Monday, November 30, 2015

Great Britain shock Australia, Belgium outplay Canada

Raipur, November 29, 2015: On Day 3 of the Hero Hockey World League Final 2015, Belgium found form with a big win over Canada while Great Britain stole headlines with an impressive victory over world number one Australia here on Sunday.
The first match of the day saw Belgium’s Red Lions take on the Canada’s Red Caribous, with the Europeans emerging as 7-2 winners in a Pool A encounter that saw Jerome Truyens marked his 300th senior international appearance with a goal.

Belgium were in sparkling form in the first quarter, powering in four fantastic goals through Sebastien Dockier, Florent van Aubel and Thomas Briels before Truyens – who was also named Hero Man of the Match - netted in his milestone game. Canada were vastly improved in the second and third quarters, with Mark Pearson pulling a goal back ahead of a beautiful flicked finish from Devohn Noronha Teixeira. However, Belgium moved back into top gear in the final quarter, with Arthur van Doren and Tom Boon on target before van Aubel claimed his second to give the Red Lions their first win of the competition.

“It is always great to have a win in such circumstances, and also to score”, said 28-year-old Truyens, who started his international career in 2004, after the game. “The fact that my team has won and everyone has been congratulating me has been really special. You always want to score on such occasions, so I am happy that I have done that. What matters is the three points today.”

Canadian captain Scott Tupper said: "There were some part of the game when we played quite well, which is of course tough to say when you have lost 7-2. But we did play two of the four quarters very well. Hopefully we can build on that moving forward, and aim at keeping our game at a high level during the full 60 minutes."

Also in Pool A, Great Britain claimed a 5-2 victory over reigning world champions Australia, a result which moved the Brits onto six points.

Henry Weir and Chris Grassick were both on target for GB in the first quarter, before Jeremy Hayward pulled a goal back for the top ranked Kookaburras two minutes into the second period. However, an Ian Sloan penalty corner restored Great Britain’s two goal cushion with David Condon pouncing moments after half time to establish a 4-1 advantage against the illustrious Australians. A brilliant backhand strike from Matt Gohdes early in the second quarter gave the Aussies hope, but a Phil Roper strike sealed an impressive win and put Great Britain clear at the top of Pool A.

“We had to defend well at the end but you are always going to have to do that against Australia”, said Great Britain Head Coach Bobby Crutchley, reflecting on the match.

“We don’t just want to be known for one result, we want to keep going. I’ve learned a lot about them tonight that has really impressed me, and I’ll learn more about how they show up for the next game. That is because after a good win it is often the next game that is the biggest challenge.”

“We were off the pace today”, said Australia goalkeeper Andrew Charter, who made his 100th international appearance for the Kookaburras in the match. “We were a bit sluggish and GB came out with a little bit more pep than they have done against us for a while, and they really punished us for it. We’ll go back and learn a few things from this and look towards the next matches.”

Results – Day 3
Pool A:
Belgium 7, Canada 2
Hero Man of the Match: Jerome Truyens (BEL)
Australia 2, Great Britain 5
Hero Man of the Match: Dan Fox (GBR)

FIH Press release

Puia wins maiden title, Manika stamps her authority yet again

Dharamshala, November 29, 2015: Mizoram’s Lalrin Puia and Delhi’s Manika Batra claimed the Youth Boys and Youth Girls titles, beating PSPBA’s Manav Thakkar and West Bengal’s Kaushani Nath in the 77th Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships at the Indoor Stadium here today. Both winners secured a similar 4-1 verdict to stamp their authority.

It was the first title for Puia, the PSPBA boy who turned out for his state, and came in what turned out to be a one-sided affair against Manav, who was tired after the Junior Boys final. The former, a defensive player, wore out Manav leading 3-1 before shutting his opponent out in the fifth game itself.

Manika, who has had a fantastic season, proved her mettle yet again beating the West Bengal girl after some struggle despite leading 3-0.  Kaushani tried really hard and brought down the margin but could nto stop Manika, whose calculated attack and defence paid off in the end.

Pande was up 2-0 but Manav made a quick recovery to equalize. However, Siddesh upped the ante in the fifth and sixth games, countering brilliantly. The counter did work to his advantage and Manav was wilting. Taking the cue, Pandey unleashed some excellent forehands, particularly in the sixth when he was 2-4 down. He made it 4-4 and then went from strength to strength to win 11-8 for his maiden national title.

