The Week In Hockey

What we’ve learnt over the last week in the world of hockey – the first of a blog series from weekly publication The Hockey Paper

Great Britain stars could play for their Olympic places in US-style trials after hockey was confirmed as one of the sports in talks to compete in televised events prior to the 2020 Games.

The British Olympic Association has been open to the idea of staging multi-sport British trials since last year, in a bid to boost popularity and generate television revenue before Olympic Games.

England Hockey has held discussions with the BOA on how the concept would work, but The Hockey Paper can reveal that any commitments would hinge on world hockey’s new international calendar, which starts in 2019.

“We’re interested in how it could work for hockey and building the profile of the sport,” said Sally Munday, England Hockey’s chief executive.

“We have been clear with the BOA. The biggest challenge we have with this is the new FIH home and away calendar in 2019, so it is very difficult for us to be an active part of the conversations.”

Munday revealed that talks are currently at a “concept stage” with the BOA, along with seven other sports including gymnastics, rugby sevens and swimming.

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Surbiton Ladies, the most successful leading club in the UK, lost for the first time in three years at the weekend when they were beaten by Leicester, the club who beat them in February 2014 before the south Londoners went on their record unbeaten streak.

Here is their record in numbers:

Pl: 53 W: 43 D: 10 F: 148 A: 32
Clean sheets: 50.94%
Best run: 10 successive wins Nov 2014 – Mar 2015
Biggest win: Reading 7-0, Oct 2015
Total appearances: Emily Atkinson 52, Jo Hunter and Beckie Middleton 49
Most goals: Giselle Ansley 21, Middleton 19, Sarah Page 16

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Australia international Simon Orchard caused his stir with his comments on umpiring, an issue which went global.

To recap, the Australian suggested umpires had been the “bane of my existence as a hockey player” and accused many of “lacking the ability” to apply the rules consistently in a high-pressure environment.

He pointed the finger at top umpires whom he said can’t – or won’t – communicate with players and exhorted officials to “stay accountable, communicate well, keep your emotions in check and learn the game”.

The response was polarised, as you can imagine.

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A promotional image mocking the Netherlands’ Olympic final defeat to Great Britain women has backfired on England Hockey after Kate Richardson-Walsh said that the national governing body had “stepped over the line”.

The Valentines Day tweet entitled ‘Breaking Hearts since 2013’ was meant to boost ticket sales ahead of the England v Netherlands Test match in June, which sold out within an hour of going on general sale at the weekend.

But the marketing ploy received short shrift from Richardson-Walsh, GB’s long-serving former captain, who admitted that she would have distanced herself and the national squad from the promotion if she was still on the central programme.

She told The Hockey Paper: “When the association puts it out there and you’re saying the team says that as well, that’s not the case.”

“To step over the line of humility and being humble and respecting the opposition, we don’t need to go there.”

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Rod Gilmour
Rod Gilmour is the editor of The Hockey Paper, a weekly publication which covers all matches played in the men’s and women’s Premier Divisions and extensive round ups of the six Conferences below.

1 Comment

  1. martinzigzag on March 4, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Telling umpires they are wrong is never going to go down well but I agree wholeheartedly with Orchard. I have put up in my blog over thirty video clips of match incidents involving the umpire Christian Blasch who was recently voted best in the world for 2016 https://martinzigzag.wordpress.com/2017/03/04/the-best-umpire-in-the-world/
    If the other top umpires are worse than this, and the vote suggests they are, there is a lot to be worried about and corrected.

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