has been the backbone for Negri Sembilan Hockey for over the past four decades.
I got to know Michael up close and personal when I first umpired in the Negri league in 1979.
But even before that I had seen him in action on the famous NS Padang as he played in the league for Pakat ( Telekom’s ), NS Club, Rangers and later on went on to play for Old Paulians and Sungai Ujong Club.
Michael was the coach when Seremban Municipal Council first made a foray into Hockey as he took charge of the team for five years from 1986 to 1991.
MPS participated in the Malaysian Hockey League in 1987 and some of the nations budding youngsters at that time in the likes of Eric Zachariah, K Dharmaraj, Lee Sen Hock, Led Sien Lam, Brian Jayhan Siva were amongst those who benefitted from his coaching.

A draughtsman by profession, Michael took over his father’s business in Rahang and when I joined MPS in 1981, our relationship grew as Michael and some close friends would meet up every Friday for lunch.
We developed a relationship of mutual respect and he looked upon me as a younger Brother , even citing me as an adopted Yan during his son’s wedding speech.
Many may not know this, but Michael was instrumental in assisting the renovations of the Mantin Sikh Temple in 1987.
The premises risked demolition by the local authority for constructing a dining hall that was in the process of construction but did not seek approval of the local authority.
Micheal stepped in, drew the plans, got the necessary approvals and each Wednesday we would take a drive to Mantin and monitor the progress.
And upon completion, Michael used the entire fees due to him and donated it back to the Gurudwara Mantin.
His devotion to helping religious places of worship did not end there, as Michael designed the plans for the Tampin Sikh Temple as well.
A devout Christian , Michael has no boundaries when it came to religion.
We often lamented the need to do something for Hockey in NS and it was only two years ago in the inaugural hall of fame of NSHA that I had mentioned that NS last won the Razak Cup in 1977 and if they failed by 2016, then this year I would team up with Michael, Lawrence van Huizen and William Fidelis to try rob win it.
Micheal lived sports – from hockey, badminton, cricket, tennis and golf. Michael is truly an all rounder, his ability phenomenal in whatever sports he decided to play.
One joke that I always shared with Michael was how he was the captain of the national team that lost the 1973 Sea Games Gold Medal to Singapore, but in true Michael style he used to say – ” We wanted to create history in our own way.” he joked.
Today Michael is fighting for his life, and he needs our help to get through this battle.
The veteran of many wars with scars to prove it, needs our prayers and our financial help to get through this difficult period.
A fund raising event has been planned this Saturday, May 13 at the Sungai Ujong Club, initiated by The Malay Mail as part of their CSR effort.
The details can be found in the poster above and I plead with sports lovers, be it those who knew Michael or not to contribute to this noble effort and every cent counts as we try assist Michael get back to his feet.
I pray that the sports fraternity would get together to give our “prince of NS sports” the due recognition by contributing to this fund raising.
You can either come in person or contact those listed to hand over your contribution.
Lets get Michael up on his feet.
Together we can do the impossible,
And in your prayers, please do seek the assistance of God to grant Michael a good recovery.
We all miss that smile Michael, so fight my Friend, and as you said while on the fairway , ” haddi” the ball. ( meaning hitbwill all your might)
So fight Michael with all you have.

Sabah: We are not afraid of BJSS Thunderbolts...

Pic: BJSS Thunderbolts players celebrate after beating Politeknik Malaysia in Division One of the JHL.