Unfortunately, last year’s champion Manav had to be satisfied with the silver medal.
Kaushani Nath led 3-1 and was just a game away from title when Selenadeepthi found her rhythm going to catch up fast with her rival in the final. In fact, the Tamil Nadu girl troubled Kaushani a lot to make it 3-all. But in the decider she faltered as she failed to press the advantage home and the West Bengal’s determination held good and she won comfortably.  

Patchy Kotiyan
Maharashtra’s third seeded Ravindra Kotiyan was not even half his self on this day against sixth-seeded Manav Thakkar who was in a roaring form. Having already entered the Junior Boys final, Manav was up to the task in Youth Boys semifinals. The fluency and confidence with which he executed his strokes, both back and forehands, bewildered Kotiyan who had been rendered clueless.

Manav, on the other hand, piled up pressure and the normally capable Kotiyan kept making mistakes which only made Manav’s job that much easier. In the end, Kotiyan could only rue his fate of letting off the chance go.

In Youth Girls’ semifinals, Delhi’s Manika Batra put herself in discomfort before catching up with North Bengal’s Sagarika Mukherjee and win the last three games to go into the final. Kaushani Nath of West Bengal beat her AAI rival Ayhika Mukherjee 4-1.
The semifinals between PSPBA’s Manav Thakkar and Tamil Nadu’s Ananth Devarajan in Junior Boys and the one between Yashini Sivashankar of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal’s Kaushani Nath were the edge-of-the-seat kinds. Ananth was leading 3-2—he won the fourth game on extended points—and put pressure on Manav. But the PSPBA boy, used to such tactics, never succumbed and did well to take the next game in a jiffy to level. In the decider, he continued the momentum to finish off in style.

As for Yashini, it was a good effort that went waste. She had a comfortable 3-1 lead and the onus was on her to wrap it up quickly. But the West Bengal girl came back nicely, dismissing any pressure or her opponent’s presence to take the next three games to shut out Yashini. Yet, it remained a mystery how the Tamil Nadu girl threw away the advantage.

Rajasthan pair rules
In Youth Boys doubles, Rajasthan’s second pair of Vivek Bhargava and Pankaj Vishwakarma—top-seeded Abhishek Yadav and Sushdanshu Grover bowed out in the semifinals—overcame West Bengal’s duo of Arjun Ghosh and Anirban Ghosh 3-2. In fact, the Rajasthan pair looked like finishing it off in the fourth game itself, comfortably leading 8-4 but let Arjun and Anirban level 2-2 after missing three match points. However, in the decider the Rajasthan duo played well to put it beyond their rivals.
In Youth Girls doubles, AAI’s top pair Sreeja Akula and Archana Kamath Girish downed teammates Ayhika Mukherjee and Frenaz Chipa 3-0 to win gold. In Junior Boys doubles, West Bengal’s pair of Anirban Ghosh and Abhimanyu Mitra defeated Tamil Nadu’s Ananth Devarajan and Sachinviswanath Sivaramakrishan 3-1 to lift the trophy.  In Junior Girls final, West Bengal’s pair of Prapti Sen and Surbhi Patwari blanked out Moumita Datta and Kaushani Nath 3-0.

Junior Boys Singles (Final): Siddhesh Pande (Mah) bt Manav Thakkar (PSPBA) 4-2 (11-9, 11-5, 6-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8); Semifinals: Siddhesh Pande bt Manush Shah (Guj) 4-1 (11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 11-3), Manav Thakkar bt Ananth Devarajan (TN) 4-3 (11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 11-13, 5-11, 11-1, 11-5).
Doubles: Final: Anirban Ghosh/Abhimanyu Mitra (WB) bt Ananth Devarajan/Sachinviswanath S 3-1 (11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5).
Junior Girls Singles (Final): Kaushani Nath (WB) bt Selenadeepthi Selvakumar (TN) 4-3 (9-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 3-11, 11-5); Semifinals: Kaushani Nath bt Yashini Sivashankar (TN) 4-3 (6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-9), Selenadeepthi Selvakumar bt Shruti Amrute (Mah) 4-0 (11-8, 13-12, 11-5, 11-5).
Doubles: Final: Prapti Sen/Surbhi Patwari (WB) bt Moumita Datta/Kaushani Nath (WB) 3-0 (11-9, 11-9, 11-3).
Youth Boys Singles (Final): Lalrin Puia (Miz) bt Manav Thakkar (PSPBA) 4-1 (11-5, 11-7, 11-4, 4-11, 11-9); Semifinals: Lalrin Puia bt Arjun Ghosh (WB) 4-2 (9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6), Manav Thakkar bt Ravindra Kotiyan (Mah) 4-1 (11-5, 11-2, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5).
Doubles: Final: Vivek Bhargava/Pankaj Vishwakarma (Raj) bt Arjun Ghosh/Anirban Ghosh (WB) 3-2 (7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 14-16, 11-8).
Youth Girls Singles (Final): Manika Batra (Del) bt Kaushani Nath (WB) 4-2 (11-1, 11-2, 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-9); Semifinals: Manika Batra bt Sagarika Mukherjee (NB) 4-3 (11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-13, 11-5), Kaushani Nath bt Ayhika Mukherjee (AAI) 4-1 (11-7, 11-9, 11-3, 7-11, 11-9).

