Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oceania Upset: Australia lose 3-0 to Kiwis

THE Kookaburras have suffered a shock 3-0 defeat at the hands of New Zealand in game one of the Oceania Cup at the Tasmanian Hockey Centre in Hobart.
The New Zealanders, who had not defeated Australia since 1998, capitalised on their limited scoring opportunities to take at 1-0 series lead.
It was Australia who did the majority of attacking, putting the New Zealand defence under the pump early with some energetic circle penetrations.
However it was New Zealand who dealt the first blow in the 8th minute after Hugo Inglis turned the ball over deep in the Australian defensive half and put away a magnificent reverse stick strike that went high into the net.
The Kookaburras responded to the scoreboard pressure and dominated possession to create multiple scoring chances but to no prevail.
Pacey Kookaburra midfielder Simon Orchard looked dangerous on several occasions and despite the amount of possession the Australians could not find the back of the net.
New Zealand goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex was outstanding for the Blacksticks as the Kookaburras continued to apply pressure through circle penetrations and multiple penalty corners.
The Blacksticks too had their chances to increase their lead, catching the Australian defence off guard on the counter attack on several occasions.
After the break, the Australians continued to apply pressure to the New Zealand defence.
Pontifex was again up to the challenge however, making several desperate on the line saves to deny the Australians any scoreboard presence.
Orchard continued to stream through the middle of the pitch to create more opportunities and the Kookaburras were awarded penalty corners for their efforts but they failure to convert resulted in frustration.
New Zealander were able to break through the Kookaburra defence and force their first penalty corner in the 57th minute which resulted in a Andy Haywood goal to sink the hearts of the Kookaburras.
The frustration in the Australians showed in the final ten minutes and New Zealand were able to drive forward with confidence.
Forcing their second penalty corner, Haywood was again able to convert in the 63rd minute to give the Blacksticks a historic 3-0 win.
Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth said he was disappointed in his side’s ability to finish in the circle and utilise the opportunities created but admitted there was no need to panic and no radical changes needed to be made.
“When a side scores 100% of their penalty corners they are going to be tough to beat”, Charlesworth said.
“We had our chances and unfortunately could not finish.
“Today we had players whose skill level wasn’t quite up to it and had some errors at the back.
“We will work on the small things and pay some attention to our penalty corners to improve on our performances in the coming matches”.

Source: Hockey Australia Media Release

YNS set for fourth spot

YAYASAN Negri Sembilan (YNS) have two more matches to go, but even if they win both, they will remain fourth in the Premier Division of the TNB-Malaysia Hockey League.
Coach K. Rajan sees it as a blessing, as he roughly knows who he will be meeting in the quarter-finals.
Seven teams from the Premier Division, and the Division One champions will advance to the home-and-away knock- out stages for the TNB Cup.
“We play Sapura tomorrow (today) and then our last match on Sunday is against UiTM. We have nine points, and even if we win both we will only have 15 points and lose out the third spot to Sapura (now on 15 points) on goals average.
“However, I see it as a blessing because finishing fourth will see us play the fifth team on the standings, and that means it is either UniKL, Nur Insafi or Maybank,” said Rajan.
However, if they advance into the semi-finals, they will surely meet defending champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) who will have an easy quarter-finals against Division One champions, either Ipoh City hall or Thun derbolt.
YNS have six Pakistan players, and according to Rajan, fitness was a problem in the early part of the League.
“The six arrived four days after Hari Raya, which means they fasted for a month, and there was no tournaments to keep them on their toes.
“They were not fit then, but after playing a few matches, I can see that the foreign players are ready to contribute in the knock-out stages.
For the record, YNS suffered an 8-0 trashing in the hands of KLHC in the League match.
Champions in waiting KLHC will have an easy weekend against Nur Insafi, after which they will lay their hands on the title when they meet Sapura on Sunday.
KLHC can even afford to lose to Sapura, but will still lift the title -- provided Nur Insafi does not pull off the biggest upset of the season today.

P W D L F A Pts
KLHC 6 6 0 0 35 9 18
TNB 7 5 1 1 25 6 16
Sapura 6 5 0 1 21 8 15
YNS 6 3 0 3 11 18 9
UniKL 7 1 4 2 15 20 7
Maybank 6 2 1 3 14 11 7
Nur Insafi 6 2 1 3 12 21 7
UiTM 6 0 1 5 6 26 1
Airod 6 0 0 6 8 28 0

Division One

P W D L F A Pts
T’bolt 7 3 4 0 20 16 13
Ipoh CH 7 3 3 1 14 16 12
BJSS 6 1 3 2 13 9 6
Uniten 6 1 3 2 11 13 6
UNIMAP 6 1 1 4 10 14 4

TODAY -- Premier League: YNS v Sapura (National Sta dium I, 6pm), Nur Insafi Penang v KL Hockey Club (National Stadium II, 6pm),
Maybank v TNB (National Stadium I, 8pm), UiTM v Armed Forces Airod (National Stadium II, 8pm).
Division 1 - Uniten v BJSS (Tun Razak, 5pm), UNIMAP v SSTMI-Thunderbolt (Alor Star, 5pm).
SUNDAY: Premier League YNS v UiTM (Pitch II, 4pm), Maybank v Nur Insafi Penang (Pitch 1, 5pm), UniKL v Armed Forces Airod (Pitch II, 6pm), KL Hockey Club v Sapura (Pitch II, 8pm).
All matches at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Division 1 Ipoh City Hall v UniTen (Azlan Shah, 5pm), UNIMAP v BJSS (Alor Star, 5pm).