SABAH Sports School (SSMS Resilient) are not afraid of facing Junior Hockey League (JHL) 2016 Overall champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) Thunderbolts in the TNB Cup quarter-finals Friday.
  SSMS Resilient emerged as Division Two League champions without dropping a single point in six matches, and then won the Overall title by beating SSTMI Juniors 3-1 in the final.
  Resilient coach Sharil Izam knows that his charges will most likely face an uphill battle against BJSS Thunderbolts, but he is the least worried.
  "MY players have yet to lose a match in Division Two, but that does not mean we are a very strong side. The quarter-finals will be a real challenge as we will be playing against a team which is of a higher standard -- but we are not afraid of them and are up to the challenge," said Sharil.
  In the six League matches, resilient scored 45 goals and let in 11. And in the Overall knock-out, they beat MBMB Warriors and PHA-USM and then knocked out SSTMI Juniors with ease.
  The player to watch is Muhajir Abdu Rauf who top-scored in Division Two with a total of 19 goals -- 15 field, one penalty corner and three penalty strokes.
  Nasrul Syahkir, with 10 field goals, is the other Resilient Top Gun.
  "We drafted four players from the recent Under-16 tournament into the JHL side, and they did not disappoint," said Sharil who has been coaching the side for the last five years.
  Sabah finished fourth in the National Under-16.
  "This team has been together for five years and have started to show some promise. We were unlucky in the Under-16, but showed good form in the JHL to gain promotion into Division One next season.
  "So, even though BJSS are the raging favourites, we have nothing to lose and will fight for every inch of the pitch to qualify for the semi-finals," said Sharil.
  BJSS, on the other hand, have had a tough season in Division One and could only finish third in the League.
  The BJSS players to watch are Amirul Mirza (10 goals) and Ramdan Arifin (eight goals) -- the second and third top-scorers.
  FRIDAY -- Division One Quarter-finals: PJCC Tigers v Anderson Thunderbolts (Pandamaran Stadium, 5pm), MSP-Thunderbolts v SSTMI Juniors (Kuantan, 5pm), SSTMI Thunderbolts v Johor Juniors (SSTMI, 5pm), BJSS Thunderbolts v SSMS Resilient (KLHA, 5pm).
  SUNDAY -- Women's semi-finals: SSTMI v MSN Kedah (KLHA, 4pm), PSHA-USM v KLSS-Wipers (KLHA, 6pm).

Monday, May 8, 2017

Tough for SSTMI Juniors and SSMS Resilient...

Sabah Sports School Malaysia (in yellow) and Kuala Lumpur Sports School players in action in the quarterfinals of the TNB Malaysian Junior Hockey Women League at the KLHA Stadium today. KL Sports School won 4-2.

THE two Division Two teams playing in the TNB Cup knock-out are expected to face a torrid time in the quarter-finals on Friday.
  For, Division Two finalists SSTMI Juniors and SSMS Resilient from Sabah have been playing against weaker sides and will be thrown into the deep side of the pool in the quarter-finals.
  In an open draw for the last eight, SSTMI Juniors were paired with Division one fourth placed team MSP-Thunderbolts from Pahang.
  As for SSMS Resilient, who are Sabah Sports School boys, they will face third placed finishers in Division One BJSS Thunderbolts.
  League champions PJCC Thunderbolts will play Anderson Thunderbolts -- whom they beat 3-1 in the League.
  The other quarters will be between SSTMI Thunderbolts and Johor Juniors. The Johor side are the surprise package this season, as they held SSTMI to a 1-1 draw, before losing 4-2 on shoot-out to qualify for the knock-out.
  In the women's JHL, Kuala Lumpur Sports School (KLSS Wipers) beat Sabah Sports School Malaysia 4-2 to book a semi-final seat, while defending champions Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) also advanced to the semis after beating MSN-MSSPK-SMK Gunung Rapat 3-1.
  The semi-finals will see MSSPP-PSHA-USM face KL Wipers and SSTMI go head to head against MSN Kedah on May 14.
  KLSS Wipers, who were finalist last season, will need to walk a fine line when they meet MSSPP-PSHA-USM as several players are carrying cards and another infringement could see them miss the final should they qualify.
  "We will speak to the players on what needs to be done. From there we will also have to change our structure for the next game depending on our opponent’s strengths," said KLSS Wipers coach A. Kannagi.
  FRIDAY -- Division One Quarter-finals: PJCC Tigers v Anderson Thunderbolts (PJCC Stadium, 5pm), MSP-Thunderbolts v SSTMI Juniors (Kuantan, 5pm), SSTMI Thunderbolts v Johor Juniors (SSTMI, 5pm), BJSS Thunderbolts v SSMS Resilient (KLHA, 5pm).
  SUNDAY -- Women's semi-finals: SSTMI v MSN Kedah (KLHA, 4pm), PSHA-USM v KLSS-Wipers (KLHA, 6pm).