Doubles: Final: Sreeja Akula/Archana Kamath Girish (AAI) bt Ayhika Mukherjee/ Frenaz Chipia (AAI) 3-0 (11-6, 11-9, 11-5).

TTFI Press release

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Great Britain defeat Canada; Australia edge past Belgium; Netherlands beat Argentina; India hold Germany 1-1

Raipur, November 28, 2015: The second day of action at the Hero Hockey World League Final 2015 saw wins for Great Britain, Australia and the Netherlands, while host nation India returned to form with a deserved draw against Olympic champions Germany here on Saturday. 

Simon Mantell scored twice as Great Britain got their campaign off to a flying start with a 3-1 win over Pool A rivals Canada. Mantell needed just two minutes to open his account with a tap-in before Mark Pearson restored parity with a speculative cross from the right that found the bottom left corner. Second quarter goals from Mantell and Alastair Brogdon gave Great Britain a 3-1 advantage at half time, a lead that the dominant Europeans would never relinquish.

Also in Pool A, a solitary goal from Australia veteran Jamie Dwyer was enough for the top ranked Kookaburras to edge past Belgium. The 36-year-old five times FIH Player of the Year fired home from a tight angle in the 22nd minute to give the Aussies victory in a replay of the first place match from the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Antwerp earlier this year.

Speaking after the match, Australia striker Kieran Govers said: "It is always a good challenge to start off with Belgium, and we always have very close games with them. It was a scrappy 1-0 win, but we will look at the video, see what we need to improve on and look forward to taking on Great Britain tomorrow."

In Pool B, host nation India thrilled the fans by holding Germany to a 1-1 draw. For the second evening in succession, a large, passion-fuelled crowd turned out to cheer on the home team and was rewarded with a very good display from India, who rediscovered their form following their 3-0 defeat at the hands of Argentina on Friday evening. Germany were the first team to strike, with an unmarked Niklas Wellen finishing from close range just six minutes into the match before Akashdeep Singh scored a brilliant equalizer in the final quarter.

“We made far fewer unforced errors today than we did yesterday”, said India Head Coach Roelant Oltmans, referring to his team’s opening day defeat to Argentina. “Sometimes you need a result like that to show the way to play. I’m proud of the way we played, and this is where the tournament starts for us.”
The final match of the day was an absolute thriller between the continental champions of Europe and Pan America, with the Netherlands taking a 3-2 win over the ever-impressive Argentina to move to the top of Pool B at the end of Day 2.

Defending champions the Netherlands were irrepressible in the early stages, establishing a 3-0 lead thanks to spectacular strikes from youngster Thierry Brinkman and Seve van Ass before Roel Bovendeert tapped home a fine team move. However, two goals from Argentine penalty corner expert Gonzalo Peillat dragged Los Leones back into the game and set up a tense final quarter. Despite great pressure from their South American rivals, excellent defensive work ensured that Oranje held on to claim all three points.

Results – Day 2
Pool A:
Great Britain 3, Canada 1
Hero Man of the Match: Nick Catlin (GBR)
Australia 1, Belgium 0
Hero Man of the Match: Matt Gohdes (AUS)
Pool B:
Germany 1, India 1
Hero Man of the Match: Sardar Singh (IND)
Netherlands 3, Argentina 2
Hero Man of the Match: Robert van der Horst (NED)

FIH release