PJCC Tigers snatch JHL League title...

PETALING Jaya City Council (PJCC Tigers) won their maiden Division One Junior Hockey League (JHL) League title when they held Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) Thunderbolts 2-2 Sunday.
  The one point was enough to hand them the title, even though they went on to win the shoot-out 7-6 for two points.
  To compound matters, runners-up last year SSTMI Thunderbolts were held 1-1 by Johor Juniors and even though they won the shoot-out 4-2 to collect two points -- it was not enough to challenge the Tigers.
  Last season's champions BJSS Thunderbolts finished third on 18 points. 
“This is unbelievable,” said an ecstatic PJCC Tigers coach Harfizi Baharom. 
  “I told the players before the start that this is our best chance to win the league title and don’t let this chance go to waste.
  “They played hard to win the title and we are excited. We led 2-0 and I think the boys got carried away which allowed BJSS to comeback for the equaliser. This is something we must not allow to happen in the quarter-finals of the TNB Cup for the overall title,” he added.
   A dejected BJSS Thunderbolt coach BJSS coach Lokman Yahya commended PJCC for their fighting spirit and mental strength.
  “We created a lot of chances and so we can only blame ourselves for letting this opportunity slip away after SSTMI were held to a 1-1 draw by Johor Tigers,” he said.
  RESULTS -- Division One: Olak-Nurinsafi 4 Politeknik 2, Anderson Thunderbolts 5 UniKL Young Guns 3, Johor Junors 1 SSTMI Thunderbolts 1 SSTMI won shoot-out 4-2), PJCC Tigers 2 BJSS Thunderbolts 2 (Tigers win shoot-out 7-6), BJSS Juniors 3 MS Pahang-Thunderbolts 5.
  Division Two: Final: SSTMI Juniors x SSMS Resilient x; Third-Fourth: Young Lions 1 MBMB Warriors 2.



               P  W  D  SO L  F  A  Pts
PJCC TIGERS    9  7  1  1  1  31 14  23
SSTMI          9  6  2  1  1  41 10  21
BJSS           9  5  3  1  1  37  9  19
MSP-PAHANG     9  5  1  1  3  23 13  17
ANDERSON       9  5  1  1  3  22 20  17
JOHOR JUNIORS  9  4  2  1  3  16 15  15
UNIKL          9  3  0  0  6  12 29  9
OLAK           9  2  2  0  5  15 32  8
POLITEKNIK     9  1  1  1  7  12 34  5
BJSS JNRS      9  0  1  0  8  7  39  1

Saturday, May 6, 2017

FIFTH: Malaysia 3 Japan 1

MALAYSIA finaly found their rhythm to finish fifth by beating Japan 3-1 in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh Saturday.
   Japan, after surprising Australia 3-2 on Friday, were heavy footed while Malaysia still had fitness and speed on their side after edging India 1-0.
  Haziq Shamsul (eigtht), Firhan Ashaari (11th) and Faizal Shaari (34th) scored for Malaysia while Kaito Tanaka scored for Japan in the 28th minute.
  The match was stopped with one minute from the end of the third quarter due to torrential rain and only resumed after obe hour and 20 minutes, but Malaysia held on to win.
  However, Malaysia bungled six penalty corers out of eight, with Haziq scoring off a set-piece while Faizal's was a direct flick.
  On the defensive side, Malaysia were super efficient as they stopped Japan in all the five penalty corners with good run-outs.
  "We recovered fast after the India match and it is good that we ended the tournament with a win even though we could not improve on our fourth placing last year.
  "Penalty corners were a big problem in this tournament for us and that is one area we need to work on before the World League semi-finals in London (June 15-25).
  "However, we defender penalty corners very well in this tournament and that was among the positive elements we will take away from this tournament," said national coach Stephen van Huizen.
  Japan coach Yamabori Takahiko said his team's main problem is consistency.
  "My players failed because they are not mentally strong to ride on the win against Australia and this is our main problem.
  "After this, we will hold a two-week camp to get ready for the World League semifinals and I might hold another selection to give a chance to some of the players who are right now training in Japan," said Yamabori.
 RESULTS: Final: Australia x Britain x; Third-Fourth: New Zealand 0 India 4; Fifth-Sixth: Malaysia 3 Japan 1.

Friday, May 5, 2017

DAY OF UPSETS: Malaysia deny India spot in final

MALAYSIA played their hearts out to beat India 1-0 and deny them a place in the final of the Azlan Shah Cup.
  India needed to win the match to join Australia in the final Saturday, but Malaysia handed the spot to Britain instead.
  The solitary goal came off Malaysia's fourth penalty corner when Shahril Saabah drove home the ball in the 50th minute.
  And Japan showed their intentions to claim the Fifth-Sixth playoff against Malaysia when they came back from two goals down to beat Australia 3-2.
  In the group stage, Malaysia were held 1-1 by Japan.
  Australia, who were already in the final, toyed around and paid the price in the fourth quarter.
  Jeremy Edwards (seventh) and Trent Mitton (31st) gave Australia a healthy lead, which is normally enough for them to wrap up the match.
  However, a fightback from Shota Yamada in the 44th minute led to Koji Yamasaki scoring two famous goals in the 56th and 57th minutes for a historical victory.
  Japan coach Takahiko Yamabori celebrated his country's first ever win over Australia by thanking hosts Malaysia.
  "I would like to thank Malaysia for inviting us to this tournament and as the lowest ranked team, we got the opportunity to play against world class sides to improve our game.
  "This chance to play against New Zealand (lost 3-2) and Australia is also important because these teams are with us in Group A in the World League Semifinals in Johannesburg.
  "We hope to carry forward this momentum and beat Australia and New Zealand when we play then again (in Johannesburg on July 8-23)," said Yamabori.
   As for their Fifth-Sixth match against Malaysia, Yamabori said they will challenge the higher ranked team.
  "We came here to challenge teams which are higher ranked than us and that's what we will do against Malaysia in the placing match."
   Malaysia are 14th, Australia No 2 while Japan are 16th in the world.
   RESULTS: Britain 3 New Zealand 2, Australia 2 Japan 3, Malaysia 1 India 1.
  SATURDAY: Final: Australia v Britain (8.35pm); Third-Fourth: New Zealand v India (6.05pm); Fifth-Sixth: Malaysia v Japan (3.40pm)


           P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
AUSTRALIA  5  3  1  1  14 7  10
BRITAIN    5  3  1  1  12 9  10
INDIA      5  2  1  2  10 9  7
N ZEALAND  5  2  1  2  7  9  7
JAPAN      5  1  1  3  12 15 4
MALAYSIA   5  1  1  3  3  9  4

Thursday, May 4, 2017

41 days to buck up...

FORTY-One days to the matches of their lives, but the hockey team is still half-baked.
  And the way Malaysia has been playing in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, they will not qualify for the 2018 World Cup in India, unless there is a major attitude change.
  For, Stephen van Huizen's men blew hot-and-cold when they drew 1-1 with Japan, lost 6-1 to Australia and 1-0 to both Britain and New Zealand.
  Doomed to play in the fifth-sixth placing on Saturday, Malaysia complete their fixtures against India Friday.
  In the World League Semifinals in London from June 15-25, Malaysia are in Group A with Olympic champions and World No 1 Argentina, England, South Korea and China.
  Group B is made up of India, Pakistan, Scotland, Netherlands and Canada.
  In London, Malaysia must finish top-four in the group stage to play in the quarter-finals, and then try and finish in the fifth-sixth bracket to book their spot in the World Cup.
  It looks easy, as they only need to beat China and avoid heavy defeats in the hands of the other teams.
  Van Huizen will have the toughest opener against Argentina (June 16) followed by England (June 17), South Korea (June 19) and the do-or-die against China (June 20),
  In Ipoh, other than the Australian drubbing, Malaysia had higher number of penalty corners and 60 to 70 percent ball possession but bungled at the last pass.
  A classic case was the 1-0 defeat against New Zealand, as Malaysia had five penalty corners and 70 percent possession but failed to score. The Kiwis only had one penalty corner and made it count.
  Penalty corner flickers Razie Rahim, Shahril Saabah, Faizal Shaari and Najmi Jazlan were blunt as a butter knife, and Malaysia only scored two goals in four matches.
  One by Razie and one by Faizal. 
  Least Malaysia forgets, they were held 2-2 by China in the final of the World League Round Two in Dhaka before winning gold in penalty shoot-out.

  So China, with master coach Kim Sang Ryul as their consultant, will be looking to beat Malaysia as well in London as their ticket to the World Cup.
  Van Huizen knows his team might meet India, if they make the crossover quarter-finals in London.
  "We need to win the next two matches (against India and possibly Japan in the fifth-sixth) because India might just be our quarter-finals opponents in London," reasoned van Huizen.
  And India will be gunning to beat Malaysia for a possible final slot on Saturday in Ipoh.
  Time is against Malaysia, for 41 days, is all they have to change their mindset from losers to World Cup material.

Home and Away League

Lausanne, Switzerland: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has today announced that 15 National Associations have advanced in the selection process for the forthcoming global Home and Away League, which is due to begin in 2019.
13 National Associations remain part of the selection process for the women’s League, with 12 still in contention for places in the men’s League. With a maximum of nine teams taking part in each League when it commences, the process remains particularly competitive going into the final assessment stage for this ground-breaking competition.
Argentina, Australia, Belgium, England, Germany, India, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand and Spain submitted applications for both their men’s and women’s teams. 
   China, Japan and USA for their women’s teams and Malaysia and Pakistan for their men’s teams.
The latest phase of the application process required the National Associations to complete an extensive online questionnaire before the deadline of the 30th April 2017. This provides the FIH Event Portfolio Implementation Panel (EPIP) with in-depth information based on various aspects of their hosting and participation capabilities. This included information about financial sustainability, commercial vision, legal compliance, proposed venues, organisation and personnel, event delivery and presentation, team performance history, marketing strategies, motivation for participation, the proposed legacy impact and any added value they can bring to the competition.
The FIH has also been undertaking extensive discussions with broadcasters regarding exposure and media coverage of hockey within each of the nations as well as working collaboratively with the selected National Associations on all aspects of the application process including, but not limited to, match scheduling, player welfare and commercial terms.
The online questionnaires completed by the 15 National Associations will now be evaluated by the FIH EPIP, who will finalise their recommendations when they meet in Lausanne on 27- 28 May 2017. The Panel consists of Ken Read (Chair); FIH Chief Executive Officer Jason McCracken; FIH Executive Board Members Alberto Budeisky and Marijke Fleuren and FIH Athletes’ Committee Co-Chair Annie Panter. The panel will also be joined by Josh Smith as the selected independent member. A former international hockey player having represented Wales, Josh is currently the Director of Television Services with FIFA and adds extensive experience in media, broadcast and commercial to the panel discussions.
Leading professional services firm, Deloitte LLP, will advise the FIH EPIP on the important aspect of financial sustainability,  one of several experts working on assessing the various elements of the application submissions.
The recommendations of the FIH EPIP will then be submitted to the FIH Executive Board for ratification when they meet in Lausanne on 9-10 June 2017, with the launch event being planned in the months following ratification.
“To have 15 National Associations still in the running at this stage of the assessment process is fantastic news for the Home and Away League, a game-changing competition that is central to our 10-year Hockey Revolution Strategy”, said FIH CEO Jason McCracken. “The depth of information that we required the National Associations to provide was extensive and the quality of submissions received was outstanding. I congratulate and thank the National Associations for their work ahead of what will be a very thorough and competitive assessment process. The FIH continues to work in close collaboration with the National Associations as the sport looks forward to taking advantage of the growing interest, excitement and engagement in this competition from fans, broadcasters and commercial partners.”
More information about the Hockey Revolution, the new Event Portfolio and all other international hockey news and events is available on whilst other updates are posted via FIH TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Malaysia go down yet again...

THE National players did everything right, except score as they went down 1-0 to New Zealand in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
  The defeat will see them play for the fifth-sixth placing.
  Malaysia wasted four penalty coreners by half-time, while the Kiwis only needed one to take the lead. 
  Kane Russel made it count in the 25th minute and Malysia were in trouble again.
  Malaysia played two Test matches against New Zealand a week before the tournament and won 8-3 and drew 3-3.
  But when it mattered most, they lost 1-0.
  Australia virtually booked a spot in the final when they beat Britain 2-1. They only have Japan to play on Friday, and are the raging favourites for three points.
  In the first match of the day, Mandeep Singh saved India the blushes with a hat-trick as the World No 6 came back twice to beat a disciplined Japan 4-3 in a nail-biting match.
   India coach Roelant Oltmans said: "We started off really good and kept on attacking, putting too much pressure and Japan was also quick in the counter attacks. It was a really fast pace game and the two were coming from both ends.
  "In the second half we changed the tactics and had more control of the game but unfortunately we could not score. The fourth quarter was great and that gave us more options in our breakaways. Mandeep and Sardar played exceptionally well.
  "Mandeep is young and very fit. He can score goals from angles you would least expect. Sometimes it is hard to understand him."
  Japan coach Takahiko Yamabori was visibly upset because his charges were leading 3-2 before collapsing.
  "I am most upset with this defeat. We had a good chance to beat India after taking the lead twice. But on the other hand, I am happy with the attitude of my players for giving their best against India.
  "We will continue to build this team for the World League Semi-finals and I believe we are heading right direction. The scores are important but how the teams plays is far more important."
  RESULTS: Japan 3 India 4, Britain 1 Australia 2, Malaysia 0 New Zealand 1.
  FRIDAY: Britain v New Zealand (4pm), Australia v Japan (6pm), Malaysia v India (8.35pm).


           P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
AUSTRALIA  4  3  1  0  12 4  10
INDIA      4  2  1  1  10 8  7
BRITAIN    4  2  1  1  9  7  7
N ZEALAND  4  2  1  1  5  6  7
JAPAN      4  0  1  3  9  13 1
MALAYSIA   4  0  1  3  2  9  1

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Britain use all nine lives to beat Malaysia...

THE NATIONAL players displayed their best game in Ipoh to date but still went down 1-0 to Great Britain in the Azlan Shah Cup yesterday.
  Malaysia started more convincingly than the previous two matches, as there was more commitment and desire in their game.
  But Britain had the lions share in the first quarter, and experienced goalkeeper S. Kumar had to use every trick in his book to keep a clean record in the first quarter.
  The only excitement for the Malaysian fans was when Razie Rahim's penalty corner attempt in the 14th minute was padded away by goalkeeper Harry Gibson.
  Britain defended and only relied on counters in the second quarter and it worked as they won a penalty stroke in the 26th and Alan Forsyth sent Kumar in the wrong direction for the lead.
  And Britain held on to the slim lead going into half-time, even though they were placed under tremendous pressure by a rejuvenated Malaysia.
  Malaysia missed many sitters for the next 30 minutes, and Britain stole the three points on nine lives.
  National coach Stephen van Huizen felt it was a drawn game, as the penalty stroke awarded to Britain was dubious.
  "For those who watches the replays (on TV) would know what I am talking about, but then there was video referral and they felt it was a stroke and that's the end of it.
  "However, we could have done better in attack when we had the numbers on counter, but failed. Overall its a good show from my players against a team which is in the same group with us in the World League (Semi-finals) in London."
   Britain coach Zak Jones counted his blessings.
   "We blew hot and cold while Malaysia really pressed us hard but my players could keep pace with them and now we only have 'a few hours of rest' before playing Australia."
  World No 2 Australia edged closer to a 10th Azlan Shah title when they beat India 3-1.
  India took the lead, but Australia kept the pressure to win comfortably and will play Britain today where a win should see them playing in the final.
  Australia coach Colin Batch said: "We started off slow but regrouped in the second quarter and I think we had a good game overall against India.
  "In this kind of heat it’s always difficult to give a 100 per cent on the field and the same goes to India."
  RESULTS: India 1 Australia 3, New Zealand 3 Japan 2, Malaysia 0 Britain 1.
  WEDNESDAY: Japan v India (4pm), Britain v Australia (6pm), Malaysia v New Zealand (8.30pm).


           P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
AUSTRALIA  3  2  1  0  10 3  7
BRITAIN    3  2  1  0  8  5  7
INDIA      3  1  1  1  6  5  4
N ZEALAND  3  1  1  1  4  6  4
JAPAN      3  0  1  2  6  9  1
MALAYSIA   3  0  1  2  2  8  1


Monday, May 1, 2017

Van Huizen: It's not over yet...

MALAYSIA were held to an un-necessary 1-1 draw by Japan, and then mauled 6-1 by Australia but national coach Stephen van Huizen is still optimistic of his team's performance in the 26th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh.
  The fact that Malaysia scored an equaliser off Haziq Shamsul (but the goal was disallowed by the umpires who deemed it as dangerous play) and could have changed the whole game on Sunday was van Huizen's reasoning.
  "We knew playing against the World No 2 would not be easy, and the disallowed goal somehow demoralised the team and broke their rhythm. But it's not the end of the tournament for my players," said van Huizen.
  He believes his charges will bounce back against Britain today.
  "Australia scored two goals when two of our players were on the bench after picking up cards. Overall, I'm happy with the commitment showed by my charges who never stop playing until the final whistle."
   Van Huizen said he will rally his men, and raise their optimism, as the remaining matches are against higher ranked teams.
  "We will keep on trying, as we do not want to end up in the bottom. And if the final slips out of our hands, we will try and finish in the third-fourth bracket."
  Last year, Malaysia ended fourth.
  After Britain, Malaysia will play New Zealand on Wednesday and India on Friday.
  Britain last featured in the Azlan Shah Cup in 2012 after making their debut a year earlier where they won the bronze medal.
  After two matches Australia, India and Britain share four-equal points following a draw and a win respectively to stay at the top of the standings whilst Japan, New Zealand and Malaysia have one point from two matches.
  TUESDAY: India v Australia (4pm), New Zealand v Japan (6pm), Malaysia v Britain (8.30pm).
  WEDNESDAY: Japan v India (4pm), Britain v Australia (6pm), Malaysia v New Zealand (8.30pm).


           P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
AUSTRALIA  2  1  1  0  7  2  4
INDIA      2  1  1  0  5  2  4
BRITAIN    2  1  1  0  7  5  4
JAPAN      2  0  1  1  4  6  1
N ZEALAND  2  0  1  1  1  4  1
MALAYSIA   2  0  1  1  2  7  1